I'll let you in on a secret shame: I'm a very lazy writer. This is why my "blog" is a desert wasteland.
When I walked out of my final university bluebook/essay exam (on The History of Modern Europe, if you're interested), I was pleased for no other reason than thatI would never be required to write anything longer than a 140-character Twitter post against my will. For this reason, when Maurice from Germany wrote me asking for advice on general SLOG exposure, I reckoned it may be useful to post my response as a blanket post for anyone looking for the same information.
Hope it's ok that I wrote you:)
I got my alpha 7sII, it's my first Sony alpha type camera and my first experience with SLog.
So I thought I ask you since I loved your a7s videos and explanation of exposing when using SLog2.
1. I saw some videos with the new a7sII in low light using another picture profile (maybe even PP "off") than SLog and it seems much less noisy than my tests with SLog 2&3. Is this normal or is it a thing I should worry about?! Sensor problems etc.?!
2. How can you see it on your camera that you expose 2 stops over? And how can you measure it? What tools should I use? Spot meter, etc?!
3. Is there a difference in exposing right between SLog 2 and SLog 3? Which profile would you recommend in terms of cinematic productions or music videos?
4. Do you use any noise reduction software like neat video etc?
5. Is there a problem using third party lenses like the Canon 35 1:2.0?! I guess if I can shoot 24MP stills with a 5D there should be no problem to use it for 4K video, right?
6. Do you have any tips and tricks for me to come up with amazing footage without much noise? Especially in the darker regions?
I hope for your answer and thank you so much! My first test using SLog2 you can see here:
Have a nice day!
Best regards from Germany,
Photographer // Retoucher
I have not owned or used the A7SII, but I’ll answer best I can based on my knowledge of the original A7S. I always recommend backing up any advice (my own or others) with your own tests to verify.
1. SLOG2 is less noisy than SLOG3 when exposed correctly, but like reversal film, is less flexible in adjusting up or down in post, so most prefer to shoot SLOG3 for options in exposure. I’m not sure normal SLOG is available on the A7S (or I’ve just never used it).
2. General exposure is subjective to an extent, but true measurement would be against an 18% grey card, which should measure the same with either a spot or incident meter. In camera, you can simply use the spot meter with the dial set to zero.
3. The difference between SLOG 2&3 lay in their preferred exposure. SLOG2 retains better highlight information at the expense of shadow detail, while SLOG3 does the inverse (better shadow detail but less highlight information). SLOG2 also differs in that it has an inconsistent gamma across the luma curve (which is how it crams more overall stops into a limited container), but like time travel in LOOPER, I can’t entirely explain how it works. Short story is that this characteristic of the luma curve is what makes SLOG2 less flexible in the grade if the exposure needs any adjustment at all. Basically, SLOG2 is great if you never make mistakes, whereas SLOG3 makes life easier in the end.
4. I have a copy of Neat Video for FCP7 that I’d use on occasion, but since that NLE doesn’t support most formats I now use, I don't bother with noise reduction unless I really goof up (and I’m pleading the fifth).
5. Any modern stills lens, especially those made for full frame, should be capable of resolving 4K from a resolution standpoint, seeing as most DSLR cameras are higher resolution than 4K (see the Freddie Wong video on cheap lenses for video). Of course, a soft lens will give you a soft picture no matter the format, so research the ones you use. Usability of hitting focus marks are an entirely different matter.
6. To minimize noise, make sure to give your sensor a healthy amount of light at an appropriate ISO. If you can avoid clipping significant highlights, overexpose then bring down the shadows in post for the cleanest shadows.