Fed up with carrying large or bulky grey cards that get bent and creased or get dirty and fade? Why not try one of the great Lastolite pop up grey cards? I have the 30cm 18% grey pop-up grey card and it works really well. When folded it’s only about 12cm across so takes no space at all. It comes in a handy zip up case. This is so much easier to carry and transport than traditional ridged cards. The back of the target is 90% white. Both the grey and white targets appear to be very accurate and the matte surface of the grey card helps eliminate hot spots and reflections. There is a cross hair style focussing target in the center of each side if you need to check focus. They come in different sizes, if you want a larger one there are also 50cm and 75cm versions plus there is even an underwater version. Do note that they come in both 18% and 12% shades of grey. Really handy if shooting with SLog or for setting white balance. If you are working with a video camera you want the 18% grey version, but you may need the 12% version if calibrating a light meter etc. Simple, low cost item that works really well. Recommended!
There is an ongoing and much heated debate on another forum about the practicalities of using the LUT’s or Looks built in to the PMW-F5 and PMW-F55 for setting the correct exposure of your SLog or Raw footage. In response to this I put together a very rough video demonstrating how this actually works.
Before watching the video, do please understand the following notes:
Correct exposure is normally determined by the level at which middle grey is recorded. This is true of both video and film production. Light meters are calibrated using middle grey. Expose with a light meter and you will find middle grey at the levels indicated below.
Different gamma curves may use different middle grey levels depending on the contrast required and the dynamic range of the gamma curve. Generally speaking, the greater the dynamic range, the lower middle grey must be set in order to leave room above middle grey for the extra dynamic range. This means that the relationship between middle grey and white will be different from curve to curve. Don’t always expect white to be some fixed value above middle grey. Some of the Sony looks for example LC709TypeA are very low contrast and while middle grey still sits at around 42% (The ITU standard for Rec-709 is 41.7%), because it is a low contrast, high dynamic range curve white is at a lower level, around 70%. The Hypergamma LUT grey points are given by the “G40″ or G33” number – G40 meaning middle grey at 40%.
When you take Slog or raw in to post production it is expected that the middle grey of the recordings will be at the correct nominal level (see chart below). If it is not, when you apply a post production Slog or raw LUT then the footage may appear incorrectly exposed. If you try to bring Slog or raw into an ACES workflow then ACES expects middle grey to be at the correct values. So it is important that your Slog or raw is exposed correctly if you want it to work as expected in post.
Having said all of the above… If you are using CineEI and lowering or raising the EI gain from the native ISO then your Slog or raw will be exposed brighter or darker than the levels above. But I must assume that this is what you want as you are probably looking to adjust the levels in post to reduce noise or cope with an over exposure issue. You may need to use a correction LUT to bring your Slog levels back to the nominal correct levels prior to adding a post production LUT.
Anyway, here’s the video.