A Guide the the FX6’s CineEI Mode.

Mode-CineEI1_1.1.1-1024x576 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
The FX6 CineEI mode can be enabled via status page 4 or via the main menu and project settings.

 

WHAT IS CINE EI?

The FX6’s CineEI mode is designed to make shooting using S-Log3 or raw easy and straightforward. It optimises the camera so that settings such as the recording ISO, noise reduction and sharpening are all optimised for recording either S-Log3 or raw with the best possible dynamic range.

Mode-CineEI2_1.1.1-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.

It also makes sure that the S-Log3 or raw recordings are optimised for grading. In addition you can use a LUT (Look Up Table) in the viewfinder or on the HDMI/SDI output to provide an approximation of how your footage will look after it’s been graded as well as to assist you in getting the exposure right.

HINT: What is a LUT? A LUT is a simple Look Up Table of input values that represent different levels in the recording format (in this case S-Log3) and then converts those input values to new output values that are appropriate for the monitor or display range you are using. This conversion can included stylised adjustments to give the output image a specific look.

Once you have a LUT enabled and you are viewing the LUT either in the viewfinder or on a monitor an exposure offset can be applied to the LUT to make it darker or brighter than normal. This LUT brightness offset is used to allow you to deliberately offset how bright the recordings are, this is the “EI” or Exposure Index part of CineEI. More on that later.

BUILT IN LUTS

The FX6 has 3 built in LUTs, but in addition to the built in LUTs you can load your own “user LUTs” into the camera as what the FX6 calls “Base Looks” making this a very flexible and capable system. If you want to load you own LUTs into the camera these must be 3D Cube LUT’s and should be placed in the — Private : SONY : PRO : LUT folder of an SD card or CFExpress card that has been formated in card slot 2 of the FX6.  The LUT’s should be 17x or preferably 33x cube LUT’s designed for use with S-Log3 and SGamut3.cine. They are loaded via the main menu PAINT – BASE LOOK page.

lut-selection_1.1.1-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
The FX6 has 3 included LUT’s, these are s709, 709(800) and S-Log3. The AC-BCST LUT seen here is a user LUT that has been saved to the camera.

 

CODEC CHOICE.

As your material will require grading in post production, if you are shooting UHD or 4K you should NOT use XAVC-L because in UHD/4K XAVC-L is 8 bit 4:2:0. A much better choice is XAVC-I which is always 10 bit 4:2:2 and/or raw.

FIXED RECORDING ISO.

Once the camera is set to use the CineEI mode the recording sensitivity is fixed to either 800 ISO when in Lo Base sensitivity or 12,800 ISO when the camera is set to Hi Base sensitivity. These values cannot be changed and your recordings will always take place at one of these sensitivity levels.

ENABLE A LUT.

To take full advantage of the Cine EI mode the next step is to enable a LUT for the viewfinder and also optionally for the HDMI and SDI outputs.

SDI-MLUT-ON_1.1.10-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
MLUT’s are enabled and disabled via status page 5 or in the main menu under Shooting – LUT NO/OFF

 

The default LUT is Sony’s s709 LUT. This is the same LUT as used by the Venice digital cinema camera. s709 is designed to be a starting point for a film style look. To achieve this film style look it uses brightness levels more commonly found in feature films rather than the levels normally used in the majority of regular TV shows.

selected-lut-status-pages_1.1.1-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
The default LUT is s709. The LUT can be changed from Status Page 5 or in the main menu under PAINT – BASE LOOK – SELECT


LUT EXPOSURE LEVELS

There are some important things to understand about different LUTs and Base Looks. Each LUT/Look will have it’s own optimum brightness levels. They will not all be the same. Some will be brighter or darker than others when exposed correctly, so it’s vital that you understand what levels any LUT that you chose to use needs to be exposed at.

Another LUT that the FX6 includes is Sony’s 709(800) LUT. This LUT is more closely aligned with the levels used in normal TV productions, so it looks very different to s709 and has very different brightness levels when exposed correctly.

The chart below gives the “correct” exposure values for S-Log3 as well as some guide values based on my own measurements for the s709 and 709(800) LUTs in the FX6.

  Middle Grey Average Skin Tones 90% Reflectivity white card (add 2-3% for white paper).
S-Log3 41% 48-52% 61%
s709 44-45% 57-62% 77-78%
709(800) 44-45% 65-70% 89%

MEASURING THE EXPOSURE.

There are many ways to measure your exposure when shooting using S-Log3 and LUT’s. You could choose to use a light meter, in which case the light meter would be set to match the EI (Exposure Index) value set in the camera. You can just look at the image in the viewfinder and judge when it looks right. Most of the time this is OK, but it isn’t particularly accurate. My prefered method is to use a white card or grey card and then use the cameras built in video signal monitor and the waveform display to actually measure the brightness of the grey card or white card.

Video-Signal-Monitor-ON_1.1.5-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
The waveform display is enabled in the menu under MONITORING – DISPLAY ON/OFF – VIDEO SIGNAL MONITOR


If you are not familiar with a waveform display it actually really easy to understand. The bottom of the waveform is black and the very top is 109%, the brightest that the camera can ever record to. The left hand side is the left of the video image and the right is the right of the video image. The thin reference lines across the waveform display are at 0% (the darkest a video image should ever normally be), 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%.

waveform-2 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
The levels shown by the FX6’s waveform display


In addition the FX6’s waveform display includes 2 yellow lines. The position of these yellow lines is determined to the levels that the cameras zebras are set to. By default the lower yellow line will be at 70% to match Zebra 1 and the upper line at 100% to match zebra 2.

waveform-1 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.

MEASURING THE EXPOSURE.

The waveform display measures the signal that is on the HDMI and the SDI output. So once you have turned on the LUT for the HDMI/SDI it is the levels of the LUT that is being measured. What the waveform is measuring is indicated just above the waveform display.

To make it easier to understand how CineEI works and to show you how I like to have my FX6 setup, I find it easier to start off by turning OFF the LUT for the SDI and HDMI and measuring the exposure of the S-Log3. If you do this when the the Exposure Index (EI) is equal to the Recording or Base ISO then we can establish the correct exposure for the S-Log3 using a white card or white piece of paper and then also check the exposure of the LUT.

FIRST CHECK AND SET THE EXPOSURE INDEX LEVELS.

With the cameras base ISO set to low / 800 ISO I recommend that you set the EI levels in the main menu SHOOTING – ISO/Gain/EI as follows: 

EI-Levels_1.1.13-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
My recommended exposure index levels of 800/400/200 EI

 

ISO/GAIN BUTTON:

When using the CineEI mode you can change the EI several ways. The most commonly used ways will likely be via the L/M/H ISO/Gain switch or by pressing the ISO/Gain button and then using the multi-function dial (MFD) to change the EI.  Do note that when you use the multi-function dial or Direct Menu to change the EI this new EI setting changes the preset value associated with the current position of the L/M/H switch.

I do not set an Exposure Index higher than the base recording ISO. The reason for this is that if you record using a high EI value your images will be noisy and grainy and could be very difficult to grade. Because you don’t ever see your final results until you get into post production, if you accidentally record noisy log you won’t really know how bad the footage will be until it is perhaps too late to do anything about it. So I set the EI for the Low Base 800 ISO as H>800EI,  M>400EI, L>200EI. The difference between each of these EI’s is one stop and that makes it easier when you are checking any exposure changes. 

For the 12,800 High base ISO I set the EI to H>12800EI, M>6400EI, L>3200EI.

FOR THIS EXAMPLE START AT LOW BASE/800 ISO and 800 EI.

By using the same EI as the base recording ISO there will be no offset or difference between the correct exposure for the LUT and the correct, or base exposure for the S-Log3. Expose the LUT corrrectly and the S-Log3 will be also be normally exposed. Expose the S-Log3 normally and the LUT will look correct.

FOR THIS EXAMPLE LET’S START WITH THE SDI/HDMI LUT OFF.

For this example I am going to start with the LUT OFF for the SDI and HDMI, this way the waveform display will be measuring the S-Log3. Just above the waveform it should say SG3C/Slog3, telling you the waveform is measuring the S-Log3. 

MLUT-VF-Only_1.1.8-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
When the LUT (MLUT) is off for the SDI/HDM the waveform will be measuring the S-Log3 exposure level.

 

Referring to the table of exposure levels above we can see that the correct S-Log3 exposure for a white card (90% reflectivity white) is 61% – if using a normal piece of printer paper I suggest using a value a little higher (around 63%) as white paper tends to be a little brighter than a proper white test card.

SETTING ZEBRA 1 TO 61%

To make finding where 61% is on the waveform I recommend setting Zebra 1 to 61% so that the lower of the two yellow zebra lines is at 61%.

zebra1-61-1_1.1.8-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
Set Zebra 1 to 61% via the main menu and MONITORING – ZEBRA.


So now when checking the exposure of a white card when the waveform is measuring the S-Log3 it is simply a case of adjusting the exposure until the white card is at the same level as the 61% line. Alternately you could use an 18% grey card, in which case you would set Zebra 1 to 41%, however there are often times when I forget my grey card but I almost always have a piece of paper somewhere.

white-card-at-61 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
White target exposed at 61% when measuring the S-Log3

 

So now we know the S-Log3 is correctly exposed lets turn ON the LUT for the SDI and HDMI outputs and check the exposure level of the s709 LUT.

TURN ON THE LUT.

SDI-MLUT-ON_1.1.10-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
MLUT’s are enabled and disabled via status page 5 or in the main menu under Shooting – LUT NO/OFF

 

And if we refer to the exposure chart given towards the top of the page we will see that white for the s709 LUT is 77%. So now let’s set Zebra 2 to 77% to make 77% easier to find on the waveform. Do remember however that other LUTs may need different levels, 77% is just for s709, 709(800) would require Zebra 2 to be set to 89%.

SET ZEBRA 2 TO 77% FOR s709

zebra2-77-2_1.1.12-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
Set Zebra 2 to the correct white level for the LUT you are using via the main menu and MONITORING – ZEBRA.

 

Now with the LUT ON for the SDI/HDMI we should see the brightness of the white card line up with the upper yellow line that represents Zebra 2 and 77%.

s709-LUT-correct-version-2 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.

 

s709-77pc-zebra_1.1.13-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.

As you can see from the above example when the Base ISO and Exposure Index are matched, when the LUT for the SDI/HDMI is OFF and the white card is at 61% on the waveform the S-Log3 is correctly exposed.

Then when the s709 LUT is ON for the SDI/HDMI and the white card is at 77% we are correctly exposed. By having Zebra 1 set at 61% (for S-Log3) and Zebra 2 set for the white level for for your chosen LUT we can check either simply by turning the HDMI/SDI LUT ON or OFF.

USING THE 709(800) LUT INSTEAD

If you want a more contrasty looking image in the viewfinder and similar brightness levels to other video cameras – for example skin tones around 70% you might prefer to use the 709(800) LUT.  When using the 709(800) LUT to measure a white card you should set Zebra 2 to 89%. It’s also worth noting that with the 709(800) LUT, if you wish, you could just leave the zebras at their default settings with Zebra 1 at 70% where just like a conventional Rec-709 video camera they will appear over brighter skin tones when viewing via the LUT. 

709800-correct A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.

CHANGING THE EXPOSURE INDEX TO OFFSET THE LOG EXPOSURE.

Sometimes it can be desirable to expose the S-Log3 a little brighter. For example when shooting scenes with a low average brightness level or scenes with large areas of shadows. The FX6 has very low noise levels at 800 ISO base. So for most scenes with higher average brightness levels there is no need to expose the log brighter. But there is a bit more noise at 12,800 ISO base. As a result it can be beneficial to expose the S-Log3 a bit brighter when using 12,800 ISO base.

The CineEI mode makes this very easy to do in a very controlled manner. Keeping the amount of over exposure constant helps speed up the grading process as all your material can be graded in exactly the same way.

Over exposing or underexposing Log does not change the captured dynamic range, it will always be the same. However exposing log brighter will reduce the highlight range while at the same time increasing the shadow range. A brighter exposure will result in less noise after grading.

Exposing log darker will increase the highlight range but decrease the shadow range. A darker exposure will result in more noise after grading. Because under exposed log can become very noisy, very quickly I do not recommend under exposing log,  because of this I strongly advise against ever using an EI that is higher than the base ISO as this will result in under exposed log.

CHANGING THE EI ONLY CHANGES THE LUT.

When you change the Exposure Index the only thing that actually changes is the brightness of the LUT. So for EI to work you must be monitoring via a LUT.

Below is what happens to the image in the viewfinder when you have a LUT enabled (s709 in this case) and you lower the EI from 800 EI down to 200 EI in 1 stop steps and make no changes to the exposure.

s709-CORRECT2_1.1.24-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
s709 at 800 EI and correctly exposed – note aperture is f8.
s709-400EI-2_1.1.23-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
s709 with the EI set one stop lower at 400 EI but no change to the exposure made, aperture is still f8.
s709-200EI-2_1.1.24-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
s709 now 2 stops darker at 200EI – no change to exposure, aperture is still f8

 

As we have not changed the exposure in any way, the only thing changing is the brightness of the LUT. The recording levels have not yet changed in any way.

BUT NOW WE CHANGE THE EXPOSURE

Because the image in the viewfinder is now dark and the white card no longer reaches the correct exposure for the LUT, we now adjust the exposure. In this example I simply opened the aperture by 2 stops from f8 to f4 to match the 2 stop change in the LUT brightness. Now the image in the viewfinder looks correct again and the white card is meeting the upper yellow line again (77% as set by Zebra 2 level).

s709-200EI-Corrected_1.1.25-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
The EI is at 200 but now the aperture has been opened by 2 stops to f4 so now the LUT is exposed correctly again.

 

BECAUSE THE EXPOSURE IS BRIGHTER THE S-LOG3 IS NOW ALSO BRIGHTER.

Because I have opened the aperture by 2 stops to make the 200 EI LUT exposure look right the S-Log3 recordings will now be 2 stops brighter. If I turn off the LUT for the SDI/HDMI we can see that the S-Log3 is much brighter 2 stops brighter like this, the S-log3 white card level becomes 79%, so it appears slightly above the 77% Zebra 1 line.

s-log3-200ei-corrected_1.1.26-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
After increasing the exposure by 2 stops to compensate for the 2 stop darker LUT (200EI) the S-Log3 recordings become 2 stops brighter and the S-Log3 white card level becomes approx 79%

 

Buy making the LUT darker by 2 stops, then adjusting the exposure upwards 2 stops to return the LUT to the original brightness we have made our recordings 2 stops brighter. This is how you use CineEI to alter the brightness of your recordings.

At Low base ISO (800 ISO) the FX6 is a low noise camera, so there is no need to routinely over expose the log as there is with more noisy cameras like the FS5 or FS7. So I normally shoot at 800 EI. When using the high base ISO or 12,800 ISO there is a bit more noise and when using high base I will typically set the EI to 6400 EI as the 1 stop brighter recordings that this will result in helps compensate for the increased recording noise.

In the examples given here I have used a white card to set the exposure. This is accurate and highly repeatable. But there will be times where you may not have a white card. At these times CineEI can still be used either by setting the Zebras to the appropriate skin tone levels for the chosen LUT (see the table towards the beginning) or by carefully “eyeballing” the brightness of the LUT image – if it looks right, it probably is right. If you are eyeballing it I highly recommend a deep sunshade or other device to exclude as much light as possible from the viewfinder.

CLIP PLAYBACK QUIRKS (YOU MUST ENSURE YOU HAVE UPDATED YOUR CAMERAS FIRMWARE as there was a bug in the initial release firmware that caused the playback EI to be applied back to front).

One great FX6 feature is that when you play back clips in the CineEI mode the camera can apply a LUT to the clip. Simply enable the LUT you want to use as you would when shooting. The FX6 applies then the EI offset that you have assigned to the L/M/H gain/ISO switch.

HOWEVER YOU DO THIS BE AWARE THAT THE L/M/H Gain switch alters the brightness of the clips when played back via a LUT. The only time there is no playback offset is when the switch is set to 800EI. So make sure you understand what EI it is you are looking at when playing back clips in CineEI as if you use the wrong EI your clips may appear over or under exposed.

Changing the way the camera looks and using LUTs in Custom Mode:

You can also use any user LUTs that you have loaded into the camera to alter the base look when you are shooting in custom mode. For more information on that please watch the video below.

39 thoughts on “A Guide the the FX6’s CineEI Mode.”

    1. For delivering HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby etc you would shoot exactly as described here and then in post production, instead of working in 709 Gamut you would work within the HDR gamut that you wish to deliver in such as HDR10(S2084) + 2020 colour. Basically plug in an HDR monitor set to the standard you want and grade so it looks good on the HDR monitor. With a good colour managed workflow such as found inDaVinci Resolve or ACES this is very simple.

      For HLG the camera has a dedicated HLG mode. This is activated in Custom Mode and then in the main menu under project- base settings settings you set the Target Display to HDR(HLG).

      1. Thanks Alister for your comprehensive answer.
        seems a straight forward upgrade from my current Z90 HLG setup 🙂

  1. This is incredibly helpful, thanks Alister.

    Question, is there anyway to have the histogram full screen?

    Also if you measure the exposure with a white card, is there ever a need to do it with a grey card or is the white card suitable in almost all cases?

    1. No the video signal monitor cannot be made full screen.

      Yes, you ca use a grey card if you prefer and the values you should use are given in the table.

    1. The only way is via the base settings and “no LUT”. It’s not clear whether you are getting the full colour space in custom mode but it is clear that NR etc is not as well optimised for log in custom mode.

      I never really understand why people wish to use custom mode to shoot log. CineEI is full optimised for log, custom mode is not and if you start changing the gain you do not get the full dynamic range which is what log is all about.

      1. I can try to explain why I am using log in custom mode. I am doing a lot documentary style filming in changing light conditions and I have very little or no control over lighting. I work in theater environment so sometimes I am shooting in really high contrast situations. And I have noticed that with log profiles I have opportunity to save highlights in post. So I ended up using FS5 with Slog2 a lot. And I don’t need the fully optimised image quality but I need a good quality image.

        CineEI makes a lot of sense when you a change to add or reduce light if you need to. But let say that I am in a situation that is too dark for base iso 800, but there is too mush light for iso 12800. There is some bright lights in a background so I want to save those highlights. I would like to keep aperture around f4. Now with my fx6 I can find two ways to accomplish it. Choosing custom mode with “no lut” and lifting iso to 1600 , 2000 or 3200 or going with CineEI and choosing base iso 12800 and fixing the exposure with ND.

        Which of those options would be better or am I missing something important.

        1. I understand what you are saying, but by the time you are at 3200 ISO instead of having 14 stops of DR, you now only have 12 and it will be hellishly noisy. So yes, you might save some highlights, but every other aspect of the image will be poor.
          If you shot in CineEI and take the footage into post and then add exactly the same amount of gain (12dB = 2 stops) as you added in the camera the images will be very similar, again they will be noisy, except now you still have 14 stops of dynamic range.

          You do have to accept that adding gain results in a much lower quality image no matter what you do, there is no magic fix. So if you are struggling for light you are almost always better off going up to high base ISO and using the ND to get the exposure you want.

  2. Hi Alister,
    what about white balance?
    Is it possible to change the WB in CineEI mode or is still limited to the 3 presets?
    All the best,
    B.

  3. Hello AC!

    This is a super helpful comprehensive guide, thank you.

    May I ask one question? I’m new to the Cine EI workflow, so apologies if I sound rather novice… I am!

    I prefer grey cards (due to the fact that there’s one built in to my x-rite passport and I never forget it!)

    If I’m reading your table correctly, I should fill my frame with the grey card in the lighting condition I’m exposing for and set my zebra’s to 41% for sLog3 and only 44-45% for the s709 MLUT?

    If the waveform is touching the aforementioned zebra 1 value in sLog3, I then toggle on the s709 MLUT and ensure it’s touching the aforementioned value for zebra 2 in s709? I then make exposure adjustments if needed to the LUT, being mindful of how much it potentially pushes the log waveform?

    My main concern is the relatively small gap in values of 41% for Z1 and 44-45% for Z2, it just seems so slim and I want to be sure I’m following correctly! Thank you.

    1. Your levels and numbers are correct, and yes the gap is very small which is why I chose to use 90% white for this camera. It will be just as accurate as the relationship between 18% (middle) grey and 90% white never changes, so you can use either and get equally accurate results. Using white is also useful as any skintones exceeding white must be exceptionally bright.

      1. Thank you so much for your reply. I’ve gone ahead and got a much larger white / grey collapsible combo (similar to the one you recommended in the old FS7 Cine EI article) and will use the white side after hearing your skintones comment.

        My last question is – is there no way to set an assignable button to toggle LUT’s on and off? I read in your old FS7 post that there was a way to assing the Hi/Low key to darken the VF image etc… but are we left without such an option on the FX6?

        I don’t want to trash Sony just yet, but it seems like we can’t do this at a first glance. Although the direct menu is quick enough, I can imagine it not being quick enough in certain scenarios. A quick toggle button would be insanely effective.

        Either way, your guides were super helpful so I’m donating some $ right now!

        1. No, there is no assignable button to turn LUT’s on and off and no Hi/Low key mode. However as you can assign ISO/EI to one of the assignable dials (top handle by default) you can very quickly go up and down in EI to check the highlight and shadow range.

          1. Please elaborate on how going up and down in EI will enable one to check the highlight and shadow range. I’m not sure I fully understand how this works in the same way “hi/low key” button worked, or at least how to use EI toggling to judge highlight and shadow range of a given exposure. Thanks in advance.

          2. When you use a higher EI the LUT becomes brighter because you are adding more gain which allows you to sample and see more of the shadow range, the same as “low Key”. When you go to a lower EI the LUT becomes darker because you are now using less gain which means highlights are reduced allowing you to view the brighter part of the captured image, the same as “high key”. All High/Low key does is alter the LUT gain.

  4. This is great, thanks Alistair. One thing I don’t quite understand is that you mention that the ISO is fixed at either 800 ISO or 12,800 ISO, which I’d also noticed in the manual. Yet in my initial playing around with the camera, I’d assigned my top dial to ISO, and it appears that by selecting ISO with my direct menu it allows me to change the ISO at standard increments. What am I missing here?

    1. You are changing the EI, not the ISO. The recording ISO is fixed in Cine EI. The dial is changing the exposure index, the brightness of the LUT.

  5. Hi Alister! On the FX6 is there any way to keep to the waveform measurement to the SLOG3 Gamma even if a LUT is loaded to display on the VF or SDI/HDMI output? Being an FS7 user for many years I find it more useful to always read the same waveform for SLOG3 and not have it vary from LUT to LUT.

    1. Unfortunately not there is not. The waveform on the FX6 always measures the SDI/HDMI out, so if you have a LUT on the SDI/HDMI then that’s what is measured.

  6. Thank you so much this helps a lot! if i use as a Base the s709 everything looks so dark on my screen of the FX6. But in the edit it looks good. Is there a way to make the screen brighter or is there an other option for a lighter BASE LUT?

  7. Alister – I appreciate being able to use Auto White Balance, and thus my first attempts at shooting have been in Custom Mode. In that mode, it shows “No Lut” in my viewfinder. BUT when I choose my Base Look, it has INPUTof Slog3.cine and OUTPUT of 709. QUESTION: Is that baking in 709, or am I actually getting straight Slog3.cine for editing and grading? AND IF NOT – How can I shoot just plain Slog3.cine in Custom Mode?

    1. In Custom mode what you see on the LCD screen is what is being recorded. You can shoot with S-Log3 by selecting a base look with “no lut”. But be aware of all the issues related to using S-Log3 in custom mode.

  8. Thank you so much this helps a lot! if i use as a Base the s709 everything looks so dark on my screen of the FX6. But in the edit it looks good. Is there a way to make the screen brighter or is there an other option for a lighter BASE LUT?

  9. Thanks for that article, Alister! I shoot a lot of run&gun style where I quickly have to adjust exposure. With previous cameras I have judged exposure with waveform and used the zebra at 95% and above to make sure I don’t clip any highlights. With my new FX6 I feel a little bit lost now in CineEI mode. Based on your review and my testings, the LUTs and EI setting seem to affect both the waveform and zebras without being baked into the recorded s-log3 footage. So for example, with the LUT being turned on, the zebra shows clipping highlights even though nothing is clipping in the s-log3 footage. That being the case, how do I judge exposure and prevent highlights from clipping? It all just seems somewhat counterintuitive to me.
    I would highly appreciate your help with this.

    1. Exposing for highlights is never a good way to work. Your audience isn’t looking at the highlights, they are looking at the mid range, they won’t notice a few clipped highlights but they will sure as anything notice a poorly exposed face. The skin tones, leaves, grass etc. It’s the mid tones you should always prioritise for your exposure. Get the mid tones right and the rest of the image will fall into place around them. Expose for the highlights and you mid tones will go up and down depending on how bright the sky is whatever your highlights are. Most monitors simply cannot show the full range of S-Log, it’s far to large, so there is no way to show all the highlights etc without making the image unacceptably flat, so any LUT’s will only ever show part of the full range.

  10. Hugely useful distilation here, Alistair. Thank you kindly. Filmed CineEI Slog3 Cine for a doc, with a rental FX6, earlier this summer, prompting me to acquire one and a Small HD 702 Touch. Will set camera up tomorrow when it arrives. My instinct is to have camera’s viewfinder set up to display Slog3 image (and waveform), to send same out of the SDI to the SmallHD and then to load and view my LUTs of choice – for ‘grade approximation’ viewing and ‘alternative exposure viewing’ – on the Small HD. My question: is it possible, should I wish to view Rec 709 (or any other LUT I load into the FX6) on the FX6 viewfinder while sending a clean Slog3 signal out of the SDI to my Small HD? Thank you. Kind regards, Tom

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