I’ve been shooting with my new Sony A7S II extensively over the last couple of weeks, and recently developed a LUT that I’ve been using with all of my SLog 3 footage. While I’ve really been enjoying the A7S II, my biggest issue with it so far has been the same as my issue with all of Sony’s other cameras – the color science.
Sony is leading the way in mirrorless innovation at the moment, and I respect what they are doing tremendously. But even though they are ahead of the curve in so many ways, their color science is still far behind companies like Blackmagic Design or Canon.
That’s not to say you can’t achieve beautiful color results with Sony’s cameras, but rather that you need to work a little harder to get there. On my Blackmagic URSA for instance, if I have exposed my shot properly I am able to drop on a LUT in Resolve or FCP X and the image will look fantastic right away. With the A7S II on the other hand, I’ve never had perfect results while using Sony’s SLog 3 LUT on any clip that I’ve shot to date.
Since I will inevitably be shooting more and more with the A7S II as the months go on, I decided to create a new LUT to use in place of Sony’s standard SLog 3 LUT. The goal of course is to save myself a lot of time in the editing room/color suite, and get each shot that much closer to the final look right off the bat.
The new LUT that I created was based off of a hybrid of Sony’s SLog 3 LUT and the Arri Alexa LUT, the former of which works surprisingly well with SLog 3 footage. From there, I brought down the mids a touch, made a slight contrast adjustment, and warmed up the midtones slightly. I tend to find Sony’s mids/skintones have a tendency to look cool or at times even purple, so one of my primary goals with this LUT was to eliminate that issue.
Below are three screen shots showcasing the different SLog 3 looks:
Ungraded SLog 3 Footage
Sony SLog 3 LUT
Noam Kroll SLog 3 LUT
The difference between my LUT and Sony’s isn’t drastic, but the change is significant enough to save at least one or two steps in the color process when locking in your primary grade.
As is the case with any LUT, you will still want to fine tune your grade to get it looking perfect, but so far I have found that my new LUT helps me to reach the finish line that much faster.
I’ll be posting more footage and a full review on the A7S II when I have a chance, so be sure to check back soon.
UPDATE: I recently released 6 Cinematic LUT Packs, which have been carefully designed to help you achieve an organic, filmic look in post-production. They work well with any camera (including the A7S II of course), and I highly recommend them for filmmakers and cinematographers looking to achieve bold color results, while minimizing time in post-production. Be sure to check them out by clicking here!
Noam Kroll is an award-winning Los Angeles based filmmaker, and the founder of the boutique production house, Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television, and in various publications across the globe. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!