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Panasonic Lumix S5 Advanced Exposure Setup

Photo Moment - February 26, 2021

The LUMIX S5 is an incredible camera, with powerful tools that you may not realize existed. I'll show you how to use the waveform monitor, scopes, zebras and the spot meter in ways you've probably never considered!

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The Panasonic LUMIX S5 is an incredibly powerful camera, and many of its best features are buried deep in the system. In this video, I'll show you how to verify accurate white balance by using the vectorscope, show off how different color profiles look on the scopes, show the waveform monitor for monitoring exposure with a grey card, and then give you something truly amazing — a way to use zebra stripes to ensure perfect exposure while shooting V-Log, and then combine that with the Luminance Spot Meter to ensure you never overexpose!

The vectorscope is designed to show you where your colors (Red, Green, Blue, Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow) fall in the scopes, but it also will show you if white is actually white. This is a fantastic way to quickly verify that your white balance, whether a preset, manually set, or a custom WB, is actually perfectly accurate. It's also an interesting way to see how certain color profiles might shift your colors for “true” or natural. For example, if you switch to a Vivid profile, what's actually happening to the colors? Have the blue colors become more saturated? Have the greens shifted towards yellow? You can see all of this at a glance using vectorscopes.

Then we'll explore the waveform monitor. I'll start by explaining how it all works. What the dotted and dashed lines mean, the differences between 0 IRE (zero IRE) and “video black,” where pure white is on the waveform, and what to watch out for so you don't clip your highlights, and finally, how to identify middle grey, at 40 IRE, and ensure your exposure is perfect when using an X-Rite Color Checker Video or X-Rite Color Checker Video Passport. 

From there, we'll get into very advanced use of Zebras. You're undoubtedly familiar with using them to ensure you don't overexpose by enabling zebra stripes at maybe 80% or 90% or even 100% to be warned when your image is getting too hot. However, there's also a way to set zebras to only show up in a specific range when shooting in V-Log. This means you can set your zebras to highlight the parts of your scene that are exactly 42 IRE (which it turns out is the middle grey for V-Log, and not 40 IRE like it is for non-Log), which when paired with a grey card, is incredibly powerful! Then, just to be even more careful and accurate, you can enable the Luminance Spot Meter to ensure you don't overexpose your highlights — which when shooting V-Log is pretty hard to do since you can go as much as +6.3 stops above middle grey and –8 stops below middle grey, for a total of 14.3 stops of dynamic range! Having over 14 stops is fantastic, and knowing how to use these tools will ensure that every shot you get is perfectly exposed — especially when shooting in V-Log!

Finally, in case you're wondering… your LUMIX camera may have V-Log L, not V-Log. V-Log L is the “light” variant of V-Log that's found on cameras like the GH5 and G9. This is a slightly lower dynamic range variant of V-Log, however it is still Log. The S-Series full frame cameras like the LUMIX S5 and LUMIX S1H have full V-Log, just like the Varicam (professional Panasonic cinema cameras) do. In fact, the “V” in V-Log and V-Log L stands for “Varicam”!

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Comments from YouTube

Sooooo much coming this year… are you subscribed??
Is there any performance disadvantages to shooting this camera in 1080p such as reduced dynamic range, noisier shadows, ect?
depends on where you post i think...for social and youtube imo there is not much difference with naked eye, however dynamic range probably is reduced but lets hope someone that has tested it can confirm it :)
@mike dhmhtriou Yeah, I'm looking for a camera with all the features of the S5 but I absolutely do not want 4k, just 1080. I've seen in tests with other cameras that sometimes the 1080 is noticeably different than the 4k within the same camera.
Some cameras crop into the sensor when you do 1080. Some “pixel bin” meaning they just throw pixels away. The S5 scales down so you have all the quality of 4K in a native 1080p capture.
Congratulation! This is by far the best tutorial how to expose V-Log correctly, either targetting at getting middle grey right or the whole scene w/o clipping the highlights (for example in landscape shootings).

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.
Thank you so, so, much! I just got the S1H, and subscribing to your channel is the best thing I’ve done.
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 🤷🏽‍♂️😃
All good questions! When shooting log, it's better to overexpose than to underexpose. Noise lives in the shadows, so if you overexpose (as long as you don't clip your highlights), then bring the exposure down in post, you'll have a cleaner image. Within reason; don't shoot an all-dark scene eight stops over just because you can, but shooting a couple of stops over is normal for log, and especially for raw. If you are interested in capturing bright highlight detail, like clouds in the sky, then you should max those out without clipping, the stretch the mids and shadows down in post. Remember when shooting log, you are ALWAYS going to color grade in post. As to the IRE; yes skin is generally 60-70 IRE. Really light or dark skinned changes that a bit. But a known 40 IRE grey card is always 40 IRE. So you have a KNOWN exposure. Zebras can be set wherever you want; here they were set to 40 to measure on the card. If you're shooting "run and gun", meaning you don't have time to adjust lighting and just have to get the exposure as good as possible in camera, then this is where shooting with zebras around 60 or 70 IRE helps. Once skin hits the zebras, you know you're mostly correctly exposed. I hope that helps!
@PhotoJoseph YES it really helped! Thank you so much for giving such a detailed answer 😊 So looking forward to going through more of your content!
8:25 is where the light bulb for me jsut turned on. Wow, i actually now understand this way more then i thought i would. Thank you so much, your such a good teacher. Thanks.
That’s awesome to hear, thank you for that!
Absolutely brilliant! thank you
A huge THANK YOU Joseph! I know this video is a year old, but just I stumbled on this today. This is by far the most clear cut explanation of white balance and luminance correction/settings I've seen! I thought I was just too dense to comprehend how to use the color/luminance card correctly. Just got my GH6, so much to learn!
Fantastic to hear, glad this helped! Enjoy your new camera 🙂
Hi Joseph, can you confirm something about video and focus checking? I was told by someone that WHILE SHOOTING VIDEO, I am NOT ABLE TO PUNCH IN. Is this correct? I am using manual focus lenses.

Sorry for the all caps. I just find it hard to believe Panasonic would omit this feature.
That’s no trivial. It was actually added to the GH6 which has a new processor. It’s quite CPU intensive (apparently). Are you asking for the S5? Here’s my GH6 rundown; that is shown in here
@PhotoJoseph thx. Yes, S5 is what I’m wondering. My XT4 bodies have this feature and was looking at the S5 but I really need to punch in while shooting video.

I’ll check for you on Monday if you remind me then
@PhotoJoseph Thanks Joseph, that would be great.
Sorry man… focus punch in while recording is not supported on S5.
Hi Joseph, at 1.09 you have 4 icons on the right of the display. I miss them on my S5. How to switch it on? Could you share please?
The tabs? Look in the Touch settings. Pretty sure that’s where you can turn that on and off.
Excellent video.
Learnt a lot.
Thank you.
I just bought the GH6 and needed to refresh my memory on how to expose V-Log properly. This was really helpful, thanks!
Awesome! Enjoy the camera; it’s a beauty!
Thank you!!
Thank you i watch all your videos, they're awesome!!
Thank YOU! 😊
Are these options and tools for video only? Or could I use them for photo mode also? Excellent video 👍
This is fantastic. But…. Can I use these tools in the photo mode or is it for video only? Just thinking how handy it would be for me as I shoot a lot with ND filters for landscape photos . Btw camera S5 is due for delivery tomorrow, so not in my hands yet. Would appreciate your input though 🙏
This... is exactly what I needed. I just ordered the S5, and I wanted to get into waveform and exposure with V-Log.
Fantastic! you'll love the camera.
Great tutorial. I have a question about exactly how much I can push my brightness without clipping. I am on a Lumix S5, shooting in V-log. Firstly, no matter how much I increase my brightness the waveform never reaches (or exceeds) the top solid line that represents pure video white, that is +6.3 stops. (The waveform is cut off between the top dotted line and the solid line.) This makes it rather hard to tell when the images is clipped. Should I increase the brightness till the waveform turns into a plateau at some part? Secondly, the image seems to clip before the luminance spot meter hits +6.3 stops (rather around 6.1–6.2). So, both the waveform and the luminance spot meter don't come out as very precise. To me the most trustworthy, clear and practical way to ETTR but not clipping is to set the zebras to 95 %, increase the brightness gradually and then stop when the zebras appear. Or am I missing something? By the way, setting the zebras to 100 % doesn't work for me ... I don't know why (it would otherwise be an intuitive way to find the clipping point).
Really good questions. The waveform is small so kind of hard to read. It clips “early” because it’s Log and the wave range is lower (even though the dynamic range is higher). Not gonna argue that the wave window could be better designed. Looking for the plateau and/or using zebras is the right way to go. I agree ETTR is the right approach as long as you don’t clip. When in an uncontrolled environment you just really need to watch the wave closely.
Hi Joseph , I am trying to shoot real estate videography and got a question if I shoot in vlog and have waveform monitor on and the wave is showing every thing is in the middle dos that mean it will be exposure ok. Thanks David
Yes. If anything, expose high (overexpose), as long as you don’t clip any highlights. But you should test first, of course.
Conversion rec709 luts really bring exposure down a bit, definitely over expose a few stops and the bring shadows up in post and you may even save windows from being gone. I just got the s5 and I’m still trying to perfect exposure for interiors cause I am shooting real estate as well
One of the best videos on exposure, great job as usual Joseph! Thanks for the awesome content.
Great presentation, Joseph. Excellent examples and explanations. thanks so much!
How i get this slide menu on the display? Thx
such an explanation as it should be! Thank you so much!
awesome video! how to read/expose night scenes? for example only using a fire torch. how would you read waveforms than? so would you put the spot meter on the torch?
No, definitely not. That’s not a scene you can meter. That you’ll have to do by feel.
Thanks for the video. I don't have the option to change the base range by stops, it just has the option to change the % only?
Excellent video with great tips thank you. I have two questions I hope you can answer.

1. Around 6 minutes you were adjusting ISO without any UI appearing on the monitor, how did you do that?
2. When shooting in log is it more favorable to set exposure to middle grey, or to ETTR so that highlights are close to +6.3stops and then stretch middles and blacks down in post? I’ve heard this method reduces noise in shadows, but it sounds like a lot of stretching the data around
Thanks Woodams. 1. I have ISO control set to the command dial on the back of the camera. Easily bumped so kind of dangerous but I’m used to it and love it. 2. For run and gun, my preference is to shoot hot with no clipping — live and die by the waveform monitor. Noise lives in the shadows so it’s best to crush them out than lift them up. For a fixed setup, just test with your LUT or preferred color grade and tweak in camera until you like what you get. That’s what I did for my setup and my perfect exposure is +1.3 stops over.
Can you do a video on timecode with the Panasonic S5? I'm lost and need to understand it
The S5 doesn’t have timecode input unfortunately. It can generate timecode and output that over HDMI to sync with an audio or video recorder, but that’s it. If you want to sync with multiple cameras, you can record timecode on an audio channel and extract that in software; how you do that depends on your NLE. This video discusses it:
Hi, anyone know how to show the side shortcut menu out, in my lumix s5 I don't see the side shortcut menu why?
Would love to see a exsample in a real life situation without the cards, now that would be really powerful to see it in action.
Can you only set this up with the card you have ? as i can't seem to get it up on mine.
Thanks so much. Honestly I feel like I need to force myself to learn this kind of stuff I've ignored to get to the next level, your channel answered a lot of questions I had with acquiring my S1. I made a word document with screencaps of your video. Subscribed and liked!

QUESTION: When you say 42% gray is exposed perfectly for log, does that mean you need to buy a 40% or close gray card? Most are 18%
Glad it’s been helpful. An 18% grey card is a still photo term. Video grey is measured at IRE. But it’s basically the same shade of grey.
I have just ordered this camera and just getting into videography and photography so need all the tips I can get so I thankyou in advance 😊👍
Awesome! Welcome to the family!
Hey, good video. I just bought a lumix s5 but I don’t see the master pedestal or the SS gain operation on my menu in image quality. Why is that? Did I get a broken camera?
Your camera isn’t broken. Make sure you’re in movie mode and not a stills shooting mode.
@PhotoJoseph I’ve done that. I tried for hours to to find it. Should I factory reset? Maybe I pressed something that erased it?
I have the same issue. The options "Master Pedestral" and "SS/Gain Operation" do not even appear in the menu, no matter what mode you select. I got in touch with the Help Desk of Panasonic, the employees there proved themselves to be clueless about their own product and totally useless to solve the issue. If you know why it doesn't apprear, please reply in here as there seem to be others with the same defect in their Lumix S5.
Hi @Joseph... I just bought the S5... even when the battery is not in the body... the body feels little wobbly inside like something is moving... is it due to the IBIS that the sensor is moving or I got the rotten apple... please let me know... Thanks
just the IBIS, nothing to worry about
@PhotoJoseph Thanks lot Joseph
This is probably one of the best videos I watched talking about exposure. Awesome work and great communication skills. Thank you very much
Thank you!!
Darn! Wish the S1 had the luminance spot meter, too.
How should I expose for HLG with my Lumix S1? I work with V-Log and I desire to shot in High Dynamic Range too, but also expose it properly. Cheers 😊
HLG doesn't need anything special; expose like Rec709 — meaning, make sure it looks good on screen and your highlights and shadows aren't clipped. Treat HLG like a finished format, like you would with any standard color profile. If you're shooting Log or RAW, then you generally want to overexpose -- just as long as you're not clipping highlights, you're good. That doesn't apply to every scene (i.e. a dark/moody scene you wouldn't expose like daylight), but still, in general, OVERexpose Log, but WATCH YOUR SCOPES.
Great info, I’ve just switched from a GH5 to a new S5.
Sweet! Enjoying it?
Joseph, if only the autofocus worked ☹️
it works great. It's not as fast as Sony/Canon but it works great.
Great explanation, sir! Thanks to you, i decided to buy the S5 today
The inverted Zebra blew my mind. Thank you for that! Good work as always!
Thank you!
When using the luminance spot meter, is it necessary to use the gray card or can you just put your spot meter in the middle of your frame and expose until you get to 40% or 0.0 stops?
@PhotoJoseph Thanks for the quick response. Makes a lot of sense now👍
@PhotoJoseph I believe +1.0 stop corresponds to 50%. If in V Log and exposing for skin tones at 50%, can I just point luminance spot meter at subject's face and adjust exposure until it reads +1.0 stop?
@Dan Crosby that is a rough estimate but of course everyone has different skin color. Caucasian skin is generally considered 70% brightness on a standard (non-Log) view. You really need to test if you’re not using a grey card. There are many ways to balance exposure.
@PhotoJoseph Ok. I'm really trying to nail overall exposure (particularly in V log) as well as skin tones while keeping the workflow as simple as possible. I think for now I will either use the waveform or try to expose at +/-0.0 stops by pointing luminance meter at gray card in the frame.
any tips on how not get Magenta color banding and blocks on image when using VLog?
Sure… DM me on twitter and let's take the conversation there and I can send you a dropbox repository
Hello, I have the same problem as you, magenta bands in v-log. Did you find a solution to this problem?
@BzH they never sent me sample files to look at. If you want to, DM me on Twitter and I can give you a link to send me files.
@BzH When I shoot on my sd cards that write at a max of 70 I have the problem, when I use my atoms ninja v theres no issue. I'm going to order a xqd card that writes at higher speeds and I hope that helps. I'll reach out if that helps.
@A Vision In Ones Mind Hey man, I don't think you ever reached out to send me sample files (if you did, I missed it). Can you DM me on twitter and I'll give you a link to drop files into? Thank you. And interesting observation on internal vs external recording.
Mil gracias por este vídeo y sobre todo a la persona que lo ha traducido a Español porque gracias a él he podido comprender la clase magistral . Acabó de comprarme la lumix S5 para hacer vídeos no profesionales pero me gusta hacer las cosas bien y antes que nada aprender como se utiliza y cuáles son las opciones que tengo con ella. Mil gracias
I'm a beginner and this is all very interesting and useful. I look forward to testing out these techniques.
Hi Joseph. Quick question: what zebra percentage would correspond to 6.3 stops in V-Log? Is there a chart somewhere that links IRE and Zebra percentage? Thanks!
0 stops = 40% middle grey in v-log. So using that logic, since +6.3 stops is overexposed, that should equal 100% for your zebras
I notice a considerable noise shooting with my S5 in V-log, even in low ISO, I hear the same thing from other users, is that normal?
Hi Their, same issue but my noise on a 4 minute exposure in bulb mode renders my night time scene unusable" I was on iso 400 on 20mm, every colour dots and crosses all over the place, but someone suggested putting long exposure nr on in the menu helps....i use the s5, even my trusty Canon 90d on a 30 min exposure only puts out about 8 to 10 hot pixels that can be cleaned up in 5 minutes in corel.... This is crazy dude...
Awesome video. Everyone with an S camera should watch this.

Hi Joseph,

Thanks for your fantastic vids!

I’ve set my S5 to V-Log  yet since them, for some reason I cannot fathom, my shutter angle has gone whacky to 288 and I cannot for the life of me reset it. Given no one anywhere as far as I can tell actually shows step-by-step, showing all buttons clearly, how to actually do this, I only figured it out randomly on my own to begin with – now can’t figure out how I did that. This is so basic for filmmaking, so ingrained on basic iPhone apps like Filmic Pro yet it’s shrouded in mystery – and not even on Panasonic’s page. Can you please help explain how to set it – whether one is in V-Log or not? Many thanks!. Kal

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