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Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 06:06 PM   #1
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Does S-Log need to be graded all the time?

Hopefully now the bad taste is out of every 'current' s-log owner's mouths....

I'm editing some recent footage I did around the city in s-log and I'm really impressed with the results. I'm wondering, is it always necessary to color grade s-log files, because it looks really good straight out of the camera, not so washed out as I thought. I recorded constantly on 5600K at 0db. Grading does enhance the colors, but doesn't necessarily improve details.

Perhaps this is just my awkwardness with color grading. I'm using FCPX, which I know is on the nose of many people these days.

Has anyone else found their raw s-log to be good enough?
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 06:32 PM   #2
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Re: Does S-Log need to be graded all the time?

Does it "need" to be? No. If your happy and your client is happy, go for it. Personally I far prefer more contrast and saturation. Personal taste.
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 08:22 PM   #3
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Re: Does S-Log need to be graded all the time?

It's a look that some folks have opted for in the last few years, starting with what flat Red transcodes look like.

In my field, there's a director named David Atobelli who has made flatter, more desaturated images part of his signature look, and he gets plenty of work with that. He's not the only one, google a DP named Kaspar Tuxen.

In the end, it's whatever you like and your clients like that flys. With all due respect to the brilliant engineers at Sony, making all your images look exactly what an engineer intended is probably a bad idea if you want to differentiate yourself in the marketplace. I try to make a habit out of misusing my gear, it makes life interesting.
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Old February 4th, 2012, 09:30 AM   #4
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Re: Does S-Log need to be graded all the time?

For dream sequences, flash backs, night time and the like I used to use 'bleach bypass' a desaturated slightly silvery look. I can easily see using ungraded S-Log for that.

Its also very interesting to boost only one color channel at a time. Imagine only your reds, or blues popping.
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Old February 5th, 2012, 05:51 AM   #5
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So, how is this?

Graded and ungraded material; original files with s-log.

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/attachme...1&d=1328442622
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/attachme...1&d=1328442622
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Does S-Log need to be graded all the time?-ungraded.jpg   Does S-Log need to be graded all the time?-graded.jpg  

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Old February 6th, 2012, 01:58 AM   #6
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Re: Does S-Log need to be graded all the time?

Shame it's over exposed. The flag poles and sky are well into clipping, its not a good example of the way to use S-Log. The graded shots could have looked just the same if the exposure had been lower, but there would have been the option to avoid the clipped highlights if desired. The normal use of S-Log, generally speaking is to shoot with a lower mid grey point to increase the over exposure latitude, so you can then grade up in post.

Of course ultimately as DoP or Camera operator it's up to you how you choose to expose. But, I would shoot in a way that maximises what can be done in post (which normal means protecting highlights) so that the finished look can be fine tuned later. This does then tend to mean that some kind of grading will be required, but that doesn't mean you have to have a high contrast look, you can still have a flat look.
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Old February 6th, 2012, 03:09 PM   #7
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Re: Does S-Log need to be graded all the time?

Alister
I hope you are well. Can I please ask you what you limit your peaks/highlights to on the waveform monitor when shooting S-LOG on the F3? I know you reduce your mid grey levels to around 45, but would you let you highlights clip just into say the 90 zebra level - or would you keep them just peaking at 80 zebra level. Thanks in advance, Mark.
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Old February 6th, 2012, 04:29 PM   #8
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Re: Does S-Log need to be graded all the time?

Where I have the time to use them, I use a mid grey card at 38IRE. I allow my whites to go all the way to 107 IRE if I have a waveform monitor available (my Transvideo has a built in WFM). If I don't have a WFM then I use both zebras and the histogram and keep my peak whites below 100% as neither will show small overshoots. Remember to ensure your LUT's are off if using any of the cameras built in measuring tools. I'll often use the centre meter to spot check levels across parts of the scene by panning onto them.
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Old February 6th, 2012, 04:51 PM   #9
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Re: Does S-Log need to be graded all the time?

Thanks for taking the time to get back to me. I purchased an S-LOG upgrade only two weeks ago (which is another story!) but haven't had the chance to use it yet. I always shoot with my TVLOGIC monitor so your guidance on how far you let your highlights go to maximise the range is really useful. All my recent work is ENG based where I use my PDW-700. It's funny as with all the work arounds with an F3, you forget just what a fantastic camera the PDW-700 is. Just returned from a weeks shooting in Abu Dhabi and the pictures are just awesome, the light there is lovely. Colour viewfinder, comfortable on the shoulder, Canon HJ22 lens and 50mbps, I ask myself sometimes why I even bother with my F3!! Actually I ask myself this quite a lot!

All the best, Mark
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Old February 6th, 2012, 06:14 PM   #10
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Re: Does S-Log need to be graded all the time?

See below for the video I produced based upon this conversation. When grading the work, some parts worked, others didn't.

Melbourne Town January 2012 - YouTube
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Old February 7th, 2012, 05:40 AM   #11
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Re: Does S-Log need to be graded all the time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark McCarthy View Post
It's funny as with all the work arounds with an F3, you forget just what a fantastic camera the PDW-700 is.
That is really funny. I just told someone else those exact words last week about my F800 as I am using it more and more as my primary camera on a project I'm working on. I like my F3 for a lot of reasons, but the F800 is a REAL camera with no compromises and really no downside except being a power hog. I can work so much a faster and effortlessly with it. Unlike the F3, there is practically nothing I would change about the F800 if I could wave a magic wand.
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Old February 7th, 2012, 05:48 AM   #12
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Re: Does S-Log need to be graded all the time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter G. Johnson View Post
See below for the video I produced based upon this conversation. When grading the work, some parts worked, others didn't.[/url]
Peter, if you want my opinion, I think way too many of the shots look overexposed in the bright whites. Some of them are so bad you're even getting color shifting. Even without S-Log you should be able to control those highlights and get a better picture just with Cinegammas and properly exposing the image. And with S-LOG, you should be getting a much better exposure and dynamic range.
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Old February 7th, 2012, 06:51 AM   #13
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Re: Does S-Log need to be graded all the time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
That is really funny. I just told someone else those exact words last week about my F800 as I am using it more and more as my primary camera on a project I'm working on. I like my F3 for a lot of reasons, but the F800 is a REAL camera with no compromises and really no downside except being a power hog. I can work so much a faster and effortlessly with it. Unlike the F3, there is practically nothing I would change about the F800 if I could wave a magic wand.
Doug, I think the real benefit to the F3 is its low light abilities. But aside from that, in good light, the PDW-700 - PDW-800 looks as good as anything? Agree?
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Old February 7th, 2012, 07:22 AM   #14
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Re: Does S-Log need to be graded all the time?

The F800 looks fantastic in all kinds of light, not just in "good light". Granted the F3 and FS100 are a little better at low light, but until those two cameras came along and raised the bar even higher, the F800 was the best low light camera I'd ever used.

However, with that said, the F3 also looks great in all kinds of lighting whether it is bright or dark. I have no problems using the F3 out in bright sunshine or contrasty situations even without S-LOG. You just have to set up the PP properly and then nail the exposure -- same as with any camera.

My decision on which camera to use between the F3 and the F800 for a shoot would not be based at all on the lighting conditions because they both do a great job all around.
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Old February 7th, 2012, 07:33 AM   #15
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Re: Does S-Log need to be graded all the time?

True, the 700 and 800 do look great in all conditions. Just being able to stand there and pick off so many shots from just the one lens (a Canon HJ22 in my case) on the 700 is so refreshing, even liberating after a time on the F3 ! Not having to change over primes etc. What would be the deciding factor be for you choosing the 800 of F3 for a job, the set up issues of the F3, or would it be the image quality?
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