External recordings on Sony a7 series cameras are awesome for several reasons, but unfortunately the image is crushed and there can be a loss in dynamic range when recording externally via HDMI. The famous Slog problem cuts off blacks and highlights and gives you a wrong Slog 2 or Slog 3 image. But we’ve developed an extremely easy fix. This LUT can be applied either during external recordings or even in post and give you back the full dynamic range of a true Slog image. The Slog Problem Explained Back in March, I wrote a scientific article on the crushed blacks phenomenon concerning the Sony a7S, Sony a7S II, Sony a7R II and Sony a6300 cameras. Basically, the contrast information is saved incorrectly on external recordings via HDMI, thus defeating the whole purpose of a standardized Slog Gamma. This phenomenon has been the main reason why some people have avoided using external recorders with these cameras. There is a fix that involves either DaVinci Resolve or level filters in Premiere that I described here, but these can impact your rendering time considerably. [Important UPDATE:] You do not need this on the Convergent Design Odyssey Recorder as their latest firmware provides a fix in the form of a “Legalize HDMI” function you will find in the INPUTS menu. The C5D Slog Fix Here is better way to fix the Slog Problem at any stage of your workflow, and it’s the fastest we have found in the form of our very first official C5D LUT. Essentially, it recovers any Slog 2 or Slog 3 files recorded externally, and gives you back a true Slog image with the cameras full dynamic range. On top of that, this LUT gives you the unique possibility to burn the correct Gamma right into your external recordings. By loading this LUT onto an external recorder like the Atomos Shogun, you can fix the Slog problem during recording, work with a correct file from the start, and save the additional rendering time otherwise needed in post production. This Slog Issue is especially problematic in Slog 2 Gamma, as it kills some of the highlights and thus reduces the dynamic range of the image where it matters (highlight rolloff in critical shots): 100% crop of 4K image (Slog 2 Gamma) This is how the Slog affects the dark areas of the image and how the Slog Fix recovers the correct Gamma: 100% crop of 4K image (Slog 2 Gamma) In our tests, an external recording with the C5D Slog Fix LUT on an Atomos Shogun was virtually identical to a file otherwise transcoded in DaVinci Resolve by changing the Video Levels manually (See more sample images below) Note: We cannot be held responsible for wrong use of the LUT. Please test this yourself before implementing into your own workflow. We decided not to give away the C5D Slog Fix LUT for free, but if you buy us a cup of coffee it’s yours to use in your projects. We’ll also be happy for a higher contribution if you feel this fix helped you in your work. DOWNLOAD IT HERE [UPDATE:] As cinema5D reader Corey Robson pointed out, there is an alternative method on the Atomos Shogun, that gets you half way to the goal: The Shogun offers a “5D MkIII” Color Corrector option in the “Source” window. While I do not know the science of it, the tests showed that it recovers some of the highlights, but not the true Slog Gamma. If you’re working semi professionally it should be “good enough”, as the highlights are most important. For those who want to use a second LUT as a preview on the Shogun, I would recommend this method instead of the C5D LUT, or alternatively the C5D LUT can be used in post for a 100% accurate result. Sample Images Sony a7S – Slog 2 – Internal H.264 Sony a7S – Slog 2 – External – unfixed Sony a7S – Slog 2 – External Fixed with Slog FIX LUT in post Sony a7S – Slog 2 – External – Fixed with Slog FIX LUT burned in, on the recorder FAQ Do I need this if I don’t use Slog 2 or Slog 3 Gamma? No. The Slog Problem is only present in external recordings with Slog 2 and 3 Gammas via HDMI. What about external recordings via SDI? External recordings via SDI are not affected. Please don’t use the Slog Fix on those. Will this work even on files that have already been recorded? Yes. You can use this on files you have recorded with an external recorder in the past. The files were only saved with the wrong metadata and the information can be pulled back with the help of our LUT or the workarounds described here. Who is it for? For people who want to retain the original Slog 2 or Slog 3 Gamma in order to grade accurately, match cameras or use pre defined LUTs. If you apply LUTs meant for Slog 2 or 3, you will not get the correct results without fixing your files first. Do I need this on the Sony FS7 or FS5? If you’re using an external HDMI recording you will also need this on a Sony FS7 and Sony FS5. If you’re using SDI as an output interface you will not require the fix. Will I lose color information or quality when I use the LUT on a recorder (burned in)? No. According to our tests the results are the same as if you would apply the fix in post. Note that in general there is a slight variance between externally recorded colors in comparison to internally recorded H.264 files on Sony cameras. We think the external recordings with our LUT look more color accurate. Download the sample images above to compare them and see the nuances. Make sure you use this workflow properly before burning the LUT into your recorded files. How do I use this on an Atomos Shogun? 1. To use the C5D SlogFix for monitoring purposes: Copy the C5D-SlogFix.cube file to the root folder of your Atomos Shogun Media (An SSD or harddisk) Tap the yellow “…” icon at the bottom right hand side of the screen Tap on one of the 8 LUT slots (preferably an empty one) Tap on the folder icon In the new window that opens tap the “C5D-SlogFix.cube” file twice. This will load the LUT onto your Atomos Shogun recorder To monitor tap the LUT slot now associated with the C5D-SlogFix and tap the monitoring icon on the top right hand side to switch monitoring on or off The C5D-SlogFix.cube file can be deleted from the media 2. To burn C5D SlogFix into your file (RECOMMENDED for a faster grading workflow): Follow the monitoring setup of 1 After your camera is connected, tap the “hdmi” icon in the top left hand corner In the window that opens, under the section “RECORD 4KUHDp…” tap on “3D LUT: Off”, so that it shows “3D LUT: On” There should be a red, flashing icon in the top right hand corner that says “MON LUT” Make sure the C5D-SlogFix LUT is selected in the yellow “…” menu Download Click the image below to get the C5D LUT Slog Fix:Read more
Convergent Design just announced a massive price drop on their popular Odyssey 7Q+ recorder. It’s actually in the same price range as the Atomos Shogun for now—despite the 7Q+ coming with a 256GB SSD! The Odyssey always seemed to be a pseudo big brother to the Shogun, with its more robust set of features. However, while the Atomos Shogun evolves with a constant flow of really nice updates, the Odyssey only sports paid upgrades which unlock more features like raw recording or the ability to record multiple cams at the same time. Maybe they feel the pressure is increasing on them because as of yesterday, Convergent Design has announced a price drop of $500 for their top of the line recorder. It looks like the competition between the two companies is paying off for their customers! With this price drop, the Odyssey 7Q+ and the Shogun are going head to head when it comes to retail prices: The full package of the Shogun costs $ 1,995 as I pen this article, with the “bare bones” version at $1,695. The Odyssey 7Q+ is $1.795 and it’s shipped with a 256GB SSD included in that price. You have to be quick, though, as Convergent Design has mentioned that this offer is for a limited time only—I’d imagine that it probably won’t last long. Check their promo PDF for more details about this offer. Hopefully, you haven’t purchased an Odyssey lately as this price drop is only valid for new purchases from January 19th onwards. What do you think, is this price drop worth a look? Or will you be sticking to the Shogun instead?Read more
[UPDATE] The new firmware for the Odyssey7Q+ is now available: Download Odyssey Firmware 2015.7 Convergent Design just announced a new free firmware update for the Odyssey7 and Odyssey7Q+ recorders and a major revamp of their Odyssey7Q+ SSD support and prices. The Convergent Design Odyssey7Q+ OLED Monitor & Recorder is for many still the gold standard of disk recorders. Especially when it comes to recording RAW slow motion from cameras like the Sony FS700 or Sony FS7 it delivers astonshing results in a reliable and ergonomic package. A few months ago the Atomos Shogun joined the market of 4K recorder and offered a significantly more affordable package. While it cannot record slow motion, just 2 days ago Atomos released an update that enables recording via the Sony cameras’ RAW outputs. At $2.295 the Odyssey7Q+ is $600 more expensive versus the Shogun (Barebones Edition) that comes in at $1.695. The real difference however lies in that features have to be purchased individually on the Odyssey and the proprietary recording media has been significantly more expensive so far. With the new upgrade Convergent Design opens up their recording media compatibility to third party manufacturer Samsung. This way some specific versions of Samsung SSD’s can be used with the recorder. Here’s a list of all supported SSD’s Samsung 850 PRO 128GB ($99) Samsung 850 PRO 256GB ($158) Samsung 850 PRO 512GB ($278) Samsung 850 PRO 1024GB ($489) Samsung 850 EVO 1000GB ($380) As you can see the Samsung 850 EVO 1000GB is the best value for the byte. In comparison to the proprietary Convergent Design media which was $1.395, this is a huge price advantage and makes the Odyssey 7Q+ all that much more attractive again. Note that in order to record slow motion from one of the aforementioned Sony cameras you will need: Odyssey7Q+ (or previous versions) 2x Odyssey7Q+ SSD‘s (because it records alternating frames to achieve high speed) Odyssey RAW bundle ($995) So a working package of this kind for the Sony F cameras with 2x 128GB would still cost a total of $3.488. In comparison you could get an Atomos Shogun (Barebones Edition) with a 256GB SSD for $1.804 [Updated], but it will not offer the slow motion or RAW recording capabilities. Convergent Design also announced that they are lowering prices on their proprietary media by up to 44% and also that from now on a 256GB SSD, as well as 5 empty SSD caddies will be included with every new Odyssey7Q+ recorder. The new firmware 2015.07 will be coming soon via the Convergent Design website.Read more
Sound Devices & Video Devices are known for their great Video & Audio recording devices. The new small 4K recorder they just presented at NAB 2015 seems like an ergonomic dream come true and has a lot of advantages over other products in the market. At an affordable price, with affordable media, it seems like this is one device not to be missed. The Video Devices PIX-E5 is compact and gets a 4K signal out of the Sony Alpha a7S among many other cameras. The design is very solid with touch-screen as well as tactile controls. There are many useful features in a bundle that looks and feels very professional. All inputs are locked down, no cables can pop out. The media solution is really impressive as well. It’s a USB3 enclosure that sits at the back of the device. You can use it with your own M-SATA mini drives and upgrade it at any time later on with affordable and very fast media. The enclosure itself comes with the device and an additional unit costs $59. We were intrigued by this product, it seems well made all around. The only limitation is the framerate that maxes out at 60p in HD. So no slomo recording with this one. Also there is no RAW, but the Apple ProRes 4444 XQ makes up for it. The PIX-LR is a screw-on accessory that provides the monitors with two XLR inputs and outputs, featuring mic preamps, LED level meters and dedicated transport and gain controls. At $1395 this small 4K recorder is much more affordable than an Atomos Shogun for example and at first glance seems better suited to cameras like the GH4 or A7S as well as in terms of usability, but of courses missed the slomo functionality. We will have a comparison between the two devices soon. The competition that is going on in this sector is seriously interesting. The specs at a glance: 5″ 1920 x 1080 Touchscreen Display Records 4K (4096 x 2160) up to 30 fps Records 1080p up to 60 fps All flavours of ProRes up to 4444 XQ (!!!) Uses a USB 3.0 SpeedDrive (The case is $59) 4K-Capable HDMI Input with Loop-Through 3G-SDI Input with Loop-Through Analog Audio Input Physical Buttons and Jog-Dial Controls Peaking, Zebra, Quick Zoom, FlaseColor, etc… The $1395 Video Devices PIX-E5 is available for pre-order HERE. The hdmi-only version is the Video Devices PIX-E5H and costs $1195. The 7″ version Video Devices PIX-E7 is $1595.Read more
Custom LUT workflows have become quite the talking point as of late. Whilst the concept is nothing new, accessibility to log shooting cameras and LUT viewable monitoring has increased and in-turn the workflow is now much more popular. In light of this, the Deluts package is perfectly timed; a collection of custom made LUTs by filmmaker James Miller designed from monitoring on set right through to the grade. A LUT (or Look Up Table) is simply a manipulation of your image. An alteration of colour and contrast to provide you with a non-destructive* view of how your image can look once adjustment is applied. This is ideal on set when working in a log (flat) profile and you simply want an easier image to exposure and focus with, or want to provide your client with a view of how the image may roughly look when completed. *Whilst the intention is usually non-destructive, (viewable, not recordable) it is possible to record an applied LUT should you prefer. The beauty of LUTs is consistency throughout the entire workflow; you can apply the same LUT to your monitor on set to your NLE editing system in the grade. This is especially useful if there are multiple people working on a project and you want the desired look of your piece to be translated right the way through the production. As an operator, one thing I’ve struggled with in the past is a good collection of LUTs. I’ve often made quick contrast adjustments directly on the Atomos Shogun, just to please the eye whilst shooting with the knowledge that it will look better once I’ve added a grade later on. I simply don’t have the time or grading experience to devote to constructing my own LUTs for different jobs. Filmmaker James Miller has just released a fantastic solution. Deluts is a package compromised of nearly 30 custom LUT profiles to use on set or in the edit/grade. Available in both .3DL and .cube Deluts is compatible with most NLE systems and LUT compatible cameras and monitors. I was out shooting yesterday, testing the new downscale function of the Atomos Shogun on the Sony a7S. I was testing whether or not the 1080 output of the 4K Shogun was any better than a direct 1080p feed from the a7S. Unfortunately it doesn’t, there’s no visible difference between the two, but I was left with some throw away footage to test out the Deluts package on. Loading LUTs in Premiere Pro CC is easy, simply create a new adjustment layer and add this on a video track over your footage. Apply Lumetri (in-built effect) effect to your adjustment layer and navigate through your finder window to the Delut of your choice. Filmmaker friend of mine Daniel Peters has put together a tutorial on adding LUTs in Premiere Pro CC and DaVinci Resolve: Tweaking your look can be done so by altering the opacity of your adjustment layer, or adding adjustments to your video layer as your would normally. Here are some examples of different Deluts looks I’ve put together quickly (as a Brit, I’m very much a fan of the England cities naming theme of the LUTs!). The footage is shot on the Sony a7S in 4K on the Atomos Shogun, scaled down to 1080 on the Premiere Pro CC timeline. I’ve simply added different LUTs on separate adjustment layers, reducing the opacity on just a couple with a tad sharpening. No other correction applied. The Deluts package is available for purchase now via deluts.com.Read more
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