Originally published on Mar 28, 2010 @ 18:22
This video shows the difference between some of the built in picture styles of the Canon 550D. Choosing the correct picture style is essential as it will effect the quality and amount of post processing that is possible. If you intend to grade your film it is important to shoot your footage with a flat picture style that has fairly low contrast this will give you the latitude you need to change the lows, mids, highs and saturation later on without blowing out the highlights or loosing detail in the blacks. To achieve more of a film look sharpness should be turned all the way down as in camera sharpness is achieved using image processing and can't really be removed later on but the same kind of sharpening can be added in post. If you focus correctly and have decent lenses then little sharpening if any will be required.
You will have to pause the video and view it full screen to appreciate the differences. If you compare 'Standard' with the 'User' picture style you might think that the Standard looks better and is the one to use which might be true if you do not intend to do any post production work. Compare these two again. The Standard style has more contrast, sharpness and is more saturated but look towards the back of the worktop the User style holds more detail as the Standard style goes almost black. The clip shot using the User style could be easily made to look like the standard style or many other variations of colour, contrast and other looks but we would have far less freedom with the Standard Style clip.
These are tips I have picked up from reading articles on the web and from my own experiments. My first film I posted "Porthcawl" is an example of the picture style being set incorrectly. I hope to upload more films in the future that back up the advice I have given in this post.