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P-LOG really worth it?

Seitenwerk

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Just wanted to ask what’s your experience with shooting in D-LOG? I always hear that it offers more dynamic range but I feel like this is not really true (or at least with the implementations in drones) and that it’s just a color profile which is less „opinionated“ but besides making it easier to edit it offers nothing more.

I try to focus on recording and color grading in D-Log at the moment, but sometimes get the feeling like shooting in natural setting gives me a better end result or at least an easier one without really anything missing quality wise.

What’s your experience ? In some forum I heared that it would require a much higher Bitrate to really have more information in D-Log than what’s available in drones.

And of you shoot in D-Log, what’s your current workflow? So you adjust the image first to certain settings or apply a LUT first and then optimize the result?
 

Agustine

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One of the few times I have shot in P-Log and added a LUT I was very pleased with the outcome. I actually added a DJI LUT to it and nothing else. When I have added that same LUT to a standard video it just never looked that great and needed adjustments to make the colors look natural. Here is a sample of a P-Log from last summer.

 

Seitenwerk

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It makes sense to me that adding LUTs to an already graded image (like natural color style) is not that easy. It’s clear to me that shooting in log makes any kind of grading easier as the image is flat. But I am not sure when it comes to dynamic range. I read that usually log should give you more dynamic range but that this benefit does not exist on drones due to lower bitrates and sensor beeing to tiny.


I also found this discussion which seem to confirm it:
Does the Air support D-Log?

Seems like due to the small sensor shooting in log may also lead to more noise and other problems. So as long as I am not planning to do heavy color adjustment it looks like it’s better to shoot in natural color styles and just make smaller adjustments to that.

Not sure about all this at the moment.
 

Agustine

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On one of the other forums I moderate at a fellow who goes by "Tuna" but out a very basic video for editing your videos a few years ago. It will give the beginner a good place to start.
 

Kilrah

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One of the few times I have shot in P-Log and added a LUT I was very pleased with the outcome. I actually added a DJI LUT to it and nothing else. When I have added that same LUT to a standard video it just never looked that great and needed adjustments to make the colors look natural. Here is a sample of a P-Log from last summer.
Of course, the whole purpose of the manufacturer-supplied LUT is basically to turn the log footage back into their built-in "normal" profile - mostly as a starting point for further grading. If you don't intend to further grade then you're basically only wasting time. And of course applying it to normal footage gives "twice the correction" and will definitely look wrong.
 

Seitenwerk

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Of course, the whole purpose of the manufacturer-supplied LUT is basically to turn the log footage back into their built-in "normal" profile - mostly as a starting point for further grading. If you don't intend to further grade then you're basically only wasting time. And of course applying it to normal footage gives "twice the correction" and will definitely look wrong.

What about the other described problems like addition noise people mentioned in my linked thread?
 

Seitenwerk

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Thanks @Dirk_ANAFI.

After watching many videos about recording and colorgrading LOG I learned a bunch off stuff about that topic and how LOG will capture more information/dynamic range then standard color profiles.

But I also found out that the Anafi only has 8bit, like most drones, while it seems you would need 10bit (or more) to really benefit from log. With 8bit there seems to be to much stress on the sensor which will lead to noise and other things introduced in log, which you would not see when using other color profiles.

So what’s your opinion on that? According to various forums the 8bit may be a reason why it doesn’t make much sense using log, besides making it easier to color grade.

Anyone having experience with this? Maybe someone had the chance to analyze the same picture taken in log and natural and check if there really is more dynamic range in the log file or if the quality may even be worse due to more noise.
 
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Kilrah

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The whole point of log is when you have a codec/file format limited to X bits to squeeze more than X bits of input dynamic range into it.

But for that to be useful it means your sensor should have more than those X bits of useful dynamic range, which is not really the case of those small sensors. So yes for that purpose it's kinda pointless.

But aside from that log modes also typically disable some of the processing that can be "destructive" like noise reduction, excessive color treatment etc to give you freedom on how to handle these aspects. The result is - you now NEED to take care of these aspects, aka properly grade the footage, apply noise reduction to your taste etc in order to just get back to what you'd have had in "normal", then spend even more effort getting it better. But it CAN likely be better, unlike normal footage that's permanently "altered" in a way that may not suit you.
 

Seitenwerk

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Thanks @Kilrah for clarification.

So that essentially means while it’s correct that our small drone sensors are not ideal for shooting in LOG, the basic idea still works but you will not only have to adjust/grade color, adjust exposure levels/curve but also other things like noise reduction.

Which explains why I was also seeing significant more noise in my log videos than in my natural ones.

Oh btw i also found out by watching all those informative videos that there are indeed special LUTs for color grading log and for footage that’s already color graded. Often they come I. A package so you can apply the correct one depending on your content
 

Saijin_Naib

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Also, remember that part of squeezing in more dynamic range is not only lowering highlights, but raising shadows. When you raise the shadows, you will introduce noise. Not likely a huge issue in a well-lit scene with ample daylight, but it will bite you hard in darker scenes.
 
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Seitenwerk

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Also, remember that part of squeezing in more dynamic range is not only lowering highlights, but raising shadows. When you raise the shadows, you will introduce noise. Not likely a huge issue in a well-lit scene with ample daylight, but it will bite you hard in darker scenes.

What’s your recommendation for shooting with log? I heard that some people always record with one or even two stops higher. Does this make sense?
 

Saijin_Naib

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What’s your recommendation for shooting with log? I heard that some people always record with one or even two stops higher. Does this make sense?
Gah, that's tough. I don't shoot LOG (don't have an Anafi [yet?]), but it is a similar process for shooting RAW on smaller sensors, especially the wonderfully odd/quirky Fuji EXR sensors. You have to play around with it a bit, but I've found that over-exposing about 1.5 stops still allows me to recover the highlights 99% of the time while also exposing mids/shadows fully, so that when I pull those back down they're smooth and silky. I tried the under-expose and lift method, and on my sensor it just led to a ton of chrominance and luminance noise, both of which are pretty undesirable and hard to remove without muddying up sharpness and color tonality. I've found that slightly clipped highlights isn't as horrible as an image with chroma/luma noise everywhere but clean highlights, to my eyes/taste.

Under-Expose & Lift: Highlights are incredibly well preserved, but I lost a lot of sharpness with noise reduction, and reducing chrominance noise caused the colors to clip and lose their subtle variations, especially on the berries.
1548280599940.png

+1.5 And Pull Down: You can see some highlight clipping, but noise is much more pleasant and I didn't do any noise reduction, so sharpness and color tonality were well preserved.
1548280628291.png
 
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Krusty Geeza

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The comments about it not being effective for the Anafi only having an 8 bit capture rate is true according to a friend who edits video for a local TV station. If it were to be capturing at 10 bit, then using Log captures in conjunction with LUT's makes sense, but not for us unfortunately.

His recommendation for me was to just use the Natural setting & keep the colour edits minimal, unless I wanted a particular look, which I played with on a recent video I shared here (Old Noarlunga Farmhouse 01).

He also mentioned that these tiny sensors are terrible for lowlight work & expecting any semblance of sharp definition. A work around was to record at 4K, then output it at 1080p, so it looks sharper. He also mentioned to go easy on the sharpening with these tiny sensors as it can introduce weird saturation & contrast issues!

I'm yet to try it in extremely low light conditions, but have had no problems filming just after sunrise. One day I'll be out well before the sun has risen...

Regarding exposure, turn on the zebras as a visual warning of over-exposure, set your exposure manually, then lock it off so it doesn't vary in any way. This means you need to choose & set the light balance, the ISO & the shutter speed, then lock that for the duration of your filming. This becomes a pain when working with the rising sun or at sunset as the light conditions are changing pretty fast then, so you need to change them regularly until things settle down & become constant.

I am experimenting with reducing the sharpening & saturation on the Anafi as it captures video. With my first attempt doing that I got slightly sharper footage & better colour rendition as a result! Good video editing programs & plug-ins can always do a better job than a drone will be able to do. I might share some of this, so you folks can see the differences for yourselves, when I have the time in a few days.
 

Saijin_Naib

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A work around was to record at 4K, then output it at 1080p, so it looks sharper. He also mentioned to go easy on the sharpening with these tiny sensors as it can introduce weird saturation & contrast issues!
Downsampling/super-sampling is a great idea. Target your workflow for the screen it is going to be viewed on. Though a growing number of people have 4K capable screens, most still only watch at 1080p. Downsample and you get better appearance of fine detail, and also get smoother color gradations. Your friend gave you great advice.
 

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