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How saturated is "too saturated?"


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I personally love the look of intense color saturation. But I see a lot of footage on YT and Vimeo where people are not adding a lot of saturation. I realize some of this is stylistic but I cannot help but wonder if there is some metric (scientific or otherwise) that determines if an image is "too saturated". Although I enjoy saturated color, I don't want to turn others off of footage if I am going too extreme with it.

Any colorists want to chime in? I will show you an example of a screenshot I grabbed from a clip I shot of my daughter on our porch. For what it is worth, this was the capture rig:

Sony a6000

SELP18105G E PZ 18-105mm F4 Zoom (Sorry, cannot remember focal length or F-stop)

ISO 100

ND4 filter

Creative Style - Neutral (-3, -3, -3)

I have posted my saturated grade and also the raw screen grab (in case someone wants to play or whatever.)

Disclaimer: My daughter's initials are T.P. I don't want her to get upset that I put her face up here so, if you are reading this and your initials are "T.P.", I would prefer that you not cause a scene on my thread. Thanks. 🙂

vlcsnap-toricu_oversat.png

vlcsnap-toricu_raw.png

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Not a colorist, but used to dabble.

I think with rec709 grading there's a guideline that you don't want to go over 40% saturation – this might have been a holdover from analogue days but I've seen issues with colors looking funny with HDTV feeds via HDMI too. So if you're targeting a blu ray or Amazon release I think this is still a guideline. I forget – someone else might want to chime in.

My suspicion is that this has more to do with how video and film handle saturation and grading to emulate a "film look" – video is more saturated in the highlights, film in the shadows. Some cameras (the Alexa in particular) emulate this aspect of film but the grade lets you do whatever. But if your final grade is desaturated it will never have "garish video hues."

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6 minutes ago, M Joel W said:

I think with rec709 grading there's a guideline that you don't want to go over 40% saturation –

I have learned a bit about Resolve the last few months but I do not know how to check that % of saturation according to Rec709 standards...do you know how I can do this?

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34 minutes ago, M Joel W said:

video is more saturated in the highlights, film in the shadows. Some cameras (the Alexa in particular) emulate this aspect of film but the grade lets you do whatever. But if your final grade is desaturated it will never have "garish video hues."

Thanks for this! I compared the two by having the first one as above and the second one bumped shadow saturation while desaturating the highlights (Lum vs. Sat) and here are the comparisons.

 

vlcsnap-toricu_oversat.png

vlcsnap-toricu_satshad_desathl.png

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I think a good way to think about this is to ask the question, is the color surface color (reflective) or emissive color?  Clearly the shirt in this picture isn't emissive light source, so it will look really unnatural if the red is so intense that it appears to emit light.  There's few things you can do then.  You can lower the saturation, or make the red also darker, or do both.  Unfortunately most saturation controls still don't darken the colors automatically, you'll have to do it manually.

There's a really great video from Filmlight, it really goes into details on this (the first 30 minutes):

 

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1 hour ago, Pekka Riikonen said:

I think a good way to think about this is to ask the question, is the color surface color (reflective) or emissive color?  Clearly the shirt in this picture isn't emissive light source, so it will look really unnatural if the red is so intense that it appears to emit light.  There's few things you can do then.  You can lower the saturation, or make the red also darker, or do both.  Unfortunately most saturation controls still don't darken the colors automatically, you'll have to do it manually.

There's a really great video from Filmlight, it really goes into details on this (the first 30 minutes):

 

Thanks for this. I am playing around with this in Resolve. I do agree that red is not as intense in reality (or on film) as it is when the saturation is increased on this image in Resolve. I am playing around to find a happy medium in the "Hue vs. Sat" portion. Although the "emissive vs reflective" is a bit of a judgment call, it does help to think of it that way. I realize I have crossed the line by a bit but with this info in hand, I can correct it.

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15 hours ago, Matthew W. Phillips said:

I personally love the look of intense color saturation. But I see a lot of footage on YT and Vimeo where people are not adding a lot of saturation. I realize some of this is stylistic but I cannot help but wonder if there is some metric (scientific or otherwise) that determines if an image is "too saturated". Although I enjoy saturated color, I don't want to turn others off of footage if I am going too extreme with it.

Any colorists want to chime in? I will show you an example of a screenshot I grabbed from a clip I shot of my daughter on our porch. For what it is worth, this was the capture rig:

Sony a6000

SELP18105G E PZ 18-105mm F4 Zoom (Sorry, cannot remember focal length or F-stop)

ISO 100

ND4 filter

Creative Style - Neutral (-3, -3, -3)

I have posted my saturated grade and also the raw screen grab (in case someone wants to play or whatever.)

Disclaimer: My daughter's initials are T.P. I don't want her to get upset that I put her face up here so, if you are reading this and your initials are "T.P.", I would prefer that you not cause a scene on my thread. Thanks. 🙂

vlcsnap-toricu_oversat.png

vlcsnap-toricu_raw.png

I think I'd like something in between the 2 choices.

Here is the deal. Everyplace you view the film needs its own grade. TV looks different than YouTube and YouTube looks different than Vimeo and projection looks different than the computer screen

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16 hours ago, Pekka Riikonen said:

Unfortunately most saturation controls still don't darken the colors automatically, you'll have to do it manually.

I thought about this a lot since yesterday. I decided to pull up an old grab I had of my daughter from her younger days (it was shot on 16mm film and graded by Spectra). I was surprised that by "pixel peeping" the red on the stuffed bird's wing that it was much higher in red value (brighter) than what I was able to get on the Sony a6000 without adding a ton of saturation. This is interesting to me because I get the impression that many people assume film = desaturated but I haven't ever seen a desaturated grade come back from a lab (when I pay for the grade). Nonetheless, I will admit that film has a way of saturating that doesn't draw attention to itself.

(16mm film screenshot below for reference)

720p_original.jpg

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Where normally I'd probably spend more time working on the face/neck, this is kind of what needed to be done to the shot. Much more color all the way around, but mostly contrast, contrast, contrast. 

6 Nodes

1) Base balance
2) Base grade
3) Beauty composite (needs some work done to the neck, but didn't bother for this quick sample) 
4) Wall (contrast/balance) 
5) Background plant green subdue 
6) Background wall, adjust to proper color and subdue 
 

770993553_ColorTest_1.1.1.thumb.jpg.85959a9512509ff13a45cdca725d2146.jpg338459041_Gradenode.png.3abea22cc3d2276e9ce14d6e0ce3cc34.png

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After taking everyone's viewpoints into consideration, I arrived at a look that I think looks pretty good. I admit that I had to get some help from a plugin to Resolve (I played around with Dehance) and that gave me the little bit of saturation control I needed to get a look I could live with. (Disclaimer: I am not paid by and I have no connection to Dehance; I haven't even decided if I am purchasing it as I am on the trial now but I probably will at least buy the lite version)

Thanks again for everyone who gave input.

 

 

vlcsnap-2021-11-27-21h52m44s004.png

Edited by Matthew W. Phillips
spelling error
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Here is the deal. If you are not working for a paying client...you only have to please yourself with your work. Sometimes we don't know we have gone too far, until we do. 

I used to do a lot of hyper-real HDR about 10 years ago. I learned it from Les Krims. But eventually grew out of it and now use invisible HDR if I want it. But maybe a film in hyper-real HDR would look interesting. 

zombie-walk-2012-daniel-d-teoli-jr-m.jpg


faces-of-gentrification-daniel-d-teoli-jr LR.jpg

Faces of Gentrification

Photos: D.D.Teoli Jr.

 

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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8 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

Here is the deal. If you are not working for a paying client...you only have to please yourself with your work. Sometimes we don't know we have gone too far, until we do. 

I used to do a lot of hyper-real HDR about 10 years ago. I learned it from Les Krims. But eventually grew out of it and now use invisible HDR if I want it. But maybe a film in hyper-real HDR would look interesting. 

zombie-walk-2012-daniel-d-teoli-jr-m.jpg


faces-of-gentrification-daniel-d-teoli-jr LR.jpg

Faces of Gentrification

Photos: D.D.Teoli Jr.

 

That aesthetic could definitely convey a feeling that not much else could. I could be wrong on this but I feel like that look would work better with 60 fps than with 24 as well.

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7 hours ago, Pekka Riikonen said:

In this I pushed the saturation a lot but prevented the colors getting too bright. I also darkened the green a bit, for some reason...

Now you have me revisiting this. I guess one is never truly done with grading...only happy for a minute.

The video you put up was no doubt correct but I failed in my implementation of it because I was already applying what M. Joel said above with "video is more saturated in the highlights, film in the shadows. Some cameras (the Alexa in particular) emulate this aspect of film but the grade lets you do whatever. But if your final grade is desaturated it will never have "garish video hues."

In the video though, I noticed he said that the saturation curve looked more like a nice round hill with the majority in the midtones with both shadows and highlights falling to their respective desaturated states. After trying this, I feel I was finally able to get more real saturation without increasing the brightness.

Thanks for posting that video and continuing to add your insight!

toricu_grade_1.1.1_1.1.1.png

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On 11/27/2021 at 2:35 PM, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

Got timed out, but here is my choice for post.

 

vlcsnap-toricu_raw.thumb.png.0124ab5bafa

 

I've done lots of freaky post work in the past. But the subject matter must be of that nature. If you want her over saturated and that is how the film is, then go for it. 

As I look at this on my tablet it has slightly more contrast than the monitor I used at the time. That is the problem with all these digital viewing devices. Laptops especially are prone to off color post work. 

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If anyone is curious, I did a comparison between the green stuffed parrot (my daughter named him "Peky") on 16mm film and on the Sony a6000 using the color match of the color chart (along with a few adjustments). He looks pretty good on the a6000 in my opinion considering this is now a 7 year old prosumer mirrorless camera.

First image (shot on R16mm CP16r with Zoom)

Second image (shot on Sony a6000 with 18-105mm Zoom)

 

720p_original.jpg

vlcsnap-2021-12-02-07h05m35s536.png

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