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Matthew Libatique talking about exposure and LUTs (2 replies and 2 comments)

OMA
8 months ago
OMA 8 months ago

Hello Roger and fellow forum members,

I feel a bit stuck in the weeds and I was hoping someone would be able to pull me out of it.

I recently listened to the podcast episode with Matthew Libatique, and at one point he said that "in digital I realized my meter has nothing to do with the camera, and I do need a LUT because otherwise there is no way for me to track this look I'm trying to carry across all the way to the end." 

Now here is my confusion, I thought you could so to speak "always" rely on your meter because it gives you an unbiased reading of the light falling onto a subject or the light being reflected by a subject. 

I also understand that a LUT might pull a specific luminance range of the image - which you meter is saying is spotting 3 stops over - to 18% gray for example. 

My university does not delve much into the whole LUT workflow and we "just" use RED's LOG3G10 to Rec709 LUT on the camera and in post. We also do not shoot REDCode. Our monitors are also not calibrated regularly. 

Hence why I have always relied on my meter for determining exposure because it gives me the most objective reading of light - in my mind at least.

But hearing what Matthew Libatique said has put some of that into question and I am now wondering if I have been/am judging exposure the wrong?

I know this is a massive topic, but the literature on it can be very simplistic and contradictory, so I was hoping someone would be able to enlighten me?

Thank you all for your time and generous contributions to this learning resource! 

The Byre
8 months ago
The Byre 8 months ago

My university does not delve much into the whole LUT workflow and we "just" use RED's LOG3G10 to Rec709 LUT on the camera and in post. We also do not shoot REDCode. Our monitors are also not calibrated regularly. 

That is several 'Ouch!' cries in a row!  The worst being to just go to 709 in post IMO.  Roger and Dave are the ones to answer this, but I will ask a simple question - what software are you using in post?

How does the uni justify uncalibrated monitors?  That hardly makes sense!  

Are they just using Reds or do you get to try other cameras?

 

OMA
8 months ago

For our thesis films we work with Da Vinci - I spent the last weeks of 2020 learning Da Vinci on my own because we are responsible for our own color grades.
It's a state university, and the school bought a handful of Red Epic Ws with the S35 8K Helium sensor. That is the camera we use for every project.
And I do not know about the justification for the uncalibrated monitors - if I knew how to comfortably do it myself, I would!

The Byre
8 months ago

Calibrating - There are loads of how-to videos on YT.

sheriftolba
8 months ago
sheriftolba 8 months ago

The problem with light meters and digital workflows in my opinion is that the cameras and monitoring devices that are made today are making it easier for us to judge by eye from a monitor. This is great in my opinion!

What I think we should do is trust our eyes more often because you're on set looking at a calibrated monitor which is a must, whether you use a LUT or not it doesn't matter because you're going to get a file that looks exactly as it did on the monitor (still assuming it's calibrated), so the issue kind of disappears because meters should work as a second technical guarantee after your own eyes.

The issue now is; do we trust our eyes?

Also whether you shoot on RED or ALEXA or even a small Sony camera, you're getting a lot more data to process now with LOG profiles so pulling something from the shadows or bringing the HL down a bit is much easier, you can also have false color and all kinds of scopes to check levels and colors accurately.

I'm not saying go shoot blindly but if the technology makes things easier for us why are we constantly trying to bring old solutions to obsolete problems?

If a camera only needs you to put lights wherever you want according to your taste and do little adjustments for balance or anything else, then why do more than that?

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