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Old August 2nd, 2016, 04:25 AM   #1
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How noticeable is Log latitude really?

I was at a small/middle sized (5 full time staff + many freelancers) production company the other day and I asked them what percentage of their projects they shoot in Log? They surprised me by saying in the last couple of years they had shot 2-3 projects in Log, the rest in Rec709. I asked them why and they explained they couldn't see the value in Log for most of their projects.

Now these guys do a mixture of stuff from basic RnG to high end documentary and they have some big international clients.

So that got me wondering whether there really is 'a lot' to be gained by shooting in Log, given how it dominates so many video forums... and so I assume everyone is at it.

Into this mix I have now seen several 'example' Log videos that folks are proudly putting on the Net. Some of them are devoid of much contrast, whilst others are shot in scenarios where (from what I understand) Log just isn't needed, eg a cloudy day shooting on/at tarmac or shooting at night.

Since I have only dabbled in Log and haven't yet had time to learn how to grade it in Resolve, I'm curious to know whether others feel it's worth the effort, offering a lot more over Rec709. Some Log/709 video comparisons would be much appreciated if you have them.
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Old August 2nd, 2016, 06:01 AM   #2
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Re: How noticeable is Log latitude really?

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Originally Posted by Nigel Davey View Post
Since I have only dabbled in Log and haven't yet had time to learn how to grade it in Resolve, I'm curious to know whether others feel it's worth the effort, offering a lot more over Rec709..
Well, that's the key right there. LOG requires a a commitment to grade in Resolve or Baselight or some other dedicated color grading program. If someone wants to shoot LOG and just apply a quick boiler-plate LUT in post, or do all their "grading" with the weak tools found within their NLE (even though the NLEs are getting better), then yes, there will be virtually no benefit of having shot LOG.

I would argue that anyone who cannot see the benefit of LOG, or poo poos the difference it makes has probably not looked into it deeply enough. 90% of the time if I shoot something LOG vs. REC709 there is a very noticeable differences in the final output. Plus LOG gives me tons of options in post, where REC709 is mostly burned in.

But if someone doesn't want to take the time to learn Resolve (it's free) then they should stick with REC709 and go happily along their merry way. I am not saying that great things cannot be done without LOG, I'm just saying that LOG takes your work to a new level. Anyone who says otherwise is probably inexperienced in the use of LOG.
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Old August 2nd, 2016, 12:29 PM   #3
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Re: How noticeable is Log latitude really?

Hi Doug. Do you have any examples (either via Resolve or otherwise) of the same scene shot in both Log and 709?

Also do you shoot mostly in Log?
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Old August 2nd, 2016, 12:59 PM   #4
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Re: How noticeable is Log latitude really?

Sorry, I've done a lot of testing of the two modes when doing research for my various Sony camcorder training videos, but nothing I'd be able to post publicly.

On my FS7, I would say I shoot:

70% S-LOG2 (graded in Resolve)
20% S-LOG3 (graded in Resolve)
10% various Custom Scene files (minor adjustments in Premiere)
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Old August 2nd, 2016, 01:27 PM   #5
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Re: How noticeable is Log latitude really?

Nigel, you ask a great question here.

LOG is great. It brings fantastic flexibility in post. However, it's only a capture and archival technique. 99% of what you deliver for display is a rec709-ish gamma. If you are doing true HDR delivery, that's another ball game but most of us today are still doing rec709 delivery.

So, why shoot log with 13 or 14 stops,....normalize it to 6 or 7 stops of rec709 and throw away all the rest of the DR that you worked so hard to capture? Answer? To "store" it. To have more than you need. Why? Because you dont have to decide what to keep in your rec709 bucket in the field...you can now make that decision in post at a later date. You can grade a project today and go back to it 5 years later and say "Yknow what?...I'm going back to that LOG and I'm going to completely change the highlights, brightness and shadows of my project 5 years back..."

Yes,...you can do that with LOG!...not with rec709!!!

Remember, once you clip something in rec709 in the field or you wished that you overexposed rec709 to see deeper into the shadows....it's too late to get that lost dynamic range back in post. In rec709, you have 6-7 stops in the field, if you got it, great, if you didn't,....you lost it forever. In LOG, you could have 14 stops and from that you can pick the "right" 6-7 stops that you need from it. (and maybe change your mind years later) LOG is a less "destructive" processes than rec709. LOG is more tolerant in that regard

Beware,....LOG will cost you!

SLOG-2 is tough on 8 bit CODECS. "Banding" problems can be a price you pay. 8bit CODECS are not made for heavy stretching and SLOG-3 is downright brutal on 8bit CODECS. If you dont over expose your SLOG by 2 stops, your signal to noise ratio is going to really show itself. For me, in SLOG, I tend press it upwards pretty hard before clipping. Bringing it back in a more downward trend sends noise down with it....but that's just me. Others might be more inclined to follow a strict Sony rule book on this and possibly leave more unused headroom at the top...I dunno.

Yes,....grading LOG requires practice. It's one thing to get the brightness with a right with a LUT but SLOG will also throw you color shift curve balls. I cant tell you how many "bad" SLOG grading examples I have seen on the web. I CONSTANTLY see people post SLOG graded videos where the grass looks like it's nuclear and glowing radioactive!!! SLOG "can" give you THE most unnatural looking green channel you have ever seen. Many times I have had to work separately on the green channel to swing its phase and work with green saturation.

LUTS can get you 80% there but that's it. You will need to manually tweak it the rest of the way in terms of color shift, mids, highlights and shadows. (classic color wheels)

This is why I tell people to shoot SLOG under different situations. Deliberately underexpose it badly, ever expose it badly. Take that back to your NLE and see the problems they bring. This will HELP you in the future and when it's exposed correctly, you will see how your job gets easier.

DaVanci is amazing, and pretty much the best out there, no doubt. But it's not the "only" software that will give you good results. If you have an 8bit source, nothing will add accurate bit depth to your video. So working in a 32bit float math is awesome but it wont change your 8bit into 10bit values. Every color change will still be in 8 bit steps. Yes, you can still do good work in Premiere/Lumeteri. Learn DaVinci though, it's free and awesome.

For me, rec709 is rec709. Whether it was shot in SLOG, graded and discarded down to rec709 or if it was only rec709 in the field to begin with...it's still just 6-7 stops anyway. You cant keep it all and maintain good rec709 contrast.

When rec2020 gets more popular, your SLOG footage can be re-graded for that and you will CERTAINLY have a big gain in your delivery video then.

Practice with SLOG, experiment with it,...play with it. You'll get it quickly if you do. Look for SLOG graded videos on the web. Look at the good ones, notice the bad ones and watch for radioactive, nuclear colored grass and leaves! You will find those videos right away!...even from guys/gals that call themselves SLOG "pros" ;-)

CT

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Old August 2nd, 2016, 03:37 PM   #6
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Re: How noticeable is Log latitude really?

Only a fool would shoot S-LOG with an 8-bit codec.
I totally disagree that Premiere can be used for S-LOG. Waste of time.
A starting LUT is almost mandatory for S-LOG3 but totally optional for S-LOG2.
RAW is even better because you can grade it as either S-LOG2 or S-LOG3 after the fact.

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Old August 2nd, 2016, 03:52 PM   #7
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Re: How noticeable is Log latitude really?

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Originally Posted by Cliff Totten View Post
Because you dont have to decide what to keep in your rec709 bucket in the field...you can now make that decision in post at a later date. You can grade a project today and go back to it 5 years later and say "Yknow what?...I'm going back to that LOG and I'm going to completely change the highlights, brightness and shadows of my project 5 years back..." CT
It's actually even better than that because using power windows in Resolve you can have multiple buckets. For example, maybe I want to grade the sky one way and the foreground another way. I do not need to apply the same grade to the whole image. So while any given part of the picture might only be handle 7 stops of dynamic range, I don't have to use the same 7 stops on all parts of the picture. This is why you need Resolve and not Premiere. This is why you need to grade by hand and not just expect to apply a blanket LUT across all footage and walk away. S-LOG takes a commitment, and that's why you see a lot of crap because people buy the hype of S-LOG but don't want to put the work into it in post. Some of these are the same people who buy the hype of big sensor cameras and then use consumer f/6.3 lenses then wonder why their footage doesn't look good. There are no shortcuts.
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Old August 3rd, 2016, 06:20 AM   #8
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Re: How noticeable is Log latitude really?

Thanks Cliff. That makes a lot of sense and probably explains why the production company I visited isn't shooting Log too often. Possibly their projects have a limited shelf life and there isn't much reason to revisit the rushes further down the track.

Doug, the power bucket option inside Resolve is the best argument I've come across for Log thus far. Assuming you can mask, grade and layer segments, it makes sense of Log in a 6 stop world.

I had a look at your Log grading video, which is impressive and the colours certainly pop on my iPad screen. But I was wondering (and this is not a challenge) would you have got something very similar if you had taken 709 into Resolve for the same scenes (particularly the bridge) and graded it appropriately?

Incidentally I 100% understand and agree that I need to learn/use Resolve for Log, but the challenge is the time needed to do so. My business model/workflow operates without it for now, so I'll need to wait until things get a little quieter, most likely the fall.

But making my clients realise they need it, over what I currently give them, is another matter... and is the underlying reason I started this thread. I'm hoping sooner or latter someone will post the same scene shot and graded with Log and 709 so I can see the difference. I'd happily have a go myself, but obviously I don't yet have the Resolve skills.
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Old August 3rd, 2016, 08:12 AM   #9
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Re: How noticeable is Log latitude really?

"I asked them why and they explained they couldn't see the value in Log for most of their projects."

The key word that needs clarification is "value"

Within client-land, it's often a struggle to justify any new technology (learning curve) or anything that will cost them additional money or time (and if you have employees, their time equates to money). While it's great that cameras now feature sensors with all that additional dynamic range, shooting Raw or Log are the best ways to harness that range. Unfortunately I've never felt that just putting the footage through a LUT will provide anything near acceptable finished results without additional work in Resolve or Scratch, so I can't in good conscience tell a client that Log won't either slow them down or cost them additional money. I've also shot commercials in s-Log where there were time and money to do a proper color correct, but the post house chosen by the agency has done such a marginal grading job that I've personally re-graded the footage for the production company so that at least they had something to be proud of -- even if the spot wasn't broadcast that way. Remember, at the end of the shoot day the production company hands off the footage to the advertising agency, which selects a post house and hands it off to them, etc. It's great to have control over the grading -- but much of the time that doesn't happen, and postproduction is often in a different city or state.

So if you're doing your own projects and have time and good color skills, Log is a wonderful way to be able to harness and use the additional dynamic range provided by the sensor. Doug's examples are a great indication of what you can do with that dynamic range. But I find that for 80% of the productions I shoot the production/time/cost pipeline really isn't ready for the Log workflow. If you're trying to convince a client to use Log, make sure they're ready for it!

To go back to the thread title for a second --
If you're doing a shoot with extreme contrast ratios the latitude provided by Log is EXTREMELY VALUABLE! There are many situations where there's just too much contrast range (or too much change in exposure during a shot) to get good results with 709 or Cine/Hyper Gammas. For those shots Log may be your best solution -- just make sure that someone in post doesn't just throw a LUT on them, and actually uses their eyes and brains to adjust them!!!
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Old August 3rd, 2016, 10:30 AM   #10
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Re: How noticeable is Log latitude really?

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Originally Posted by Nigel Davey View Post
But I was wondering (and this is not a challenge) would you have got something very similar if you had taken 709 into Resolve for the same scenes (particularly the bridge) and graded it appropriately?
Absolutely not. There is no question in my mind that shooting LOG made a big difference.
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Old August 3rd, 2016, 10:38 AM   #11
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Re: How noticeable is Log latitude really?

It would be great if we could get over this misconception that grading somehow adds hours or days of extra labor to a production. Grading in Resolve is really pretty simple and doesn't take any more time than you'd probably spend to tweak normal REC709 footage that needed some touch-ups. It really is just a myth that grading is a hassle or takes a lot of time. Yes, it is an extra step in the workflow, but not a big time-consuming step. I think that I graded all the shots in the example I posted above in a couple of hours and I was doing a lot more playing around than if it was for a real project. What production, other than news, can't budget a little extra time for grading? Why waste money on fancy equipment with high-end capabilities and then not use them. Yeah, I know it is ultimately up to the client, but that is where client education and a little hand-holding can really pay off. Grading is an important part of the process and I look forward to it as much as I used to look forward to developing and printing photos in my old B&W darkroom. My 2 cents.
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Old August 3rd, 2016, 05:14 PM   #12
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Re: How noticeable is Log latitude really?

Doug,
You get to edit and finish what you shoot, but for those of us who hand over the footage at the end of each shoot day the realities of postproduction are often different. Most of the corporate clients who make up a large portion of my work have a significantly different workflow. I'd be surprised if they do any color tweaking at all on more than 10% of the finished piece; and if we're shooting with three or four or five cameras and one of them needs a little color adjustment in post I'm the one who ends up fielding complaints about it. And there certainly aren't any color correct monitors in their brightly fluorescent lit editing cubicles. On the other hand, they are good clients, treat us well on set and pay quickly -- and we do our best to make sure that everything we shoot is as 'ready for air' as we can make it. These are the kinds of companies that have trouble seeing the 'value' in Log, since they have neither a staff trained in color correction nor the inclination to budget any time at all for it. And as journeymen cinematographers we still need to provide them the best images we can.
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Old August 3rd, 2016, 07:45 PM   #13
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Re: How noticeable is Log latitude really?

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Only a fool would shoot S-LOG with an 8-bit codec.
I totally disagree that Premiere can be used for S-LOG. Waste of time.
A starting LUT is almost mandatory for S-LOG3 but totally optional for S-LOG2.
RAW is even better because you can grade it as either S-LOG2 or S-LOG3 after the fact.

Sony PMW-F55 4K RAW - Before and After Grading Demo on Vimeo
LOL,....well Doug, I wouldn't go "that" far are to call call people "fools" if they shoot SLOG on 8 bit.

Can you shoot SLOG-2 in 8 bit? Sure you can! Can you get a good looking image? Of course you can! Will it give you 10 bit results?,...no, of course it will not. Can an 8 bit shooter benefit from SLOG-2?...of course he/she can. Please,...12bit raw is only available in UHD from the FS5 raw upgrade. If you dont have that, and are shooting 8 bit,...if done correctly, you can get good looking video. There are THOUSANDS of stunning A7s videos shot SLOG-2 in 8bit. Yes,..8bit ProRes will be significantly better than internal long GOP but without Sony XAVC-l/S noise reduction. But Long GOP is still usable.

Permiere?...ZILLIONS of SLOG videos have been graded with Premiere users. Trust me, they don't all look bad!! (no matter what Doug might think) Yes, I know that Resolve is the defacto standard but Premiere is not a "waste of time"?? No,...that's just weird talk.

I do have to laugh when I see people preach the..."there is only ONE way to do something"...theory.

There is ONE way to "expose"......"properly". (I love the term "proper exposure")
8bit cant be used for SLOG or you are a "fool".
There is ONE program to color grade with or you are "wasting your time".
Zebras must be set "this" way....my way.

I mean, I could go on and on from posts you have made in the past. Bottom line? FACT = Film makers are creating beautiful work all around the world on 8 bit and 10bit or DNG. With F55's all the way down to A7s and down to A6300's. They are using all combinations of rec709-ish profiles through SLOG-2/3. They are using Premiere, Vegas, Edius, Avid, Final Cut, Canopus and yes,...the Davinci Resolve that we all love.

Believe me Doug, everybody is making beautiful work all their own way. Your training videos are very nice, I do like them allot but they are NOT a "requirement" for people to make great pictures. There is not one "right" or "wrong" way to do anything. Stop trying to always narrow everything down to this idea.

I say this nicely and with all due respect to you and your work. I just wish you would display this same courtesy to others here....even if you have a different opinion.

CT

Last edited by Pete Bauer; August 13th, 2016 at 07:30 AM. Reason: Redacted ad hominem
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Old August 3rd, 2016, 08:40 PM   #14
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Re: How noticeable is Log latitude really?

Hey Cliff, no offense taken. I accept your comments in the light you have intended, but nevertheless, I'm not going to change my style of posting. Yes, I generally see things as either black or white and I am more than happy to spew my point of view. Guilty. And it makes no difference to me whether that ruffles the feathers of those folks who prefer to see things in shades of gray. I speak from experience and I stand by what I have already posted and wouldn't want to water down my opinions one bit! :-)

But I also appreciate your counterpoint.
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Old August 3rd, 2016, 08:45 PM   #15
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Re: How noticeable is Log latitude really?

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Originally Posted by Dave Sperling View Post
You get to edit and finish what you shoot, but for those of us who hand over the footage at the end of each shoot day the realities of postproduction are often different.
Dave, I understand what you are saying, but I think the point of this thread concerns what to do when we DO have a choice. I usually have to shoot REC709 for clients just like you do, but when the choice is in my hands, S-LOG is generally my choice for the reasons I've already stated. But yeah, we aren't always in a position to make that choice. But with that said, I can and do, take every opportunity to educate my clients and lobby for what I think is best -- not just for S-LOG, but also for codec, 4K vs. HD, overall workflow, style, and anything else I feel I can help with. That is part of the service I provide. No one's gonna call me a "yes man" but I certainly don't dictate -- what I do is try to educate those with open minds and let them make the choice. To do otherwise would be disservice to the people who have hired me for my "expertise". I expect that same attitude from people I hire to do work for me, whether that person is a plumber, auto mechanic, designer, animator, etc. I want them to tell me what they think and make their case if I am going in the wrong direction.
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