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Underexpose in camera or in post?


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#1 Tyler Clark

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Posted 14 December 2015 - 09:05 PM

What is a better practice when looking for an underexposed look? (Thinking fincher, social network, dragon tattoo, etc.)

 

I work with the c300 and fs7 alot using Clog and Slog3. 

 

Underexposing in camera on the C300 results in alot of muddiness and on the fs7 alot of noise. The 5D on the other hand seems to handle it well a stop or two under and Ive seen tests with the RED EPIC that 2 -3 stops under works quite nicely. 

 

is it on a per camera basis?

 

 


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 December 2015 - 09:20 PM

Didn't we already have this discussion or was this thread on RedUser already?

 

You partly answered your own question, it depends on the camera and recording codec.  It also depends on the amount of bright highlights and darkest shadows in your image because while just exposing normally and bringing down the image in post is often safer, and obviously will give you less noise problems, your clip point will be different than if you underexposed the image.  

 

Also, if your scene contains objects that emit low levels of light naturally then with at a lower artificial lighting level, these self-illuminating objects will expose brighter in comparison, so the look will be different compared to working at a higher lighting level and bringing down the image.

 

Keep in mind that Fincher has a lot of high-end noise reduction processing at his disposal; knowing you will have that tool in your back pocket might affect your exposure decision-making process.

 

I think the general answer is just be conservative with your underexposure, don't avoid it completely but don't overdo it either because you can always make it even darker in post.


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#3 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 14 December 2015 - 10:29 PM

C300 so called LOG isnt a "real" log gamma.. its more like hyper gamma 7/8 in the Sony Fs7/F5/55.. they do this because its only 8 bit.. 

The Fs7 is 10 bit in XAVC..and Slog3 is almost identical to Arri Log C.. but no NR in camera.. will be with the next V3 for Fs7.. if it ever arrives   :)

 

Common wisdom for Slog seems to be never underexpose, and actually better to over expose a stop or 2.. and correct in post..  also if your scene is pretty dark and doesnt have a large DR in the first place.. shooting Log you are throwing away alot of data.. and getting a very small amount in the shadows..  better to shoot with one of the hyper gamma,s .. 

 

Good article about this here

 

http://www.xdcam-use...veform-display/


Edited by Robin R Probyn, 14 December 2015 - 10:32 PM.

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#4 Tyler Clark

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Posted 15 December 2015 - 05:19 PM

Didn't we already have this discussion or was this thread on RedUser already?

 

You partly answered your own question, it depends on the camera and recording codec.  It also depends on the amount of bright highlights and darkest shadows in your image because while just exposing normally and bringing down the image in post is often safer, and obviously will give you less noise problems, your clip point will be different than if you underexposed the image.  

 

Also, if your scene contains objects that emit low levels of light naturally then with at a lower artificial lighting level, these self-illuminating objects will expose brighter in comparison, so the look will be different compared to working at a higher lighting level and bringing down the image.

 

Keep in mind that Fincher has a lot of high-end noise reduction processing at his disposal; knowing you will have that tool in your back pocket might affect your exposure decision-making process.

 

I think the general answer is just be conservative with your underexposure, don't avoid it completely but don't overdo it either because you can always make it even darker in post.

 

 

C300 so called LOG isnt a "real" log gamma.. its more like hyper gamma 7/8 in the Sony Fs7/F5/55.. they do this because its only 8 bit.. 

The Fs7 is 10 bit in XAVC..and Slog3 is almost identical to Arri Log C.. but no NR in camera.. will be with the next V3 for Fs7.. if it ever arrives   :)

 

Common wisdom for Slog seems to be never underexpose, and actually better to over expose a stop or 2.. and correct in post..  also if your scene is pretty dark and doesnt have a large DR in the first place.. shooting Log you are throwing away alot of data.. and getting a very small amount in the shadows..  better to shoot with one of the hyper gamma,s .. 

 

Good article about this here

 

http://www.xdcam-use...veform-display/

 

Dont believe that was me Dave, im not on REDuser (unfortunately considering I never have budgets for RED). I do appreciate the advice and tips everyone!


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#5 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 15 December 2015 - 06:45 PM

I'd recommend making your exposure decisions in light of the specific conditions of post-production you'll be working with on a shoot. If you're not going to involved in the grade - I'd strongly advise you to expose to precisely the levels you want in camera, as this gives them less room to muck things up and push the image in post (I've been burned by that enough times already).

 

When you do know that you'll have some control in post, I think it's well worth considering a more restrained approach. For example, limiting your underexposure on faces to say two stops under - a level which is dark, but still leaves plenty of detail and information to push things a little either way in the grade.

 

More and more these days, I prefer to light consistently to my Monitoring LUT, this just puts everything close to where you want it across the entire project. And keeping things simple seems to be the best possible way to achieve solid results in the oftentimes disjointed post processes pictures are put through these days.


Edited by Mark Kenfield, 15 December 2015 - 06:47 PM.

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#6 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 15 December 2015 - 07:18 PM

I always do it in camera, for many reasons.

 

1. Everything looks better underexposed.

2. Clients get used to the dark look and will then later grade it that way when you don't have control.

3. By underexposing, the clients can only lift it so much in post before it falls apart. This protects my vision.


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