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    Uh oh, two posts in one day....

    I am hoping some of you will offer me some sage advice. I have a D800E that I have been trying to use to shoot run and gun style golf course talking heads, instruction, etc. The harsh outdoor lighting conditions pose a challenge to making the people look good, but then there is the golf course condition itself, which is usually garbage.

    In the old days, we'd say: "garbage in, garbage out", but with the advent of RAW in still photography I have been able to exploit that newfound 'latitude' I could never get by pushing and pulling and bracketing and trying to build composites out of sorted layers. Now I can take a pretty miserable-looking golf course, at the worst time of the day, and 'save' the shot.

    My wife and I are at a point where we must deliver a better visual product to our clients at the golf courses. They get it in our print product but not as much so in our video. Unfortunately, the D800, the VG10 before that, and the older Sony HVRHD1000U-like camcorder our community TV station let me use, don't allow for 'developing RAW'.

    My question is: does RAW video equate to RAW stills? Is RAW video the same concept in post as in ACR for stills?

    What has s-log got to do with DR exactly, and is that something that can be leveraged like RAW?

    I ask about all of this because I can't always get to the courses at dawn or dust, and shoot dramatic video with perfect exposure and pristine conditions all the time. Yet, I am scared that soon I will be expected to deliver 'the goods' very soon, and at leisure of the schedules of the talking heads themselves, not what I want or know to be best for shooting. In other words: I don't have total control.

    I also can't say: 'well, it looks like crap because we shot the course at noon'. They don't want to hear that. They don't give a hoot. They want everything to look like perfection as if I had $60000 cameras, and dozens of people on my crew. But it's just me and my bride. And we aren't getting any younger!

    I guess this is my round about way of trying to figure out what to do for our visual future. Do I get a BMCC bc it shoots RAW? Maybe an old Red M? Also, I am not enjoying using a DSLR to shoot. It is horribly stressful trying to set it up for an interview quickly, with the talent being a golf director who expects himself to look like Cary Grant, and his golf course to look better than Pebble Beach!

    I recently have been sniffing at the AF100 because I think I can use some help with a camera that works like a camcorder, not a DSLR. But I saw some footage shot in the same lousy conditions I am often faced with, but a real hot shot pro, for another major destination and while his composition was wonderful, the image was flat and lifeless. He told me it was the crappy hazy weather. I totally get his predicament, but had that file been RAW, could he have bumped up the vibrancy, recovered blown highlights, and saturated a little here and there?

    Then I started thinking about the F3. That is a confusing camera to me. Does it, or does it not, shoot 1080p60 w/o a big expense in an external recorder? Or, is the recorder now affordable? Is that cam's file near-raw w/s-log? They have come way down in price. I wonder why?

    Then there is the Canon C100. Seems like a lot of people are getting that, along with a Ninja. But I have been shooting Nikon for years, decades. I have all their glass, and hate the thought of switching. (I know there are adapters :-) Or the FS700 with Oddysey (not avail yet)?

    In any event, yes, I know am doing this ass-backwards. Not out of choice, but out of necessity. Times are tough and money is tight. Clients are wanting more for less, and have less patience.

    Any input on whether RAW is a good idea or not, and which kind of RAW might be best for a used cam in the area of $5-$8k is much-appreciated.


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    Raw in motion is the same concept as in stills. Much less is set in stone (white balance, look etc).
    Maybe look at magic lantern? Don't know if they are doing anything with Nikon.
    Ultimately you must cater to your clients. A used R1 is not a horrible idea, especially if you have a set of Nikkor glass. 4k on the fs700 is cumbersom for what it is. F3 dropped in price because of the f5/55 (I believe).
    As far as the harsh noon lighting problem, a couple reflects can do wonders if you practice with them. Or you can just tell them how it is; old men will always find something to complain about. Always.
    Quote Originally Posted by TimurCivan View Post
    one is french and its different for that reason.


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    Quote Originally Posted by olindacat View Post
    My wife and I are at a point where we must deliver a better visual product to our clients at the golf courses
    Post some samples of what you're producing right now ( either frame grabs or video clips ) so we can get a better idea of where you are at, which will make our suggestions a lot more relevant to your work.


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    Okay, so this is some video taken yesterday at Kapalua on Maui. The two-up is a screen grab from Premiere of video taken with D800E (left) on neutral setting, and the adjacent shot to the right with talking head is with another Nikon (AW100) standard (all auto) video settings. As you can see it isn't easy to hold/point/or set reflectors in this kind of situation, but perhaps on-camera light or two light set-up would work. Having a generator seems a bit loud and distracting. Note that this was news coverage and not a staged video. Talent didn't know she was going to be taped and wasn't mic'ed.

    suzy-whaley.jpg


    These are stills taken with the D800E processed in ACR. The fact that I can bring her face out of the shadow is great. Both shots have the sun at her back which is often the case. I am struggling to minimize blown highlights in clouds here. But, I can see her face. It makes me wonder if I should be shooting RAW. BTW: Marie, my wife, is the student on left, adn is shooting the AW100 in the background on the shot on right.

    _DSC8980.jpg_DSC9133.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDingo View Post
    Post some samples of what you're producing right now ( either frame grabs or video clips ) so we can get a better idea of where you are at, which will make our suggestions a lot more relevant to your work.
    Last edited by olindacat; 09-22-2013 at 02:43 PM. Reason: added note about Marie


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    Honestly, find some new clients. Or learn what their expectations really are (many clients claim they want something, but don't even know what it is). Unless you're getting paid a LOT there's no reason to punish yourself meeting unrealistic expectations. Those who pay the least expect the most. That said, it sounds like you're a bit new to some of this so learning as much as you can first will help you figure out what's feasible and how to achieve it and how to explain to your clients what's feasible and what's not.

    The kinds of light that will fight noon and not look "spotty" are 18Ks and 6Ks through diff... Way out of your budget and totally infeasible. For open areas like that on sunny days, bounce is far more effective. Ultrabounce frames if you have the crew to support it, bead board if you don't. Bead board is $40 at a grip house and $10 at home depot and is the best and most-used reflector available.

    Fwiw, the F3 and C100 do have much better lattitude than dSLRs and the C100 is easier to work with (F3 is tough for a one-man band), but both really require some practice exposing and an external recorder to get the most detail and highlight/shadow retention. Forget raw vs raster for a minute, since the sensor is the bottleneck of any good system (dSLR video not being a good system). Nikon's still raw files approach 14 stops of latitude... The Alexa's raw and prores files surpass 14 stops. The F3 through an external recorder reaches 12+. The C100 reaches 12. The Red MX approaches 12, the Epic reaching 12 (more with HDRx). Never used the BMCC but sounds like it reaches 12+ stops of latitude, and it being slow (ISO-wise) would not be a disadvantage to you. But remember that before Vision 2 and Vision 3 film stock had 7-8 stops of latitude and digibeta way less so your "$60,000" system years ago cost even more and didn't even get close to what your dSLR now provides. The only camera I've used that really makes "blown highlights" a non-issue is the Alexa, and even that's not perfect... But who cares? Blown highlights are not a big issue.

    Unless this client pays great, I'd just try to temper his or her expectations. But if you can finance a better camera (or a rental), that and some bead board should get you pretty far. For CUs an on-camera HMI or very powerful LED at close distances might provide some useful fill but it will look very spotty. Which might be ok, but bead board is easier and cheaper.

    Also, there are worse things than blown highlights. Use ND grads on the wide shots and shallow focus to hide them on the CUs and your product will probably look fine. This is the first thing people try to "fix" but it's rarely something clients care about.
    Last edited by Policar; 09-22-2013 at 02:59 PM.


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    These are me trying my damndest to make the subjects and the golf courses in the BGs look as nice as I can and with a D800E and 24-70 2.8 glass! Had these been stills shot RAW I can tell you they'd pop and be beautiful. But this video is looking like crap. Pretty depressing-looking inconsistent footage let me tell you.... I blame the camera man. What an idiot!


    In this shot I am exposing to try and make his face as bright as I can without doing any more damage to the scene behind him than I already am. Marie is to the viewer's left holding a white foamcore panel to reflect light on him. Note how flat and lifeless the course looks. I can't do much with this file as the color is pretty baked in. Also, I must confess that I am truly confused about how to make the best of this type of an image in Premiere Pro. If I was using Photoshop I might be able to save this, somehow. Is Da Vinci worth a try?

    Attachment 76540

    This guy below is yet another typical dilemma: I can't have Marie on top of him with reflector, and need to show area left and right of him so viewer sees slope of hill. So,e kind of light with decent throw seems like my only hope here, and in so many cases, but battery power is a must as a generator is just too loud.

    Attachment 76541


    Clearly, a need to rig up this Nikon as I am only using the screen in back of the camera, and in this harsh light it is very hard to see with my old eyes and the bright sun. I just know to stop it down to get as much DOF as I can and spray and pray. There is a cast here and WB is likely the culprit. If I shot RAW or was lighting this I might have better results. If I had my druthers I'd have a huge diffuser panel above him blocking the sun, a key light and two more on the side, and maybe one behind for his hair, with a make-up artist and a 1st and 2nd AC and a DIT, with a scriptwriter and a real director and a few grips and a sound crew and a nice big truck to haul around everything with Pineapple Grill catering, of course ;-)

    Attachment 76542


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    Quote Originally Posted by olindacat View Post
    Uh oh, two posts in one day....

    I am hoping some of you will offer me some sage advice. I have a D800E that I have been trying to use to shoot run and gun style golf course talking heads, instruction, etc. The harsh outdoor lighting conditions pose a challenge to making the people look good, but then there is the golf course condition itself, which is usually garbage.

    In the old days, we'd say: "garbage in, garbage out", but with the advent of RAW in still photography I have been able to exploit that newfound 'latitude' I could never get by pushing and pulling and bracketing and trying to build composites out of sorted layers. Now I can take a pretty miserable-looking golf course, at the worst time of the day, and 'save' the shot.

    My wife and I are at a point where we must deliver a better visual product to our clients at the golf courses. They get it in our print product but not as much so in our video. Unfortunately, the D800, the VG10 before that, and the older Sony HVRHD1000U-like camcorder our community TV station let me use, don't allow for 'developing RAW'.

    My question is: does RAW video equate to RAW stills? Is RAW video the same concept in post as in ACR for stills?

    What has s-log got to do with DR exactly, and is that something that can be leveraged like RAW?

    I ask about all of this because I can't always get to the courses at dawn or dust, and shoot dramatic video with perfect exposure and pristine conditions all the time. Yet, I am scared that soon I will be expected to deliver 'the goods' very soon, and at leisure of the schedules of the talking heads themselves, not what I want or know to be best for shooting. In other words: I don't have total control.

    I also can't say: 'well, it looks like crap because we shot the course at noon'. They don't want to hear that. They don't give a hoot. They want everything to look like perfection as if I had $60000 cameras, and dozens of people on my crew. But it's just me and my bride. And we aren't getting any younger!

    I guess this is my round about way of trying to figure out what to do for our visual future. Do I get a BMCC bc it shoots RAW? Maybe an old Red M? Also, I am not enjoying using a DSLR to shoot. It is horribly stressful trying to set it up for an interview quickly, with the talent being a golf director who expects himself to look like Cary Grant, and his golf course to look better than Pebble Beach!

    I recently have been sniffing at the AF100 because I think I can use some help with a camera that works like a camcorder, not a DSLR. But I saw some footage shot in the same lousy conditions I am often faced with, but a real hot shot pro, for another major destination and while his composition was wonderful, the image was flat and lifeless. He told me it was the crappy hazy weather. I totally get his predicament, but had that file been RAW, could he have bumped up the vibrancy, recovered blown highlights, and saturated a little here and there?

    Then I started thinking about the F3. That is a confusing camera to me. Does it, or does it not, shoot 1080p60 w/o a big expense in an external recorder? Or, is the recorder now affordable? Is that cam's file near-raw w/s-log? They have come way down in price. I wonder why?

    Then there is the Canon C100. Seems like a lot of people are getting that, along with a Ninja. But I have been shooting Nikon for years, decades. I have all their glass, and hate the thought of switching. (I know there are adapters :-) Or the FS700 with Oddysey (not avail yet)?

    In any event, yes, I know am doing this ass-backwards. Not out of choice, but out of necessity. Times are tough and money is tight. Clients are wanting more for less, and have less patience.

    Any input on whether RAW is a good idea or not, and which kind of RAW might be best for a used cam in the area of $5-$8k is much-appreciated.
    Shooting RAW stills is the same as shooting RAW video, but realistically the same way you've been pushing shadows or pulling skies in your still images are you going to go through all that work to do it for the video? More importantly is your client going to pay for it? If you shoot RAW video or with a decent bitrate and slog you could use software like Davinci Resolve to adjust different parts of your exposure in your video but you have to factor the time to do it, or cost if you want to pay someone else to do it for you.

    The alternative to working on your images in post is to just use lighting to shoot your video. But outdoors in direct sun it probably wouldn't be feasible given the amount of crew, equipment, time, money, etc.. to do so. But hey, it is an option.

    Bottom if your client is willing to pay the "extra" costs to get the same look in the videos you are doing with the still work then I'd say go for it. I think your client just needs a bit of education on the difference between editing a few single frames from a DSLR versus full blown video.

    EDIT: Regarding slog, it is not the same as shooting RAW. For one when you shoot raw the gamma is linear which gives you exponentially high data information in the highlights which is great for pulling them down and gives you much nicer and smoother highlights than shooting with say regular REC709 video mode which tends to clip highlights when you get your skin exposure where you would like it. slog then is sort of an in-between type of gamma curve which doesn't give you exponentially high data in the highlights but helps equal out the data allocated to the entire tonal range of the image. It usually results in a 1 to 1.5 stop improvement on most cameras and gives you some lattitude in post either way to adjust your image or just specific portions of it. It's not "RAW" but comes somewhat close in terms of quality yet has its limits.
    Last edited by starcentral; 09-22-2013 at 03:17 PM.
    Dennis Hingsberg


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    Quote Originally Posted by Policar View Post
    Honestly, find some new clients.
    First of all: thank you for your lengthy and thoughtful reply. I won't bore you with the gory details, but suffice it to say I live in a universe of only eight potential clients in my market. Dumping anyone is a non-option. I have to make it work. That is the price of being limited intellectually and artistically, as well as living in paradise. Good and bad ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Policar View Post
    Or learn what their expectations really are (many clients claim they want something, but don't even know what it is). Unless you're getting paid a LOT there's no reason to punish yourself meeting unrealistic expectations. Those who pay the least expect the most.
    I am 51 and have run my own business out here dealing with managing expectations for 20 years. Believe me when I tell you they don't want to hear my reasons why I can't get the perfect image for them. They don't care about the time of day or the light and I hate to say this but I often feel like I live/work in almost a third world country as the plantation owners (my clients) beat me to a pulp with their canes. It's just the reality of how things are. Let me add that we have some incredible talent in Hawaii and this is only MY dilemma. I am sure many top people enjoy the fruits of their God-given talents and hard work. I am just not one of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Policar View Post
    That said, it sounds like you're a bit new to some of this so learning as much as you can first will help you figure out what's feasible and how to achieve it and how to explain to your clients what's feasible and what's not.
    As you know better than most, being a one-man-band many of us all have to do it all. As such, we are thin when it comes to mastering any one thing. The sound guys on this forum run circles around people like me, as do cine guys, and lighting pros, etc. I am not new, but my level of expertise in the plethora of skillsets required for us to do this type of thing is thin, and with the rate that technology is speeding up this so-called 'democratization', I confess every new iteration of tech gear confuses my already dizzy and weak brain. More to your point: I look at myself as a beginner at everything I do, even the things I have done my entire career seem to morph and change, so I am always learning. (I wish I had more time to spend on this forum, to learn....)

    Quote Originally Posted by Policar View Post
    The kinds of light that will fight noon and not look "spotty" are 18Ks and 6Ks through diff... Way out of your budget and totally infeasible. For open areas like that on sunny days, bounce is far more effective. Ultrabounce frames if you have the crew to support it, bead board if you don't. Bead board is $40 at a grip house and $10 at home depot and is the best and most-used reflector available.
    Are you taking the stuff people use for wainscotting? Sounds like a plan, but how the heck to I haul that around with Marie and I and our lenses, cameras, tripods, etc. on a golf cart? What sizes do you recommend we cut this? I am going to buy some asap and give ti a go, but input on this is much-appreciated. I will do a search as well, of course.


    Quote Originally Posted by Policar View Post
    Fwiw, the F3 and C100 do have much better lattitude than dSLRs and the C100 is easier to work with (F3 is tough for a one-man band), but both really require some practice exposing and an external recorder to get the most detail and highlight/shadow retention. Forget raw vs raster for a minute, since the sensor is the bottleneck of any good system (dSLR video not being a good system). Nikon's still raw files approach 14 stops of latitude... The Alexa's raw and prores files surpass 14 stops. The F3 through an external recorder reaches 12+. The C100 reaches 12. The Red MX approaches 12, the Epic reaching 12 (more with HDRx). Never used the BMCC but sounds like it reaches 12+ stops of latitude, and it being slow (ISO-wise) would not be a disadvantage to you. But remember that before Vision 2 and Vision 3 film stock had 7-8 stops of latitude and digibeta way less so your "$60,000" system years ago cost even more and didn't even get close to what your dSLR now provides. The only camera I've used that really makes "blown highlights" a non-issue is the Alexa, and even that's not perfect... But who cares? Blown highlights are not a big issue.
    I have been contemplating the camera issue as a potential 'fix'. Switching all my Nikon glass and gear to buy a C100 isn't very appealing. I have been sniffing at Af100 (but seems like same baked in file issue as my D800) as it is cheap and a good tool. Then I starting pondering the Red, F3, and BMCC. I like the Blackmagic concept but seems they are struggling with the realities of delivery and quality. Having shot more stills than video by 10000-fold, I will say the tools do make a difference, but often it is the indian, not the arrow....

    Quote Originally Posted by Policar View Post
    Unless this client pays great, I'd just try to temper his or her expectations. But if you can finance a better camera (or a rental), that and some bead board should get you pretty far. For CUs an on-camera HMI or very powerful LED at close distances might provide some useful fill but it will look very spotty. Which might be ok, but bead board is easier and cheaper.
    I am going to get a camera. Which one is this blithering idiot's dilemma. The bead board is going to be my first purchase. Mahalo for that tip.

    Quote Originally Posted by Policar View Post
    Also, there are worse things than blown highlights. Use ND grads on the wide shots and shallow focus to hide them on the CUs and your product will probably look fine. This is the first thing people try to "fix" but it's rarely something clients care about.
    It's funny, but clouds are one of our best features on the courses here. Compared to courses in parts of CA, AZ, NV, etc., we get great clouds, so blowing them out is a major bummer. Color gets very faded and washed out the more I bump up the exposure too. I used to use all kinds of filters when shooting stills, can have a mattebox, Lee grads, as well as the NDs that turn like polarizers (sorry, can't remember what you call them). As I'm shooting for max DOF, I tend to no need to lose light to open up the lens. Isolating the subject to blow out the BG is the last thing I want to do, but do when BG is horrid, e.g., construction, ugly buildings, etc.


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    Quote Originally Posted by starcentral View Post
    Shooting RAW stills is the same as shooting RAW video, but realistically the same way you've been pushing shadows or pulling skies in your still images are you going to go through all that work to do it for the video? More importantly is your client going to pay for it? If you shoot RAW video or with a decent bitrate and slog you could use software like Davinci Resolve to adjust different parts of your exposure in your video but you have to factor the time to do it, or cost if you want to pay someone else to do it for you.
    Thank you for your reply, Dennis. The client has no money for extra help. To paraphrase Policar: They pay the least and want the most. I know everyone here makes what they make differently. I think Hollywood types, the guys here who are IATSE union workers, ASE's, etc., they earn real money. For the runt, in a dying (print) industry, who is too old to be gainfully employed and scrambling just to keep the crumbs on the table as fresh as possible, my precious time does not matter. I probably earn $.50 cents an hour. That's just the way it goes. However, I will say no one in my domain tries harder than me to deliver more for less. I am here now writing this in an effort to improve, and am so thankful to people like you who help me. I wish I could be an expert and do the same for others. I do try, whenever I feel I can. So, hearing that I can work with files much like RAW raster (altho Policar seems to differ on this a little, or maybe I'm mis-reading) is great news for me! I don't do tons of fast cuts so it may not be as horrible as I imagine. (It is now occurring to me I should download Da Vinci and run the paces thru lynda.com and learn, learn, learn, practice, practice, practice.)

    Quote Originally Posted by starcentral View Post
    The alternative to working on your images in post is to just use lighting to shoot your video. But outdoors in direct sun it probably wouldn't be feasible given the amount of crew, equipment, time, money, etc.. to do so. But hey, it is an option.
    Well, that was sort of where I was at when I posted this. I didn't go straight to the lighting forum as I thought i'd first check in with you cine guys and if lighting was key, I'd go there. Based on the input so far, I plan to: light, reflect, and possibly go RAW.

    Quote Originally Posted by starcentral View Post
    EDIT: Regarding slog, it is not the same as shooting RAW. For one when you shoot raw the gamma is linear which gives you exponentially high data information in the highlights which is great for pulling them down and gives you much nicer and smoother highlights than shooting with say regular REC709 video mode which tends to clip highlights when you get your skin exposure where you would like it. slog then is sort of an in-between type of gamma curve which doesn't give you exponentially high data in the highlights but helps equal out the data allocated to the entire tonal range of the image. It usually results in a 1 to 1.5 stop improvement on most cameras and gives you some lattitude in post either way to adjust your image or just specific portions of it. It's not "RAW" but comes somewhat close in terms of quality yet has its limits.
    Slog is F3/5 is that right? F5 can go with Sony $10k recorder and get RAW, true? There is BMCC, M or MX or Dragon, C1-300, Magic Lantern, Kineraw35, some others like the new Arri. Under $10K options shrink. The camera is huge, altho we all know just part of a much bigger $ picture. Still, ultimately what people see/hear is what we are doing. So, trying our best to make those two their best is vital. Of course, the story itself is the most important thing of all, outside of talent.... (Just me thinking out loud, sorry :-)


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    Yes the same as you might use a wand tool in Lightroom or Photoshop to dodge or burn (or push or pull) only a certain part of your image, the exact same thing can be done in Davinci Resolve except one powerful feature of Resolve is that once you draw a "mask" around someone's face or even along a horizon Davinci Resolve with the click of a button can auto-track it for you and animate the mask throughout your scene so that your grade adjustment moves with your camera movement or subject movement in consideration. On faces it even recognizes head tilts, or faces leaning forward or backward into frame and will adjust the size or mask orientation if neccessary. If you are just doing some exposure lifting here and there it is remarkebly fast to use and to process your footage.

    There is more beauty to Davinci Resolve: Rather than grade all 7 hours of your original footage... after you have finished your edit or rough edit you can import the edit into Davinici Resolve and this way only grade the parts of the video that make up your final edit! Once you try it and get use to I promise you won't ever use anything else.


    Regarding lighting, ok you don't always need HMI's just to fight the sun. As some others have suggested you can use large 4x4 reflectors which in direct sun can give you some incredible key/fill lighting to get your faces pop. If you are on the cheap go to home depot and for $16 buy a large 4x8 sheets of 3/4" styrofoam board which has a silver lining on one side. You can cut the sheet into smaller 3x3 or 4x4 pieces and these make excellent cheap mirror boards. Sometimes under direct sun they can actually be too powerful, so you can increase the distance bewteen the board and the subject, or also just cover the silver side with some diffusion material.


    LOG is available on many cameras now from Canon c100,300, to Sony F3/F5, etc.. but shooting in log requires de-logging the footage in post (or called applying LUT) in order to restore the image "back to normal". This can take time to master on its own before you even get to making adjustments to the images, and can be frustrating to get good results. Another option for you is to shoot using cinegammas on something like the Sony which will help increase the dynamic range of the scene you are capturing. When I shot on the F3 before jumping to the F55 I use to almost always shoot using cinegamma mode 3 which pushes up your middle grey point up a stop or stop and a half. So in effect what it did was lift the shadows in-camera and then in post I could easily put some contrast back into the image to make it look nice, but at least I wasn't trying to excessively boost faces that were a little on the under-exposed side.


    Back to shooting RAW - its an animal in terms of data-rates, disk space and computing power needed to work on it and I think in your case maybe overkill for what you need. First I would play around with Davinci on some of your footage and see when you push some shadows 1-2 stops if you feel the quality of image deteriorates more than you would like, etc.. If it does then maybe try shooting your next project in 10-bit 422 and see if its enough to give you the extra room in post that you need. I think you'll find that if you compliment all of this with a bit of lighting on your shoots that you can find a happy medium and hopefully keep your client happy with the kind of quality they have been getting from your still work.
    Dennis Hingsberg


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