If you use a Sony camera for video work, you may not really like the colors that it produces. Luckily, there are ways to fix it and make those skin tones look natural. Caleb Pike of DSLR Video Shooter shares some tips and his picture profile settings to help you nail those colors the next time you shoot a video with your Sony.
Caleb starts by sharing his custom picture profile settings. To copy them, first select the Picture Profile that you want to modify. Change Gamma to S-Log2 and Color Mode to ITU709 Matrix, and that’s pretty much it. Caleb also likes to change the Detail level to -7 so he can control the level of detail in post-production rather than letting the camera determine it.
After sharing the settings, Caleb goes on to explain why he uses them. First, Gamma controls contrast, brightness values, and how bright or dark black, middle gray, and white are. Changing Gamma to S-Log2 makes it look flat and leaves you with footage suitable for post-processing. As for the Color Mode, it controls, of course, the colors: overall and individual color saturation, the hue of each color, and color space. Caleb uses the ITU709 Matrix combined with the S-Log2, and this is where it gets really interesting and nerdy.
The first reason why Caleb prefers this combination over S-Log2 & S-Gamut is: S-Gamut is “fake.” The fine print in a Sony manual reads that “S-Gamut setting does not support the whole S-Gamut color space; it is a setting to achieve a color reproduction equivalent to S-Gamut.” This affects cameras from the A7 series, A6000 series, and more.
The second reason why Caleb doesn’t recommend using S-Gamut on Sony cameras is that the cameras are 8-bit and have a very low data rate. S-Gamut combined with S-Log2 will give you a very low-contrast and low-saturation image, but you’ll have very little data to work with. So, the footage may look awful in post-processing, with some weird artifacts and colors appearing. ITU709 Matrix brings up the saturation in-camera, and the color will look much better after grading.
Caleb hopes that all of the issues will go away in a few years once Sony starts updating video specs on its mirrorless cameras. But until then, you can make the best of your video work by combining the settings properly.
Let us know, have you had trouble with video color on your Sony camera? Do you use the same settings as Caleb or you stick to something else?