Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Charlie

LOG Footage/Grading - a rant of sorts!!

Recommended Posts

It seems these days everyone is crazy about log footage, more specifically, making sure "detail is kept" in the shadows and the highlights arent blown out. Every video I see on colour grading you have people saying to check your "skin tone" line on the vectorscope. Then you have a million Luts available to just slap on your footage......blah blah blah.

Is it just me or is anyone else tired of this trend? More and more films, more often short films end up looking the same...washed out, no contrast, desturatred, flat and boring.

I myself got obssessed with checking scopes every minute while grading and to be honest i have found it taking the fun/creativity out of the process. Some of my favourite films have crazy colour work (City of God, Man on Fire, Oldboy to name few). Sometimes the colour is completely unreastic but this is film, not life. Why does it seems many people are so obssessed about having realistic colours at all times. I even see people masking faces to make the skin colour natural in unatural lighting!!...what is this madness. If you are sat next to a green light your skin will not be rosy pink!

When I made my last short (below as example) I didnt know anything about scopes, luts, log, whataver, I just changed the colours by eye to something that I liked and thought fit the mood. I have decided to take that approach and the film I am currently editing. If I blow out a window, crush blacks, have unrealistic skin tones, I dont care.

Sometimes all this technology curbs creativity, dont get me wrong, I want V-Log for the GH5 and will use it. I just dont like this trend of approaching filmmaking like a science.

Rant over!

What do you think? am I talking out of my rear end!! :tounge_wink:

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

No, I think that you're pretty much spot on and its a conclusion I've been coming to myself recently.

I've just done a side by side comparison with log on the Fuji X-T2 and one of their inbuilt colour profiles and with a lot of fiddling I can get the log to look, erm, exactly like the inbuilt profile.

Which shows that Fuji know far more about this stuff than I do and that I should just stick with considering their sensor to be a film stock and working with it instead of around it.

Its a damn sight quicker and less render intensive too.

As a complete aside, you don't by any chance know where I could source a charger for Sony NP970 type batteries in Alicante do you?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, BTM_Pix said:

No, I think that you're pretty much spot on and its a conclusion I've been coming to myself recently.

I've just done a side by side comparison with log on the Fuji X-T2 and one of their inbuilt colour profiles and with a lot of fiddling I can get the log to look, erm, exactly like the inbuilt profile.

Which shows that Fuji know far more about this stuff than I do and that I should just stick with considering their sensor to be a film stock and working with it instead of around it.

Its a damn sight quicker and less render intensive too.

As a complete aside, you don't by any chance know where I could source a charger for Sony NP970 type batteries in Alicante do you?

Alicante doesn't even have a camera shop, my only suggestion would be El Corte Ingles. Failing that the closest decent camera stores are in Valencia or Murcia. Alicante sucks for many things!!....it does have amazing weather, beaches and women though, maaaan the women!!! Lol. Im never going back to blighty 🤣

I agree by the way, you should try and get the colours you want in the camera, by getting your locations and lighting how you want it to look in the film, or a close as possible. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Charlie said:

Alicante doesn't even have a camera shop, my only suggestion would be El Corte Ingles. Failing that the closest decent camera stores are in Valencia or Murcia. Alicante sucks for many things!!....it does have amazing weather, beaches and women though, maaaan the women!!! Lol. Im never going back to blighty 🤣

I agree by the way, you should try and get the colours you want in the camera, by getting your locations and lighting how you want it to look in the film, or a close as possible. 

Yeah, I'm in the Murcia region and its slim pickings here too but I have to go to Alicante tomorrow so thought I might have some luck.

Mind you, I could stay around for the other stuff you mentioned there!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Kubrickian said:

I think in a lot of the heavily graded films you cite, the skin tones are kept to an acceptable color while every other color goes nuts. That's the real talent of a world-class colorist. 

I totally agree, that professional colourists produce amazing results on these big films. They have the skills, knowledge and systems to correctly utilise log footage (although my examples were shot on film). 

How many low budget filmmakers even have a computer that can properly edit 10 or 12 bit log footage? Not many I would guess. Im pretty sure most consumer graphics cards can't even output 10 bit colour. Then you need a monitor that can display it. At the bare minimum. 

What im saying is that there seems to be be some sort of idea going round that shooting log is going to give you cinematic results when it wont. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yup, I agree.  I think your tastes change over time and more often than not the grading should be based on the feel/tone of the project.  That said...take some risks!  If no one ever took risks with grading we wouldn't have the beautiful palette from something like "Mad Max Fury Road".   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

 

As a complete aside, you don't by any chance know where I could source a charger for Sony NP970 type batteries in Alicante do you?

Haven't been there for a while but you might try the Media Markt shop if you have a car to drive to it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Charlie said:

 Im pretty sure most consumer graphics cards can't even output 10 bit colour. Then you need a monitor that can display it. At the bare minimum. 

Where does this misconception come from? Ask yourself, do you need a 16bit graphics card and display to work in 16bit in Photoshop?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, hyalinejim said:

Where does this misconception come from? Ask yourself, do you need a 16bit graphics card and display to work in 16bit in Photoshop?

You only retouch in 16bit in Photoshop if you're doing lots of blending and compositing, because you have more shades of colour to work with while retouching. And you need to work in 16bit if you're working with products that are specifically colour matched -- fashion, for example, where the colours of the clothing needs to match with the real thing, or a product like Coke where the red has to be a very specific shade. Working in 16bit (or 32bit for that matter) means you have more shades of red at your disposal.

You can't actually see the difference in colour when switching from 8bit to 16bit, because screens aren't capable of showing 16bit colour. For critical colour in photoshop you need to look at the numbers -- you can't just trust the screen, even if you're using a properly calibrated Eizo.

So to answer your question, yes, you will need a 16bit graphics card and 16bit display to *accurately* display all 16bits of colour information. Else what you're actually looking at is whatever your screen is capable of displaying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Log (with at least 10-bits) provides more creative options, so if you want the most creativity shoot log. Once you learn the tools you'll find you can quickly get a standard look (your standard- for which you can create a preset, etc., so one click and you are done). And if you want to do something wild and/or unrealistic for emotional effect, you can do that too. It's important to use the correct input LUT to get your flavor of LOG and color space into the correct format back to linear gamma and Rec709 color space. In some cases you can get an acceptable look by just using curves and saturation (I can do this with Canon Log 2 and Cinema Gamut with Production Matrix, for example, though I typically use the ARRI input LUTs for speed).

I've purchased a few creative LUT packs, including FilmConvert (plugin which does more than a simple LUT) and I almost never use creative LUTs. Ultimately I just dial in the look I want with Lumetri in PP CC vs. scrolling though 100's of LUTs looking for something that will work.

If you want to focus on just the creative part of shooting and skip the extra post work, there's nothing wrong with shooting with baked in gamma and color. It will simply limit your creative options in post, and will save you time on the plus side.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOG as used on high end cameras is not the same as the LOG you get on your sub $1000 DSLR. The former uses high bit rate, high bit depth, and high colour sampling to preserve the maximum amount of colour and tonal detail which can be easily used by even the most junior colourist/grader to good effect. The later throws away huge amounts of colour and tonal info which cannot be recovered by even the most experienced colourist/grader - banding in skies, blotchy and unconvincing skin tones, crude colours etc. You don't need a 10/12/16bit monitor to show the advantages in higher data bit rates and bit depths as an 8bit monitor will show the banding and other artifacts of low bitrate and bit depth LOG just as well as a high end Ezio display and similarly if you are manipulating high bitrate, high bit depth LOG (or RAW) on an 8bit monitor you will still be able to see how easy it is to push and pull the colours and tones and it still looks smooth and free from artefacts. Most good NLE's and Photoshop have high bit depth native working spaces so even if you are using only and 8bit image all the calculations are being done in 32bit!

IMO LUT's are being used with a lot of LOG footage to cover up it's flaws as it's easier to get a 'look' than a natural looking image with such compromised data.People are still banging on about how bit depth (10 bit is going to fix everything......) is the problem with LOG on DSLR's when the reality is the high data compression used in internal codecs. S-LOG2 8bit HDMI from my Sony A7s and A7r2 to an external recorder is very flexible (within reasonable limits) whereas you can often see banding on even unedited footage from internal S-LOG. Also exposing LOG properly is not easy as you need good scopes to pin the tones to the correct exposure level. These scopes are only available on external recorders or high end cameras so your are at another disadvantage shooting LOG on your DSLR. Many just use ETTR but this is exactly the best way to get into problems on low bitrate codecs as data compressed too far up the log curve is then dragged back down in grading where it falls apart - skintones, skies etc.

Getting it right in camera is no that hard and most non log camera profiles have enough adjustability to set your contrast appropriately to the scene you are shooting and are not far off LOG in terms of DR - not shooting LOG can be very liberating! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, Shirozina said:

LOG as used on high end cameras is not the same as the LOG you get on your sub $1000 DSLR. The former uses high bit rate, high bit depth, and high colour sampling to preserve the maximum amount of colour and tonal detail which can be easily used by even the most junior colourist/grader to good effect. The later throws away huge amounts of colour and tonal info which cannot be recovered by even the most experienced colourist/grader - banding in skies, blotchy and unconvincing skin tones, crude colours etc. You don't need a 10/12/16bit monitor to show the advantages in higher data bit rates and bit depths as an 8bit monitor will show the banding and other artifacts of low bitrate and bit depth LOG just as well as a high end Ezio display and similarly if you are manipulating high bitrate, high bit depth LOG (or RAW) on an 8bit monitor you will still be able to see how easy it is to push and pull the colours and tones and it still looks smooth and free from artefacts. Most good NLE's and Photoshop have high bit depth native working spaces so even if you are using only and 8bit image all the calculations are being done in 32bit!

IMO LUT's are being used with a lot of LOG footage to cover up it's flaws as it's easier to get a 'look' than a natural looking image with such compromised data.People are still banging on about how bit depth (10 bit is going to fix everything......) is the problem with LOG on DSLR's when the reality is the high data compression used in internal codecs. S-LOG2 8bit HDMI from my Sony A7s and A7r2 to an external recorder is very flexible (within reasonable limits) whereas you can often see banding on even unedited footage from internal S-LOG. Also exposing LOG properly is not easy as you need good scopes to pin the tones to the correct exposure level. These scopes are only available on external recorders or high end cameras so your are at another disadvantage shooting LOG on your DSLR. Many just use ETTR but this is exactly the best way to get into problems on low bitrate codecs as data compressed too far up the log curve is then dragged back down in grading where it falls apart - skintones, skies etc.

Getting it right in camera is no that hard and most non log camera profiles have enough adjustability to set your contrast appropriately to the scene you are shooting and are not far off LOG in terms of DR - not shooting LOG can be very liberating! 

Actually, ETTR is the best way to get good image quality from LOG footage, just as it is with non-LOG footage. But it is really only effective at base ISO. I'm with you though about not wanting to shoot LOG, but according to what I've seen, with the GH5 at least, V-LOG L gives two extra stops of dynamic range.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How can ETTR work in all circumstances with LOG? if you shoot a high contrast scene and a low contrast scene and expose both with ETTR your midtones or skin tones or shadows will be recorded at different parts of the log curve which will result in different colours (esp with Sony S-LOG/S-Gamut) and different noise levels at best and banding and other artefacts at worst. The whole point of LOG is to expose it correctly and pin your tones to the right place on the LOG curve and not squash them all up as far as they will go. ETTR is for RAW where there is no baked in response curve and you are just trying to maximise DR and where you can apply the response curve in post with no penalty of losing data. No wonder people are having problems with LOG if they are using ETTR......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, jhnkng said:

So to answer your question, yes, you will need a 16bit graphics card and 16bit display to *accurately* display all 16bits of colour information. Else what you're actually looking at is whatever your screen is capable of displaying.

I think the point is - you're grading (in this case) for an 8-bit screen. Or at least the majority of people here are anyway. Yes, most people don't really understand much about bit-depth etc. but overall if you're grading on an 8-bit screen for delivery on an 8-bit screen, there's no issue. If you grade 12-bit footage on a 10-bit screen, it's most likely going to look wrong on an 8-bit screen.

You don't need an 8-bit screen to grade, and whilst most colour suites will have a high-end properly calibrated (and maybe 10-bit) monitor, client monitors are almost always 8-bit consumer screens, as that's what the content will end up viewed on.

The exception to this, of course, is grading for cinema delivery.

3 hours ago, jcs said:

If you want to focus on just the creative part of shooting and skip the extra post work, there's nothing wrong with shooting with baked in gamma and color. It will simply limit your creative options in post, and will save you time on the plus side.

*depending on what you shoot on and how you shoot.

 

3 hours ago, jcs said:

Log (with at least 10-bits) provides more creative options, so if you want the most creativity shoot log.

Shooting with a logarithmic gamma curve does nothing more than compress more dynamic range into 10, 12 or 16 bits of information than would otherwise be available if shooting with a linear (or REC709) gamma curve.

Whether that equates to 'more creative options' depends on what you shoot on, what you're shooting and how you shoot among other things. For example, shooting log vs REC709 on an Alexa can actually provide you with less creative options unless you test appropriately and shoot based on where you want to place your dynamic range (and ideally using a LUT designed for the look of the project).

2 hours ago, Shirozina said:

LOG as used on high end cameras is not the same as the LOG you get on your sub $1000 DSLR.

I'v e always questioned the.. erm... sanity... of shooting log on anything less than 10-bits... the 'pseudo-log' that was popularised on Canon DSLRs isn't actually log, it's just a contrast adjustment. Log on an A7s, for example, holds up okay but only due to a custom implementation of Sony's codec.

2 hours ago, Shirozina said:

IMO LUT's are being used with a lot of LOG footage to cover up it's flaws as it's easier to get a 'look' than a natural looking image with such compromised data.

Actually, I think LUTs are used mostly because people have no understanding of log other than hearing that you should shoot in it. Hence, when it comes time to grade, they have no idea how to actually turn that footage into something that resembles what they actually wanted, so end up using a generic LUT that turns log footage into something. It may not be what they want, but at least it's not grey and washed out...

2 hours ago, Shirozina said:

S-LOG2 8bit HDMI from my Sony A7s and A7r2 to an external recorder is very flexible (within reasonable limits) whereas you can often see banding on even unedited footage from internal S-LOG. Also exposing LOG properly is not easy as you need good scopes to pin the tones to the correct exposure level. These scopes are only available on external recorders or high end cameras so your are at another disadvantage shooting LOG on your DSLR. Many just use ETTR but this is exactly the best way to get into problems on low bitrate codecs as data compressed too far up the log curve is then dragged back down in grading where it falls apart - skintones, skies etc.

I agree (although I find the difference between A7s external vs internal to be small overall - certainly useful depending on what you're shooting... although overall I rarely shoot Slog on my A7s anymore and only ever do if I'm recording externally).

I'll also add the caveat that whether ETTR is an appropriate way of exposing depends a lot on what is actually in the frame, and what you're shooting on and how it places things. Placing things where they should be on the waveform shouldn't provide much issue when grading overall.

2 hours ago, Shirozina said:

Getting it right in camera is no that hard and most non log camera profiles have enough adjustability to set your contrast appropriately to the scene you are shooting and are not far off LOG in terms of DR - not shooting LOG can be very liberating! 

Agree - though again, depends on what you're shooting on.

1 hour ago, jonpais said:

Actually, ETTR is the best way to get good image quality from LOG footage, just as it is with non-LOG footage. But it is really only effective at base ISO. I'm with you though about not wanting to shoot LOG, but according to what I've seen, with the GH5 at least, V-LOG L gives two extra stops of dynamic range.

Actually, no. Understanding how your camera (or the one your shooting on) behaves in log, and where you want your exposure to sit; basically testing cameras and understanding digital exposure is the best way to get good image quality from log footage.

--

Log is, or can be, very useful - depending on what you're shooting. Most importantly, knowing what log is, how the camera you're using behaves in log, how it grades, where the noise floor is, and testing to see how you want to shoot and expose with it is the only way to get accurate images in log space.

And then, understanding how to colour grade, understanding how to use the waveform and colour theory etc. is how you get that log stuff looking good (and understanding waveform is important too in this day and age of digital exposure)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Shirozina said:

How can ETTR work in all circumstances with LOG? if you shoot a high contrast scene and a low contrast scene and expose both with ETTR your midtones or skin tones or shadows will be recorded at different parts of the log curve which will result in different colours (esp with Sony S-LOG/S-Gamut) and different noise levels at best and banding and other artefacts at worst. The whole point of LOG is to expose it correctly and pin your tones to the right place on the LOG curve and not squash them all up as far as they will go. ETTR is for RAW where there is no baked in response curve and you are just trying to maximise DR and where you can apply the response curve in post with no penalty of losing data. No wonder people are having problems with LOG if they are using ETTR......

While it's true there can be a (typically magenta-green) color shift in some flavors of LOG (easy to WB and fix in post), you're better off over exposing (ETTR) because there's not many code values down low, and it's better to push down blacks for noise than to try to pull up in post. If your LOG has wonky color with exposure, probably best to keep skintones up and away from the maximum non-linearity (see graph here): http://www.xdcam-user.com/2015/10/why-its-helpful-to-over-expose-s-log-especially-if-you-only-have-8-bit-recording/. For the A7S II in dynamic-lighting live shoots, I've had pretty good luck with auto ISO +2 (over expose 2 stops, top (exposure) dial). Skin tones looked pretty good too. Just make sure not to clip the whites.

10-bit LOG buys you more code values, which are especially helpful down in the lower code values.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, jhnkng said:

You only retouch in 16bit in Photoshop if you're doing lots of blending and compositing, because you have more shades of colour to work with while retouching. And you need to work in 16bit if you're working with products that are specifically colour matched -- fashion, for example, where the colours of the clothing needs to match with the real thing, or a product like Coke where the red has to be a very specific shade. Working in 16bit (or 32bit for that matter) means you have more shades of red at your disposal.

You can't actually see the difference in colour when switching from 8bit to 16bit, because screens aren't capable of showing 16bit colour. For critical colour in photoshop you need to look at the numbers -- you can't just trust the screen, even if you're using a properly calibrated Eizo.

So to answer your question, yes, you will need a 16bit graphics card and 16bit display to *accurately* display all 16bits of colour information. Else what you're actually looking at is whatever your screen is capable of displaying.

The point of higher bitrates is to have more elbow room in post. My question was rhetorical. The post I quoted implies there's no point working with high bit depth files on lower bit depth hardware. That's not true.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

I've just done a side by side comparison with log on the Fuji X-T2 and one of their inbuilt colour profiles and with a lot of fiddling I can get the log to look, erm, exactly like the inbuilt profile.

Aint this the truth. If you have a camera that already outputs pleasing natural colour, and if that's what you want, then there's really no need to capture in LOG unless you absolutely need the extra detail in the shadows/highlights. One thing the XT2 has made me do (because it doesn't iDynamic, DRO or similar options that raise the shadows loads) is it's made me think about using shadows much more effectively or creatively. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Same issue as what swept though audio post production two decades ago. 

The power was suddenly in the hands of the people with digital DAW's and they couldn't mix frequencies for shit. 

....and never mind their (or my) ability to actually compose something interesting.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...