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Old March 21st, 2012, 02:30 PM   #1
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What Are Your Preferred Methods For Grading S-Log?

1) What software do you use to grade your S-Log footage and which effects do you use? I use Premiere Pro and/or After Effects depending on how far I need to push & pull the image with AE allowing me a greater deal of latitude. With basic grading, I use the Curves effect in PPro and sometimes combine with Levels to crush the blacks and decrease the overall dynamic range for broadcast, but I don't know if there are better ways of adjusting the DR for broadcast with PPro.

2) What effects do you use to bring the 109 IRE down to 100 to make broadcast legal? I have used PPro's Broadcast effect but I don't like the way it adjusts the image. I have also used certain RGB effects in PPro which automatically cut off anything above 100 IRE. Most of the time, I use the Curves effect to bring it down to 100 IRE, but I don't like how it desaturates the highlights. I think that due to the way S-Log compresses the highlights, my typical Curves adjustment is not a good method; so, I'd appreciate anyone's thoughts.

FYI, I am not a novice when it comes to grading. I have been using AE for grading for quite a while, and I have been learning Resolve for almost a year. I started taking FXPHD's Resolve courses last year and now have the Windows beta version on one of my PCs (HP Z800). I'm not an expert, but I'm not a novice either.

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Old March 21st, 2012, 03:52 PM   #2
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Re: What Are Your Preferred Methods For Grading S-Log?

I tend to use the curves filter to deal with the gamma and then a 3 way CC to sort out the colour.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 12:07 AM   #3
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Re: What Are Your Preferred Methods For Grading S-Log?

What program are you working in Alister?
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 08:02 AM   #4
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Re: What Are Your Preferred Methods For Grading S-Log?

Can any of you gentleman, post a screencast recoding to show your best practices when it comes to grading S-Log? I think we all could benefit.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 09:25 AM   #5
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Re: What Are Your Preferred Methods For Grading S-Log?

I don't think there is any magic to CC Log footage, adjust you curves for contrast and brightness and color correct for the look you want. Here is a wonderful tutorial that I found helpful, it mostly deals with CC using curves and comes in 3 parts.

Avid Screencast #22: Color Correction Basics I - Laying the Groundwork - YouTube
Sorry the above was the YouTube version, go here for the rest of the tutorials under table of contents;

Avid Screencast 22: Color Correction Basics I - Laying the Groundwork | Avid Screencast - Avid Tutorials Podcast
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 03:44 PM   #6
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Re: What Are Your Preferred Methods For Grading S-Log?

My one experience trying to grade sLog is pretty lame but im wondering if my problem was partly the grading method.
I recently got sLog and just shot a little comparison test of a interview set-up on an F3 direct to the SxS card so 8 bit only. However a number of people on the boards have said that they have had good luck with 8 bit SxS card recordings for interviews. Mine was just a comparison test only for me.
I tried grading in Final cut just using the 3 way color corrector and the gamma adjustment and it looked pretty bad. The subjects forehead which looks absolutely fine in 709 looks like he has a bright splotch on it.
I exposed properly for Slog, so i'm wondering if this is a typical 8 bit issue (sounds like it could be) or might have something to do with not using "curves" or some other kind of specific tool for grading sLog.
I plan t shoot more tests soon with a 10 bit recorder, but don't own one yet.

Lenny
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 04:06 PM   #7
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Re: What Are Your Preferred Methods For Grading S-Log?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonard Levy View Post
My one experience trying to grade sLog is pretty lame but im wondering if my problem was partly the grading method.
I recently got sLog and just shot a little comparison test of a interview set-up on an F3 direct to the SxS card so 8 bit only. However a number of people on the boards have said that they have had good luck with 8 bit SxS card recordings for interviews. Mine was just a comparison test only for me.
I tried grading in Final cut just using the 3 way color corrector and the gamma adjustment and it looked pretty bad. The subjects forehead which looks absolutely fine in 709 looks like he has a bright splotch on it.
I exposed properly for Slog, so i'm wondering if this is a typical 8 bit issue (sounds like it could be) or might have something to do with not using "curves" or some other kind of specific tool for grading sLog.
I plan t shoot more tests soon with a 10 bit recorder, but don't own one yet.

Lenny
Hi Lenny,

Can you post a screenshot of the problem you are having so we can take a gander?

Here is an Intro I shot with the F3 + S-Log to SxS using the Rec709 (800%) LUT, and then using a slight "S" shape in the Curves effect (PPro) to boost contrast and then Levels effect to reduce dynamic range, which crushed blacks and clipped some highlights (see included image for what I did).

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What Are Your Preferred Methods For Grading S-Log?-s-log-curves_wfm.jpg  
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Old March 23rd, 2012, 08:08 AM   #8
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Re: What Are Your Preferred Methods For Grading S-Log?

Now that's much better!

I've been asking for something like this for months; practical and visual examples of grading s-log. Thanks, Steve!

BTW, here's some recent stuff I've been doing with s-log at the archery range. Practice certainly makes perfect, or at least better....

PMW-F3 Archery March 2012 - YouTube
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Old March 23rd, 2012, 11:41 AM   #9
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Re: What Are Your Preferred Methods For Grading S-Log?

We did the color correction for "Key & Peele" on a Davinci Resolve.

Of note is the fact that our recording medium for the season (after a horrific trial with one of the external 10-bit 4:2:2 recorders) was 50 Mbs XDCAM disc. We never lost a frame and we have hard masters of all of our footage, but I didn't learn until we were in post that that is an 8 bit standard. However we were able to do a tremendous amount of push/pull and the 8 bit never seemed to create problems. There is, of course, a notable difference between 35 and 50 Mbs.

The shots we did in non s-log (60fps material) were far more problematic.
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Old March 23rd, 2012, 12:49 PM   #10
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Re: What Are Your Preferred Methods For Grading S-Log?

I'm noticing that I haven't seen or even heard anyone talk about grading with the ordinary color tools in Final Cut Pro yet. Are they insufficient?
(BTW I will post stills of my shots as soon as I get a chance.)
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Old March 23rd, 2012, 02:08 PM   #11
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Re: What Are Your Preferred Methods For Grading S-Log?

I wouldn't say that the native FCP color correction tools are inferior but there are other tools that have wider capabilities. At the risk of sounding repetitive of the rest of the thread, the first task is that of adjusting contrast, mid-tones and highlights. I personally really like using curves for this stage. Within FCP or FCP X, the best I have seen are the Nattress Curves, now even better with the latest revision since there is an option to account for a logarithmic space even before adjusting the curves. Then grade for the "look".

So I would say just for basically getting the shot right, there is nothing wrong with the native FCP 7 tools.

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Old March 23rd, 2012, 07:01 PM   #12
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Re: What Are Your Preferred Methods For Grading S-Log?

Nick Shaw has just released an S-Log to Video LUT Plugin for FCP7.

You can download the Demo prior to purchase. Click BUY ONLINE.

Final Cut Pro LUT plugins
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Old March 24th, 2012, 03:03 PM   #13
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Re: What Are Your Preferred Methods For Grading S-Log?

In CS3 I use color curves and/or the gamma correction to bring up the saturation. (In different scenes one will work better than the other. I don't know why.) I may tweak levels.

If color seems off I may use the Fast Color Corrector if there's something in the scene that's supposed to be white. I may push towards one color if it needs to be warmed a bit, etc.

Then often bring up both brightness and contrast a bit for pop. The odd thing is I've really had little trouble grading 8 bit to match 10 bit.
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Old March 26th, 2012, 11:39 PM   #14
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Re: What Are Your Preferred Methods For Grading S-Log?

Isn't anyone else using Apple Color or, other than Charles, Resolve? One of my biggest complaints with Final Cut X is the removal of Color (along with all else they dropped). As I migrate over to Media Composer I will be adding Resolve to my workflow, but while still working in FCP7, I consider Color to be the best tool for grading footage.
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Old March 27th, 2012, 07:08 PM   #15
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Re: What Are Your Preferred Methods For Grading S-Log?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Cherry View Post
Isn't anyone else using Apple Color or, other than Charles, Resolve?
I'm using Resolve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Cherry View Post
but while still working in FCP7, I consider Color to be the best tool for grading footage.
Resolve can be a drop-in replacement for Color as far as FCP7 is concerned, as it round-trips pretty much identically. Only missing the contextual menu selection "Send To Color".

After rolling my own curves in Resolve for a while, I've found I'm getting a better look in Resolve by applying the LUT designed for Alexa Log-C material, and then scaling the gain in the same node. The Log-C LUT by default, it's gain scaling is not suitable for S-Log.

It's hard to explain how it's better, but I like to think it's because the LUT made for Alexa was made by not only somebody that knew what he was doing, but also had an eye. I can't proclaim this as anything other than a theory, though.
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