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Verité documentary: do you prefer to bake in or grade later?

IamOakley
Top Contributor

I'm always curious about what others are doing when shooting non-fiction. Obviously, there are many different kinds of documentary productions, and some allow more careful planning and lighting than others. But when you're literally shooting from the hip, adjusting lighting, framing, and focus as fast as you can following whatever is unrolling in front of you, there's a lot of room for error. Do you have better luck with a baked in Picture Profile (e.g. S-Cinetone) or shooting S-Log3?

On one hand, with S-Log3 you'll have more dynamic range to play with, and plenty of options for looks and LUTs. It feels like it's a safer bet because you or your colorist have more options in Post.

On the other hand, committing to a Picture Profile, what you see is what you get. There's less time spent on the end grading the footage (if you're the one who has to do it) and there are less exposure surprises or errors - in theory -  that you can make.

Since I shoot a lot on the FX3, before the v2 update, it was easy to decide on Picture Profiles. But now that you can bring in LUTs to view in Log Shooting mode, I find myself shooting everything in S-Log3. I like that I can actually choose a different look/LUT after the fact. Because honestly with documentary, the story often emerges during the edit, and so it's nice to have the ability to go different directions with color at that time too. But now I also spend a lot of time in Post grading. And sometimes it's just to get the image to where it could've been from the beginning.

Anyone have any thoughts? I'm curious what others in the community are doing!

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

DougJensen
Leading Creator

When I'm shooting with my F55 or FS7 I always shoot S-LOG (or RAW) and then grade in Resolve. Almost no exceptions to that workflow with those two cameras.

However, after doing a lot of controlled testing and experimentation with my FX6, I feel that I generally prefer the results I get when I shoot with S-Cinetone and then do a final grade in Resolve.  Now, someone might argue that if I'm going to run the footage through Resolve anyway, I might as well shoot with S-LOG3, but I've done my testing with FX6 footage, and I actually prefer grading S-Cinetone footage rather than S-LOG.

I know that S-Cinetone is promoted as being a WYSIWYG shooting mode that shouldn't require grading, but in my opinion, S-Cinetone can really benefit from some grading in post.  Here's a split screen demonstration I uploaded to my Youtube channel that shows the difference between Ungraded S-Cinetone and Graded S-Cineteone.  I prefer the images on the right.

 

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7 REPLIES 7

julienjarry
Top Contributor

I personally always shoot in SLOG3 and monitor the LUT I intend to use in post. What I see is what I get and I love Sony's current lineup of cameras including the FX3 which allows me to do just this.

IamOakley
Top Contributor

Good to know, thanks for the input.

LensMeAHand
Key Contributor

I couldn't imagine not shooting in log, even more so when it's a hectic run and gun. When you're moving quickly, you're more likely to make mistakes, and having the flexibility to possibly correct some of those mistakes in post is priceless.

If you're too lazy to grade it, you can slap an SLog3 to 709 LUT on all your footage with one click and be done

DougJensen
Leading Creator

When I'm shooting with my F55 or FS7 I always shoot S-LOG (or RAW) and then grade in Resolve. Almost no exceptions to that workflow with those two cameras.

However, after doing a lot of controlled testing and experimentation with my FX6, I feel that I generally prefer the results I get when I shoot with S-Cinetone and then do a final grade in Resolve.  Now, someone might argue that if I'm going to run the footage through Resolve anyway, I might as well shoot with S-LOG3, but I've done my testing with FX6 footage, and I actually prefer grading S-Cinetone footage rather than S-LOG.

I know that S-Cinetone is promoted as being a WYSIWYG shooting mode that shouldn't require grading, but in my opinion, S-Cinetone can really benefit from some grading in post.  Here's a split screen demonstration I uploaded to my Youtube channel that shows the difference between Ungraded S-Cinetone and Graded S-Cineteone.  I prefer the images on the right.