So you’ve been told in order to get the most cinematic looking footage you need to be shooting in log. Well, your camera doesn’t seem to have it. What do you do? No worries. In this blog we break down step by step the top three picture profiles our cinematographer cody scott used personally with his canon cameras. These profiles will allow you to enhance your footage and get the most out of your camera today!
In this blog we’re going to talk about the best three picture profiles that you can use in a camera that doesn’t shoot in log. Now we wanted to make this blog because when cody scott first started off as a videographer, he had purchased all his gear, and had not learned about this concept until later. And that’s perfectly fine because being in that situation forced him to grow as a videographer, master his craft, master the camera and learn how to tweak the settings to get the most out of it.
To get the most out of the camera you own, which in this case doesn’t have log, you need to be adjusting your picture profiles. What is a picture profile? When you receive your camera it already comes stocked with picture profile presets. That’s a tongue-twister. These presets are labeled differently and are recommended to use depending on the setting that you are filming in. Now Cody Scott uses canon cameras as his secondary weapon of choice and can be seen using the black magic pocket cinema camera 6k for most if not all the content you see now. However, for the canon 60 mark 2, which comes stocked with the preset called landscape. Landscape is great to use when you’re shooting landscapes. Your camera should also come with another one named portrait it’s great if you’re shooting portraits.
Now each of these picture profiles will allow you to capture images differently. What he used most is a custom neutral picture profile setting that allows you to obtain a larger dynamic range with your camera and give you ultimately a better resulting image. This also gives you more control if you plan on color grading in post-production. Now in just a second we’re going to list the exact settings and the exact picture profiles that you can add to your camera right now, completely free! You don’t have to download anything! Before we break these settings down we want to talk a little bit about dynamic range.
What it is and why having a flat profile allows you to obtain a larger dynamic range. Right now we want you to look around you, look left, look right, observe the shadows, observe the highlights, observe the mid-tones, everything that you see right now you can see into the shadow. Your eye is able to look into the shadows your eyes able to look into the light not the sun. We don’t recommend looking at the sun through solar flared glasses, however, cameras with a larger dynamic range are actually able to see into those shadows and see into those highlights. If you expose for the highlights then the shadows are too dark and if you expose for the shadows then the highlights are blown out. If you have a larger dynamic range than you are able to see evenly the shadows and the highlights and by shooting in a flat profile or shooting in log this will give you a larger dynamic range. Before we break down these settings we just want to give you a quick disclaimer about a false log profile out there. We’re sure if you’re looking for really good log profiles you’ve probably seen it by now, it’s called cinestyle.
So the technicolor cinestyle picture profile can actually be installed into your camera now this is foreign to your camera and yes it will give you a flat almost log picture profile. However, anything that is foreign to your camera is not necessarily the best for you.
In our experience, technicolor cinestyle introduces a lot of noise into your shadows. If you are color grading in post and you’re using cinestyle you are going to get a lot of noise in your shadows. Now it’s different for every camera and cinestyle is not necessarily a bad thing, however, we would only recommend using it if you actually have a camera that shoots in log already and you want to just try different versions of log. Alright, enough for that jibber jabber, let’s actually break down these picture profile sets you can look at these settings put them in your camera and go try them out right now.
The first picture profile is the one that he used the most when creating films for clients and putting commercials out there and he has time to think about the environment and settings. This picture profile looks extremely flat at first, however after you color grade it, it yields powerful results which is why he uses it the most. So we’re going to give you these settings right now!! So pull out your bullet journal and write them down, starting with sharpness and then moving to contrast and then to saturation and then to color tone.
Pick up your camera, go into your picture profile settings, change the picture profile to neutral. Once you’ve done that copy these settings 2 -4 -4 +1 this is the picture profile as we just told you he uses the most because it gets the best results. It gives you a sharp image it keeps that contrast low so you can obtain the details in the shadows and in the highlights and the color tone. We just bring up a little bit for skin tones because he found out when you’re color grading in post it gives you a little bit more control over the skin tones and if you’re new to color grading then it might be a little tricky to achieve true skin tone in post-production.
This next picture profile is actually a picture profile that he learned from Devin Graham or you guys may know him as Devin supertramp. He uses this same picture profile in all of his cameras. Now this one’s not a log profile, however, if you can color grade in your camera and you don’t plan on doing a whole lot of color grading in post this will be the best option for you. Cody loves this picture profile and he’s used it primarily as he was beginning as a filmmaker and photographer. The settings are a little bit different because they’re tailored around to give you the exact same image that your eye sees. Go into your camera, change your picture profile to standard, after you changed your picture profile to standard go down to that sharpness and drop it to zero. Go down to your contrast change it to -1. Next, your saturation +1, your color tone +1. So that’s 0, -1, +1, +1.
If you can color grade in your camera and you don’t plan on doing a lot of color grading in post this will be perfect for you and you don’t have to worry about blowing out your highlights or your shadows because this is native to what the eye sees. Finally my third picture profile this is kind of a blend between both of the picture profiles that I’ve showed you so far. He use this picture profile when walking around vlogging because it saves him time in post-production i don’t necessarily have to color grade a whole lot because I’ve already color graded in camera the settings for this picture profile I’m going to list right here it is 2, -4, +1, +1, that’s 2, -4, +1, +1 sharpness at 2, contrast at 4, saturation at 1, color tone at +1. Again, this is a blend between the first two picture profiles and will give you a larger dynamic range because you’re preserving that highlights and the shadows with the contrast. Your color grading in the camera which will save you a ton of time in post. If you’re not a beginner and you’re not a professional, you’re somewhere in between, we recommend starting off at this picture profile because it will give you the best results out of camera.
Well, that’s all for us guys and we really hope you enjoyed this blog and learned a lot from it. If your camera’s not shooting in log, you now have 3 picture profiles that you can use today and get phenomenal results and get more out of your camera. If you’re reading this blog and you already use a picture profile of your own, drop it below in the comments. I’d like to know what it is, maybe try it out. Do you shoot in log or do you shoot in rec.709? Let us know in the comments.