The Technicolor CineStyle Profile – Final Opinion

I’ve had a chance to test out the new Technicolor CineStyle in depth and wanted to share my final thoughts.  Overall this THE best attempt to create a LOG-C curve (or “Flat” profile).  The folks at Technicolor mentioned at NAB that this profile was created to best suit THEIR post color grading workflow…which is the best in the world.  For the rest of us…there just isn’t getting past that dang highly compressed 8bit H264 codec.  The compression just cannot handle any sort of grading that pushes the image too far from the recorded or “baked in” image.  Like a Picasso hidden underneath a finger painting…the Technicolor CineStyle is a dream curve trapped within a codec that just doesn’t do it justice.
 
 
Here is my initial test I did Friday Night:
 

 

 
Overall thoughts and recommendations:

Neutral, Contrast Added in Post

  1. It seems there is a gamma shift upwards with the Cinestyle.  Brings up shadow detail but at slight expense of the highlights.  I find I have to ignore scopes and light meters and drop down exposure a stop to get the best out of this profile (and to match it to the other stock profiles).  You shouldn’t have to do this, because what you are gaining in gamma you are losing in exposure…which is a bad trade off.
  2.  There is definately more shadow detail.  For those who don’t crush blacks in post then that’s great.  For me, I usually crush blacks in post and keep (or sometimes lower) highlights.  The CineStyle is too far away from crushed blacks…so when it’s crushed in post, the noise and artifacts are enhanced.  I would have liked to see more highlight detail in this picture style instead.  This profile makes images more prone to clipping.
  3.  If you find you are having to radically adjust grading in post to get your desired look, then the less the
    Cinestyle, Contrast Added in Post
    Cinestyle, Contrast Added in Post
    compressed 8bit codec can handle it. That’s a great rule of thumb.  This isn’t a RAW codec that can be pushed all over the place.  The pictures on the right show obvious breakdowns in adding contrast to flattened images.  It is best to use a picture style that is closest to your final look but with some headroom to play with.  The areas you’ll see this breakdown is in smooth gradients like the sky or a wall, so extra caution is suggested in these circumstances.  For the old film guys…treat this like reversal film stock and try to get it close in camera.
  4. To leave on a positive note…midtones and skintones look fantastic.  Better than most other profiles out there, in my opinion.
 
I realize it doesn’t have the Technicolor name on it…but I still recommend using my Crooked Path Flat 3.0 because it doesn’t lend itself to a codec breakdown in post.  But as always…your mileage may vary…so please go out and try the picture styles for yourself.
 

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