HV20 and CineMode

The Canon HV20 currently is the No1 best selling HD camera worldwide as it’s the best there is. Its Cine-mode contributes to the good sales, a mode that emulates the “film look”. Cooler colors, less contrast, better dynamic range so highlights are not blown out. This mode can be used only when shooting in 24p mode.

However, there is a lot of controversy about that “Cine” mode. You see, while it helps out with highlights, it loses a lot of detail in dark areas of the picture — detail that is present when shooting in shutter/aperture priority modes. The truth is, most film cameras do the same too, but there are many those who — amongst them myself– who would like to have the extra detail anyway.

So basically, you will have to pick your poison: Do you prefer the traditional film look with less detail in the dark places, or more detail equally distributed in the image but blown up highlights?

One thing to remember here is that CineMode would best serve professionals and not amateurs. You see, when shooting a real movie, there are very bright lights everywhere. Even if the movie ends up having a “dark look” like “The Matrix”, it is STILL shot with very bright lights and then adjusted later in post processing. You see, it’s better to capture as much detail as possible and then discard it in post if you want, rather than not having it at all. Problem is, amateurs don’t have their own lighting people or equipment around to shoot properly on each scene.

One movie that looks exactly how HV20’s Cinemode records, is “Syriana” with Matt Damon and George Clooney (sample pic). It is non-detailed on dark spots while it performs well on highlights. Personally, I didn’t like how it looked. Some other modern films look cleaner IMO.

Regardless, I don’t think I have much of a choice, so if I go ahead and shoot music video clips for local bands I will be using Cinemode.

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