While Sony aims to deliver one of the leading lines of prosumer cameras in the filmmaking industry, these tools do have one notorious drawback that has given them somewhat of a negative reputation in the community. Filmmakers have noticed that from cameras such as the A7S II and FS7, there seems to be an apparent green tint showing in the captured image. The minor issue can be quite annoying on occasions when it’s too noticeable in the shot, as it degrades the overall quality of the image, making it distracting and aesthetically unpleasing to the eye.
Obviously, this tint is more or less due to a software issue rather than a hardware bug, mainly attributed to Sony’s proprietary color science and sensor calibration. Before you get frustrated even more by this flaw on your next shooting gig, Harv of Harv Video/Audio Stuff suggests a handful of workarounds that should help you to get rid of the dreaded green cast in your Sony footage.
The first step to avoiding the green tinted images is by shooting with the correct picture profile. Harv doesn’t recommend using the S-Gamut or S-Gamut3 picture profiles as these settings tend to lean more towards a greenish color. Instead, try experimenting with different settings or use the S-Gamut3.Cine profile which is much more balanced in terms of color yet offers you the flexibility you may want when color grading in post.
In line with shooting with correct settings, make sure to take the time to set your white balance accordingly. Just use something as simple as a piece of white paper, hold it up in front of the camera and accurately dial in the right parameter, whether it’s by hitting the auto-calibration button or manually changing the color temperature. Unless you’re shooting in a Raw format, it’s somewhat tricky to tweak white balance in post, so it’s always better to get it right on set.
A risky but still effective way of compensating for the green color is to manually adjust the white balance settings in-camera. While the device may give you a presets for white balance such as daylight, indoors, or auto-calibration, you can access more advanced settings that allow you to fine-tune the overall color balance of the image more precisely. And yes, this is a viable option if you have the time to ensure your color balance is perfect, although Harv mentions it may be worth just correcting any errors in post.
Other than shooting with the correct settings, having a proper light kit on set plays at least an equal, if not more important role. In this case, try shooting with lights with a high CRI rating. The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is a standard way of measuring the quality of light and how accurately can an artificial light replicate/compare to a natural source of light.
To ensure your image doesn’t get a nasty green tint to it, avoid shooting with lights that have a low CRI such as a standard fluorescent bulb – the ones you commonly find in offices and warehouses. With the low color rendering index, these lights tend to give off overly greenish/magenta tones which can ruin your shot in terms of color balance. Instead, use lights that have higher CRIs such as LED strips, or even invest in a professional light kit from companies such as Ikan or Aputure.
Now let’s say you’ve already shot your footage, but there still seems to be a green tint to your image. Luckily, there are a few ways left to correct this in post. In the first place, you can use your editing program’s color correction tools (such as Adobe’s Lumetri Color) to compensate for the shift in color.
For instance, if your image seems to green, shift the “tint” of your image towards the magenta tones. Alternatively, you could invest in a plug-in that will auto-correct your shot with a single click. If you’re a Final Cut Pro X user, Harv touts the White Balance Plugin from FCPeffects.com.
Eventually, if you’ve tried to correct the footage, but something still seems a bit off, try applying a LUT to your image. Not only could this help fix the shift in color but depending on the LUT, it may even add some style to your raw footage.
According to Harv, the Aspen preset from Vellichor LUTs yields some decent results in that regard as it makes colors to pop, adds contrast, and of course, gets rid of the tint issue. Keep in mind that when applying a LUT to your footage, there is always a possibility to overdo the process, so be careful with the intensity of the applied LUT and simply bring it down if required.