How Do You Expose S-Cinetone with the FX6/FX3/A7SIII

exposing-cinetone-600x316 How Do You Expose S-Cinetone with the FX6/FX3/A7SIIILots of people have been asking about how to expose S-Cinetone, whether with the FX9, FX6, A7SIII or the FX3.

The short answers is:  So that it looks nice!

S-Cinetone has a variable toe and knee. So exposing it brighter results in not only a brighter image but also an image with flatter skin tones and less shadow contrast, overall looking more video like.

Exposing a little bit darker results in a more contrasty film like image. Faces and skin tones have more texture. There is no one optimum exposure level. A white card  could be anywhere between 78% and 88% depending on the look you want.  Typical skin tones will vary from between anywhere between 55% and 75%.

Personally I like the way S-Cinetone looks when it’s exposed with Skin tones at around 63% and white at around 81%.

See the video I on S-Cinetone on the FX9 for more details as it all applies equally to the FX9 and FX6 as well as the A7SIII and FX3. The only small difference is that the base ISO’s are a little different between each camera.


4 thoughts on “How Do You Expose S-Cinetone with the FX6/FX3/A7SIII”

  1. Hi Alister,

    Always appreciate your work very much!

    I have a question about the latitude of Sony Slog3cine 10bit vs Raw via Atomos monitors on the A7sIII and FX3 cameras.
    So the Sony marketing campaign claims 12bit Log Raw from the Atomos. I guess this may be true for Chroma, but I wonder whether we’ve been tricker as to Luma.

    I did some latitude tests today and noticed some interesting things. Firstly that underexposure on the A7sIII is so much more retrievable. Nearly up to 3 stops in ISO 640 and -2 12800. So impressive! 😀

    However, comparing SLOG3CINE to RAW I discovered that the RAW files have an enormous amount of Noise. On the one hand, this is normal, because Slog3cine files applies noise reduction and RAW demands denoisung.
    However, the amount of noise at -1EV or -2EV in the RAW files does not correlate at all with what I’d expect from 12 Bit Log Raw material. It should be much less than this.
    Is this RAW really 12 bit Log regarding brightness?
    I don’t have the tools to do denoising on these files. Considering downloading Resolve for this. But from lots of grading experience, I doubt the underexpose recovery of RAW will look any better than SLog3Cine. That goes against what we should be getting with 12 Bit Log Raw. Arri Alexa footage has much less noise when 2 stops underexposed in RAW.
    How is this possible? What are your thoughts?
    Hope to hear back soon and kind greetings!

    1. Raw is a stream of greyscale bitmaps, there is no separation of chroma or luma in a raw recording as it isn’t a colour image. You don’t get separate Chroma and Luma until the raw has be de-mosaiced and turned into a colour image in post production. I see no reason to believe that the files are not encoded as 12 bit log as it very simple to do.

      It’s an big internet myth that you can recover more from under exposed raw than underexposed log, the limiting factor is the sensor and sensor noise, rarely the encoding. Raw might give you a few more very subtle textures thanks to the lower compression ratio and greater bit depth, but there won’t be any extra range. The sensor and sensor noise limits that and raw will never normally have more range than component log.

      -1EV raw will have twice as much noise and -2EV raw will have 4 times more noise than at the base exposure and this is no different to S-Log3. It wouldn’t matter whether it’s log, linear or power law. Every time you go down 1 stop you double the noise, go down 2 stops you quadruple it. As you start with no noise reduction with raw and everytime you go down one stop you double the noise, the apparent increase in noise will be much more significant than with log which may have been noise reduced so has less noise to start with. Noise reduction is an important part of a raw workflow, but at the moment there is no way to get ProResRaw into DaVinci Resolve so you have to transcode it first in FCP or Premiere and that largely defeats the benefits as you are adding a recompression step.

      It’s also worth considering that a conventional DCT codec like XAVC or even ProRes will do some noise reduction as part of the compression process. If you imagine that the S-Log3 has a noise level 2 after NR and compression while the raw is 4, it’s only a difference of 2. Then go down 2 stops, noise quadruples and the S-log will have a noise level of 8 while the raw will be 16, now the difference is a much more obvious 8.

  2. Hi Alister,
    Thank u for your sharing.
    I am wondering if you turn on the slog/hlg in the input setting of ninja v when you recorded s_cinetone. What is your recommendation on the setup of ninja v for recording s_cinetone?

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