Why I Ditched S-Log

Alright guys, today I want to talk about why I ditched shooting in S-Log on my Sony cameras, and my new favorite picture profile. 

When I switched over to Sony from Panasonic, FilmConvert was already a big part of my color grading workflow. If you’re not familiar with it, FilmConvert is a plug-in that allows you to emulate a bunch of different film stocks and grain, and they have profiles for different cameras. 

So, for instance, you could tell FilmConvert that you’re shooting on a Panasonic GH4 in Cinelike-D or V-log, or a Canon 5D, or even an ARRI or a Red, or whatever, and then tell it, this is the film stock I want to emulate, and FilmConvert knows what to do with the color conversion. So, in a way, it’s sort of a LUT, but its end goal is film emulation as opposed to a heavy “look.”

Well, for the Sony a7S II, the majority of the options inside FilmConvert were either for footage shot using S-Log 2 or 3, or Cine1. So, while everyone else was shooting Cine4 on the a7S II, because I wanted to continue using FilmConvert, I started with Cine1.

And while I enjoy Cine1, eventually my curiosity surrounding S-Log3 got the best of me, and that became my go-to gamma. At first, I loved the flexibility in post that S-Log provided, the ability to subtly adjust the highlights and shadows with much more control than I ever got out of my GH4 in Cinelike-D or Cine1 on my Sony, and I could really give the footage any look I wanted.

But, because you have to overexpose S-Log3 by one or two stops in order to avoid noisy shadows and to get the maximum possible dynamic range retention, I found myself having trouble when I wanted to intentionally underexpose an image, like, say a dress shot, or a shot of the bride having her makeup applied.

So, finally, long story short: starting with Cine1 Pro, to S-Log3, I’ve finally landed on my favorite Sony Picture Profile for shooting weddings and that is, you guessed it, Cine4.

Why do I like Cine4? Well, for one, I’ve changed my color grading workflow a bit, and have started using Denver Riddle’s excellent Color Finale plug-in more and more, and I’ll post a separate video on that in the future.

But Cine4 is great because it’s not as high-contrast as Cine1, but it’s also not crazy flat like S-Log. So you really get the best of both worlds.

S-Log does definitely allow you to retain a greater dynamic range, but, it seems like to really take full advantage of S-Log, or any Log format for that matter, it should really be on a professional set. And weddings are obviously not professional movie sets.

For me, I would need to bring a large monitor, with vectorscopes and waveform monitors that I could read, in order to know exactly what my exposure is. And yes, I am aware that Gamma Display Assist exists, and it definitely does help, but for me, S-Log made it very difficult to actually “feel” what I was shooting. 

And if I wanted to intentionally under- or over-expose an image, it was virtually impossible for me to do that in a run and gun scenario, as shooting weddings can so often be. 

So, I’m not saying it’s impossible, and there are definitely people out there who are way better than me at exposing for S-Log than I, but for me, and my workflow, I am willing to give up a little bit of that dynamic range retention, and work a little harder to get it as close as possible in camera, and shoot in Cine4, and not have to do so much work in post, color correcting and then grading to achieve the look I want.

Plus, not shooting in S-Log comes with a few perks like, my minimum ISO doesn’t have to be 1600 on my a7S II, or 800 on my a6500, I can go as low as 200 on Cine4, so I’m not relying on ND filters as much when shooting outside or in bright conditions.

So, if you guys want to know my go to Picture Profile, I’m using PP5, changing the gamma to Cine4 as I mentioned earlier, changing the Color Mode to S-Gamut3.Cine as that is supposed to be Sony’s most advanced color space, and the only other adjustment I’ve made is to the amount of “Detail,” I have dialed that down from 0 to negative 7.

And “Detail,” you can think of that like bringing an image into Photoshop and adding in sharpening. And you don’t really want to bake that into your footage, because we can easily add sharpening in in post anyway. 

And, if you’re curious about learning more about what all of the different Picture Profiles do to your image, there is a really helpful guide out there written by Sony, which you can check out here.

But that’s what works for me guys! Let me know your favorite Picture Profile settings and if you’ve found any tweaks or changes that you really like.

How to Make Your Sony Look Like A Canon

Hey guys! Steve here and today I want to talk about how you can make your Sony look more like a Canon with EOSHD Pro Color 3.0.

A little while back I posted a video titled “How to Get Instantly Better Skin Tones on Sony Alpha Cameras,” and if you watched that video, you’ll know that in it we discussed how Sony’s Auto White Balance feature doesn’t always produce great results, and how we can use EOSHD Pro Color to get better, more flattering, Canon-like skin tones. If you haven’t seen that video, and would like to learn more about Canon’s approach to color science versus Sony’s, check out the link in the description below.

EOSHD.com is a website run by the British filmmaker and blogger Andrew Reid, and he has developed a set of Picture Profiles for Sony Alpha cameras called EOSHD Pro Color. The goal of EOSHD Pro Color is to mimic the color science of Canon cameras, which have greater separation in their green and blue channels for accurate skies and foliage, while retaining less separation in the red channel for improved skin tones. 

You might be saying, “Yeah Steve, I know, you covered all that in the first video about EOSHD Pro Color.” Well, recently Andrew released an updated version of EOSHD Pro Color that he’s calling EOSHD Pro Color 3.0 with three different Picture Profiles. The original EOSHD Pro Color, EOSHD XR (Extended Range), and EOSHD Pro Color DW (Deep Warmth).

Just like the original Pro Color, Pro Color 3 is simply a set of Picture Profile set-up instructions that you receive in the form of a PDF, there’s nothing to load or install onto your camera. Pro Color is compatible with the Sony a7S II, a7R II, a99 II, a7S and a7 II, a6300, a6500, FS5, RX100 IV and V, and lastly the RX10 II, III, and IV.

Sony cameras which lack advanced picture profile capabilities there therefore incompatible with EOSHD Pro Color, such as the Sony RX100 I, II, and III, the new a9, the original a7R and a7S, the a6000, and the RX10 M1.

I thought it would be a good idea to test these two new profiles along with the original EOSHD Pro Color profile, and see how they compare to Sony’s default movie gamma, so that’s what I did. Armed with my PilotFly H2 and my Zeiss 35mm f/2.8, we hit the streets of Houston and got some test footage, so let’s take a look at that now. Note that there has not been any color correction or post-processing of any kind, this is all straight out of the camera.

So, as you can see, the new Pro Color settings, especially Extended Range and Deep Warmth, really offer, in my opinion, the most striking difference from the default Sony “Movie” gamma. Although I do have to say, since I never shoot with it, I was pleasantly surprised with how nice the Sony Movie gamma looked right out of the camera.

You can see in a couple of these shots, my highlights were a little blown out, and I should mention that Pro Color 3 comes with a highlight recover LUT. I didn’t have a chance to really play around with that, but it’s out there if you want to check it out.

If I had to pick an all-around favorite, I’d probably go with Pro Color Extended Range. The skin tones were great, and the overall vibrancy and saturation of the image was great, without being too much. 

The Deep Warmth setting in all scenarios seemed to shift the image slightly too much magenta for my liking, especially in the skin tones. Though Andrew lists this profile as giving “deeper orange tones and golden yellows” and “improved sunset tones.” Although I didn’t get a chance to test it at sunset, I can see how this setting could be beneficial in certain lighting situations.

When it comes to strictly skin tones, the original Pro Color setting is still king. It really reminds me of my days shooting on Canon and is the closest I’ve seen in achieving a Canon skin tone look on my Sony. But the Extended Range still handles skin tones nicely but also give you a bit more saturation and liveliness to your image.

So there you have it guys. What do you think of EOSHD Pro Color 3? Do you prefer shooting in it over Sony’s own “Movie” gamma or Cine1 or Cine4? Let me know in the comments below!

How to Get Instantly Better Skin Tones

Hey guys, Steve here, and today I want to talk about how you can get instantly better skin tones when shooting on a Sony alpha camera.

Now, I’m going to to be talking specifically about the Sony a7S II as that’s the camera I shoot on, but this also applies to the a7R II, a7S, the a7 II, the a6300 and a6500, and even non-Alpha cameras like the RX 10 2 and 3, the RX100 4 and 5, and the Sony FS5.

Now, the Sony a7S II is an amazing camera. In the last few years, I myself, along with plenty of other wedding filmmakers, have jumped ship and sold all of my Canon gear and invested 100% in the Sony system. And, so far, I haven’t regretted it an ounce. The low light performance is outstanding, the lenses Sony have been releasing are the best in their class, and the dynamic range is fantastic. All around, it’s a magnificent camera system. 

However, as great as it is, it’s not perfect. Have you ever been shooting on your Sony, maybe using auto white balance - and there's nothing to be ashamed of there, we all do it - and you notice that your skin tones just don’t look quite…right? 

You’re not alone. It’s a well-known fact that Sony’s color science just isn’t quite there in terms of skin tones. Even if you dial in the white balance using a custom Kelvin temperature, sometimes it can still look a bit off, especially if you’re shooting in a setting with mixed lighting and multiple color temperatures from various sources.

Sony cameras approach color science from a much more technical standpoint. And sometimes, that just doesn’t produce the most flattering results.

Canon’s cameras have a green and blue channel optimized for landscape photography, and a red channel optimized for skin tones. There is greater separation in the greens and blues leading to more realistic foliage and greenery, as well as vivid blues in the sky, while simultaneously retaining less separation in the red channel. And that’s important.

Too much separation of the reds is bad for skin tones. In a Sony camera, while it’s technically more “correct” - it’s much less flattering. You get to see every color in a skin tone on a Sony camera and this can lead to some nasty dark-reds in the face as well as some unwanted grey-yellows under the eyes. 

Not only are there issues with Sony’s color science, its white balance also has some issues. 

The auto white balance setting on Sony’s current cameras has a hard time distinguishing between setting a “correct” white balance and removing whatever color cast is coming from the lights in the room, and maintaining the ambience of the shot.

Sometimes when you’re shooting under artificial light, you don’t want to just correct for it, but you want to maintain the mood and the vibe that the light is giving off. And if you’re intentionally using mixed lighting for effect, the auto white balance is going to have NO idea what to do. Now, newer models such as the a6500 have added an “Ambience Priority” setting, but if you’re shooting on an older model, like an a7S II, you’re not going to have that option, like you would on most Canon cameras.

Alright, enough talk about the problems. What’s the solution? Enter Andrew Reid. Andrew is a British filmmaker who runs a site called EOSHD.com and blogs about all sorts of camera-related topics. And he has developed something called EOSHD Pro Color

So what is EOSHD Pro Color? At first, I thought it might be a custom picture profile that you install onto your camera from an SD card, but, as it turns out, EOSHD Pro Color is simply a set of settings and tweaks that you receive from Andrew in the form of a PDF.

You go into one of your Picture Profiles, dial everything in as Andrew recommends, and boom, you’re getting instantly better skin tones, resembling that of a Canon DSLR. 

Now, EOS HD Pro Color costs $14.99 for the download and I know what your next question is going to be...

No, I’m not going to give away Andrew’s secret sauce, because that would be dishonest and diminish the hard work he put into developing and testing these various settings, but I will of course link to Andrew’s site in the description below so you can download it for yourself should you feel so inclined.

Now, you guys may recall a video I posted about S-Log3 and how it’s my favorite color profile for my Sony a7S II, and how I would never shoot using anything but. And while that’s still mostly true,   if I ever want to shoot something that’s not meant to look cinematic, anything I want to look great right out of the camera and anything that I’m not going to spend a ton of time color grading, I shoot it in EOSHD Pro Color.

In closing, I’m really glad I stumbled upon EOSHD Pro Color because I love using it for everyday shooting when I want a really great image right out of the camera, with minimal work in post-production. 

So there you have it guys. If you guys have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them down below. And be sure to let me know what you think of EOS HD Pro Color!

Pro Tip: Shoot 4K Video in Manual Mode for a Brighter Screen on Sony Alpha Cameras

Alright, so I love my Sony cameras. And I love shooting in 4K resolution. However, if you’re a Sony shooter, you know that Sony’s cameras have a tendency to overheat. And, in an attempt to prevent that, Sony automatically dims the brightness of the screen when shooting in 4K.

Now this can make it obviously more difficult to judge your exposure, and can make the screen really hard to see if you’re shooting outside or in bright conditions, and it forces you to rely more on your metering, etc. etc.

However, there is somewhat of a workaround for this. Shooting in Manual mode instead of video mode will keep the screen at its normal brightness until you press record. During recording, the screen brightness will dip down to the level of luminance you're probably used to, and as soon as you’re done recording, it will raise back up again.

This can be super-helpful if you really need to see your screen and are annoyed by how dark it gets.

Also, there’s another feature available in Manual mode that’s not available in Movie mode, and that’s Manual Focus Assist. I’ve already made a video about this, but in case you haven’t seen it, MF Assist is a really cool feature that will zoom in your image every time you adjust the focus ring on your lens so you can make sure your focus is as sharp as possible when not using autofocus.

Just make sure that in your settings, the “Movie button” option is set to “always,” otherwise you won’t be able to shoot anything but stills while in Manual mode.

And that’s it guys, let me know what you think about shooting video in Manual mode, and if the brighter screen helps out while shooting in 4K. 

Pro Tip: Using Manual Focus Assist for Video on Sony Alpha Cameras

Today I want to talk about one of my favorite settings on Sony Alpha cameras, the Manual Focus Assist, and how it can help you get your shots in focus even if you’re shooting video.

Manual Focus Assist, or MF Assist as it’s referred to in the menu, is a really cool feature that I think a lot of video shooters overlook, thinking that it’s only for photographers.

What it does is zoom in the image every time you adjust the manual focus ring on the lens. You can scroll around with the control wheel, and you can zoom in even further by pressing the center button. When you’re done, simply press the shutter button half way.

To turn on MF Assist on a Sony a6500, navigate to the first section, Camera Settings, and then to page 13. If you don’t like having to press the shutter button when you’re done focusing, you can pop up to Focus Magnification Time, and change it from No Limit to either 2 seconds or 5 seconds.

On a Sony a7S II, MF Assist can be found in the second section, Custom Settings, on the first page. Additionally, Focus Magnification Time can be found directly below it.

Now, a few caveats: one, this works with native Sony lenses, or with an electronic adapter like the Metabones T smart adapter, and two, this works in Manual mode only, not in video mode, which is why I think a lot of videographers overlook it. So if you want to use MF Assist, make sure you’re mode dial is set to “M,” and make sure in your settings, the MOVIE Button option is set to “Always,” otherwise, you won’t be able to shoot video in Manual mode. 

And actually, in addition to MF Assist, there is another advantage to shooting video in Manual mode, and it’s this: every Sony shooter out there knows the frustration of having a dimly-lit monitor while shooting in 4K. Sony does this because they know their cameras tend to overheat while shooting in 4K, so they automatically dim the brightness of the screen to help prevent that.

BUT, if you’re shooting video in “Manual” mode, the screen stays at the normal brightness until you press record. And as soon as you’re done shooting, it gets brighter again. So keep that in mind if you’re frustrated by the dark screen when shooting in 4K.

And that’s it guys, I hope you enjoy using MF Assist, I know it was a huge help to me when I discovered it, and let me know what you think down in the comments section below.


Inside the Edit: Julia + Hozana

Hey guys! Steve here and today I want to take you inside the edit and show you how I approach editing wedding film teasers.

One of the types of films my company produces, in addition to a "Wedding Film" or "Highlight Reel", which can be anywhere from three to five minutes long, is what we call a “teaser” or an “Instagram teaser.” 

These are minute-long wedding films that we post to our Instagram account along with other social media channels, and that we send to our couples to post on their Instagram accounts, and we usually have these finished within 72 hours of the wedding day.

The teaser in question is for an awesome couple we shot a couple of months back, and it was actually just published in Junebug Weddings’ blog. The bride is a wedding photographer, so from the outset, I knew I wanted to do something a little out of the ordinary.

I hope this tutorial is helpful in showing you guys how I approach editing teaser films, and gave you some insight into how you can bring out the personality of your couple and the essence of the day. Enjoy!

How to Use In-Body Image Stabilization with Vintage Lenses

What’s going on everybody, Steve here with another pro tip, and today I want to talk about one of my favorite features of the Sony a7S II and the a6500 and that’s the in-body image stabilization, or as Sony refers to it, SteadyShot.

Image stabilization housed in camera lenses has been around since the mid-1990s, but in the early 2000’s, Minolta introduced the first DSLR with image stabilization built into the camera body itself. And then in 2006, Sony purchased Konica Minolta and the rest is history.

In-body image stabilization is great because it means that even if your lens doesn’t have I.S. built into it, your camera does. Your camera physically moves the sensor around across five different axes to compensate for camera shake. 

Now, for your Sony camera to accomplish this, it has to know the focal length of the lens you’re using. If you’re using a native Sony lens, or a Canon or Sigma or some other lens with an electronic adapter, most of the time, the lens is going to communicate with the camera to give it that information.

But what if you’re using a vintage lens with a non-electronic adapter, and there’s no communication between the lens and the camera?

Good news: you can still utilize Sony’s SteadyShot. You just have to tell the camera the focal length of the lens you’re shooting.

In-body image stabilization is really great. Since I started shooting on Sony, it’s allowed me to get handheld shots that I never could have with my GH4 or my Canon cameras. Especially when it comes to dancing at receptions. These days I just slap on a 35 or a 50mm and leave my monopod behind. It really is fantastic.

So that's really it guys, and as always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them down below!

Pro Tip: Use Gamma Display Assist When Shooting S-Log

Hey guys, Steve here back with another pro tip. Today I want to talk about something I use on almost every shoot I go on: the Gamma Display Assist Function on the Sony a7S II and the a6500.

Lots of Sony cameras come with the ability to shoot in Log formats, such as S-Log2 and S-Log3 on Sony cameras, V-Log on Panasonic cameras, D-Log on DJI drones, and so on.

Shooting in a Log format can be tricky. The resulting image is always way undersaturated and low contrast, almost to the point of appearing monochromatic. Of course this is gives us great latitude in post-production, but shooting in it can make judging your exposure and your white balance difficult.

As a remedy, Sony has built in a very useful function into many of their cameras called Gamma Display Assist. What this does is translate your image from a Log color space into a more “normal” or linear color space such as Rec.709 when you look at it in the monitor or the  viewfinder. 

Now, you’re still shooting in Log, but what you’re seeing on the screen is a fairly accurate representation of what your image will look like after you’ve color-corrected it. Saturation looks normal, skin tones look normal, etc. This will make it way easier to judge your exposure and your white balance. 

Another Pro tip: If you’re like me, and you shoot in a Log format a lot, it’s a good idea to take advantage of the high level of customization Sony cameras offer and set one of your Custom buttons or your Function menu to toggle the Gamma Display Assist function on and off. 

There you go guys! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below, and let me know if Gamma Display Assist improves your shooting!


How to Easily Color Grade S-Log Footage

Hey guys, today we're going to talk about how you can use FilmConvert to easily color grade your S-Log footage.

Shooting in S-Log is a great option if you want a high level of control over the image in post-production, and are looking to give it a very cinematic or specific “look.” However, a lot of people feel somewhat intimidated by color grading, or they simply just don’t have much time to spend doing it. 

So today we’re going to talk about a really great tool that I use on my wedding films called FilmConvert that you can use to easily and efficiently color grade your S-Log footage.

So what exactly is FilmConvert? In short, it’s a film stock emulator designed for multiple cameras and gamma settings. The really cool thing about it is that they have profiles for all types of cameras and gamma settings, so this will benefit you even if you’re not shooting in S-Log. Actually, it will benefit you even if you’re not shooting on a Sony. I’ve been using FilmConvert since back when I was still shooting on Canon.

You take your footage, tell it what type of camera you’re shooting on, what picture profile you’re using, and FilmConvert translates your image to one of 19 different film stocks. You can add grain, increase or decrease the color temperature, or use the color wheels to manipulate the highlights, mid tones, or shadows. 

FilmConvert is available from filmconvert.com and costs $149 for the FinalCut Pro plug-in, which is what we’ll be using today. It’s also available in a stand-alone, or for Adobe Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve, and Avid Media Composer.

I’d like to point out I’m in no way affiliate with FilmConvert, nor have I ever been paid by them for anything. I just stumbled upon their product, from Philip Bloom’s blog actually I think, and I’ve been using it ever since!

FilmConvert makes grading S-Log footage so quick and so efficient, but it’s also robust enough to allow me to really dig in and tweak and adjust the image as much as I want.

I use it to grade not just footage from my Sony cameras, but also my DJI Phantom 3 and my DJI Osmo, and I’ve used it to grade Panasonic GH4 and Canon footage in the past as well. 

If you guys have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them down below! Until next time.


Is S-Log Really Worth It?

There are a lot of opinions out there about S-Log3: people who say S-Log3 is too noisy, especially in low light. People who say the image is too flat and milky or there isn’t enough contrast; I can’t see if my white balance is correct when I’m shooting; it’s not really worth it since the a7S II is an only 8-bits instead of 10, and as a result you get horrible color banding; Sony only added it to the Alpha line as a marketing ploy, etc. etc.

So today I wanted to share with you my experience with shooting S-Log3, and then we’ll take a look at some test footage I shot, and then some actual wedding footage I shot using S-Log3.

So, when I first started shooting on my a7s II, I did a little bit of research, and the picture profile I ended up shooting in was Cine 1 with a color mode of Pro.

Now, a lot of you guys out there will probably be saying, “Why wouldn’t you shoot in Cine4? It’s clearly the best.” 

And the reason I went for Cine 1 instead of Cine 4 was because of my color grading workflow. I’m a big fan of color grading with FilmConvert inside of Final Cut Pro X, and FilmConvert has color profiles for the Sony a7s II with Cine1 Pro. That gave me a really good image in-camera that if I wasn’t able to grade it at all, still looked great, wasn’t too flat, but also gave me the ability to add some grading and achieve a more cinematic “look” if I wanted.

But I always felt I was missing that really beautiful Sony “look” that I was seeing in so many other videos and wedding films. And I always knew S-Log3 was out there, but I had heard so much negative stuff about it, that I was never really too keen to try it. But, eventually, my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to head out to the Waterway in Houston, TX and get some test footage.

But before we get to that, let’s talk about what a log format is.

In a nutshell, recording using a log picture profile or curve preserves more of your image’s dynamic range and tonality by redistributing the digital exposure value representations over the entire value set using a preset logarithmic function.

Wait, what?

So, simply put, a log format is just a certain set of math applied to your image, or more specifically to the tonality curve of your image, when you shoot, with the goal of preserving a greater dynamic range than a normal or “linear” color mode. When cameras starting becoming capable of capturing a greater dynamic range than televisions (or computer screens) were capable of displaying, formats such as Log formats began to emerge in order to give the post-production colorist more control over the exposure after the footage was shot, instead of just sticking with the exact same dynamic range of the TV the footage would be displayed on.

Log is short for logarithm and S-Log is Sony’s log format, hence the “S,” If you have a DJI drone like the Phantom 3 or Phantom 4, or the Mavic Pro, or another DJI product like the Osmo, you may notice the ability to shoot in D-LOG, which is DJI’s LOG format. Panasonic has their own log format called V-Log, and so on. Different companies all have their own take on what they believe to be the best log curve to maximize dynamic range for their cameras and their sensors.

Now, all that being said, shooting in log formats can give you more dynamic range, but color correcting is going to become a must if you want to have any footage that’s usable whatsoever. Log footage, straight out of the camera, is incredibly low-contrast and unsaturated, almost black and white.

So, if you’re just looking to run and gun, shoot something and have it look reasonably nice right out of the camera, shooting in a log format is not going to be for you.

But, if you’re reasonably comfortable with color grading your footage, shooting in log can give you a lot more options in post, and end up producing some beautiful images. 

So you may be wondering to yourself, “So Steve, if log formats are so incredible, why do people talk so much shit on S-Log3?” Well, one answer to that is this: your color format, like S-Log3, may be fantastic as far as retaining dynamic range, but ultimately it’s going to be limited by other things like your camera’s bit depth and codec. The Sony a7S II, being an 8-bit camera, doesn’t have as many colors available to it as a 10-bit camera, like for instance, the Sony FS5. So if you grade it heavily, you might get some color banding. 

Or people say S-Log3 is way too noisy, and that’s because when it comes to S-Log3, the trick to properly exposing is to actually overexpose by two stops, to allow the logarithm to work its magic and capture as much dynamic range as possible. (Pro tip: on the Sony a7S II, the light meter tops out at 2 stops overexposed, so a good practice is to keep the exposure about +1.7 to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck).

Another thing worth noting is that if you’re shooting in S-Log3, your minimum ISO is going to be 1600 and your camera will not let you select anything lower than that. That means if you’re shooting outside in bright conditions, you’re almost definitely going to want to use an ND filter, but that’s something we’ll cover in another video.

Another pro-tip for shooting S-Log on your Sony camera is using the Gamma Display Assist function. Since the image can be so flat, so low-contrast and under saturated, it can be hard to judge things like your white balance or even your exposure. Turning on the Gamma Display Assist  function can be a huge help as it shows you what your log image would look like in a Rec.709 color space, which is ultimately what you’ll be doing when you color correct it in post.

So what's the verdict? For me, my workflow, my color grading process, S-Log3 gives me the most flexibility in post. Does it get a little noisy sometimes? Yes. Do I get some color banding sometimes? Yes. Is it within an acceptable range of image quality? For me, the answer is yes. The Sony a7s II is a powerhouse of a camera, especially in something so small, and to be able to achieve such a cinematic look, for me, I can deal with the banding and the little bit of noise from time to time. And, if whatever camera comes next from Sony, be it an a9S or an a7s III, if we can get 10-bit color depth, shooting in S-Log will be even better. So there you have it!

As always, if you guys have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below!

The Greatest Lens I Ever Bought

Alright guys, so today I want to dish on the greatest lens I ever bought. No, it’s not the most expensive lens I’ve ever purchased, nor is it the sharpest lens I’ve ever purchased, but for the money, I can honestly say it is the greatest lens I’ve added to my kit.

What lens is it, you may be asking? It is the Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM AKA the “nifty fifty.”

Why is this the greatest lens I’ve ever purchased? A couple of reasons. It comes down to value and it comes down to focal length. 

First, let’s talk about value. You can pick up this lens new for only $125.00, and the image quality, for that price, is insane.

So if  you spent a ton of money upgrading your camera body, and don’t have much of a budget left to get a really high-end piece of glass, like an L-series Canon lens, or a G Master Sony lens, this little guy is a great alternative.

Now let’s talk about the other reason why this is such a great lens, and that’s the focal length.

If you’re just starting out in photography or videography, this lens is probably one of the first things you want to pick up, for a couple of reasons. 

The 50mm focal length is the closest thing to what the human eye sees in terms of field of view. (For the geeks out there, it's actually somewhere in the 35mm and 50mm range.) So if you’re just starting out, learning how to shoot at 50mm can be really helpful. If you need something to be larger or smaller in your composition, you have to physically move your body and get closer or further away. So, once you master shooting at 50mm, then you can move on to other things like wide angles or telephoto angles and learn how those things can affect your image and your composition and so on.

Another reason this lens should be on of the first things you pick up is its shallow depth of field. You may hear that discussed a lot in photography forums and guides, and essentially what it is referring to is how how blurry is your background. The “faster” the lens is, or, in other words, how much light can this lens gather and let in, affects how blurry the background can be. So if you have a lens with a “low” f-stop rating, in this case f/1.8, which is relatively low, you can really blur out that background, and that can make for more epic and cinematic shots. If you just bought your first DSLR and you’ve got the kit lens that came with it, chances are it’s more in the f/3.5 or slower range, so something at 1.8 is going to make a big difference when it comes to depth of field.

The final point I want to make about why this should be one of the first lenses you purchase if you’re just getting started in photography or videography, is that a 50mm focal length is very versatile. Wide angles (anything less than 35mm) are great for landscape photos, but you probably wouldn’t want to use them on portrait shots, because they could give you some unwanted distortion. Telephoto angles are great for getting up close to some wildlife without being too close physically, but you probably woulnd’t want to use them for some street photography when you’re maybe trying to be somewhat incognito.

So a 50mm focal length is a great choice for not only portraits, but street and landscape photography. On top of that, the Nifty 50 is lightweight and fairly fast at focusing. Not in my case because I’m using it on a Sony a7s II with an adapter, but if you’re on a Canon, it’ll be super quick.

So that’s it, but just a fair warning, the nifty fifty is a bit of a gateway drug to wanting some higher end, more expensive zooms and primes! As always, if you guys have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below!

How to Get Along With Photographers

Today's topic is something you will encounter at every single wedding that you shoot. And that is, of course, a photographer. Or in most cases, two photographers. 

Now, a lot of photographers get apprehensive as soon as they see videographers step on the scene, and rightfully so. Most of the photographers I talk to have had bad experiences with wedding filmmakers in the past, and God knows I’ve had a few bad experiences with a few photographers, too.

So today, we’re going to talk about what you can do as a wedding filmmaker to ensure the best outcome for everyone, especially the bride and groom.

When we have a couple interested in working with us, one of the first things we have them do is to fill out our online questionnaire. In it they give us details like their names, addresses, email addresses, venue name and location, etc.

But one of the most important pieces of information we ask for is the photographer’s name and website address. Usually, a week or so before the wedding date, if we haven’t been in contact already, we’ll shoot an email over to the photographer and introduce ourselves, say hello, and let them know that we look forward to working with them. This sets the stage for a day of collaboration and gets us off on the right foot.

Feed Off of Each Other’s Creativity

So, the day of the wedding rolls around, and if we arrive and the photographer’s already there, usually I wait for a break in the action if they’re shooting something, and introduce myself and the rest of the team. 

And from then on, it’s really just about being self-aware and communicating. If you’re cool with them, 99% they’re going to be cool with you. It’s not a competition, and at the end of the day, you’re both trying to walk away with the best shots possible.

If you need to step in for a close-up, a simple gesture like making eye contact or a head nod with the photographer is sometimes enough to make sure they got what they needed before you walk in. And, chances are, if you’re communicating with them, they’re going to reciprocate and make sure that you have what you need before they cross the frame or move in closer.

Of course, discussing your plan of attack for things like the processional, the vows, the kiss, the grand entrance, the toasts, the first dance (by the way, if you’re going to be using a gimbal and orbiting the couple for three minutes straight, that might make it a little difficult for the photographer, so, try to come to some compromises), the cake cutting, the garter, the bouquet, etc. Discussing your approach to all of these events  and being on the same page is definitely something you’ll want to do to ensure that nobody’s in anybody else’s way.

Now of course, there are going to be those photographers who simply don’t understand wedding filmmaking and have probably been shooting weddings for 20 years or 30 years or more and are used to doing things a certain way, and in those situations you might have to repeat yourself if you feel like you’re not working together or being overlooked. And that’s going to happen. I definitely have some horror stories, but we won’t get into that now.

The good news is, by and large, most photographers, especially the younger ones, are very cool and very aware of what we do, and are definitely willing to be accommodating, as long as we’re cool to them in return.

Usually, by the time dinner rolls around, we've made friends. We’re cracking jokes, we’re trading war stories; we’re generally getting along great. 

Another advantage to having a good working relationship with the photographer is that you can feed off of each other’s creativity. If you’ve done a lot of weddings, then you know that sometimes it can be challenging to push yourself creatively to find something new to shoot, or to do something you’ve never done before. Some of my best shots have been ideas or poses that the photographer had, and we built on them. And I’m sure there are some excellent photographs out there of couples that we shot that were in a pose or a set-up that I had them in for video. So working as a unit and building off of each other’s ideas can really help you get out of your own head if you’re stuck creatively, and could possibly help out the photographer with an idea for a pose or a shot that they wouldn’t have otherwise had. 

And remember, photographers can be a really good source of referrals. We’ve flown all over the country for certain weddings all because a photographer who we like working with gave our name to the bride and groom, so developing those relationships can definitely be beneficial.

So, in conclusion, the moral of the story is, just be cool. Communicate, be self-aware, be on the same page with one another, and things will work out just fine. As always, if you guys have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them down below! And let me know, what's your approach to collaborating with photographers on the wedding day?