Side By Side

Yesterday I was inspired to go revisit a shoot I did with an awesome couple, Lauren & Josh.  We did a life style shoot for my friend Rachael who is an outstanding photographer here in San Diego.  This shoot was super special to me because it was my very FIRST shoot with the Sony A7s ii and I have to say, it was rough. 

If you don't already know, the Sony A7s ii shoots a beautiful 4k image but what they don't tell you is, it dims the screen dramatically when you do.  This ignorance forced me to over expose my shots and it was super tough to color grade.

10 months later, I've learned so much about my camera, color correction and color grading, that it blew me away to see what I can do in 50 minutes compared to the painful hours upon hours it took me to color grade the first time.  So I've decided to share with you some really helpful tips I've learned along the way that should save you some time. 

1. If you have a Sony A7s ii, I shoot 1080p 60fps, in SLog2 with Gamma Assist on.

 - This keeps the screen bright, it shoots at a high speed, it gives me a ton of Dynamic Range and I can see pretty much what my final output will look like.  Shooting in 1080p still looks really good as long as you have a great lens in front of it.

2.  Color Correct First! -  I'm the biggest hypocrite of them all.  I always want to start grading first and messing around but trust me after doing weddings after weddings, I'm learning that you don't have time to play around.  Be professional and save yourself so much time. 
Quick TIP**** I always add white bars to my entire project, this makes sure my eye can see what true white looks like and helps me white balance and correct a lot faster.

3.  Time for Grading - When every shoot looks corrected and matched to the next, it's time to have fun.  Now that every shot is matched you can add LUT's or create your own grade that creates the mood of the film. If you color corrected correctly, your grade or LUT should look perfect on pretty much every shot. 

4.  Leave and Come Back - It always helps to frequently leave your computer, grab a bite, or skate to get a coffee because you're addicted to caffeine... or whatever you do, and come back to your grade because most likely, you got excited and you over did it.  When you come back to a project often, you have fresh eyes that will allow you to tweak every shadow, midtone, highlight, saturation, lut, etc.  to their correct place.

5.  Have fun - As always, keep shooting, keep trying new things, you can't find what you really like unless you try a lot of different styles.  Ask me any questions if you have them! I love sharing what I know and what I have absolutely no idea about. 

6.  To see the new edit, check out my lifestyle page HERE.

Cheers,
Jimmy