Why shoot flat in S-Log 3 and what do you get?

What shooting flat in SLog 3 gamma means for your production?

Shooting in a profile like SLog 3, essentially means it takes out the contrast and thus retains more details in the highlight/shadow areas of the picture.

Highlights such as sky and clouds, retain more recorded detail, instead of blowing out and being lost to the ‘digital gods’.

It does produce a flat noisy image, but don’t be worried. A lot of people avoid shooting flat  SLog because of the way it looks straight out the camera. But whilst shooting, you can often output to an external monitor that applies a LUT for you so Clients and Directors can see what it might look like when graded.

Below are some before and after a grade examples of footage that was shot in Cine SLog3 on the Sony FS7.

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Ungraded Girl


graded Girl

In the last few years more cameras have been shipped with these Cinestyle Profiles enabled. And it can really benefit your video production. Giving you more control over the look and feel of the video.

In the same way you record RAW, your recording more data, that can then be pulled out how you want in the edit suite. You take this flat footage and apply a ‘Lookup Table’ (LUT for short) which is a set look more akin to what your eyes are used to seeing on Television.

The most standard LUT is REC 709 Gamma Curve. This adds back the contrast and punch, but still holds the ability to pull back details in the clouds and lighten up shadow areas. Ideal when you have been filming on a sunny heavily contrasty day.

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On cameras such as the Sony FS7 and F55 you can also ‘bake in’ a LUT which is good if your production does not allow for time in the grading suite.

So in this way it acts just like the cameras we are all used to, and produces a straight to air look ready for broadcast.

As a Director of Photography or Cameraman it does offer a different way of working with more scope for creative lighting and looks to video production.

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