[00:00:00] Hey everybody, I’m PhotoJoseph, a LUMIX Ambassador. I recently finished shooting a series of training videos for the LUMIX Academy on the LUMIX S5. Most of these videos actually apply to other LUMIX cameras too, on topics ranging from shutter type and how to use different autofocus modes to shooting with anamorphic lenses and shooting in ProRes RAW.
[00:00:18] There's something for everybody here, and the entire series is over on the Panasonic LUMIX Video channel which I’ll link to a playlist to at the end of this. But I wanted to share here, on my channel, my favorite video of the set titled “Advanced Exposure and Color Tools”.
[00:00:31] This is definitely an advanced technique and while it can be used with any profile, if you're shooting in V-Log, you're really going to want to learn this method. Now, before I play the video, if you haven't already subscribed, please be sure to do that now. There's some stuff coming that you're not going to want to miss. All right here we go!
[00:00:54] Select LUMIX Cameras include a variety of tools to help you ensure that your exposure and your color balance are perfectly accurate. We're going to start by setting the white balance and to do this, I’m going to use a color checker video white balance card.
[00:01:06] I’ll go ahead and position this right in front of the camera, and if we look at the back of the camera now and pull up the white balance setting, you can see that it is set to “Tungsten”, so that's completely off. But we really know that it's off because if I enable my vectorscope, we'll see in here that the point representing pure white is right off to the side there. It is not exactly centered.
[00:01:26] We want that point to be right in the center box to know that it's actually white. So let's pull up the White Balance tool again, and once again, it's set to Tungsten. If I roll through different color settings, you'll see that it does get pretty close, so I might be able to use one of these default settings. However, if I want it to be really accurate, then I want to set a custom white balance.
[00:01:43] To do that, I’ll go here to the first custom white balance setting, we can see in here that the current white balance that it's set to is really, really off, and I’ll go ahead and set this by pushing up on the Command Dial and then pushing Set.
[00:01:55] That does a color balance reading and we can see now that the white balance is perfectly set as that dot is right in the middle. Now, the vectorscope isn't just about checking your white balance, it is also, or primarily, for checking colors.
[00:02:06] Here I have another X-Rite product; this is the ColorChecker video Passport. This is the small version of this, and this allows me to get nice and close here and take a close look at the colors on the scene.
[00:02:15] Now, if we look at the vectorscope here, you'll see that it is now spiking out to all the different color targets. This is showing me the accuracy of the color, shows me that each color on this chip chart is accurately being represented, and the length of this line shows me the saturation of it.
[00:02:31] Now, we're currently in a Rec.709 profile. So this profile is designed to look very standard, very normal. There are other profiles in the camera though. So, if I switch to something like Vivid, we're going to see this chart change quite a bit. Let's do that.
[00:02:44] I’ll go into the Q Menu and then rotate this through to the Vivid profile, which is quite saturated and quite high contrast and as I select that, you'll see that the lines have extended farther indicating that they're more saturated and some of them have shifted a little bit just as that particular color profile might have a slightly different color look to it.
[00:03:03] Now let me switch this over to Log and we'll see how that looks. Back into the Q Menu, set this over to the Log profile, and in Log, you'll see that the saturation is much, much lower. We barely see those little arms reaching out because of course, a Log profile is designed to be very flat, very under saturated because the intention of that is for you to correct it or adjust it in post.
[00:03:28] Now let's go back to Rec.709. Next, let's take advantage of another tool on this little device - this chart right here shows me white, middle gray at a 40 IRE, and black. And this is going to help me make sure that my exposure is perfect.
[00:03:45] Let's go and put this in view of the camera. Now, this particular card is made with a very shiny black at the bottom there. That shiny black is designed to be an extreme black. To use it properly, you really do have to be careful that it's not reflecting anything, but that's its purpose. You want to orient it so that it's not picking up any reflections.
[00:04:01] Now, as you can see here, this set is largely white, so it might be difficult to get pure black on here but we'll see what we get when we look at it on the Waveform monitor. To switch to the Waveform monitor, I’m going to go ahead and tap on this shortcut here and toggle that over to the waveform.
[00:04:16] Now, before we learn how to use the Waveform Monitor, let me just show you what it is. And to do that, I’m actually going to put this white card back in here just to clean up the image here and make it a little bit easier to see what's going on. First of all, this box is the Waveform Monitor and you'll notice in this that there's a series of dotted lines and solid lines.
[00:04:34] That dotted line at the very bottom represents zero IRE; that is pure black and anything that low is not going to be visible in video. The line above that however is a solid line. That represents video black. As long as your darkest darks are at that line or above, they'll show up in video.
[00:04:52] Every dashed line above that represents 10 more IRE. So there's 10 IRE, then 20, 30, 40 to 50 and the 50 IRE line is solid and then 60, 70, 80, 90 up to the top and the top one is white, and at that point, anything above that would be clipped. So you definitely don't want to go above the solid line at the top or below the solid line on the bottom.
[00:05:12] To adjust the exposure, we are going to use this line here, that white line which is actually represented of this big white card here to get that into the right spot. Now in this case we're going to go ahead back to the chart and now this gray line here is meant to be 40 IRE.
[00:05:28] So we want to adjust the exposure so that that line, that middle line there is right on that middle dotted line. So, let's talk about these four lines that we're seeing here. That top line there represents white, the next one down represents this middle gray or 40 IRE.
[00:05:42] The next one down is a little bit confusing because that's actually just the plastic on this color chart, so you can ignore that line, but the very bottom one is black and that's representing black here. So we need to adjust exposure to ensure that the middle white line, that middle gray line is right at 40.
[00:05:59] Now, it looks like it's right on there but I’m going to go ahead and adjust the ISO of my camera to bring that into place and as I bring that down; let's say right about there is pretty close. Now, let's keep in mind that when you are adjusting the ISO or the shutter speed or the aperture of your camera, you are limited a little bit in the accuracy, you only have generally one-third stop increments. If you want extreme precision, you're going to want to include a variable ND filter on your lens to make sure that you can get exactly where you want to go. But this is close enough for this demo.
[00:06:26] The next feature I want to look at is the Luminance Spot Meter. I’m going to go ahead and turn off my waveform monitor and then go into the menus, and under the Custom menu, then the Monitor/Display (Photo) page, you'll find Luminance Spot Meter. I’ll turn this on and this puts a small box on the screen that is a very accurate spot meter showing me, in percentages, the light value.
[00:06:48] Here we can see that it's at 42%, which is just a little bit above 40 where we want to be, but again, for that level of precision, we would want to have a variable ND filter on here, but 42% is fine for now. As I move this up to the top, over the white, you'll see here that the readout is 91%. So, we're below 100%, we know that we're good. Remember, if you go above 100, you're going to clip.
[00:07:10] I’ll take it down to the black, and at black, we'll see that we're at 2%. So again, just above black. So, this is fantastic, this is a great exposure that is going to allow me to include my shadows, my highlights and my mid-tones perfectly.
[00:07:22] Now let's switch this back over to Log and see how this readout changes. I’m going to put my Luminance Spot Meter back in the middle there and then tap the Q Menu and change this to Log.
[00:07:33] Now you'll notice that the readout says “0.0 STOP”. It's no longer in percentages, it's in Stops. Now, why does this say “0.0” but before we were at 42 when we should have been at 40 for perfect exposure? Well in Log, the perfect exposure is actually at 42 IRE not at 40.
[00:07:51] So in this case, that 0.0 stops is spot on. So now, this is exposed perfectly for Log. If I take that meter down to black, we'll see in here that we're at -6.8, -6.9 Stops, so we are above the minimum of -8 Stops and if we take this up to white, we'll see that we're at +2.1 Stops, which is well within range of Log.
[00:08:15] Now, remember before we were at 92%, and I told you that if you went above 100 you would clip. Well, now that we're in Log, we're at +2 stops but we can actually go all the way up to +6.3 Stops and still capture data in the file. This is the advantage of shooting in Log.
[00:08:31] Let me show you how this works: I’m going to go ahead and take the ISO and crank this way up, dramatically overexposing this. And while I’m doing that, watch the meter here and how it keeps going up and up, so now at 6.3, that's as high as it can go. If I dial it down just a little bit, get it just under 6.3, we'll see that even though we are dramatically overexposed, it is still within range of the sensor.
[00:08:51] Now let's take it down to the shadows, and I’m going to go the other way with the ISO, bring it all the way down until we see -8 Stops and that is the limit on the low end. So you have a range from -8 to +6.3 Stops. That's 14.3 Stops or over 14 Stops of dynamic range that you can capture on the sensor when you're shooting in Log.
[00:09:14] Lastly, I want to show you how to use Zebras to ensure perfect exposure. Now, you're probably already familiar with using Zebras to protect your highlights. You might set your Zebras to 80 or 90%, so that anything you see on screen that has Zebras on them, you know is within that range and might be overexposed.
[00:09:29] But you can use the Zebras in a different way; let me show you. I’ll start by moving the Spot Meter back to the middle gray and ensuring that my exposure is right. So let's bring that back to zero; there we go.
[00:09:39] Now I’m going to go into the menu, and activate Zebra Pattern and set this, and I’m going to use Zebra 1, and instead of using one of these percentages, I’ll scroll all the way to the bottom where it says “Base Range”.
[00:09:53] The default position for base level is at zero stops with a range of plus or minus 0.2 stops. This is telling me that I want to see the Zebras only at zero stops. So, at that perfect exposure, with a little bit of wiggle room of plus or minus 0.2 stops. So it's a very narrow range to see the Zebras.
[00:10:10] Unlike traditional Zebras where they start at say, 80% and show you anything above that, here we're only going to see the Zebras at that very, very narrow range of zero stops, plus or minus 0.2. So, what this means is once I set this and ensure that my Zebras are on, for ZEBRA1, we go back to the screen here, we'll see the Zebras on that middle gray.
[00:10:32] Remember, we know that that exposure is perfect, and in fact, the spot meter here is already telling me it's +0.0 STOP, so it is exactly right and the Zebras are showing up on there. If I under or over expose this just a little bit, you'll see the Zebras go away very quickly.
[00:10:46] Now let's bring it back to zero and I want to show you one more tip in here. Combining the Luminance Spot Meter with the Zebras is very powerful. I can take my Luminance Spot Meter and move it up to the brightest part of my scene and ensure that my middle grays are perfectly exposed and that the brightest part of the scene, in this case, is only two stops over, is also within range.
[00:11:05] So on a real set, you simply point that Luminous Spot Meter at the brightest subject, maybe the clouds in the sky, and as long as they are under 6.3, you know that they're within range and they're going to be captured by the sensor. Those are the advanced tools that we have on select LUMIX cameras to help you ensure that your exposure and your color is perfect every time.
[00:11:23] Hey, pretty good, right? Right? I told you so. This is a great technique, I love this one. So once again, if you haven't already, here's that subscribe button, make sure you hit that, here's the playlist to check out the rest of the videos over on the LUMIX channel, and if you haven't done it yet, please do hit that Thumbs Up button, hit the Share button as well, put this thing out on Twitter, Facebook, wherever you are, tell a friend, get some other people to see this… this is great information that I think a lot of people are missing out on. It's a really advanced technique and I want everybody to know about this one. All right, we'll see you in the next video. Bye-bye!
Comments from YouTube
on Friday, February 26, 2021 - 8:06am
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I hope you understand what I mean.
With kind regards
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I came to some sort of solution for protecting the highlights in V-Log by experimenting with the wave form monitor and observing at which percentage adding more light starts compressing the wave form at the upper end - and that was around 95%. So, I set my zebra to 90% to be on the safe side - and overexposed footage was gone!
And, now I learned from your great tutorial, that the luminance spot meter on the S1H in V-Log mode exactly measures the stops of the light. I just did the test with my S1H while watching your video. It is a perfect fit: when the zebra for 90% comes into action the spot meter is around +6 stops, leaving me 0,3 stops lee way.
I really ask myself where those stupid recommendations come from saying one should overexpose V-Log by 1-2 stops in principle, especially with such precise measurement instruments in my hands.
on Sunday, April 24, 2022 - 12:11am
on Sunday, April 24, 2022 - 5:15pm
on Saturday, April 23, 2022 - 2:11pm
Question: You set the zebras to around 40, and when they appeared on middle grey, you established that exposure was perfect. You then used the spot metering to show that white was at 2.1 stops over. But then you increased brightness til you reached 6.3 stops over. 1) Why would you want to increase brightness if the scene was already perfectly exposed? 2) If you push brightness upwards, wouldn’t you cause the perfect exposure of middle grey to be ruined? And finally 3) Most other videos state that skin is at 60-70 IRE. Isn’t that the level I should set the zebras at in order to get perfect skin exposure (instead of at 40 for middle grey)?
I apologise if these questions make little sense to you, I’ve probably misunderstood something 🤷🏽♂️😃
on Saturday, April 23, 2022 - 2:41pm
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Sorry for the all caps. I just find it hard to believe Panasonic would omit this feature.
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Learnt a lot.
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