Besides all the advantages and possibilities shooting with a HDSLR offers, there are some major drawbacks. For me the biggest problems are: rolling shutter (but even the red has it), no audio control and the too contrasty, over-compressed, 4:2:0 h264 output. You can create or download a “flat-look” profile for your camera, which basically eliminates contrast by lifting blacks and crushing highlights when the camera sensor processes the image before compressing it. After playing around and testing for several months now, my opinion is that this is not the way to go, since the image will get very muddy, lose micro-contrast and detail.
So what I am doing now is set the camera to the built-in “neutral” profile and when done shooting import the native h264 files with Cineform’s NeoScene compressor. The Cineform codec interpolates the 4:2:0 h264 file to a 4:2:2 cineform
Chroma Interpolation: 4:2:0 ? 4:2:2.
Background: Most HDV and AVCHD camcorders record chroma (color) in a format known as 4:2:0. Without boring you with details, 4:2:0 chroma is half the color resolution of more professional 4:2:2 formats. When Neo Scene detects 4:2:0 chroma it properly interpolates the source chroma to 4:2:2 for more accurate color processing during editing and effects work. And if you ever “key” your material, CineForm’s chroma interpolation will substantially improve your resulting visual fidelity.
In my tests I’ve found out that exporting ProRes files out of the Cineform application gives you an exact copy of the original h264 file – only converted to ProRes. You need to choose to export to a Cineform file. Editing Cineform files in FCP is possible but not as streamlined as editing ProRes (you need to render when applying color-correction filters) so I am converting the Cineform files to ProRes before editing. This is one more step to my workflow than I described some posts earlier but in my opinion this one pays. read more...