CINEMA Picture Style – a new option for Canon HDSLRs (Updated)

by planetMitch59 Comments

Making the rounds in the last couple of days is this new video picture style for Canon EOS HDSLRs – this isn't free like the technicolor one because it was developed by an individual – but it is only $19.

The new CINEMA Picture Style was developed analyzing and replicating a film stock colorimetry, and combined with a digital look and feel of high end digital cameras.

UPDATE: another video – this one from Carl Pendle – which includes a ‘how to install' section as well as a couple of quick tests vs 3 other profiles.

Carl Pendle Cinema Profile test

For feedburner daily email readers: watch the video (note: feedburner and other email systems disable the javascript embed tags so the videos won't display.)

CINEMA Picture Style

From the Cinema Picture Style site:


  • Great perceived latitude, but with a nice contrasty image
    • Explanation:
      Latitude won't change with any picture style, what changes is that LCD tv' s render everything above RGB 236 as white or anyway too bright to not consider it white.
      So the “best latitude ever” is meant for the final user who will enjoy all highlights details because this preset shifts all those details in a lower, visible range.
      But the curve is made to lower the highlights and boosting the area just below making the image contrasty even if whites are not whites
  • Keeps details on shadows and highlights while remaining quite contrasted.
  • Vivid colors on low saturated areas, no greysh or monochromatic casts
  • Analog like colors on high saturated areas
  • Sharp image
  • Film colorimetry
  • Doesn't need color correction, but feel free to grade it

Some Samples

[tentblogger-vimeo 28675016] [tentblogger-vimeo 28550676]

A sample from @MikeSpins (mike also published some stills) [tentblogger-vimeo 28834398] [tentblogger-vimeo 28896280]

What do you think?

Is this something that appeals to you as a shooter? Will you buy? What's missing?

(cover photo credit: snap from the CINEMA Picture Style site)


  1. This is definitely something I would be interested in buying. I was just experimenting with different picture styles yesterday, and decided that I really didn’t like the technicolor picture style because it was too flat (even after color grading it still didn’t have as nice of contrast or coloring as one of the default picture styles). My only concern is that I shoot with a 7D, not a Mark II. Will this change the way this picture style looks on my camera?

    1. Author

      I don’t see that there’d be much difference in the picture style results on the 7D – but since I don’t have one, I can’t give you a firm answer

    2. the goal of the cinestyle picture style is to be as flat as it can.. so you can experiment and find your color balance in post. If you then apply their LUT display, you’ll find these very contrasty feel you are talking about. But you can find it using any color balance application too. Not shooting with a flat picture style will result in narrowing your options in post.

  2. Good morning, I’m not professional, which is a vendedno this program? upgrade to a 5d mark 2? I have a machine but had not understood what is being sold, thanks

  3. Pingback: $19 Canon DSLR Picture Style ‘CINEMA’ Debuts - NoFilmSchool

  4. Hi
    This is some awesome news. I’ll definitely make a purchase soon.

    Could anyone kindly tell the difference between Technicolor Cinestyle and Cinema picture style?????

    Will be grateful for a detailed answer.


  5. This looks good, I am not a fan of the Technicolor picture style because it brings too much noise in the shadow area once you apply contrast in post. This could be a great alternative to save those highlight without having to underexpose.

    1. if you have too much noise in shadows in post it is because your iso is set too high (or you just don’t have enough light). The picture style doesn’t ‘add’ anything at all, it just capture the best sample of information in order to have more flexibility in post.

  6. and the video helped a lot, and the same process in the case who uses the pc with windows 7?

  7. Am I the only one who thinks this looks horrible? I’ve tried pretty much every “flat” picture profile out there and this one doesn’t compare.

    Also, in the tests, he is using his praktica m42 lens, a polarizer, unnatural lighting, and what looks like a too fast shutter speed.

    Picture profiles are very dependent on the lens you use. Why would you used such a rare one? Also, why would the sharpness be up so high? That would enhance all kinds of 5D problems.

    Not to mention the $19 price tag.

  8. I’m not sure I’m a big fan of flat picture styles. Yes, I understand that limits your options in post, but a washed out look, flat, isn’t what I want either, so it’s a given I’m going to bring out some contrast in the edit. So, why not shoot it that way to begin with. With an 8bit color depth these cameras have no latitude, so you might as well shoot it as close to what you’re after, in camera, and limit your grading to minor tweaks. Utilizing that formula, along with applying a Neat Video filter, my footage looks killer!

  9. I’ve already purchased and tested this picture style. From my experience with it, it’s not flat at all, the gamma is lower, making the image darker, there aren’t any highlight advantages as suggested in his pitch on Vimeo and all of the high-mids and highs are blueish green tint.

    This thing is nice to a point, but not the best for grading. It appears to be for people who want a baked in cinematic look WITHOUT grading, i.e. pure laziness.

    1. This is exactly what i was looking for… i hate post processing and grading (very time consuming) Thanks for the review KahL!

  10. Would be interesting to see a before and after video of the same (or almost same) shot.

  11. the thing is for $19, the sellers didnt even try or invested to use any of stabilization methods, monopod or tripod. that is what scares me to invest and try this product: (

  12. Charging for a picture style is scammy to me. Frankly, people should learn how and why these settings work to begin with. Because they’ll never be a “one size fits all” picture style. You’re either spending the time chimping to dial it in on the camera at the moment of acquisition. Or, you take the “look” out of the equation and wait until you’re editing in post. Which is what Cinestyle is used for. Cinestyle can also have the sharpness, saturation, contrast, and tone increased.

    Also, this quote is irrelevant and misleading “LCD tv’ s render everything above RGB 236 as white or anyway too bright to not consider it white.” If you put a Pluge pattern on a modern monitor or TV, whether its LCD or Plasma, it can show above 236. It’s depends on where one chooses to calibrate the white clipping point.

    If the person just posted a link and a “Hey, here’s a picture style I use, enjoy!” kind of post, I’d be open to it. Labeling it Cinema and charging is a Red Flag for me…..

    1. “the ‘great perceived latitude’ is meant for the final user who will enjoy all highlights details because this preset shifts all those details in a lower, visible range [RGB236]”

      So, for all of us who view on computers and mobile devices (which, i’d guess is most of us), it’s throwing away almost 8% of the dynamic range (236-255)?

  13. Wow, the goal of this Cinema picture style, is NOT to be as flat as possible. kahL is right about this not being flat in the least. Some of the previous posts are incorrect about this picture style. A flat picture style would be that of the Technicolor Cinestyle. This particular picture style, isn’t even in the same stratosphere.

  14. I personally don’t get it. Just use cinestyle and learn to grade. When I take my edit into grading I have SO many options with cinestyle. I tend to favour a look which isn’t contrasty I like a generally flatter look and I like the fact that I can push and pull so much with the cinestyle and still get a great picture.
    It might just be the fact that I dislike lots of saturation and sharpness, I don’t know. The fact is that I get a much better image from cinestyle. Why wouldn’t you want latitude?! Lets face it, most of us shoot on a low budget, often with available light. Obviously more latitude is beneficial in that situation. Even if you crush the blacks a little, you may have been able to not blow the sky out as much as you would with the standard picture style.
    The people who aimlessly apply the LUT to cinestyle are something else though. In that case I’d agree, there’s not much point. You grade with your eyes not a table!

  15. I don’t think there’s anything to get. It’s whatever works for you. Personally, I think people are making to big a deal out of all this grading stuff, I mean really, you’d think they’re color correcting the remake of Ben Hur. Don’t get me wrong, I think color correcting and grading are all very necessary, but there comes a point were, in my opinion, it’s taken to a ridiculous level for ones final output destination.

    1. Did you just say “…this grading stuff…”?
      Unless you’re recording from a flip cam or your cell phone, 9 times out of 10, you’re here on this site, or dealing with this community because you’re dealing with cinema on many levels.

      “Grading” is an integral part of it all and deep within the initial workflow. So if your image is “un-gradable”, then it’s not worth much in the end.

      If your interests aren’t within cinematic production, then a picture style like this wouldn’t be important. But, that’s why we’re all here. Which leads to the criticism of an image that is bad for color grading….

  16. First a big shout out of thanks to Mitch for using a few pieces I shot in his piece. Regarding the conversation of “to grade or not to grade” it goes both ways,

    In a perfect world I have time to take things back to post process. But in my world that’s not always an option. And that means sometimes I need to bake a look in the camera so I can come back, get cleaned up and posted for distribution. For the 9/11 piece I shot it at 8 in the morning. Got in a cab back to my shop in Midtown. Then worked with an editor to get the piece synched, cut, compressed and uploaded to Ooyala and Vimeo. Not a lot of extra time to look at grading,

  17. Grading is not necessary. Grading can quite often be the result of the creator/director/DOP or whoever not having a firm vision of the look they want while shooting, so they rely on grading afterwards. Ie grading becomes a ‘fix it in post’ option.

    The Technicolor style does not really give you any more latitude. It does clip highlights quite harshly. But it enables you to underexpose to preserve highlights while retaining shadow detail, of sorts. I say “of sorts” because all that flatness comes at a premium price. That being that compressing that contrast range comes at the expense of tonal range.

    Remember that in 8-bit colourspace you only have 256 shades of any given colour/tone. The technicolor style drastically reduces this, which can cause some considerable banding in some cases once graded.

    The best thing to do IMHO is to shoot half and half. That is to say to decide on the actual look you want before you shoot, with a suitable picture profile. But have this picture profile halfway to the look, not all the way. This gives you the option of pulling things back, or pushing them further in post.

    I prefer picture styles such as this new Cinema style because they aim to give you some advantages while retaining as much of the important tonal range as possible.

    I do not know what work people are doing here, but when time is money, especially on corporate jobs, grading just adds time, expense, and complexity. It is also hard to explain to a client who is breathing down your neck why the picture looks so flat, grey and horrible when using styles such as the Technicolor one.

    Both ways of shooting have their place, but I believe that shooting to grade should be used as an option when it is appropriate to do so, not as a default position.

    Shooting with most of the look baked in forces you to be more disciplined, and much more clear of your vision to begin with, and helps to avoid the ‘fix it in post’ mentality.

    1. “Grading is not necessary. Grading can quite often be the result of the creator/director/DOP or whoever not having a firm vision of the look they want while shooting, so they rely on grading afterwards. Ie grading becomes a ‘fix it in post’ option.”

      This alone already shot most of what you had to say down the tubes.

      I don’t recall hearing many people ever complaining about color grading up until this point. But with each passing year, people always try to find more and more ways to cut corners out of sheer laziness and convenience.

      I’m very sure that plenty of Cinematographers have a “vision” of how they want their images to look BEFORE grading and using a flat pp. So I don’t know where this comment comes from.

      This is not a quick and easy craft. If you have a client breathing down your neck to get things done in a timely fashion, then it’s more than likely due to poor time management skills. Not lacking vision as a Cinematographer.

      1. Actually there is a firm set of cinematographers who like to get the look in camera, or straight to film. Christopher Nolan being one of them. Batman Begins purposefully avoided a DI process because he liked to create the look there and then.

        I am not sure why you feel the need to be so defensive. If you have been around long enough you would know that there are plenty of people who do not want to go through the added time and expense of grading, both filmmakers and clients alike.

        The idea that a client wanting things done in a timely fashion is down to bad time management is patently absurd and displays a lack of experience on a wide variety of situations. Not every job has time for grading, pure and simple. If a client wants a fast turn around on a budget am I going to make the most of his budget on the shoot itself, getting nice shots, or am I going to race through the shoot so that their budget can be redistributed on grading?

        I am afraid that in the real world bread and butter jobs that make most people their money, budgets of many thousands are simply not a reality, no matter how much you might like to judge it to be that way. Grading is fine if you are after a particular look. But there is absolutely no point to it if all you are going to do is add a basic S-curve to bring back some contrast. The banding that can result from the Technicolor profiles highly restricted tonal range is downright hideous at times.

        Anyway, I have my method and you have yours. I would appreciate it if you would keep more of an open mind. I did point out if you read my comment fully that both methods have their place and should be chosen on a by project basis. Perhaps you missed that bit? Notice also that I did not in any way say that grading was a ‘fix it in post’ way of working. I said that many people are starting to treat it that way. This should have been clear by the use of my words “quite often”.

        1. To each their own indeed, but next time around, prevent from saying , “Grading can quite often be the result of the creator/director/DOP or whoever not having a firm vision of the look they want while shooting, so they rely on grading afterwards”. Because it’s obviously untrue.

          And last I checked, Batman Begins was color times/graded. Which means it WAS altered in post and not finalized as a raw shot on film. And judging by current film standards, there more than likely was a digital intermediate process.

          I’m not sure who you’re trying to fool here, but “experience”, as you so put it, is not in question. Nor is there a high ceiling for “BS” either.

          1. Batman Begins was not graded through Digital Intermediate. It is one of the best known things about the film cinematography!

            As far as me not saying “Grading can quite often be the result of the creator/director/DOP or whoever not having a firm vision of the look they want while shooting, so they rely on grading afterwards” I cannot retract that statement because of my direct experience of working with such people!

  18. So if there was not a DI process, how were the film’s visual effects added? Such as the gotham city backdrop, train scenes, Scare Crow effects, etc.?

      1. Thanks for googling the famous, well known articles on BB. Yes, I know he didn’t want to use digital effects in his films. Yet they are in there, like in every other modern film.

        So again, you didn’t answer my question.
        If a DI process was NOT involved, how were the digital effects composited within the film?

        1. I fear that I am talking to a brick wall. Using digital effects such as CGI does not mean that a grading process (ie giving the film a specific look via creative grading) was used.

          Nolan had the film shot using film, using in camera filters etc to give the look he wanted. Any CGi that was added was matched to that, not the other way around. The DP even states as much on the DVD. Please stop beating a dead horse and move on.

          1. I’m actually responding to what your statements were.
            “no DI was done”
            and the articles even state nothing “digital”.

            DI is having the film digitally captured at 2-3k resolutions, is it not? And it was. Also, if color timing/color grading was NOT done in the film, then why are there credits for color timing within the film itself?

            So here’s the problem:
            The film WAS digitally rendered in the end to add visual compositing.

            The film was color timed/ color graded, albeit photochemically. Regardless if it was done in that fashion OR on friggin’ Apple Color or AE, grading is grading. The film was by

            Peter Hunt & John Ensby … laboratory color timer

            “Pfister and Nolan decided early on not to do a digital intermediate (DI) on the show. “We’re both a bit leery of all the hype about DIs,” the cinematographer reveals. ”


            “Chris was also concerned about having too many hands on the material, and about how much time a DI might take. We both concluded that I could give Chris the look he wanted through the traditional photochemical process. I had a great experience with [Technicolor London] color timer Peter Hunt, and lab supervisor John Ensby, and Panavision U.K. rep Hugh Whittaker. ”

            What does Technicolor do again? Last I check downtown in NYC, Village, it’s color grading/color timing (semantics).

  19. Look man, colour timing has always been a part of the film process since colour film was first on the scene. You are clutching at straws now trying to make something of nothing just so that you can prove yourself right. Give it up please. I have better things to do with my life.

  20. “The film was color timed/ color graded, albeit photochemically. Regardless if it was done in that fashion OR on friggin’ Apple Color or AE, grading is grading.”

    Sorry, but that really is clutching at straws! Grading is a lot more than simply, colour timing something. Grading is about creating a specific look. It’s about isolating specific areas of the picture and changing them. It’s about changing the colours of the shadows while leaving the highlights and midtones alone or vice versa. It is all those things and more.

    Saying that a chemical colour timing process = grading just so that you can think yourself proved right is completely ridiculous.

  21. KahL, yes, grading stuff. Like I said, I feel grading stuff is very important stuff. My point of that post, is don’t take yourself to seriously, there comes a point were it all is down right ridiculous. Yeah, I like my stuff to look as good as it can get, but the last time I looked, nothing of mine was playing at the local theatre and I highly doubt yours was either.

    1. I’m not sure when you should take yourself seriously then. If you don’t take what you do seriously, then when should you? Maybe a misunderstanding with that statement, I don’t know.

      As far as the local theater, we’ve had two films premiere at theaters so far. One being a feature and another, a short at AMC theater in Times Sq., NY.

      I have plenty of info on these two films in my posts, if you get a chance to check them out.

  22. KahL, no worries! You should take yourself seriously but not to the point of being condescending and a know it all. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, wether you agree with it or not, and if you don’t, there’s no harm in rebutting but be nice! And yes, I will heed my own advice.

    1. Well that really wasn’t my aim, so I most definitely don’t want people to get that impression.

      But, when someone makes a product, claims that it does something that it doesn’t, and to have more proclamations claiming that DPs don’t use grading unless they don’t know what they’re doing from initial shots….well you know the rest.

      I just tend to call out BS when I see it. Sort of a red alarm that goes off with me lol

  23. Your alarm went off too early KahL. If you had merely disagreed with me and asked nicely why I said what I did I wouldn’t have felt the need to respond to you with equal irritation.

    The fact is that you didn’t actually read what I said. I said that SOME people are using grading as a crutch. At no point did I EVER say that grading was only used by people who do not know what they are doing. I did not say that at all. But what you did was you read what you wanted to and decided to argue about it.

    1. ….and see, this is where the “BS ALARM” goes off.

      You did NOT in fact say “…SOME people are using grading as a crutch.” previously.

      What you in fact said was, and I quote:

      “Grading is not necessary. Grading can quite often be the result of the creator/director/DOP or whoever not having a firm vision of the look they want while shooting, so they rely on grading afterwards. Ie grading becomes a ‘fix it in post’ option.”

      So, how is your backpedal statement, plus your original, easily-quotable statement similar? They’re two different takes on the matter.

      Seriously, at least keep track of your BS before you try to backpedal, man. I’ll leave this subject be. Along w/ your idea that Nolan’s films aren’t graded since “grading” in its semantic term apparently is only related to being digital of some sort. 🙂

      1. this argument is jokes, you guys should make a film together. i think we know who wants to grade it

  24. There you go again. Selective quoting. First of all there is that important word “often” that I used. I still stand by my statement “Grading can quite often be the result of the creator/director/DOP or whoever not having a firm vision of the look they want while shooting, so they rely on grading afterwards. Ie grading becomes a ‘fix it in post’ option” because it is true. People do often use it as a crutch because they can’t decide on a vision. YOU might not, but I know personally plenty of people who do.

    Perhaps I should have been clearer with the first sentence and written “Grading is not always necessary”, perhaps missing that one word has caused your anger level to go up.

    But you forgot to quote my other statement, “Both ways of shooting have their place, but I believe that shooting to grade should be used as an option when it is appropriate to do so, not as a default position.”

    You also very conveniently forgot to tackle the issue of limited 8-bit colour space and compression issues, which was another reason I said that grading should be considered carefully with DSLRs. Specifically the issues the Technicolor profile brings up in terms of banding.

  25. Now they seem to invest more on shootings..
    They claim to use only a reflecton as key light, and the result isstunning.
    The second part is color corrected, and the results are stunning.This picture style seems useable without color correction, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t do it, as they state:
    “The CINEMA PS, doesn’t NEED CC, but LIKES it”

  26. I’d like to know if will this feature work on my Canon T2i? I want to make sure I can benefit from it and make use of it before buying it. Thank you.

  27. Has anyone else tried the canon picture styles from Milk Studios? They are specially designed for skin tones. I find them easier to use than flat picture styles. Here is some more information about them

  28. Just finished shooting some scenes for a feature where a different look was needed and because of the 8 bit limitations of dslrs (we shot mainly on the 5d mk3) and because of the clients budget and time restraints I decided to go with the Cinema pp for those specific scenes. And I believe we were very much rewarded with the overall final look, thus far w/out any tweaking done as per the client.

    Having options is what it’s all about and is why the Cinema pp was decided on. I’ve used the Technicolor pp on a previews feature but was surprised by the 8 bit camera limitations after grading was done. This reaffirmed the style of shooting that I prefer which is to capture as much of the final look through the camera using filters, lenses and pix styles or film stock and minimizing any final tweaks that may be required.

    It would be interesting to see how the Technicolor profile would handle 422 ProRes footage with canon’s new firm-ware release and the ninja 2 and even more interesting to see how it would handle and grade Magic Lanterns Raw footage for clients with a budget and time to achieve a more dramatic or stylistic look that may not be possible to capture through just the camera alone.

    I did notice that I was having to meter at or above the norm or at least what I was used to with a neutral or flat pix style which makes sense since it’s a pix style that is already tweaked for that final look your looking for. So keep that in mind when shooting and metering your lights and you wont be disappointed, we weren’t!

  29. I used Cinema Picture Style with Canon 5D Mark II for shooting wedding. And some footages look very bad. And I do not know why. Is it a problem of sharpness (+3)? Or this picture style is not good for weddings?

  30. All the petty arguing aside, the decision to shoot “flat” or with your preferred look baked in is a tough one for me on these DSLR’s. I always prefer to have options in post, but I find that any sort of intense grading with CineStyle either results in extreme banding or extreme noise, or both.

    Then again if you shoot with a look baked in then you or your client later decides it should look differently, well that is just no fun. *sigh* it seems almost as if it is a lose-lose with these DSLRs, unless you are very sure of what you want the end product to look like before you go out on the shoot.

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