How to Color Grade V-Log Footage on the Panasonic S1 and S1H

Download our FREE V-Log Conversion LUT. Link at the end of this post.
03.19.20

In the fall of 2019, we had the opportunity to film an elopement out in San Fransisco by the beach in harsh sunlight. We knew we wanted to shoot the entire wedding on the new Panasonic S1, but we also wanted to really test out the full capabilities of V-Log on that camera. Since it was an elopement, we had a little more control and knew that this would be the best option to try shooting a wedding in LOG.

This is the first time we ever filmed a wedding or elopement on V-Log exclusively… and we are impressed!

We recently switched over from the Panasonic GH5 to the S1 and continued to shoot in our custom Natural profile. We really liked that profile on the GH5 because skin tones were most pleasing without so much contrast or saturation baked into that profile. Also, we have strayed away from shooting a wedding in LOG for a few reasons:

How to Color Grade V-Log Footage on the Panasonic S1 and S1H

Reasons we didn’t want to shoot in LOG at a wedding:

  • It would require us to shoot in 10bit and not 8bit because of the issues we noticed in shadows and skin-tones when filming in 8bit. It just isn’t an option and the footage falls apart.
  • 10bit means no 4K 60fps on the S1. We would have to shoot 4K 24/30 or 1080p 60fps in 10bit for slow motion.
  • Editing 10bit renders our computers slower and really requires creating proxy footage which means more work in post.
  • If we did a same day edit at weddings, this would be much more difficult when having to edit quickly out in the field when every minute is important for cranking out the edit in time to show the couple.
  • Filming in LOG requires a conversion LUT so that we can actually visualize what we are filming. As we usually film with a SmallHD monitor with our Adagio LUTs activated for us to monitor our look in real time, we would need a conversion LUT to convert the LOG color space into a Rec709 color space. Also, we would need to combine both our ‘look’ LUT and conversion LUT into one LUT if we wanted to see our color grade in real time since the monitor only allows for one LUT monitoring at a time.
  • When filming in LOG, it’s difficult to nail great exposure and white balance when in a run and gun situation.

However, after playing around with V-Log over the course of a few months and on a real live wedding, there are some amazing features about V-Log that will have us switching over for our wedding events this year.

Let's discuss our top 5 reasons why we are switching to V-Log for weddings.

  • The dynamic range is so good!

    Usually we have a hard highlight cut-off and black levels cut-off that we have to make sure and maintain when shooting in the Natural profile on the S1. With V-Log, we can really capture some bright shots without clipping the whites and crushing the shadows. So when we add our Custom V-Log Conversion LUT from Gamut onto the clip, we get some great frames that otherwise may have had highlight clipping issues or black levels that don’t have much detail in them.

    Dynamic Range Dynamic Range

    *Note: V-Log is captured on the IRE scale around 12 for the Black levels and 88 for the White levels as resembled on a scale of 100.

  • Retention in the midtones is great without losing much color information.

    There was a shot when we filmed the bride from two angles and each camera was filming at different exposure levels. Because of the brightness outside, it was difficult for one of our lead shooters to determine the best exposure level for the shot and actually underexposed the image.

    Under-exposed Under-exposed

    When we had to raise the exposure back up, we usually would notice a loss in color information and saturation as well as introducing a lot of noise. When we raised the exposure of the V-Log shot, we found that it actually held together very well with very minimal noise or grain. The color information held in tact really well and blew us away. Even when comparing the Natural Profile in 10bit, the V-Log profile held up better when adjusting exposure.

  • We can actually view our own custom LUT on the screen of the Panasonic S1.

    One way to view your own LUT on the back of the camera screen is to shoot in V-Log. Then all we did was add our V-Log conversion LUT (100% intensity) and Adagio 01 LUT (at about 50% intensity) and created a new LUT that we wanted to load into the camera. We then navigated to this free online software LUTCalc and uploaded that LUT and made the proper adjustments to create a .vlt file of that LUT so that we could upload it to our camera. (just make sure you use less than 8 characters in the name or else it won’t work properly). Now we can see our conversion lut and color grade look all on the back of the camera without the use of a monitor if we needed. You can’t do that on any other profile such as the Natural Profile.

  • We can use that same LUT we created for our camera for use with our monitor.

    The new LUT we created by combining the V-Log conversion LUT and our ‘looks’ LUT can be uploaded to an SD card and then be used with our monitor of choice. We prefer to use SmallHD monitors because of their amazing OS and touch screen capabilities and ruggedness. Now we can view the color grade in real time on the monitor.

  • We can push the colors more extreme when editing since we filmed in 10bit.

    Shooting in 10bit, plus the gamut curve, makes for tons of room to really push the colors and image if we so desire without getting hardly any artifacts or banding issues depending on the scene.

    Here we can compare footage shot in V-Log with footage shot using the Natural Profile. The highlights are not forgiving in the non-log profiles, and the V-Log profile has so much more room to push in post.

    Camera Profile Comparison Camera Profile Comparison

Graded Using Adagio and Lotus LUTs

Let’s analyze the Mood, Environment, and Palette from this wedding.

  • Mood: We wanted the viewer to feel the happiness and adventure these two had on their wedding day.
  • Environment: With harsh sunlight and beach-y locations, we wanted the color grade to handle the highlights well without blowing out the white levels.
  • Palette: We were very mindful of the constant ‘Blue’ color that was present in most of the film. From the Groom’s jacket, to the sky, to the ocean, the color of the bride’s eyes – we wanted that to be reflected in the color grade.

Choosing the LUT for this film. We actually chose 2 LUTs.

View Adagio LUTs

The first one was Adagio 01. We wanted the well-balanced look that comes with this lut as well as the pink skin tones. It also boasts some vibrant greens and reds which would make the florals and subtly greenery pop in the film.

View Lotus LUTs

The second one was Lotus o2. This LUT is well known for its unique blue highlights and nuanced skin tones in the highlight range along with the magenta tones in the shadows. This lut really pulled in the blues from throughout the film and then balanced them nicely with the skin tones and whites. It created a nice touch and look to the overall film that we loved when combined with Adagio 01.

We kept each lut to 50% and had the Lotus LUT load last in the hierarchy of effects. We love how we can create unique looks just by combining different LUTs. Just remember, less is more and don’t over do it or you can start causing some artifacts or banding in the visuals from pushing the colors too extreme with multiple LUTs.

Flower Shop Flower Shop

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