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Sony Alpha Mirrorless and DSLR
Sony Alpha a7s: Full HD Recording in XAVC and 4:2:2 UHD 4K Output via HDMI.


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Old July 26th, 2014, 05:46 AM   #1
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A7S project (Not wedding)

Hi guys, so i put my A7S to the test for first time yesterday with a trip to the zoo with my family.

I know some of you will be wanting to know how it looks.

I'd like some critique on the grading specifically - I find it tricky personally.

One thing that bothered be on such a bright day was the evf. I would prefer to use it because among many things, the focus peaking is a lot more noticeable on it. Problem is, I'm a glasses wearer and I found that because i couldn't get my eye right in, the bright sun was interfering with my view of it.

Are there any kind of mini loupe type adapters to go on the evf at all?

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Old July 26th, 2014, 06:33 AM   #2
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Re: A7S project (Not wedding)

Hi Clive

I think everyone will have a different opinion but to me the footage looks very, very flat and has no punch at all. If you look at the grass it seems to look a grey green rather than what grass should look like.

I guess sLog is a totally flat profile?? I would have really pushed the saturation for starters but it also appears that your black levels are very high too ..the images, especially wide shots, sometimes almost looks like the contrast has been dropped right off so the whole image looks "misty" ... This is obviously the profile that has been set up like this.

Then again that may be the look you want, I'm not sure, but when anyone says "Ireland" to me I just see lush greenery so I expect vibrant colours especially in lawns are trees. Am I wrong??

The images besides that certainly are nice and sharp!!

We shall see what others tend to say and hopefully I'm the odd man out?

Chris
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Old July 26th, 2014, 07:03 AM   #3
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Re: A7S project (Not wedding)

Thanks Chris. You could well be right, grading for me is tricky. When you're working with super flat (you can see original Slog 2 at the end) you THINK you have pushed the saturation by comparison to the original, and maybe you need to take a break and come back to it before you realised you could probably saturate it more.

I'll give it a go later. But thats said, I do tend to grade a little flatter than the norm. I kind of like it.

Also, when you say black levels are very high, do you mean that you think I've crushed the blacks? Or that there's not enough contrast in them?
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Old July 26th, 2014, 08:02 AM   #4
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Re: A7S project (Not wedding)

Also, in case anyone is interested - this was ALL handheld with my Canon 35mm f2 IS.
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Old July 26th, 2014, 08:41 AM   #5
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Re: A7S project (Not wedding)

Hi Clive

To me (and that's just me) the black levels look like they have been clipped about 15% above zero which is the theoretical solid black level. I think you used to used Sony Vegas didn't you? If you did and are familiar with the vectorscope and colour curves plug in it is almost like the log curve (I'm assuming that what the SLog profile abides by, has a big bulge to the left at the low end so blacks are limited and an opposite one on the right so highlights are pushed ....I can only relate to the waveform display which shows the high to low levels as a % rather than 0 -255 ...If you supress black levels then the waveform would show whites just touching 100% but blacks not dropping below about 15% instead of zero %

This tends to also kill contrast as you are reducing black levels and it just seems the video either has low contrast or black levels that have been supressed.

I'm no guru but crushing blacks to me is increasing the black level ..down to zero if need be which of course creates stunning contrast but then you lose all shadow detail so that's not normally what you would want. Your video, to me, shows very high shadow detail so the blacks in my layman's terms are not crushed at all BUT like that you get all the detail showing thru but contrast suffers where nothing is black anymore ..(sorta 50 shades of Grey???)

On my Sony EA-50's without a profile setting I have the opposite problem! It crushes the blacks right to zero so a black suit at a wedding is absolutely black with no detail. I just finished a wedding and was trying the "no profile" setting and it had the complete opposite to your video!!

Sorry I'm a dummy explaining things but compare this thread where the guy used the cinegamma profile http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/photo-hd...ml#post1855362


Chris
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Old July 26th, 2014, 10:53 AM   #6
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Re: A7S project (Not wedding)

This a step in the right direction Chris? password:slog2


I am a Vegas user. What tools should I be using? I've done what I've done using Sony Levels and Sony Color Corrector (Secondary), and in this version I used Color Curves so i could adjust the green only.

Is there any other tool I could be using?
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Old July 26th, 2014, 03:12 PM   #7
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Re: A7S project (Not wedding)

Hi Clive, on a first watch I was too engrossed in the content, the compositions and the music to think much about the grading. Nice video! I'd be proud of that.

On a second look... Well, I picked up the same thing Chris noticed -- video looks grey and misty, low contrast, blacks are milky. But maybe that look worked for the subject matter, especially since I was engrossed in watching it. Felt a bit like '70s film stock, or like a polaroid.

Second video -- looks like you did indeed introduce more contrast, crushed the blacks more or whatever, and this had the effect of also boosting perceived saturation. But I'd still call the second video low contrast, and I wouldn't call those greens "lush", if that's what you were aiming at.

How to fix... Some things that come to mind are:

-- boost the overall contrast first, with a general curves or levels effect, before you start tweaking specific channels.
-- "you THINK you have pushed the saturation by comparison to the original" -- well, looking at a histogram or other scope might help. Then it's no longer just about your eyes and your monitor settings, but you know where your black point is.
-- after you've played with contrast, then think about boosting saturation independently, at first an all-over saturation adjustment, then by channel (or even by masking off separate areas and adjusting them independently, if you want to get down to that sort of detail).

You might be missing an effect. You say you're using levels, color corrector, and color curves. Well, I've never used Sony Vegas. But just going by the names, I'm curious if any of these would let you boost saturation. Levels sounds like it lets you adjust luminance and contrast; color curves sounds like it lets you do this by individual colour channel; color corrector sounds like it's about tinting the image, but possibly it allows you to boost saturation as well?

Edit: I've skimmed some articles on this subject. I think I'm probably wrong about an increase in contrast (with levels or curves) affecting luminance only and not colour, and only affecting "perceived" saturation -- now I suspect that saturation is affected by this effect also.
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Old July 26th, 2014, 06:09 PM   #8
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Re: A7S project (Not wedding)

The grading wasn't to my taste - I prefer a more video look (yikes!) - but you pulled off the handholding and that is a very significant attractive factor for me.

Pete
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Old July 26th, 2014, 07:08 PM   #9
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Re: A7S project (Not wedding)

Hey Clive

To be honest I didn't see an awful lot of difference! Maybe that's what SLog gives you??

Yes Adrian in Vegas the first plugin I drop in is Colour Corrector because it also has gamma and saturation sliders and I'm not really sure if that will lift contrast but I would say the first step would be to zap up the saturation slider on the Colour Corrector Clive and see if your grass does actually become green again. I would overdo it initially to a ridiculous point (say take it up to 2!! ) and then reduce until you have people's skin tones looking normal again.

In the vectorscope, what are your levels looking like on the waveform ..the highlights shouldn't be over 100% and the shadows just a tad above zero.

On the slomo post I listed above you will see the video there has probably gone too much the other way and their saturation looks a tad too high. I would definitely start with basic stuff like the colour corrector and just wack the saturation slider up high and see what happens

Can you maybe upload a short segment (say 60 seconds) of the raw stuff but rendered to MP4 so it's a smallish file and some of us can play with it???

Chris
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Old July 27th, 2014, 01:46 AM   #10
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Re: A7S project (Not wedding)

Hi Clive,

The second version is a definite improvement but I agree with Chris, it's still somewhat too flat for my taste. I also used to find colour correction a bit tricky, I used to shoot in Cinestyle profile on my 60D. Even with the LUT applied it was difficult to judge contrast and colour depth by eye and no, I can't afford a calibrated monitor.

What I do now is use and trust the video scopes in my NLE. Sometimes a correction looks wrong in the monitor, but if I look at it later, by several hours or next day, I can see the scopes were right. I no longer have Vegas installed anywhere, I now edit in Kdenlive on the Linux platform, so there may be some slight differences.

What I do:
1. Open the histogram (in Kdenlive it can show both luma and colour saturation at the same time) or the waveform monitor, apply a Bézier curve and set the blacks to just hit zero, then set the highlights to just touch 255. I then tweak the mids if necessary.

2. Using the histogram or RGB parade, apply saturation and adjust until the first colour hits 255.

It may help. Also, have a look at this tutorial
.

Dave

Last edited by Dave Baker; July 27th, 2014 at 05:36 AM.
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Old July 27th, 2014, 02:45 AM   #11
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Re: A7S project (Not wedding)

If you plan to mix the a7s with other camera's I"d avoid shooting slog unless you have advanced experience in color correcting, I think with your film there is not directly an issue with the contrast or blacks but with the highlights which are seriously compressed. There is also hardly any colorinformation. I don' have much experience in color correcting but I have been shooting in the cine-d mode with my gh4 which is also very flat and a mistake I made during shooting (I underexposed) turned out to be a good learning experience, I found it quite easy to lift the highlights without causing any banding in the sky and exposed each shot exactly like I wanted in post, it almost looked as if shooting this flat benefits from shooting underexposed. You can see that particular video here: (I"ll just provide the link so that the video doesn't appear here)
vimeo.com/99912988
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Old July 27th, 2014, 02:58 AM   #12
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Re: A7S project (Not wedding)

This is not the A7S but the FS700 and shows you the difference between no profile, ITU709 (which I use) and sLog and you can see that Clive got exactly what the camera delivered.

I would suspect that the sLog profile would be quite similar on the A7S ... I thought that 709 was flat until I watched this..My ITU709 profile has a colour level upped by two points which gives a nice indoor image at weddings but very flat outdoors so I usually boost the saturation a bit more for outdoor shots.


sLog is not really my thing as it's in raw form a very flat and dingy image but obviously there are people that do amazing things with it. It's got awesome shadow detail so for indoor low light it would probably fare well! My issue is that I forget to change profiles at weddings and need the cameras on just one profile so it's one less thing to remember to do and a modded ITU709 works pretty well!!

Chris
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Old July 27th, 2014, 03:56 AM   #13
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Re: A7S project (Not wedding)

I'm not a fan of S-Log. I think there's simply too much information lost when grading so flat on an 8 bit codec. The amount of noise in the shadows is horrible after you start grading it as well. I've been using I've been using Kholi's PP6 profile and it's much better.
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Old July 27th, 2014, 07:03 AM   #14
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Re: A7S project (Not wedding)

Also bear in mind that sLog has a fixed base ISO of 3200 in order to have that massive dynamic range so I would think great for taking stuff at midnight but not really good for bright sunshine.

Yep I also have a feeling that the 8 bit codec will start to get noisy with the heavy grading required. sLog is great on the F3 or F55 but those are serious money cameras!!

The Cine profiles for weddings will probably work a bit better unless the entire wedding has only tea candles for lighting then sLog and 128,000 iso will turn night into day.

However I'm sure Clive does quite ordinary weddings like we all do so he does need a profile that's not so flat!
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Old July 27th, 2014, 08:37 AM   #15
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Re: A7S project (Not wedding)

Wow, I've got some reading up to do! But what an interesting thread this has become!

I doubt I will use SLog for my weddings - in fact I'm certain i won't - but the reason i wanted to do this project in SLog is because I want to improve my skill-set. And you all are helping me in that process.

I will upload a little of the original footage of maybe 2/3 scenes just to see what some of you guys can do with it. I'll let you know when.
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