Shooting Sony A7s & S-Log2 – A closer look & downloadable footage

The new Sony A7s is a very powerful camera. With Sony’s professional S-Log2 gamma curve built-in, we get a new level of quality in a consumer camera. Out in field work we continue to be impressed. Here’s a closer look at unraded / graded footage.

Last week I finished shooting / editing another short project with the Sony A7s and let me tell you, besides the toothache I had after the appointment at the dentist, it was pure pleasure to work with this camera!

At cinema5D we get A LOT of requests from our readers to provide some daytime samples of Sony’s A7s footage with the flat picture profile (S-Log2). Feel free to download from the Vimeo page and experiment yourself: LINK

Sony’s S-Log2 gamma that was initially included in their high-end cameras now resides in the little Sony A7s, which makes it one of its big advantages for professional use over other consumer cameras.

As we found in our dynamic range test the Sony A7s can reproduce 14.1 stops of light in terms of dynamic range. S-Log2 can be set in the preferences menu under Picture Profiles (page 5) and is called: “PP7”.

As you already know, the thing about shooting in a “flat picture profile” is the dull image you see (which is especially true for Sony’s S-Log2). In fact the picture looks so washed-out, it almost feels as if you’re doing something wrong.
One way to overcome that sensation is to use a monitor with the LUT’s by Alister Chapman in one of his excellent articles (Exposing and Using S-Log2 on the Sony A7s Part One: Gamma and Exposure).

Other than that it’s a good idea to keep track of the histogram on the A7s which should help to get the exposure right. A good place to start if you want to get familiar with “understanding histograms” is John Greengo’s video: Your Camera’s Histogram: Explained.

Armed with this knowledge you can see why I chose S-Log2 to shoot my video. In such an overcast day my aim was to try and keep any picture detail I could. Filming “flat” and adding a look with Filmconvert, gave me the great image I was looking for.

Thanks to my friends at miggo who gave permission to make the footage available for download.
(For looking at miggo’s products at B&H please click here)

Watch it on Vimeo

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Johnnie BehiriClaire McHardyCasey BassettNew A7s reviews from Cinema5D, BestMCR, GVFX and more… | sonyalpharumorsJoel Richards Recent comment authors
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Clayton Moore
Guest

A cloudy day helps I’m sure. Normally (even using S-log) for full sun work, wouldn’t you need to rock some serious ND filters with that sensitive a sensor and maintain a narrow DOF?

Eric Darling
Guest

That’s a pretty contrasty grade – I think the blacks got crushed too much, but the range on that camera is incredible!

Eno
Guest
Eno

The sky is blown out and full of banding. The dynamic range is very limited also.What is the point of shooting this flat if the final image looks worse than if it shot on a standard profile.
I think people feel more pro this way LOL.

cjay
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cjay

I somewhat agree. I’m not bashing the video completely, but the video contradicts the purpose of the post. The post was to highlight key features of dynamic range and flat slog2. I actually did not notice the banding until you mentioned it , but it is there. A little grain can reduce this and it is not terrible. My biggest problem with the video was the shadow details. I have seen some amazing videos showcasing shadow detail. However in this video the blacks almost looked crushed. It may just be me but i crushed blacks are the first sign of… Read more »

Erwin Hartsuiker
Guest

Agree about the 8 bit limit. The A7S is great for low light and the S-log has advantages too for pro-users. For normal lighting conditions the Blackmagic production camera (about same cost) offers more detail though (4K ProRes in camera), 10 bit capability and global shutter. On another note, the GH4 has 4K video and 10 bit HMDI out. So each camera has its strengths.

Joel Richards
Guest

I think the point is having more options in post. If the client hadn’t liked the grade then Johnnie could have redone the color correction far more easily than working with a baked in look. Worth it? Not always but certainly a great option to have. Also the sky was clearly overcast. Not much detail there regardless.

I do think the F55 SLOG2 LUT (haven’t played with film convert just FCPX and Davinci) seems too harsh & punchy. I wonder if SLOG2 for the A7S isn’t heavily tweaked and warrants its own standard LUT.

Luke Holley
Guest

Nice work as always, thanks for sharing!

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