Our step-by-step guide shows you how to set up your Canon EOS 5D Mark III for a flat picture style, which will allow you to control contrast in post-production

In our latest round up of Canon filmmaking tips, we take you through how to set up your Canon DSLR for a flat picture style.

If you don’t know what it means, you could be forgiven for finding it a little counter-intuitive. A flat image – why would I want a flat image? Surely I want things as visually vibrant and interesting as possible?

In fact, experienced videographers know that a flatter picture style – i.e. one that’s unsharpened, less contrasty and a little undersaturated – is very useful indeed.

Here you can see the comparison between the two picture types

It allows you not only to maximise your dynamic range and gain back as much as two stops of latitude, but also gives greater flexibility in post production colour grading.

If the original image is flat enough, then contrast and saturation can be fine-tuned in post-production to exactly the degree you want them.

In this video tutorial, we show you how to set up a Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR for a flat picture style by setting your own picture style using the camera menu.

We also show you what a visual difference the flat setting will make to your videos, and run through a few pitfalls it’s important to avoid.

For example, you’ll need to remember that the flatter the image is, the harder it is to focus it. When the Canon DSLRs crush the video image, it’s also essential to make sure it doesn’t blow out the highlights as these cannot be fixed in post-production.

For more Canon filmmaking tips on customising and setting up your DSLR, check out this tutorial on how to customise the Canon buttons on your DSLR.