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

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    #31
    Originally posted by ahalpert View Post
    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
    If I hired an experuienced professional plumber, carpenter, mechanic, for their skills -- and they disagreed with something I wanted them to do -- I'd sure the hell expect them to correct me before it was too late. That's why people hire professionals. Good clients don't want a yes man. Changing the monitoring solves nothing at all and just kicks the can down the road. Either the exposure is right or it is wrong.
    Doug Jensen, Sony camcorder instructor
    HOW TO MAKE MONEY SHOOTING STOCK
    http://www.dougjensen.com/

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      #32
      Originally posted by Doug Jensen View Post

      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.
      if you'd like and you have something online, feel free to link me to an article or video addressing the topic and I'll consider your approach. My feeling is that if you're in rapidly changing lighting circumstances, either because you're moving through an interior with different lighting in every room or because the sun is coming and going, then you need to make exposure changes on the fly

      One thing that I personally strongly disagree with is the idea that there's right and wrong exposure and that it's so clear-cut. There are many types of shooting where that's true. And there may be universally accurate or inaccurate exposure. (But again - are you exposing to a white card in the sun? in the shade? what would you do in a mixed lighting scenario?) But for me, the point is not always accuracy. More often, it's beauty, or it's effect.


      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?
      In this case, just a LUT. But I'm unclear on what you'd do differently in Resolve in this case beyond applying noise reduction. The client was happy with the look and had intended it to be lit to the desired look with only the application of the standard LUT. I was happy with the look. I just wasn't happy with the noise levels in the shadows, which happened to be a significant part of the frame. Would you plan on crushing the shadows? What would be your approach?

      Sometimes the client wants you to behave a certain way and either you're going to be a good fit for that client or not. I get the feeling that you wouldn't be a good fit for this client. Which is fine and isn't meant as an insult to either you or to them. And there are some situations when I can be more assertive with them about technique, such as with gimbal operating because I'm their primary gimbal operator. In this case, it was tricky because the producer had done the same thing many times with many different DPs and had been happy with the results. Doing it differently and leaving her for the time being uncertain that she's going to get what she wants, not to mention disregarding a direct order, is already a strike against you.

      That's why I made the comment about walking off set. If you're a plumber and somebody hires you and tries to tell you what to do, then you're in a position where you either do what they say or you ditch the client. So, do you want the client?
      Last edited by ahalpert; 10-13-2021, 09:12 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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        #33
        Originally posted by Doug Jensen View Post
        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.
        Hey Doug, just out of curiosity, have you ever thought about leaving Cine EI mode for situations where the LOW base isn't enough, but perhaps you don't want to go all the way up to HIGH base ISO? I haven't done that yet, but on my A7SIII when I feel something is a little dark, I just roll the ISO from the base of 640 (it's 640 on the A7SIII instead of 800) to maybe 1600 or even 3200 (or maybe somewhere in between) and I find that the shots look great like that. Better than going all the way up to 12,800.

        I know that the FX6 is unlike the FS7 in that in Custom mode you can finally have the same Slog3/S-Gamut3.Cine option that's in Cine EI (I hated that Custom on the FS7 didn't have this), so the camera should work just like that A7SIII in Custom mode (in theory, again I haven't tested this which is why I'm asking your thoughts here). If it does really work like the A7SIII in Custom, then yeah you lose the ability to rate your ISOs or even to have a monitor LUT, but at least you could move your ISO up to something more reasonable, like 1,600. That would be super helpful if there aren't any negative effects. I'm assuming the shots would look and grade the same as Slog3/S-Gamut3.Cine in Cine EI mode?

        And yeah I totally agree that this is not really a dual base ISO camera. More of a camera with a high sensitivity mode. That's a great way to describe it.

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          #34
          Joshua, I don't believe that you can retain the benefits of S-LOG while choosing to shoot in Custom Mode -- just so you can crank up the gain in low light. Yes, HIGH base mode is noisier than LOW, but it's still certainly clean enough for most purposes and I prefer to stay within the CINE EI mode throughout a shoot. It is simpler and provides a more consistent look. In my opinion, the FX6 is really only suited for CINE EI shooting due the lack paint menus, but please don't get me started on that rant. :-) I try to stay in LOW as much as I can, but I don't give it a second thought when I need to tap assgin button #2 to jump to HIGH.

          I prefer to shoot with Noise Suppression turned off for CINE EI on the FX6, but if you find that noise is an issue, I suggest you experiment with turning it on and running some tests. Maybe that is the solution you are looking for rather than jumping back and forth between CINE EI and Custom.
          Doug Jensen, Sony camcorder instructor
          HOW TO MAKE MONEY SHOOTING STOCK
          http://www.dougjensen.com/

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            #35
            Originally posted by ahalpert View Post
            if you'd like and you have something online, feel free to link me to an article or video addressing the topic and I'll consider your approach.
            Yes, I've posted on this topic many times on many forums, I've produced several instructional videos that touch on exposure, and it is a critically important part of the interview lighting workshops that I teach. Unfortunately I do not have the time to try to paraphrase all of that information and condense it down to a few posts here. No two situations are ever the same and dealing with different circumstances or styles is all part of the process of shooting interviews. That's one reason why my workshops run 3-5 days, so we can address and deal with a variety of challenges. You've asked a lot of questions and I know you are sincerely looking to compare notes, but I just don't have the time right now to give you meaningful and complete answers that will do the topic justice and not just lead to more questions and more questions. I've already written in earlier posts how I would set exposure for a normal sit-down 60 Minutes style interview with controlled lighting. That will have to suffice.

            I will only add that I do not shoot drama, music videos, or any other stuff where "creative" exposure would come into play. My comments on this thread apply to exposures for normal interviews and b-roll where there is a correct exposure target and anything that doesn't hit that target is incorrect for normal broadcasting standards. That doesn't mean that exposures which happen to miss the target can't be compensated for in post (that's the great thing about LOG -- lots of leeway) but I contend that there is almost always a correct exposure to aim for and anything else is wrong to one degree or another.

            Finally, you are right that I'm not a good fit for certain clients and there are people and organizations that I would never work for again. It is a two-way street and there is a lot of power and peace of mind that comes from being able to say, "sorry, I'm busy that week."
            Doug Jensen, Sony camcorder instructor
            HOW TO MAKE MONEY SHOOTING STOCK
            http://www.dougjensen.com/

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              #36
              Originally posted by Doug Jensen View Post
              I contend that there is almost always a correct exposure to aim for and anything else is wrong to one degree or another.
              We can leave it there if you want to leave it there. I would just add that even if you expose to a white card, I think you're already making a creative decision by where you place the white card. For example, if you're standing in front of a window and filming doc b-roll of people catching window light as well as people standing farther inside the room in relative darkness, do you expose for people at the window or in the dark interior? Or do you expose for an area of the room in-between the lit and unlit parts? Or do you just capture as much detail as you can and sort it out in the grade? Or do you alter your exposure for your wides and your close-ups?

              You may have an approach to this scenario that you consider the only acceptable approach. But I don't think it's about "accuracy" in this case
              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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                #37
                Originally posted by Doug Jensen View Post
                Joshua, I don't believe that you can retain the benefits of S-LOG while choosing to shoot in Custom Mode -- just so you can crank up the gain in low light. Yes, HIGH base mode is noisier than LOW, but it's still certainly clean enough for most purposes and I prefer to stay within the CINE EI mode throughout a shoot. It is simpler and provides a more consistent look. In my opinion, the FX6 is really only suited for CINE EI shooting due the lack paint menus, but please don't get me started on that rant. :-) I try to stay in LOW as much as I can, but I don't give it a second thought when I need to tap assgin button #2 to jump to HIGH.

                I prefer to shoot with Noise Suppression turned off for CINE EI on the FX6, but if you find that noise is an issue, I suggest you experiment with turning it on and running some tests. Maybe that is the solution you are looking for rather than jumping back and forth between CINE EI and Custom.
                Hey Doug, why is Custom mode different from Cine EI on the FX6 outside of workflow? I'm not trying to argue with you, I am just asking so I understand.

                On the FS7, you had Custom mode and Cine EI. Cine EI was the only way to achieve the combination of Slog3/S-Gamut.Cine. Cine EI locked you at the base ISO of 2,000 and gave you three white balance settings, 3200, 4300, 5500. Custom mode on the other hand didn't have LUT support and didn't have Slog3/S-Gamut.Cine, but it did have the ability to change ISOs and to have a custom WB. It also had paint menus for creating your own WYSIWYG look which you created some awesome downloadable presets for in your master class.

                On the FX6, the camera is somewhat different. Cine EI mode has Slog3/S-Gamut3.Cine like on the FS7, but unlike that FS7 you can have a custom WB and can change to a second base ISO for lowlight shooting. In Custom mode, you can also now have Slog3/S-Gamut.Cine just like in Cine EI, along with a custom WB. But unlike Cine EI, you can still have any ISO you want. What you lose is the ability to use LUTs and to have a workflow where the shooter rates the exposure. You do, however, lose the paint menus that the FS7 had.

                So from what I've read online and from what I've seen in the menus on my own camera, it looks like you can achieve the exact same Slog3/S-Gamut3.Cine results in Custom mode that you could in Cine EI, it's just that the workflow is different. In one mode you work with LUTs, rate your exposures and lock the camera at one of the two base ISOs. In the other mode you don't work with LUTs or with exposure ratings, but you gain the ability to have whatever ISO you want. So from that standpoint, isn't Custom mode going to deliver the exact same results as Cine EI if both were shot to the same ISO and the same exposure, white balance, etc.?

                If so, then why couldn't someone who's working on a shoot where the lighting is a little dim, but not dim enough to go all the way up to a noisier 12,800 ISO instead choose to shoot the project in Custom mode for that particular shoot and just work with a lower ISO of 1000, 1250, 1600, 2000, 2500, or even 3200? That's the way the A7SIII works and it's really clean in those other ISOs. And on that camera I would rather jump to 1600 for example to increase my exposure slightly than I would jump all the way to 12,800 and have to add ND, especially when 12,800 adds some noise. Don't get me wrong, 12,800 is crazy clean for what it is, but do we always have to go all the way there when we just need a small bump in our exposure?

                Again, I'm not trying to argue here with you about Cine EI vs Custom mode. I'm a big fan of working in Cine EI mode. I just am trying to continue our conversation on the matter so that all of us can better understand the FX6 camera and how it works. And if we can fully understand the tradeoffs, then it will help all of us pick the best workflows for a specific shoot. Thanks for the good chat. I love talks like this!
                Last edited by Joshua Milligan; 10-14-2021, 01:48 PM.

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                  #38
                  My big shoot is tonight. I walked through the space (though there was still some daylight)

                  Since we do have camera lights and we're allowed to get close to the performers (and need to anyway since we don't have a sound person and our audio is our camera shotguns) I'm hoping we can shoot 70% of this at Low Base.

                  I did some tests and the pulled down High Base stuff is going to take so much more time color correcting. The colors really start to go wacky.

                  I'll probably leave the EI at low base at equivalent to ISO (800) and do half (overexposed one stop) for High Base.
                  So for my fx6 half of high is 6400.
                  For the fx9 it's 2000.

                  Low base does look so much cleaner.

                  I do have that Neat denoise plugin but the processing takes forever.

                  Since I'm stabilizing many of the shots in post, I should probably start and stop the cam a few times, right? Since there are so many scenes. Or does it matter?



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                    #39
                    Originally posted by JimmyMcV View Post
                    My big shoot is tonight. I walked through the space (though there was still some daylight)

                    Since we do have camera lights and we're allowed to get close to the performers (and need to anyway since we don't have a sound person and our audio is our camera shotguns) I'm hoping we can shoot 70% of this at Low Base.

                    I did some tests and the pulled down High Base stuff is going to take so much more time color correcting. The colors really start to go wacky.

                    I'll probably leave the EI at low base at equivalent to ISO (800) and do half (overexposed one stop) for High Base.
                    So for my fx6 half of high is 6400.
                    For the fx9 it's 2000.

                    Low base does look so much cleaner.

                    I do have that Neat denoise plugin but the processing takes forever.

                    Since I'm stabilizing many of the shots in post, I should probably start and stop the cam a few times, right? Since there are so many scenes. Or does it matter?
                    Hey man, why do you think you'll need Neat Video before you even go on the shoot? With the FX6, you shouldn't be needing any sort of denoiser. In fact, I personally haven't used a denoiser in many years and I shoot a lot of doc stuff, including wildlife doc projects. A proper exposure should yield good enough footage to not need anything like that in post outside of an emergency.

                    Also, why do you plan to stabilize many shots in post? I've seen this a lot since the FX9/FX6 came out. So many people are relying on post stabilization in Catalyst Browse to get smooth footage. That's a long, time consuming process, especially if you plan to use it a lot. For me, I only use the gyro sensor data stabilization in CB when I somehow accidentally made a shot shaky (it happens), or if I wanted to make like one shot on a commercial project a little smoother than I was able to get it on the shoot. But I'm certainly not going into a project thinking that's going to be my workflow. That sounds like a nightmare!

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                      #40
                      Originally posted by ahalpert View Post
                      We can leave it there if you want to leave it there. I would just add that even if you expose to a white card, I think you're already making a creative decision by where you place the white card. For example, if you're standing in front of a window and filming doc b-roll of people catching window light as well as people standing farther inside the room in relative darkness, do you expose for people at the window or in the dark interior? Or do you expose for an area of the room in-between the lit and unlit parts? Or do you just capture as much detail as you can and sort it out in the grade? Or do you alter your exposure for your wides and your close-ups?You may have an approach to this scenario that you consider the only acceptable approach. But I don't think it's about "accuracy" in this case
                      You see, that is the problem with this conversation about exposure, there are literally thousands of different "what if" scenarios that anyone can throw out there. Never ending. I'll answer one and you will bring up another "what if". That is why I tried to limit the conversation to a standard 60 Minutes style interview, which is easy to deal with. I cannot spend time explaining my process/methods for every contigency.
                      Doug Jensen, Sony camcorder instructor
                      HOW TO MAKE MONEY SHOOTING STOCK
                      http://www.dougjensen.com/

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                        #41
                        Originally posted by Joshua Milligan View Post

                        Hey man, why do you think you'll need Neat Video before you even go on the shoot? With the FX6, you shouldn't be needing any sort of denoiser. In fact, I personally haven't used a denoiser in many years and I shoot a lot of doc stuff, including wildlife doc projects. A proper exposure should yield good enough footage to not need anything like that in post outside of an emergency.

                        Also, why do you plan to stabilize many shots in post? I've seen this a lot since the FX9/FX6 came out. So many people are relying on post stabilization in Catalyst Browse to get smooth footage. That's a long, time consuming process, especially if you plan to use it a lot. For me, I only use the gyro sensor data stabilization in CB when I somehow accidentally made a shot shaky (it happens), or if I wanted to make like one shot on a commercial project a little smoother than I was able to get it on the shoot. But I'm certainly not going into a project thinking that's going to be my workflow. That sounds like a nightmare!
                        My thoughts, exactly.
                        Doug Jensen, Sony camcorder instructor
                        HOW TO MAKE MONEY SHOOTING STOCK
                        http://www.dougjensen.com/

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                          #42
                          Originally posted by Joshua Milligan View Post

                          Hey Doug, why is Custom mode different from Cine EI on the FX6 outside of workflow? I'm not trying to argue with you, I am just asking so I understand.
                          I didn't want to waste space quoting your whole post, but I think you bring up some excellent points. You might be right and maybe I'm wrong to assume that the visual results will be different when you shoot LOG with CINE EI vs. Custom. To be honest, I haven't tested it on the FX6 and my assumptions are based on experience with other cameras. I could be wrong. However, it really doesn't make any difference to me personally one way or the the other, so maybe you should setup some very controlled A/B tests and let us know what you find out. Ultimately that is the only way to figure something like this out. I'd be interested to see the results, but not interested enough to do them myself. :-)

                          BTW, there's no need to say you're not trying to argue. I never feel that is the case with your posts. We all need to be questioned and challenged on our posts to keep us on our toes. I appreciate a good debate.
                          Last edited by Doug Jensen; 10-14-2021, 05:34 PM.
                          Doug Jensen, Sony camcorder instructor
                          HOW TO MAKE MONEY SHOOTING STOCK
                          http://www.dougjensen.com/

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                            #43
                            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. If there is an advantage to the technique you mention in post #12, I'd like to see some video that shows it, and also some explanation as to why that technique would work for High but not for Low.

                            I think threads like this really make exposure seem a heck of a lot more complicated than it needs to be. Just choose a target level . . . and if you can't hit your target with Low then switch to High, but the target stays the same. Simple as that.
                            I'm not going to go to the effort of making a side-by-side video. But the improvement in the noise floor when you overexpose the 12,800 High Base by one or two stops, is significant, and makes cutting 12,800 EI material in with 800 EI material, seamless.

                            This is immediately apparent when you compare the footage side-by-side in the grade.

                            Overexposing the 800 EI "low base" mode is completely unnecessary (because the camera is so clean at that level).

                            Does that mean the normally exposed 12,800 EI material is unusable? No. But it's touch-and-go to cut that material in with 800 EI seamlessly (even with fine-tuned temporal noise reduction). The jump is the noise floor between the two modes is readily apparent.
                            DREAMSMITHS | SHOWREEL | INSTAGRAM
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                              #44
                              Originally posted by Doug Jensen View Post

                              You see, that is the problem with this conversation about exposure, there are literally thousands of different "what if" scenarios that anyone can throw out there. Never ending. I'll answer one and you will bring up another "what if". That is why I tried to limit the conversation to a standard 60 Minutes style interview, which is easy to deal with. I cannot spend time explaining my process/methods for every contigency.
                              Quite. It sounds like you agree that exposure is a complicated affair because of the variety of scenarios you may encounter and the different goals you may have for different scenes. And therefore different strategies are required at different times

                              I always agreed that in a controlled-light or uniform light scenario, there will be an accurate exposure and everything else is technically inaccurate. (Whether or not you desire accuracy is a different question.)

                              As to techniques for noise suppression, it sounds like you don't think noise is a problem for a proper exposure at either 800 ISO on the fs7 or 12800 on the fx6. But we may have to agree to disagree there, and I don't think I'm alone

                              PS in case it was unclear, I enjoy these technical debates, don't mean to waste anyone's time, and don't take anything you say personally
                              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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                                #45
                                Originally posted by ahalpert View Post
                                PS in case it was unclear, I enjoy these technical debates, don't mean to waste anyone's time, and don't take anything you say personally
                                Same here. I speak bluntly sometimes but I don't mean anything personal by it.

                                BTW, on the FS7 I've always exposed S-LOG2/3 with white at 75 IRE, so you may consider that ETTR. I don't consider it ETTR because Sony's suggestion of 60 is totally bogus and I don't know anyone who actually exposes S-LOG anywhere near that level. There is no room for error at 60 and there's also no need to allow 49 IRE of headroom. On the FX6, I started at 68 but have gradually moved up to 72. I also don't consider that ETTR. That is just hitting my target.
                                Doug Jensen, Sony camcorder instructor
                                HOW TO MAKE MONEY SHOOTING STOCK
                                http://www.dougjensen.com/

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