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Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta
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Old April 26th, 2012, 04:27 PM   #16
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Re: S-Log Sample, colored in Davinci

If it's not our job to guide those that don't understand then whose job is it?

Education, it's all about education.

I'm not just talking about students and newbies. It's the 20 years in the industry camera operators, producers, directors etc that need educating. Most of those reading this are here to learn and I applaud that. But there are many that have been in the industry for 10 years or more that have "seen it, done it" and think there is nothing new to learn.

In the last couple of years there have been some huge changes and additions to the tools available to the film maker. In particular an incredible set of tools now available to low/no budget productions that were previously reserved for the big boys. Many traditional documentary, news or current affairs people will have no idea about what S-Log really is and how it can be used. In some respects the internet is not helping as there is a lot of miss-information and technical mumbo jumbo that makes some of this stuff appear to be rocket science, when it really isn't.
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Old April 26th, 2012, 08:20 PM   #17
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Re: S-Log Sample, colored in Davinci

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Originally Posted by Leonard Levy View Post
I'm curious, do you think this really would have looked a whole lot different if you had shot it without sLog?
To me, yes. I can't handle the traits of the F3 without S-Log anymore. It's not a look I like.

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Any easier to shoot or edit?
Easier to shoot? Yes. I have much more wiggle room on exposure, things I can fix in the color correction easily.

Edit? Edit's not more difficult, other than I have to do a color-correction pass, which I do anyway.

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I'm guessing that you were the editor also and thus didn't have to convince someone to shoot in SLog and take the time to grade.
Either color correction is in the budget or it isn't. In Los Angeles, I rarely find any job that won't do at least SOMETHING with the color, even if it's just the editor having a shot at it in FCP or Avid.

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I'm trying to figure out where I can suggest to clients that they shoot with sLog and generally what I hear is - "If I have the time to do all that grading I can afford to shoot with an Alexa". I suspect on a shoot like this my clients would choose the marginal quality drop of cine gamma or 709 over the time added in grading.
It's about taking money to craft a look. It doesn't have to be a lot of money. It took me 1.5 hours to color the piece above. It comes out of the pool of hours budgeted for creative edit. It looks better than it did before. Gets me more work.

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Its not a criticism , I just see a lot of example of sLog on the boards that don't look much different to what I can get without it and without the added hassle.
Well, if you don't see it, you don't see it. Not much I can do to convince you.

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I think the problem is that most of these people have been in the industry for years and still think of 'grading' as something that costs <$1000/hr on a Resolve, Scratch, Lustre, etc. It is so simple and easy to do now with inexpensive computers and a $5k Flanders Grade 1 monitor or $3k Sony OLED.
I hate to throw out this "out here in La-La Land we do this and that and this", but this is the way things are going. Editors are learning Resolve, buying $1500 control surfaces, and going to town. At the very least they are slapping Magic Bullet on everything, and as much as I hate it, getting pretty good results. I know some color correction facilities that are having a hard time. The sisters are doing it for themselves.

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If a client doesn't want to grade, then why bother even bringing it up? Its not our job to teach these people about the benefits of one camera's tech. Also, you can't expect to send a 14 stop image to broadcast either so to utilize the full benefits of S-Log mean it needs to be graded.
To push for better images. I've never shot a frame that couldn't be made better by working the color in post. The better my work looks, the more I'm able to charge.

If a client wants to be ignorant about how to make their job look better, I guess I'm not going to argue, but I'll sure as heck try to steer them in the right direction.
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Old April 29th, 2012, 04:55 PM   #18
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Re: S-Log Sample, colored in Davinci

[QUOTE=Steve Kalle;1729762]Grading S-Log is SOOO simple .... I don't understand the 'hassle' that people talk about. Aside from Doug, doesn't everyone else normally apply some sort of finishing touches to their footage when editing? If going to broadcast or DVD, you absolutely must get everything in check, which means applying an effect or two.

Maybe tell clients who expect a picture perfect image on their monitor during production that they need to include room in the budget for a DIT.

For corporate and industrial work, the thought of the added out-board recorder, and yes some additional time in the edit suite to correct EVERY shot is simply not in the budget of time and money. And for what gain, some highlights held, that are probably no concern of anyone? Let's be real, it's the face and mid tones that truely count. A good picture profile on the F-3 is far more important than ANYTHING ELSE next to good glass. Sorry but RED lenses don't have good mid tone contrast to my eye, and they aren't sharp. Good glass and a good picture profile beats anything I've seen so far from S-log. My opinion, my eyes...everyone has a different set of both. FWIW, my clients appreciate the difference I am able to provide, without the jump in expense to RED or Alexa.
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Old April 29th, 2012, 05:54 PM   #19
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Re: S-Log Sample, colored in Davinci

Hi Richard and welcome to DVInfo!

I understand where you are coming from in that many videos with S-Log don't look much better, if any, than videos with cinegammas. This is due to quite a few people not understanding S-Log and not knowing how to grade and/or handle S-Log in post. While I say that its very easy to just apply a S-shaped Curves effect and add some saturation, there is so much more that can and should be done to enhance the final image.

I have watched 100's of hours of online training from Lynda.com to FXPHD and others covering editing, vfx (AE, Nuke, Smoke), 3D modelling (C4D), DoP, Directing, script writing, etc. There is a huge difference between Lynda & others from FXPHD, which has had several courses on grading, color theory and Resolve. If I hadn't watched any of those FXPHD courses and relied on the other websites, I wouldn't have a good enough knowledge of grading and how to deal with S-Log properly. So, what I am trying to say is that there is not much info & training on the web for most people to teach themselves how to grade S-Log, which results in decent looking images.

With a decent colorist, S-Log easily looks noticeably better than cinegamma videos (when exposed correctly and recorded in a high quality 10bit codec like PR HQ).

I am sorry but I totally disagree that there isn't anything else to S-Log other than extra headroom in highlights. Unless you have spent a fair amount of time shooting and grading S-Log footage, then its difficult to understand and see the added benefits of S-Log. Just looking at other people's poorly graded S-Log videos won't provide anyone with an understanding of its benefits. One needs to test cinegammas and S-Log in the field/studio with a proper monitor (ie, 17" Panasonic 1700 series or better) to see where S-Log increases the quality of the image. And then take that footage into a NLE, After Effects or Resolve and begin pushing the image to see where the added Dynamic Range (2-2.5 stops over cinegammas) helps. For example, the shadows actually have detail and additional latitude can be extrapolated from it - this is especially helpful in dark scenes. In bright scenes like someone shot on the Vegas strip at night, the vast array of lights in and around signs can be seen and recorded in S-Log whereas the cinegammas would have had mostly blown out lights.

As Nate Weaver and I have learned from our own testing, one can get away with shooting S-Log to SxS, but you must know what you are doing such as knowing when a scene has elements that won't work with 8bits very well, which could end up as banding or posterization. There also isn't any much wiggle room in getting the exposure spot on when recording to SxS whereas 10bit Pro Res provides a fair amount.
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Old April 29th, 2012, 07:32 PM   #20
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Re: S-Log Sample, colored in Davinci

Thanks Steve. I am open to getting a better product from the F-3. But as you say, it's not shown online as yet. Will take a look at the training sites you mentioned. A big issue for me is that I would have to be the colorist in the equasion as there are no local resources for me in my immediate area. And certainly, a 10 bit recorder would required to make the noticible improvements the S log could be capable of.
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Old April 29th, 2012, 09:49 PM   #21
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Re: S-Log Sample, colored in Davinci

A few more S-Log via Alexa LUT images:
Attached Thumbnails
S-Log Sample, colored in Davinci-mb-comp.jpg   S-Log Sample, colored in Davinci-screen-shot-2012-04-29-7.51.52-pm.png  

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Old April 30th, 2012, 01:55 AM   #22
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Re: S-Log Sample, colored in Davinci

it's my opinion that there is a night and day difference between a F3 without S-Log and an F3 with S-Log. For me one of the key things is the way highlight and in particular highlight saturation is handled. It is so much better with S-Log. You can get close with the cinegammas but S-Log takes the F3 to another level. I find S-log quick and easy to grade, in part because you have a consistent image from shot to shot, assuming you exposed correctly during the shoot.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 03:34 AM   #23
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Re: S-Log Sample, colored in Davinci

I really appreciate all the feedback here and hope my questioning some sLog footage is taken too negatively. I do try educate and lead my clients, but so far this looks like a harder sell than I expected. Perhaps a lot of you are working on higher budgets than I usually am.

I'm trying to justify the cost of a Samurai (I want it quite a bit) but am running into a lot of feedback in San Francisco that generally says " If people have the time and budget to do all that color correction, they can also afford to shoot on the Alexa instead." So just how much time is involved with correcting SLog is something I need to know and be able to convincingly explain. Most people I work with are still grading only in Final Cut Pro which it sounds like is not ideal for grading sLog because it doesn't have curves. Is that correct? I am beginning to play with some tests I've shot just using the 3 way color corrector and adding a "shadow highlight" plug in from TMTS that is great for adding lots of knee and toe compression.

I hope to do some Slog vs other gamma tests this week and then grade them.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 07:46 AM   #24
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Re: S-Log Sample, colored in Davinci

There can be a quite big cost difference between shooting on an Alexa or a very small one depending on how you work.

On the shoot side: An F3 with a few DSLR lenses and a Samurai is a much cheaper option than an Alexa with PL glass. The F3's media costs will be lower (an SSD) and an owner/operator probably won't need a DIT or assistant. On the other hand a fully loaded F3 with SR-R1 recorder and PL lenses costs only a little less than an Alexa to rent. When working with SR-Memory the high media costs will mean you may want a DIT or loader to manage your rushes and provide backups while you shoot, so in this scenario there is probably only minimal cost difference between Alexa and F3.

It's the same in post. An F3 owner/operator could use the free version of resolve or FCP with a low cost plugin like Natress Curves to grade the material. The soon to be release Adobe CS6 Cloud might be an interesting option as it includes Speed Grade. Or you could take your F3 material to a dedicated colourist that will cost you the same whether the material is from an F3 or an Alexa.

In terms of time, you can spend a short amount of time, creating a single look and applying that to the entire shoot or spend a lot of time carefully grading each shot. I normally end up with an overall look that then gets tweaked form scene to scene. I don't feel the extra time is excessive considering the improvement to the end result. There is a learning curve as you figure out your optimum workflow and work out how much time you want to spend on individual shots, but once you get into the groove it's not so bad. What I would add is that as we start to move more and more towards workflows that involve shooting RAW, a good sound knowledge of grading techniques and methods will help smooth the transition to RAW if that's the way you end up going.

On a recent fly away shoot we had one crew working with an Alexa, one with the F3. The Alexa crew (operator + loader) had close to 100kg of equipment, the F3 crew around 30kg. The Alexa was on an O'Conner 2675 tripod so needed both members of the crew to reposition, one carrying the camera, one the legs. The F3 crew operator was using a Vinten 5AS so could pickup the entire rig and move it by himself. The F3 operator shot twice as much as the Alexa crew. In the finished programme it is extremely hard to tell from the images which was shot with the F3 and what with the Alexa. The cost to the production of the Alexa was 3 times that of the F3, yet there is a lot more F3 material in the finished show than Alexa.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 01:50 PM   #25
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Re: S-Log Sample, colored in Davinci

Nate, I think that's an outstanding use of Alexa LUT's for S-Log footage, I wasn't aware that could be done. I will recommend that to certain clients who use DaVinci regularly.

I send a ton of F3 S-Log Samurai recorded Prores HQ footage to a couple of other clients who only use FCP and Avid for editing and their reports back are that there are no real issues with using those basic systems to grade as, as Alister has pointed out, the S-Log is consistent throughout if exposure levels are correct and accurate. Granted it would be better to use a package like DaVinci, but as Leonard points out some clients are not in that game.

I'm just waiting for Steve Shaw at Light Illusions or someone else to publish some downloadable new LUT's for F3 so we can start to do the obvious for clients who don't want or can't grade which is to use and record the S-Log for it's strengths and simultaneously record out to a good LUT representation for immediate edit or dailies. I do that now for some clients but the REC709 out of the F3 is not so instantly usable as has been discussed on several threads here.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 02:30 PM   #26
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Re: S-Log Sample, colored in Davinci

So far I've been having trouble getting a decent grade using the standard Final Cut tools. Flesh tones have just looked crappy.
However on Alister's suggestion I just downloaded a demo of the newer version of Natress Curves and Levels from FXFactory. it's only $49 and so far it seems to help quite a bit. I've only played a little bit and was actually using it wrong but it already gave me a much more natural looking grade. I was also adding the TMTS and Lyric versions of shadow highlight filters (both free and worth every dime) to get some extra control at the toe and knee.
I tried the Pomfort Log correction plug in and it was way too aggressive and not adjustable at all.

if I can figure out a simple and fast way for grading this stuff then I will feel comfortable educating my clients.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 02:39 PM   #27
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Re: S-Log Sample, colored in Davinci

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Originally Posted by Leonard Levy View Post
Most people I work with are still grading only in Final Cut Pro which it sounds like is not ideal for grading sLog because it doesn't have curves. Is that correct?
Not really. Not "ideal" because it's not real time and FCP7 is a little bit of a pain to color in, but the tools are available. If this is what's holding them back, it's a pretty small reason.

I think a good combo of plugins for working in FCP7 would be (and stacked in this order):

-Red Giant Colorista

-Red Giant LUTBuddy, with Alexa Log-C LUT loaded, like I've been doing in Resolve. LUTBuddy is free.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 03:03 PM   #28
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Re: S-Log Sample, colored in Davinci

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Originally Posted by Leonard Levy View Post
However on Alister's suggestion I just downloaded a demo of the newer version of Natress Curves and Levels from FXFactory. it's only $49 and so far it seems to help quite a bit. I've only played a little bit and was actually using it wrong but it already gave me a much more natural looking grade.
I got pretty good results with that too...before I figured out the Alexa LUT. Almost bought it.

Adding a very careful s-curve to the image seems key to getting a good image. But it takes finesse. Secondary to that seems (again, my eye) to be the actual de-logging of the gamma. An s-curve alone will ALMOST make it look like you've de-logged and put gamma where it belongs. Regardless,

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Originally Posted by Leonard Levy View Post
I tried the Pomfort Log correction plug in and it was way too aggressive and not adjustable at all.
Agreed. I tried it too.

It was that particular plug that made me realize it's important where the de-logging happens in a CC filter chain. In tools not designed specifically for color-correction, you want the de-logging (or LUT application) to happen last, as then you can adjust exposure BEFORE the de-logging and highlights are thrown away in the pipeline, so to speak.

Interestingly enough, I had manage the order of things in Resolve too, and have that LUT applied towards the end of the pipeline. Luckily Resolve gives you about 4 different way/places to apply a LUT, for those very reasons.



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if I can figure out a simple and fast way for grading this stuff then I will feel comfortable educating my clients.
Sure, makes sense. If I'm having a hard time being readable, we should get Stu from Red Giant in here. He's responsible for probably the best tools to make this happen in FCP7.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 04:18 PM   #29
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Re: S-Log Sample, colored in Davinci

One FCP 7 issue is that any 3rd party effects render previews are done in 8 bit which doesn't help. There are only a handful of effects and transitions that render in 10 bits.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 04:29 PM   #30
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Re: S-Log Sample, colored in Davinci

OK I want to try the LUTBuddy / Alexa Log-C LUT combo on FCP as an alternative to Natress before I buy anything.

I installed LUTBuddy but how do I get the Alexa Log-C LUT installed in it?
Do i need Colorista, and if so can the Free version suffice?

I did go to the Arri site and downloaded what i thought were a bunch of LUT's, but LUTBuddy didn't recognise them.

(Unfortunately Resolve Lite won't work on my system)

Thanks again for continuing support for this blind man.

Last edited by Leonard Levy; April 30th, 2012 at 05:28 PM.
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