If RAW video is not an option, the next best thing is shooting log or logarithmic because it gives you a lot more flexibility. With log, it’s all about control. It gives you more flexibility and capture because it’s going to make sure that you don’t crush the shadows or blow out the highlights.
Flexibility in capture
Log also gives you greater flexibility when editing because the cameras are easier to match. This means that if you’re mixing cameras together, log footage is easier to bring out the color during the edit and make things look more consistent. It also just gives greater control across the board when shooting log. I recommend taking advantage of something like an X-Rite Color Checker. This ensures that you have good reference materials, so you know exactly the colors that you’re aiming for.
Flexibility when editing
With log, it really compresses the highlights and the shadows and ensures that you don’t blow out detail. But having this reference detail means that you can get an accurate color later. Just like how it’s difficult to screw up the white balance when shooting raw shooting log will make it easier to get accurate color.
A log shot looks a little bit washed out, and it will vary from shot to shot and camera to camera. What happens here is it ensures that the blacks are not crushed because the darkest areas don’t become pure black, and those bright highlights don’t get blown out.
Then through color grading, you can really push the limits and get bright, vivid whites and rich dark blacks without really losing detail. This shot I just showed you was graded by one of my friends, Robbie Carman of DC Color, and also behind the website Mixing Light. He’s one of the best colorists I know and does fantastic work.
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