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For a Low Light shoot with FX6 / FX9 - best ISO and Color profile settings?

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    #16
    If it is a true low light situation then overexposure is not a possibility as t2 at 360 won’t get above 60 on the wfm - that’s my idea of low light- if this is the case then the top roll of the curve does not come into play.
    if 5.6 is hitting 100 you don’t indeed want to open to 2
    http://www.sammorganmoore.com View my feature Film

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      #17
      Agreed. In a true low-light situation much of this conversation is moot. But some people might consider that anytime you must jump from LOW to HIGH to get a proper exposure in S-LOG, that right there constitutes a low-light situation. In other words, if there is not enough light to use LOW, then it could easily be called low-light situation. And the jump from LOW to HIGH is a very significant change in sensitivity that will often allow over-exposure if someone chooses to ETTR. My advice is not to over-expose in that situation. I aim for the same exposure target as I would normally try to achieve -- by stopping down a little bit or adding some ND when possible. I don't over-expose in High (or Low) even when I can.
      Doug Jensen, Sony camcorder instructor
      HOW TO MAKE MONEY SHOOTING STOCK
      http://www.dougjensen.com/

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        #18
        My current plan for tomorrow's big shoot: Since we will have on-camera lights and many of the scenes will have enough light, we plan to shoot in SLog3 and start at LOW BASE and for those scenes where it gets crazy dark we'll press a button to switch to HIGH BASE. I think we'll have the Exposure Index for both bases rated one stop lower. So, half the number (e.g. High base 12800, with EI at 6400). Hopefully this will reduce the noise in the shadows a bit .

        This guy made a decent video on shooting with an Exposure Index at 1 or 2 stops lower than your base:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBUaXkFK5gQ

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          #19
          Originally posted by Doug Jensen View Post
          I'm just saying that I expose High and Low to the exact same target level and I see no advantage to going beyond that target level for High -- thus over-exposing.
          I'm not sure I agree with the one-size-fits all approach to exponometry. For example -

          I received many interviews to edit from a client that I thought were really noisy. The lighting was pretty (Rembrandt) and usually no color correction was needed or desired beyond the standard Sony LUT. But the seamless backgrounds were dimly lit and often very noisy, which polluted their color. The noise was also exacerbated when they wanted me to crop in for closer shots or if any exposure adjustments were required. I assumed that they raised the gain in-camera and that they had insufficient light levels after diffusing their sources.

          But then I shot one of these interviews for them, and the producer kept asking me to bring the brightness lower and lower. And I realized that she was driving the noise train. (This was at base ISO.) So, without telling her, I turned the brightness on my field monitor all the way down and brought up the exposure in camera, essentially showing her a preview of how it would look after pulling it in post. (A -1 EV LUT could have done the same.) She approved the look. And when I brought the exposure down in post, it looked radically different from the other interviews I had received. Clean background with rich, unpolluted hues.

          Yes, you risk pushing your highlights up into unfriendly territory with this method. But the brightest part of the image here were highlights on skin/hair/clothes, well below the top of the curve even with overexposure.

          However, for a normal scene without such large areas of dark, rich hues and subtle gradients, I would consider no benefit from overexposure.

          Also, what's your take on exposing a scene with mixed lighting - shadow and direct sun? Let's say the subject is in shadow or they're in dappled light. Inasmuch as I'm trying to evoke a feeling in the viewer rather than simply record what I see, I feel like there can be multiple acceptable ways of exposing the same scene and the question is what you want to achieve in that specific instance and how to get it
          www.VideoAbe.com

          "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." -Harvey

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            #20
            Originally posted by ahalpert View Post

            I'm not sure I agree with the one-size-fits all approach to exponometry. For example -

            I received many interviews to edit from a client that I thought were really noisy. The lighting was pretty (Rembrandt) and usually no color correction was needed or desired beyond the standard Sony LUT. But the seamless backgrounds were dimly lit and often very noisy, which polluted their color. The noise was also exacerbated when they wanted me to crop in for closer shots or if any exposure adjustments were required. I assumed that they raised the gain in-camera and that they had insufficient light levels after diffusing their sources.

            But then I shot one of these interviews for them, and the producer kept asking me to bring the brightness lower and lower. And I realized that she was driving the noise train. (This was at base ISO.) So, without telling her, I turned the brightness on my field monitor all the way down and brought up the exposure in camera, essentially showing her a preview of how it would look after pulling it in post. (A -1 EV LUT could have done the same.) She approved the look. And when I brought the exposure down in post, it looked radically different from the other interviews I had received. Clean background with rich, unpolluted hues.

            Yes, you risk pushing your highlights up into unfriendly territory with this method. But the brightest part of the image here were highlights on skin/hair/clothes, well below the top of the curve even with overexposure.

            However, for a normal scene without such large areas of dark, rich hues and subtle gradients, I would consider no benefit from overexposure.

            Also, what's your take on exposing a scene with mixed lighting - shadow and direct sun? Let's say the subject is in shadow or they're in dappled light. Inasmuch as I'm trying to evoke a feeling in the viewer rather than simply record what I see, I feel like there can be multiple acceptable ways of exposing the same scene and the question is what you want to achieve in that specific instance and how to get it
            No offense, but this sounds like such a bassackwards way of setting exposure that I wouldn't even know where to begin to offer a counterpoint. I would never, ever, set exposure by how something "looks" on the monitor or viewfinder. That is a recipe for disaster and totally unnecessary with modern cameras. Why do you think light meters, waveforms, zebras, histograms, false color, etc. were invented? And on top of that, I would never let a producer or client pressure me into doing something that I knew was fundamentally wrong.
            Doug Jensen, Sony camcorder instructor
            HOW TO MAKE MONEY SHOOTING STOCK
            http://www.dougjensen.com/

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              #21
              So you're saying you would have ettr'd it? For what it's worth, their approach had made them happy for dozens of interviews prior and almost always required no grading beyond the standard LUT. Anyway I wasn't about to walk off the set . I was looking at false color and waveform but I had to make them happy by what they saw. Every client is different and I try to make them each happy in their own way
              www.VideoAbe.com

              "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." -Harvey

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                #22
                Originally posted by ahalpert View Post
                So you're saying you would have ettr'd it? For what it's worth, their approach had made them happy for dozens of interviews prior and almost always required no grading beyond the standard LUT. Anyway I wasn't about to walk off the set . I was looking at false color and waveform but I had to make them happy by what they saw. Every client is different and I try to make them each happy in their own way
                No, I am certainly not saying anything about ETTRing the exposure of an interview headshot, So please don't try to put words in my mouth. ETTR an interview? Why the hell would I do that?
                As for clients having an influence on what my exposure should be? You must be working for a different type of client than the clients I have worked with during the last 40+ years. Exposure on an interview is either right or it is wrong. Period, And I cannot remember a single instance of a client ever having anything to say about my exposure. Style, lighting, compostiion? Absolutely. But exposure? Never. It is an unfortunate situation you were in if you either had to knowingly expose incorrectly or walk off the set. Tough choices. I have never found myself in that predicament.
                Doug Jensen, Sony camcorder instructor
                HOW TO MAKE MONEY SHOOTING STOCK
                http://www.dougjensen.com/

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                  #23
                  So what would your approach be to lighting an interview where the seamless will be noisy if you exposed it where it needs to have the desired brightness with the standard LUT?

                  I wanted to talk about exponometry, not client handling, but in this case the producer came over to me and said the shot looked too bright and I should make it darker. The context is that she works full-time for an auction house that shoots dozens of these per year. The company owns the cameras and lighting. They have a stable of freelance DPs they hire to shoot these and this is the first one I've shot for them. They're totally happy with what they've done before and my performance will be judged not just by my footage but also by how easy it is to work with me on set. So, I could start a discussion about monitoring tools and noise reduction strategies and different grading approaches, in which case I'm the only DP who can't seem to do things the way she likes them without a hassle. Frankly, I thought I nailed the approach. I gave her just what she wanted on-set (no change from routine) including a preview of the shot looking just the way she wanted. And I gave myself (as the editor) fodder to get it looking just the way I wanted.

                  this is on the fs7, which a lot of people consider to be a noisy camera even at base iso. And that was the basic issue - suppressing noise in the shadows when we wanted the background to be very dark
                  www.VideoAbe.com

                  "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." -Harvey

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                    #24
                    Originally posted by ahalpert View Post
                    So what would your approach be to lighting an interview where the seamless will be noisy if you exposed it where it needs to have the desired brightness with the standard LUT?
                    You're right that a discussion of how to handle a client is a discussion for another thread, but with that said, I think it is a poor practice to let a producer, client, or anyone else make judgement calls about exposure based on what they see on a monitor. As I said, I'd never base my exposure on "how" something looks and that is why we have so many tools available (zebra, waveform, meters, etc.) to make setting exposure fast, simple, and error-free. If they questioned my exposure, I'd politely show them why they were wrong.

                    To answer your question, I would never set the exposure based on the background for an interview in a controlled lighting situation. What is the important part an inteview? The face, right? I would set my exposure and overall lighting scheme based on where the person would be positioned on the set. I know exactly what the exposure should be for S-LOG to ensure a properly exposed human face. It is always the same exposure target. Then, once the exposure is set correctly for the subject's key light, then I would adjust the lighting of the rest of the composition to get the look that I want. That might be a high-key look, dark, neutral, green screen, or whatever -- but the exposure itself is totally determined by the human subject. The face rules and everthing else must be adjusted to go along with it or sacrificed if you can't control it.

                    How would you set S-LOG3 exposure on your FS7 for a typical head shot inteview? Nothing tricky or complicated, just a straightforward 60 Minutes style inteview. How do you set exposure?
                    Doug Jensen, Sony camcorder instructor
                    HOW TO MAKE MONEY SHOOTING STOCK
                    http://www.dougjensen.com/

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                      #25
                      White is 61. Skin tones around 50. But there are two issues here - first is that the client prefers to underexpose the subject a la old master paintings. And the second is that there was never anything wrong with the way their backgrounds looked before, except that they were noisy. Which seemed to bother no one but me. So, after you get their skin tones to whatever they want, you still have to concern yourself with getting the background as dark as they like it without making it noisy, which suggests to me that you should rate the camera at an iso below base. I use the term ettr loosely only to indicate global overexposure with the intent to pull it back in post

                      and just concerning the client....I've had a lot of issues with numerous handlers at this particular client when it comes to politely explaining things because they always seem to think I'm mansplaining. And I literally do exactly the same review of basic information with everybody because it's unwise to assume that people know things. And my feeling in this case is that it's better to be paid than to be right. A happy client is a repeat client
                      Last edited by ahalpert; 10-13-2021, 07:40 PM.
                      www.VideoAbe.com

                      "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." -Harvey

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                        #26
                        I don't want to get into a debate on how to expose an interview, but I honestly see both points of view. On the one hand I totally get why ahalpert did what he did and I've worked with clients like that before where I had to show them what they wanted, but actually do it the right way without them really knowing. In my case it was with guys who were hosts of low budget television shows who thought they knew everything there is to know about video production, but in reality it was clear they didn't. And if were to tell them, even politely, that they were incorrect, their egos would've been hurt and they would've blown up on me. So for the sake of avoiding that, I simply nodded my head and then went ahead and did it the right way anyway. So I get why ahalpert did what he did.

                        I also agree with him that the FS7 was a little noisier and when I owned and operated one for five years, I almost always shot it one to two stops over and simply rated the monitor LUT on screen to adjust to that. Then in post I would bring it down and was always happy with the results and how clean the shots looked.

                        On the other hand I also understand where Doug's coming from. There's no doubt he knows way more about proper exposure than I do and I trust his judgment. I also agree with his comments on exposing properly for the interview subject as that's the main priority and then adjusting your background lighting to taste afterward, unless of course you can't control the background, so you simply sacrifice it so that your subject stays exposed properly.

                        So for me, I see both sides and completely understand what both of you are saying. I will say, however, that my experience with the FX6 is that you should not ETTR in LOW base ISO as it's such a clean sensor and really needs to be exposed properly like Doug said. But, I also agree with ahalpert here in that it has been my experience with the FX6 that in HIGH base ISO when I expose properly like I do in LOW base, the shots are way noisier. I see this every time I shoot in HIGH base and expose in the middle like I would with the LOW base. Note that I'm not talking about an interview situation here with controlled lighting. I'm talking about in situations like what the OP is going to film in tomorrow. Whether I've filmed in dusk or dawn outside, or whether it was in a church during worship, or a project where I'm filming inside a warehouse, HIGH base ISO looks really noisy to me with a proper exposure.

                        As such I started rating my camera a little lower when shooting in HIGH base so that I will adjust my exposure accordingly. This gets me to overexpose by a stop or so, similar to what I used to do on my FS7, and then bringing the shots back down to proper exposure in post. When doing this, I find that the shots are definitely much cleaner, yet the camera can still pull out all of the highlight information, so I never feel like I'm ruining the shots at all. Just simply cleaning them up.

                        I know Doug said that in his experience you should expose the same no matter the base ISO, and I'm not wanting to argue with him about that, I'm just wanting to share my experience as this has helped me with the FX6 and with the A7SIII which shares the same sensor and same second base ISO. And just in case anyone asks, I am using exposure tools on the FX6 to expose my shots, not basing it on how bright or dark the shots look on the monitor.
                        Last edited by Joshua Milligan; 10-13-2021, 08:10 PM.

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                          #27
                          White for me varies between 68 and 75 depending on which of my cameras I'm shooting with and whether I'm shooing S-LOG2 or S-LOG3. On the FX6 my target is 72. I'd never set exposure based on skin tones because that just comes down to guessing, and i don't guess. I want to be accurate and consistent. For example, if Biden is 50, Obama can't also be 50. I always base my exposure on white and it never fails me. Even if I'm not shooting LOG, the exposure is still based on white, but the correct target level will depend on the Scene File that I'm using. If a client said the exposure didn't look right on the field monitor, I'd show them that white is at 72 and leave it there. They can do whatever they want with it in post, but the exposure will be correct when shot.
                          Last edited by Doug Jensen; 10-13-2021, 08:21 PM.
                          Doug Jensen, Sony camcorder instructor
                          HOW TO MAKE MONEY SHOOTING STOCK
                          http://www.dougjensen.com/

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                            #28
                            Originally posted by Joshua Milligan View Post
                            IIt has been my experience with the FX6 that in HIGH base ISO when I expose properly like I do in LOW base, the shots are way noisier. I see this every time I shoot in HIGH base and expose in the middle like I would with the LOW base. .
                            Good post Joshua, and I agree with just about everything you've said and your methods. You are absolutely right that HIGH is far noisier than LOW and I think that is why Sony does not call the FX6 a "dual native ISO" camera. It is not. It has a HIGH sensitivity mode, not dual ISO. There is definitely a price to be paid in noise and overal courseness of the picture when you have to switch to HIGH. I avoid it as much as I can, but it can't be eliminated entirely, especially when I'm shooting 120 fps outdoors with Sony's relatively slow telephoto lenses, such as the 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3. Add the 2x teleconverter, and it would be almost impossible to shoot 120 fps anytime but high noon without the HIGH base mode!! The point I do disagree with is that over-exposing HIGH will yield better results in post. That has not been my experience, but maybe we have different workflows in post. If you think it is, and you've done your own testing, rather than just assuming, then do whatever you think is best.
                            Doug Jensen, Sony camcorder instructor
                            HOW TO MAKE MONEY SHOOTING STOCK
                            http://www.dougjensen.com/

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                              #29
                              72 or so in 709. 61 in slog3. but you still haven't answered my question about how you would light, expose, and grade the dark background to get it to the proper brightness level and noise-free. I sort of guess you would rate the camera lower than base, but you haven't confirmed

                              to each his own, but there's no way in heck I'd show the client the waveform to prove it was properly exposed and then leave it there. I would definitely try to get a preview of the picture that they'd be happy with, which would involve changing the monitoring setup rather than my exposure

                              and if you're running and gunning, you often don't have the luxury of throwing up a white card but you can turn on false colors and see where the skin tones of your subjects are falling. also, it's not uncommon for people to want their skin represented at a different brightness level than it is in reality. there may be an accurate way to represent reality, but that doesn't mean it's what the client wants
                              www.VideoAbe.com

                              "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." -Harvey

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                                #30
                                Originally posted by ahalpert View Post
                                and if you're running and gunning, you often don't have the luxury of throwing up a white card but you can turn on false colors and see where the skin tones of your subjects are falling. also, it's not uncommon for people to want their skin represented at a different brightness level than it is in reality. there may be an accurate way to represent reality, but that doesn't mean it's what the client wants
                                I strongly disagree with this whole statement, but I'm not going to argue about it or try to get you to see how I'd do it. It would take too much time and I think you'd resist what I have to say.

                                Originally posted by ahalpert View Post
                                but you still haven't answered my question about how you would light, expose, and grade the dark background to get it to the proper brightness level and noise-free. I sort of guess you would rate the camera lower than base, but you haven't confirmed
                                I thought I did answer it, but I'll elaborate. I'd have the talent hold a white card in front of their face and set white to 72 IRE using Zebra2. This could be done by changing the aperture of the lens or my lighting to hit that target. Usually I have chosen my aperture based on a creative decision -- rather than illumination -- so dimming the key light is the primary way I set the exposure on the card. Then I'd adjust the fill, backlight, kicker, and background lighting to get the overall look that I want for the shot. I don't agree with your that dark backgrounds are too noisy, so that is not a concern of mine. If I want a dark background I will create a dark background with no regard to noise levels. In post, it all looks good. Perhaps your workflow in post is where we differ. Are you doing proper grading in Resolve or just dumping a LUT on it in your NLE?
                                Doug Jensen, Sony camcorder instructor
                                HOW TO MAKE MONEY SHOOTING STOCK
                                http://www.dougjensen.com/

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