Getting that S-Log exposure - Page 3 at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony Digital Cinema Camera Systems > Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta

Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta
HD recording with a Super35 CMOS Sensor.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old June 15th, 2012, 05:39 AM   #31
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Drachten, Netherlands
Posts: 179
Re: Getting that S-Log exposure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Schultz View Post
I'm planning on banishing LUT's from my sets and insist that the pertinent people LEARN what S-Log is, what it looks like, what it does, and why they should just get over having a picture perfect image

For straight REC709 monitoring, it's a complete waste of time IMHO.
Disagree: learning other people to look at S-log. That is a waste of time.
crews keeps changing every production, good luck with that.

Just tell them that they should leave the picture itself to the pro's (rudly said: shut up or sign up for a speed course)

the rest needs 709, specially on crappy tv's etc
Ron Aerts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 15th, 2012, 03:12 PM   #32
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Malibu, CA
Posts: 480
Re: Getting that S-Log exposure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Bruce, trying to understand your rant. Are you saying that producers and directors are getting deeply involved/micromanaging your LUT creation? Why are they even seeing the log images to begin with if you are making LUTS on set? And are you suggesting that by "banishing LUTS" you would make everyone view log images, or just straight REC709 all the time?

I have just had very different experiences so I'm trying to wrap my head around what you are describing.
Charles, first let me say that the F3 footage you posted recently which you shot for Comedy Central has to be some of the very best low light lighting and camera work I've yet seen come out of that camera. Great stuff.

To answer your question, I come from a different time in the film business. A time when a director would stand just off the edge of the set next to the DP and call action then cut - all the time watching the actor's performance with the naked eye and instincts. After the cut call, if he/she were happy with the performance the DP would be consulted. The DP would consult the operator, if all was deemed good, then they would move on. Multiple producers on set were somewhat rare in those days, and it seemed that a lot more work got done because there was no playback - because there was no video village. Today, I can only think of two directors I have watched on set that still do this (although there are probably more) , Danny Boyle and Clint Eastwood. So I have a built in dislike of video assist, but not just for that reason alone. For most of the time of video assist - which would be from the mid-80's to today, a simple video tap in standard definition displayed the film camera's output. This output was in no way a correlation of the ultimate image quality but rather a method of seeing performance and blocking for the director and camera framing for the DP. Unless focus was way off, it was pretty much impossible to determine it on these standard def taps as was lighting subtleties or shadow/highlight details. All video village seemed to be good at was stacking up a lot of useless producer dead weight and a place for lazy directors to sit down and drink espresso all day. Many actors have agreed with me that this has adversely affected their performances over the years as directors tend to be more detached as a result of not viewing their performance with the naked eye and being in close physical proximity. Let's face it, anyone who's been in front of a camera really needs and wants instant feedback and I think viewing performances on a TV set is not the way to do it for a director. For a DP it was a better fit, but only to check things like camera moves and framing/composition. Until HD Cinema cameras like the F900, Alexa and others came along and allowed this viewing to be done in high quality HD where all of the photographic details are clearly visible and correctable instantly, it was just ludicrous to try and judge exposure, focus or performance on standard definition TV sets. So a lot of time and energy has been misspent in this area over the years. Then along came S-Log and the perceived need to instantaneously see the "final image" on set. The analogy I am drawing here is that I see very little difference between making imaging decisions based on an SD film tap image quality and the absolute reliance on an on set generated LUT. Both to me are mostly folly - with the exception of utilizing a LUT to represent a special lighting effect or film stock characteristic.

Now we are looking at a new paradigm where some of these principles are playing out again. Producers and directors are staring at HD monitors displaying LUT representations of potential final viewing images and expecting that these are the exact versions that will be ultimately used. What I get sometimes is "what's wrong with this picture?" in reference to a LUT that is displaying an artifact like a slightly blown highlight or unclear shadow areas that I know are going to resolve just fine because the S-Log image on my DIT's monitor tells me so, but now we have to spend extra time micro tweaking the LUT to satisfy their need for on-set perfection. This in a nutshell is my issue and problem with on set LUT generation.

What I am proposing is that from now on I will be taking a laptop to pre-production meetings with samples of uncorrected S-Log shot(s) and differently corrected LUT(s) of those shots, in order to try and teach the relevant production people why they should learn how to view and understand an S-Log image on their video village HD set and know from that knowledge that everything they get out of that image is reproducible in the post production grade to generate what they ultimately want. To tell them outright that on set LUTs are just a viewing compromise, so learn to see what's in an S-Log image and be happy that even though it's got very little contrast and the color is wonky, it's OK because in that S-Log image we can all see clearly the detail in the clouds, shadows, and mid-tones, and we are able to instantly correct the "negative" if something like exposure, lighting or focus needs it. This way, everyone is on the same image page so to speak, and there aren't two different images on set to confuse anyone. I always have an S-Log image displayed on set, usually at a DIT station or I bring my own monitor to view it.

Maybe this method of working will be accepted and maybe not, but I feel it is worth the effort.
Bruce Schultz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 15th, 2012, 03:47 PM   #33
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Miami, Florida, USA
Posts: 479
Re: Getting that S-Log exposure

Amen to that.
I guess that once you develop a reputation as a DP and you have explained it ahead of time on Pre-production you will mostt likely to get away with it.
__________________
Douglas Villalba - director/cinematographer/editor
Miami, Florida, USA - www.DVtvPRODUCTIONS.com
Douglas Villalba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 17th, 2012, 12:15 PM   #34
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
Re: Getting that S-Log exposure

Bruce:

Thanks on the compliments on my footage. I wouldn't really categorize it as "low-light" in the strict sense of the phrase--I rarely went above 800 ISO and generally kept my stop at 2.8/4 or higher--perhaps you meant "low-key"? In any event, appreciate the nice words.

I hear what you are saying about having your LUT's micromanaged. Mostly I'm curious what kind of shoots you are doing where they are nitpicking the image to that degree--commercials? Perhaps I've just been fortunate to work with producers and directors who do have an understanding of the process and will only question the placement of tones in the broadest sense of the word.

I feel like I would be doing a grave disservice to these folks by making them view a log image, however. The low-con appearance of the image makes it harder to grasp overall--colors are desaturated, faces are darker, there's no snap, by its very nature--it requires a significant mental translation by the viewer to turn it into the movie. Sure, 10 years ago everyone had to put up with the soft, lackluster look and flicker of video taps (which going back further were black and white, and going back further still to the tube era were barely viewable in low light), but we have progressed far beyond that and once the genie is out of the bottle, it's hard to get the sucker back in. More than anything else, I feel like it's much harder to discern expressions and performances within the murk of a log image, and that is a dealbreaker handicap for the director and producer. I just don't see them allowing that, certainly none of the people I work for.

On my end, once the cameras start rolling my DIT and I are keeping a sharp eye out for critical focus and calling in notes to the AC's, another process which is made harder within the log realm due to lesser contrast. We cycle back and forth between log and LUT'ted image while I'm setting exposures and lighting, but once we roll, it remains in the LUT world. If I was on a show that precluded LUT building, I'd still want to view takes on REC709 for the same reason. Viewing log is great to insure that the values are all there but after that, for me it's just not "the movie".

This all said, I can sympathize with your frustrations and wonder how I'd manage it in that situation. Certainly if having to micro-manage fine tweaking of highlights and shadows in the LUT per an overly fussy director is taking your time away from lighting the set, that can't be a good thing.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 18th, 2012, 02:05 AM   #35
Trustee
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 1,684
Re: Getting that S-Log exposure

Charles,
I agree with your attitude toward LUT's & log viewing for the producer/Direct. What were you using for your LUT's when you were still shooting with the F3 & sLog?
Leonard Levy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 18th, 2012, 07:49 AM   #36
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
Re: Getting that S-Log exposure

We were building them for each sketch on the HDLink Pro, using the provided Blackmagic software, which was pretty limited plus the post department wasn't able to incorporate them into the dailies workflow, so it was just for onset viewing. This season we are still using HDLinks but now with Pomfort Livegrade and the Avid control surface we can work faster and better, and the looks are being applied to dailies and will carry through to color correction as a reference. That process happens months after we wrap so both the director and I are able to oversee, which is a nice "luxury". I often have to make compromises for time that I know I can fix with power windows later.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 19th, 2012, 07:22 PM   #37
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Malibu, CA
Posts: 480
Re: Getting that S-Log exposure

Yes, I meant low key photography.

I hadn't worked with the anal-retentive agency "creatives" for quite a while and now I remember why. The whole experience just set me off - I'm feeling more reasonable about it all now.

Charles, you make a good point about not being able to clearly see all of the actor's faces detail while viewing a pure S-Log image and I think that it makes sense to give the director the ability to see that clearly. I think a generic out of the camera 709 LUT would do that job adequately without imposing time penalty. I haven't had the luxury of good on-set grading software and manpower to massage the LUT beast to perfection yet. When you can finesse a LUT with those tools on set and really mimic the grading suite in quality, and you are given the time to do it, then OK, give them what they want - they are paying for it. It's just really hard and a painful waste of time and energy to try and satisfy with the camera output LUTs.

There's a cynical old line from the advertising biz which says in effect, when the client gets what he wants, he gets what he deserves.
Bruce Schultz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 19th, 2012, 10:34 PM   #38
Trustee
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 1,684
Re: Getting that S-Log exposure

Have any of you tried just simply adjusting the monitor? I've experimented at home and it looked fine as long you know its just an aproximation and you have more lattitude on the final image. It won't allow color adjustment but you can already do that in the Red Blue offset menu and with the new firmware you'll have plenty of adjustment.
One positive is that your monitor waveform will still be showing the accurate sLog .
Leonard Levy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 20th, 2012, 12:00 AM   #39
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
Re: Getting that S-Log exposure

Ah yes, the agency creatives...good times.

I think REC709 is a great alternative when there isn't time to build custom LUT's. The theory being that if looks anywhere decent there, you know you have room to manipulate it any which way down the road.

Certainly in a situation where there is an expectation for the image to be manipulated for clients on set, they should be prepared to pay for this. I can see making THAT pitch ahead of time; showing them the difference between a REC709 output and various LUT's built to order--that capability coming with a price (DIT and appropriate gear). I've stayed away from extensive coloring via camera menus for years, it's such a slow and painful way to do it compared to having a proper setup in a controlled environment with appropriate monitoring and scopes. Certainly we never wait for LUT's on my set--while I'm lighting, the DIT builds a few different looks based on my description and shows them to me at an opportune moment, and then tweaks further based on whatever notes I might have. By the time we roll, we are usually dialed in.

Leonard, I've certainly tweaked monitors over at video village as you describe--in that two year period of intense DSLR activity for instance, especially once the Technicolor setting became available and I didn't have any other way to dial contrast back into the viewing monitor (right at the end of all that I got an HDLink). It works well enough in most instances.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 20th, 2012, 10:43 AM   #40
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Malibu, CA
Posts: 480
Re: Getting that S-Log exposure

Perhaps this is an excellent example of making lemonade from lemons.

It appears that my recent frustrations can be assuaged easily by having the proper tools at hand. I looked at the Pomfort LiveGrade system and was pretty impressed with how simple a system it is. One could easily put a sub $1000 system together for on set LUT generation with it. Minus the color monitor and laptop investment which most people have on set for transfers and viewing anyway, the software is $480, and the Blackmagic HDlink boxes are about the same price. I have two of these HDlinks for 3D work anyway. Getting any DIT or yourself up to speed on this could be a simple undertaking and then you have the ability to show a better image and hopefully send metadata to post that is relevant - and the best part - charge for it.

Amazing how clear your mind can be after it stops boiling over.

Charles, what format of metadata from LiveGrade were you using and outputting while shooting the F3? I have been using DaVinci Resolve Lite for my personal footage lately and like the controls and ease of use in grading Sony S-Log footage. I see that LiveGrade outputs to it easily.
Bruce Schultz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 20th, 2012, 01:07 PM   #41
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Bracknell, Berkshire, UK
Posts: 4,957
Re: Getting that S-Log exposure

Adjusting the monitor is in my opinion a fair option and really does no harm, after all it's actually not all that different to using a LUT on the monitor out. The technical method is different but the end result is very similar. You just absolutely must remember that the monitor is no longer calibrated. I normally stick a piece of camera tape across the top of the monitor with bold writing saying not calibrated or words to that effect.
__________________
Alister Chapman, Film-Maker/Stormchaser http://www.xdcam-user.com/alisters-blog/ My XDCAM site and blog. http://www.hurricane-rig.com
Alister Chapman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 21st, 2012, 02:22 AM   #42
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
Re: Getting that S-Log exposure

I asked my DIT about the metadata today but forgot his answer.

The sub-$1K on-set LUT creation setup is pretty impressive, although now that I've seen it with control surface versus mouse, it would be hard to go back the other way for functional speed. It will be interesting to see if Blackmagic introduces some improved version of their included utility with the HDLinks that is based on the Davinci interface--would seem to make sense.

Bruce, glad I could help pull you out of your client-induced funk! Perhaps you can cheer yourself up further by watching (or re-watching) that old classic short "Truth in Advertising" and the later installments "The Reel Truth"...
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 22nd, 2012, 11:06 AM   #43
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Malibu, CA
Posts: 480
Re: Getting that S-Log exposure

These two seem to be the best and most affordable options at about $1,400 USD ;

Tangent Wave
Tangent Devices Wave Panel WAVE B&H Photo Video

Avid Color Avid | Artist Color

both seem to be supported by most software packages including LiveGrade.


And I'll just be turning that type of work down as I did for decades previously. I'm waiting for my new MBPro to arrive next week with Thunderbolt and USB 3. I've already got the Sonnet SxS Thunderbolt reader for Alexa and F3 data, a CF / Expresscard 34 reader for NanoFlash footage, and WD GoFlex Thunderbolt adapter for simple but fast transfers - no more OT from USB 2 waiting though.

Agree on BM making a more all-inclusive package for this utilizing their already existing hardware.
Bruce Schultz is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony Digital Cinema Camera Systems > Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:02 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network