Gerald Undone: Exposure Tips for the BMPCC4K & Why I Don’t Use ProRes

Discussing Blackmagic Pocket 4K exposure complications, ETTR vs middle grey, what Highlight Recovery does, and why ProRes isn’t good for low ISOs.

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Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K.

Commentary

With Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K being a reasonably recent release in short supply in many parts of the world, high-value information on how to get the best out of it also remains in short supply so Gerald Undone’s data on the two best ISOs is particularly welcome.

Instead of the more commonly used base dual native ISOs of 400 and 3200, Mr Undone recommends ISOs of 400 and 4000 and supports those numbers with a thorough set of tests.

Using these preferred ISOs on your BMPCC 4K in conjunction with the expose-to-the-right aka ETTR principles espoused by Australian cinematographer/director Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT Pro will provide optimum exposure and the most suitable footage for grading.

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Paul Leeming: How to ETTR – Quick And Dirty Edition! [Video]

How to Expose To The Right (ETTR) to maximise your camera’s sensor dynamic range 🙂 I also create highly accurate Rec709 corrective LUTs (optimised for these ETTR principles) which you can buy from here: https://www.LeemingLUTPro.com

Commentary

Paul Leeming has made a quick and dirty video to show how to set your camera for ETTR – expose to the right – when shooting video.

ETTR also applies to obtaining optimum exposure and thus optimal image quality for stills photography and is best achieved with zebras rather than blinkies.

Now if only all digital camera makers would equip every camera with fully programmable zebras for photography and video.

Fujifilm, I am looking at you!

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Paul Leeming’s Leeming LUT One 801 for Panasonic Cameras including Lumix GH5 and GH5S is Available, More Versions to Come

We have been following Australian director/cinematographer Paul Leeming’s progress in creating, refining and updating his Leeming LUT One unified, corrective Look Up Table aka LUT system for popular mirrorless and DSLR hybrid cameras and camcorders ever since we launched the ‘Untitled’ project. 

Leeming LUT One began as an effort to transform the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4’s ‘Cine-D’ aka Cinelike D video picture profile into the most accurate, most realistic rendering possible and has expanded to encompass a range of cameras including those made by Canon, DJI, GoPro, JVC, Sony and more, with support for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and Fujifilm X-T3 and others coming in the near future. 

Mr Leeming continues to refine Leeming LUT One with version 801 for Panasonic being the most accurate yet, setting a new industry benchmark for realistic colour rendering for video footage shot with the Cinelike D, V-LogL and HLG profiles for editing in Rec. 709 movie projects. 

Recently I put Leeming LUT One 801 to the test with Cinelike D footage from my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 camera, the one that goes with me almost everywhere everyday, and the results were, as usual, impressive.

Better yet, correcting footage with Leeming LUT One then adding film simulation or creative looks LUTs produces rich grading with a lush and easy-to-grade tonal range.

Many independent moviemakers shoot video for the same project on several cameras including within multi-camera interview set-ups, and Leeming LUT One is invaluable in reducing time in the colour grading suite matching footage from all those different cameras, especially when exposed according to the principles of ETTR aka expose-to-the-right.

In all the following examples, I graded quickly and minimally to simulate the look and feel of the subject at the moment I shot it, to be as realistic as video permits.

Skin tones in mixed available light with Leeming LUT One 801 and LookLabs’ Digital Film Stock Fujifilm Eterna 500T

Reds, greens and blue in strong sunlight with Leeming LUT One 801 and Leeming LUT Quickies v8 Basic Balanced v8 Lighter

Greys and greens in weak sunlight on cold, windy day with Leeming LUT One 801 and LookLabs Digital Film Stock Kodak 5218

Links

  • Leeming LUT Pro – “Leeming LUT Pro™ is the world’s first unified, corrective Look Up Table ( LUT ) system for supported cameras, designed to maximise dynamic range, fix skin tones, remove unwanted colour casts and provide an accurate Rec709 starting point for further creative colour grading.”
  • LookLabsDigital Film Stock aka DFS – “DFS instantly gives you the natural look of film and the most flexible set of LUTs on the market. The DFS bundle includes 19 LUTs that perfectly emulate the most popular Kodak and Fuji film stocks. DFS comes in both REC.709 and LOG video formats and all SpeedLooks camera patches work with today’s most popular digital cinema and mirrorless cameras. DFS even makes your Android videos look like film!”

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Leeming LUT Pro Coming Soon to Level the Hybrid Camera Video Playing Field with Radically Improved Colour Accuracy for Easy Colour Matching

While we have been stunned and amazed by Australian company Blackmagic Design’s coming revolutionary Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k aka BMPCC 4K aka P4K, a a quiet revolution in hybrid camera video post-production has been brewing. 

Australian cinematographer/director of photography/director/writer Paul Leeming of Visceral Psyche Films has been radically overhauling his Leeming LUT suite of camera profile colour matching 3D LUTs whilst grading Kodokushi, the very first full-length feature film to be shot on the affordable, award-winning Panasonic Lumix GH5S high-end compact video camera. 

paul_leeming_panasonic_lumix_gh5s_zoom_h4n_rig_01_1024px_60pc
The Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S plus 8Sinn GH5/GH5S cage-based rig used by Paul Leeming to shoot ‘Kodokushi’, the first full-length feature film to be shot with the GH5S.
During his first visit to ‘Untitled’ Paul Leeming tested several cameras for possible Leeming LUT One custom 3D LUTs.

As we learned earlier this year when Mr Leeming dropped by our home studio after wrapping production on the Kodokushi shoot in Osaka, the Leeming LUT camera profile testing and production process has evolved courtesy of now basing it on 3D LUT Creator combined with a new footage creation methodology.

We tested an early beta of Leeming LUT Pro, successor to Leeming LUT One, against earlier versions of Leeming LUT One and were suitably impressed.

Leeming LUT Pro has delivered on its predecessors’ promise of enabling easier, faster and more accurate correction of video footage from a range of hybrid cameras and camcorders affordable for self-funded, low-budget, independent documentary and narrative moviemakers.

Leeming LUT Pro makes that possible regardless of whether video acquisition is via Rec. 709, Rec. 2020, log, flat or regular picture profile footage, and with whichever brand camera so long as Mr Leeming has tested its footage for creation of his custom camera profile 3D LUTs.

Still frame from ‘Kodokushi’, the very first feature film to be shot with the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S video camera by Director of Photography Paul Leeming.
Still frame from ‘Kodokushi’, the very first feature film to be shot with the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S video camera by Director of Photography Paul Leeming.
Still frame from ‘Kodokushi’, the very first feature film to be shot with the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S video camera by Director of Photography Paul Leeming.
Australian director/cinematographer Paul Leeming with his Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 rig during his first visit to the ‘Untitled’ home studio..

Contemporary moviemakers often use a range of cameras on any given production, presenting a costly, time-consuming colour-matching headache during the postproduction process.

With Leeming LUT Pro, a timeline of footage from several different cameras can be colour-matched by dropping the relevant Leeming LUT Pro camera profile custom LUT onto each clip, evening their colour up for faster subsequent colour correction then colour grading for looks and emotion.

Consequently, footage from, say, a Canon EOS DSLR or Cinema EOS camcorder, a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, GH5, GH5S, any of the Sony hybrid cameras, a JVC GY-LS300, GoPro or DJI X5 Series on the same timeline will no longer be screaming out their colour science differences and will play nice together.

Application of the ETTR – exposing to the right – principle as taught by Mr Leeming on his Leeming LUT Pro website aids in exposure-matching and enhances Leeming LUT Pro’s colour-matching benefits even more.

Colour-matching footage shot on a range of cameras over time is the bane of longterm documentary moviemaking and Leeming LUT Pro makes the process more accurate, easier and faster when using profiled cameras.

For example, my current documentary production gear kit includes the Fujifilm X-Pro2, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4, and I may be adding a GH5 or GH5S along with a second Fujifilm camera to backup and extend my X-Pro2.

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Paul Leeming’s Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 in 8Sinn cage with Scorpio handle.

That represents a range of picture profiles, film simulations, Rec. types and specific Rec. 709 profiles as well as HLG and V-Log without adding footage from very different cameras such as GoPro, DJI, Canon, Nikon, Blackmagic Design and more.

Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K aka P4K gives self-funded indie moviemakers like me an eminently affordable 4K UHD and 1080p HD cinema camera option as well and Mr Leeming will no doubt be creating a custom Leeming LUT Pro 3D LUT for it when he can obtain a production-ready version of the camera.

Blackmagic Design’s Grant Petty once shared his vision for the rest of us who need to be storytellers in moving pictures but don’t come from traditional storytelling class and ethnic backgrounds:

“My big thing is, if you don’t have any money, it doesn’t mean to say your brain is turned off, or you’re stupid or you don’t have ambition. From my point of view, you want to move up, you want to do great things. If you want to do that, you should be able to buy products that let you do that. That’s how you get rid of class structure. I’m trying to remove it, and just let people be creative.”

With the coming release of Leeming LUT Pro, Paul Leeming is also assisting independent moviemakers in dismantling the moviemaking class system and more power to his arm, as the saying goes.

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Leeming LUT One for Panasonic Cameras to get Version 503 before Mid-Year with Even Better Colour and Tone than Ever – UPDATE

Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT One and Visceral Psyche Films is like a dog with a bone that he just will not let go insofar as improving and updating Leeming LUT One, “the world’s first unified, corrective Look Up Table (LUT) system for supported cameras, designed to maximise dynamic range, fix skin tones, remove unwanted colour casts and provide an accurate Rec709 starting point for further creative colour grading.”

Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT One and Visceral Psyche Films in V-Log L footage made with Panasonic Lumix GH5 then processed with Leeming LUT One for Panasonic cameras, version 503 beta.

Mr Leeming has just shared an early version 503 beta for Panasonic V-Log L with me and, after applying it to some V-Log L footage of my own, it is clear that he has worked out how obtain even better, even more realistic colour and tonal rendering than before.

The more accurate and true-to-life the starting point obtained by applying Leeming LUT One before adding creative aka looks LUTs and other colour grading controls in your non-linear editing suite or colour grading software of choice, the richer and more satisfying the final result.

While this first version 503 beta is only for Panasonic V-Log L footage, Leeming LUT One version 503 for Panasonic cameras will be released for Cinelike D, HLG and V-Log L.

If version 503 has you as excited as I am, please do not put off purchasing it until later this year as version 502 is already streets ahead of any other camera LUT that I have tried out so far and purchasers of 502 now will receive 503 when it is finalized.

Leeming LUT One for Panasonic V-Log L 503 beta, footage by Paul Leeming

Leeming LUT One for Panasonic V-Log L 502 compared to 503 beta

Leeming LUT One for Panasonic V-Log L version 502
Leeming LUT One for Panasonic V-Log L version 503 beta
Leeming LUT One for Panasonic V-Log L version 503 beta plus Leeming LUT Quickie Basic Brighter v2

Leeming LUT One 503 beta as a base for creative LUTs

Leeming LUT One for Panasonic V-Log L version 503 beta plus Leeming LUT Quickie Basic Brighter v2 plus LookLabs Digital Film Stock Fuji 64D
Leeming LUT One for Panasonic V-Log L version 503 beta plus Leeming LUT Quickie Basic Brighter v2 plus LookLabs Digital Film Stock Fuji Reala 500D
Leeming LUT One for Panasonic V-Log L version 503 beta plus Leeming LUT Quickie Basic Brighter v2 plus LookLabs Digital Film Stock Kodak 5245

Sneak Peek, Leeming LUT One 601 for Panasonic, Cinelike D

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Leeming LUT One 601 for Panasonic Cinelike D, from 8-bit 4:2:0 4K UHD video shot on Lumix GX8 with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 lens, LUT plus other minimal grading applied.

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Image Credit

Header image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris.

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Paul Leeming’s Leeming LUT One for the Panasonic GH5 Now at Version 502 for HLG, V-Log L and Cinelike D – UPDATED

Australian cinematographer/director Paul Leeming has issued the version 502 update to his unified corrective LUT (Look Up Table) system Leeming LUT One for the Panasonic Lumix GH5 and its three major video picture profiles, HLG, V-Log L and Cinelike D. 

Australian director/cinematographer Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT One fame with his Panasonic Lumix GH4 rigged for shooting feature films.

The Leeming LUT One system was developed in order to help cinematographers obtain the best image quality from their cameras by providing custom settings and LUTs to maximize dynamic range while minimizing noise and other artefacts such as banding and YUV chroma smearing.

Mr Leeming advises cinematographers to adhere to the expose-to-the-right aka ETTR principle, which he demonstrates in his website.

Still frame of Paul Leeming, shot on Panasonic Lumix GH5 in HLG HDR mode then processed in Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve Studio 14 using Leeming LUT One for Panasonic HLG version 501.

He has produced Leeming LUT One custom settings and LUTs for cameras including those made by Canon, DJI, GoPro, JVC, Panasonic, Sony with potential support for cameras made by FujifilmDigital Bolex and Samsung should there be sufficient demand.

Panasonic Lumix GH5 HLG Footage and Leeming LUT One for HLG, Before and After

Still frames from GH5 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 HLG footage exposed using ETTR, the ‘Leeming LUT One – Panasonic HLG v502.cube’ applied followed by ‘Leeming LUT Quickie – Basic Balanced v2.cube’ from ‘Leeming LUT Quickies 1 version 2’.

Mr Leeming will be updating his free ‘Leeming LUT Quickies’ collection soon to reflect the improvements made to the most recent version of Leeming LUT One for Panasonic cameras.

Our recent weather has been heavily hit by the effects of extreme climate change and global warming, and we have experienced few pristine Sydney summer days with their classic cobalt skies for some time now.

With many skies almost becoming high ultra-violet light boxes, the excellent highlight roll-off of the HLG profile in the GH5 is becoming even more important, and Leeming LUT One for HLG does a great job of maintaining the original look and feel of a scene while preserving realistic colour and especially skin colour.

Initial grading as in these still frames provides a good starting point that can be further enhanced with some of the many creative aka looks LUTs or analog film simulation being made available by a range of LUTs makers.

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Image Credits

Header image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris.

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  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera – B&H
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  • Panasonic V-Log L Function Activation Code for DMC-GH4, DC-GH5, and DMC-FZ2500B&H
  • Atomos Ninja Inferno 7″ 4K HDMI Recording Monitor and accessoriesB&H

Taking a Panasonic Lumix GH5 Equipped with a Guerrilla G-Cup for GH5 on a Brisk Walk Through Gloomy Sydney

I took a much-needed break from fulltime caring to travel into the city of Sydney CBD for a walkabout with the Panasonic Lumix GH5, Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Probreakthrough  standard zoom lens, Breakthrough Photography X4 ND and X4 UV filters and Guerrilla G-Cup for GH5 replacing the GH5’s provided eyecup, all carried in Cosyspeed’s excellent Camslinger Streetomatic Plus camera bag in black faux leather.

Panasonic Lumix GH5 with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens with Breakthrough Photography X4 UV filter, and Guerrilla G-Cup for GH5 attached instead of the GH5’s supplied eyecup. I usually attach Peak Design Clutch and Cuff camera straps to my cameras.

The day was dark and gloomy with prevailing light far from my favourite for putting hardware and software to the test.

My intention was to shoot HLG HDR (hybrid log-gamma high dynamic range) footage for sharing as SDR (standard dynamic range) as below after applying the latest iteration of Paul Leeming’s Leeming LUT One camera settings, camera LUT and custom LUT for the Panasonic GH5 HLG.

The latest version of Leeming LUT One for Panasonic cameras was 501 at the time but that has since been replaced with version 502, offering some refinements for a current limitation in Apple’s otherwise excellent Final Cut Pro X non-linear editing suite.

I also applied a small selection of analog film simulation LUTs from LookLabs’ Digital Film Stock (DFS) 3D LUT collection to some of the footage to enhance the look and feel of the scene depicted.

Still frames from Panasonic GH5 HLG HDR footage

Links

Image Credits

Header image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris. Photograph of Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 with Guerrilla G-Cup for GH5 shot as 3-bracket HDR image then processed in Skylum Aurora HDR 2018 followed by Skylum Luminar 2018.

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FastRawViewer: How to Trash a Good Shot in One Step…

https://www.fastrawviewer.com/raw-histogram-for-culling#overlay-context=

“… Not sure how? It really is very simple – just rely on the JPEG histogram. The one on the back of your camera will do, or one derived from a JPEG by some viewer, or (sometimes) even by a RAW converter….

… So, if you don’t want to trade your (technically) best shots for worse ones, start using RAW histograms for culling!”

Fujifilm… I’m Cross Over Your Aversion to Zebras

While awaiting Fujifilm’s next firmware update for the X-Pro2, version 4.0.0, the one that will finally bring the 4K video mode staffers believed would arrive soon after the release of the X-T2, one’s mind turns to other necessary video features unmentioned in Fujifilm’s press release on the subject. 

A confession: I have shot far less video on the X-Pro2 than I had anticipated when I placed the order for mine.

The X-Pro2’s pre-4K 1080p HD video certainly has its uses – I suspect that more documentaries are being shot in 1080p than 4K at the moment – and I have no problem with the idea of clicking my X-Pro2’s video-programmed Fn button should a video-worthy moment arise.

Photographing for SOOC JPEGs with Fujifilm’s X-Pro2 is not unlike using colour reversal aka transparency films during the analog era. You need to get your exposure dead accurate as there is only so much you can do to refine it in post. The X-Pro2’s EVF is one of the most inaccurate in showing how the final shot will look of all my current cameras so there is a long, trial and error learning process. The histogram is only so useful. Exposure zebras would be a far better option but Fujifilm is deaf and blind to the necessity of adding them to all its cameras’ firmware. Why?

But the more I explore SOOC (straight out of camera) JPEGs using custom settings shared online, the less attractive is X-Pro2 video shot using its current firmware.

Try it for yourself if you have an X-Pro2.

Go to Thomas Fitzgerald’s article How I shoot with my X-Pro 2 and input the lovely customized Provia look that he shares there.

Allocate video to a function button if you have not already done so – I chose Fn for its proximity to the X-Pro2’s release button.

Find something nice to stand in front of, shoot a JPEG then some video footage, and compare.

Some difference.

While it is possible to improve the footage in your nonlinear editing to colour grading software, the disappointment lingers and there is no excuse in this day and age why the X-Pro2’s video functionality did not receive the same customizability options as JPEGs from the camera’s inception way back when.

The other big disappointment of video on the X-Pro2 and Fujifilm’s other cameras is their lack of exposure zebras.

Firmware update after update comes and goes with none receiving one of the most essential core shooting functionalities for cinematography and stills photography, zebras.

Five months ago Fujifilm released a video on photographer-turned-cinematographer Richard Blanshard who related that he had shared a list of videocentric improvements some of which may find their way into future firmware upgrades.

I cannot imagine that Mr Blanshard’s list did not include exposure zebras.

Another item I hope was in that list is the ability to record F-Log in-camera.

I have been relying on Panasonic cameras for video for some time now and their exposure zebras functionality has proven vital when shooting movies and photographs.

Panasonic’s Lumix GH5 is an outstanding stills and video camera and Fujifilm can learn more than a few lessons from their Super 16/Micro Four Thirds mirrorless rival.

Besides their Super 35/APS-C sensors, Fujifilm’s cameras have another advantage Panasonic will never possess, Fujifilm’s 80-year history and deep knowledge of analog film stocks and digital film emulation.

Imagine if Fujifilm properly implemented that on the X-Pro2 then combined it with finally getting exposure right via zebras.

I am enjoying the pleasures and challenges of simulating some of the greatest analog film stocks on my X-Pro2 with Mr Fitzgerald’s Provia-based custom setting but the experience is sullied by having to rely on the X-Pro2’s tiny histogram and judging correct exposure on its less-than-stellar electronic viewfinder (EVF).

The star of the X-Pro2 concept is its advanced hybrid multi viewfinder (HMVF) especially when using its electronic rangefinder (ERF) located at lower right of its optical viewfinder (OVF) that shows exactly what the camera’s lens is seeing.

Imagine getting exposure perfect for raw and JPEG photographs or video via zebras in the ERF window, or the EVF or LCD monitor.

Now that would be stellar and tempt me over to shooting Super 35 4K video with beautiful film simulations or F-Log on my Fujifilm X-Pro2.

Fingers crossed that Fujifilm gets it right in late December’s firmware version 4.0.0 for the X-Pro, as well as in firmware version 3.0.0 for the X-T2 late November.

Links

Image Credits

Image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris.

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  • Fujifilm X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
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  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H