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


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Old September 18th, 2012, 06:31 AM   #1
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South Beach S-Log

Just some stock footage I shot at South Beach for a seminar I'm teaching november. It was early in the morning with direct sun at about 15 degrees off of the horizon. Just look how smooth the transition from direct sun to the shadows inside the restaurants.

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Old September 18th, 2012, 02:19 PM   #2
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Re: South Beach S-Log

I think your overexposed by 1.5 to 2 stops. In the pre grade shot your bright walls are measuring out at over 80% and your mids look to be around 50-60%, white should be 65-68% and mids 34-38%. After grading your bright walls are clipped and blown out and have no texture or shading, especially on the upper left and the cars have that look that overexposed look that log gets where the high compression flattens the contrast giving the white cars an odd look. I think this would have looked even better with lower exposure. You could probably fix the blown out walls in the grade by de-logging the clip prior to grading or using a grading tool with log based corrections, but the cars will be hard to get looking right.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 06:32 PM   #3
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Re: South Beach S-Log

Are you for real?

You can shoot however you want. I shoot for the end results.

You care more about your waveform than the actual image. Just look at the brightest area in the shot, the white car in the middle. It clearly shows the door handles and even the curves on the doors even with detail off at such a long distance. It still has more, but that's the way white looks.
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Old September 19th, 2012, 02:34 AM   #4
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Re: South Beach S-Log

Well, my opinion is that your end results don't look good and are not a good example of how S-Log can look. It looks like the kind of clipped video you get with Rec709. I think that the shoot would have looked a lot better exposed lower. Your walls are blown out and the cars just don't look right. Of course that is just my opinion, perhaps this was the look you were after. The issue is that log is not linear. Expose too high and you crush your highlights making it hard to recover gradients and textures in the grade. Knowing your levels with log is important. I looked at your levels to try and diagnose why the image looks the way it does and it is my opinion that a lower exposure would have resulted in a better image.

If you don't want comments, don't post clips on forums.
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Old September 19th, 2012, 01:50 PM   #5
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Re: South Beach S-Log

Douglas,

I usually stay out of these kind of arguments about someone else's footage, and of course I don't really know exactly what the original scene looks like, but without even looking at the original exposure levels ( is that enough disclaimers) , my gut reaction is also that the whites look compressed. I'm pretty sensitive to it and something I watch out for when using cine gammas 3 & 4 or with an overzealous knee in 709.
Ultimately it comes down to taste I guess, but as long as you're testing anyway why not try out exposing the way Alistair is suggesting and then comparing the differences yourself.

My first experience just testing SLog on a talking head did not look good and I finally concluded it was due to overexposure.
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Old September 19th, 2012, 03:52 PM   #6
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Re: South Beach S-Log

Exposing s-log by eye will encourage you to overexpose. The best way to do it is with a grey card.

Get an 18% card and use the spot meter in the F3 to set your exposure on the card to about 38%. The image will look unusually dark. Resist the urge to dial it up or you will overexpose your image.
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Old September 19th, 2012, 05:54 PM   #7
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Re: South Beach S-Log

After a long S-Log debate with Douglas on Vimeo... I don't think he'd want to rely on anything but his light meter... so any discussion about percentages or the F3 spot meter usually falls on stony ground.

What I don't understand is, why post anything for comments if you don't want to hear them?
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Old September 19th, 2012, 06:04 PM   #8
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Re: South Beach S-Log

I always hope that someone will let go of the past and use their tools correctly. It is only a hope and none of us can make it happen.
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Old September 19th, 2012, 06:48 PM   #9
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Re: South Beach S-Log

Hi Leonard, I appreciate your comments. As you said, you were not there, or seen the original ProRes HQ footage. At least you started with a disclaimer. I'll provably post the same footage shot on a P2 simultaneously to have a reference in the class I am teaching in november if I can get to it.
My background is in photography. I have won multiple international awards (Back in the 80s). What you see is what I wanted to see.
All my tests were done the first week I got the S Log. vimeo.com/45609991
I know exactly its capabilities and how far I can push it. The test may not work for you, but it shows me how each f-stop over or under looks on real footage.
The white no texture surface that I saw with my eyes is just what you see on my Apple 27" LED, my Panasonic 21" monitor and a Pani 42" LED.

Blow the tiff pic attached of the pre-graded grab.
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Old September 22nd, 2012, 02:10 PM   #10
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Re: South Beach S-Log

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Ream View Post
What I don't understand is, why post anything for comments if you don't want to hear them?
This is to me the crux of this thread. I think we all know how the online community works. There are stone-cold facts which are pretty much non-debatable (i.e., how many bits is the output of a given camera) and there are subjective discussions that are highly debatable (does that camera then necessarily produce a lesser image than one with more bits).

Exposure is a subjective issue. Some feel it is an absolute, others (especially those who came from film) do not. There is a different look to over or underexposing in camera vs pushing or suppressing in post.

I'm not going to take any one person's side on this except to again agree with Paul's statement above. The bottom line is pretty clear to me: Douglas, if you happened to have the same image with bracketed exposures and then graded with the values pegged similarly, everyone could state their preferred version. Maybe you and Alistair would pick different images, maybe you wouldn't. At a certain point one's personal taste comes into play, and that's why we call them opinions.
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Old September 22nd, 2012, 08:53 PM   #11
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Re: South Beach S-Log

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
At a certain point one's personal taste comes into play, and that's why we call them opinions.
I couldn't agree more.
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Old September 23rd, 2012, 02:48 AM   #12
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Re: South Beach S-Log

Comment removed.
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Old September 24th, 2012, 10:40 AM   #13
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Re: South Beach S-Log

@ Charles - bracketing is a great idea and I have been doing that on some clips recently for the option later to compare the differences. I still find I have a tendency to overexpose my shots, especially with SLOG where my highlights are in a nice place on the waveform monitor but my blacks are hiked up like the striped stockings my nanny use to wear.

In post however I do find way less noise is introduced when pulling into blacks then say if I had under exposed and had to push the image instead (8-bit of course). This means that I am not maximizing the upper end of the range though... which in turn can give a digital image that "video" or "broadcast" look which for those of us who use the F3 for filmic / cinematic looks is probably not the best way to go.

Last edited by Dennis Hingsberg; September 24th, 2012 at 12:32 PM.
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Old September 24th, 2012, 11:55 AM   #14
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Re: South Beach S-Log

Yes. There have been occasions where I have had relatively dark scenes with a certain amount of hot highlight (think: bar interior with hot practicals in frame, moody day interior with windows visible) and wrestled a bit with exposure. I don't really use histograms, but this would be a situation where most of the picture information is in the left third, with another chunk at the far right. If one "exposes to the right", you are compressing the majority of the information in the frame into a tight space, and opening it back up later may result in noise or banding. Along these lines, it's tough to use a gray card because the subject is already below nominal key level.

One of the things that is great about current cameras that shoot log or raw is that the white clip is much more "film-like" and you can ALLOW values to go into clip if that is the desired look. Many amazing films have been shot with blown-out highlights and I continue to wonder why we are now aiming to contain everything and do the blow-out later if that was always the intention. Having latitude in post is helpful and you can extend the dynamic range of the image if that is the look; sometimes having a contrasty, hot image was always the point. Much of this has to do with the look of the camera and how well it can handle clipping. S-log with the F3 is pretty good--not the best, but certainly better than, say, any of the picture profiles!!

Here's an example of where I was walking a tightrope on exposure. The exterior scene with the agent by the pool was shot very quickly, with two cameras side by side on track with long lens from one end of the pool. The agent goes in and out of pockets of ambient light--I wasn't able to set any fill for him until the last part of the shot (where he turns the corner to walk right to left) because of reflections in the windows. In that last section, the raw sun hits the agent's head and blows it out.

Throughout, there are sections of foliage in the background that are dancing at the bottom of the curve. A virtual quagmire of contrast. Had I been able to break the shot up into sections, I could have massaged exposure a couple of times but it still would have been dicey. Had I stopped down any to preserve highlights, we would have lost detail in the background--any of the sections that we pulled up a bit like at 1:10, you can see noise in the lower midtone, even as the sun clips on the young lady on left of frame.

The interesting part of this discussion is that it is a temporary one. I've already myself moved onto the Alexa for most jobs and even monsters like this shot are that much more manageable. The F65 is rumored to have even more DR, for all of its faults, that little Blackmagic gadget is pretty impressive in this arena and and within a few years I imagine all of the cameras in the F3 class will be able to handle greater contrast than we have seen yet. But until then--this is an important discussion.
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Old September 24th, 2012, 12:25 PM   #15
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Re: South Beach S-Log

Yes @ 0:14 you see the shadow emerge from his feet building upwards, a scary moment for any DOP I'm sure. Good place for an edit I see ; )

Wow @ 0:40 & 01:12 character is in complete shade yet pools of sunlight are still preserved in the background!

If it's ok to ask:

@ 0:38 is that lens flare real or fake?

For "in-shade" parts @ 0:40 do you recall where his skin was on waveform monitor under SLOG? 30?

Lastly, how long your lenses were for the pool and the interior @ 1:04? I only ask because in the reflection of the silver platter lid I didn't see any obvious camera / crew (unless you really look way far at the back of the room in the reflection you can see a few little men in there I think).
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