Color grading Log footage isn’t rocket science by any means. Nevertheless, many people still struggle when it comes to pulling off this tricky color grading task. In fact, you can do this just as you would normally do with any other footage that needs to be color graded.
Yet, there are certain recommendations that you should bear in mind to be able to get the best results quickly and efficiently. Even though the following workflow refers to Premiere Pro CC 2017, you can apply basically the same rules in every other color grading platform that features the color grading tools utilized in the video below.
First of all, it’s important to overexpose your footage with at least two stops when shooting with this color profile, as the Sony mirrorless cameras tend to produce some grain even when properly exposed while shooting in S-Log 3. In the meantime, keep an eye on your highlights and adjust your exposure accordingly in case you need to.
Once you import the footage in Premiere Pro CC 2017, go to your Color Workspace and navigate to the Curves tab. It’s also highly recommended to open up your Waveform monitor to be able to tweak this setting more precisely, as opposed to making adjustments only by eye. Long story short, you need to create a nice S-curve so that both your shadows and highlights areas stay within range without going above 100 and below 0 respectively.
After that, navigate to the Basic Color Correction tab. There, you can tweak the white balance of your clip in case it’s off as well as adjust the contrast of the image to your taste. Furthermore, you can play around with the rest of the settings, but if you already managed to balance your image properly, you can jump straight to Saturation. Again, adjust the latter to your taste depending on the look and aesthetics that you’re going after.
As the last step of the color grading process, Armando Ferreira recommends applying a LUT, even though you could do this step at the very beginning of the process as well. In fact, it depends on what type of LUT you are using as it generally remaps the color values of your image in a very specific way to convert the Log footage.
As we can see, color grading S-Log 3 or any other Log footage shouldn’t be such a struggle even though it definitely requires a certain level of finesse and knowledge in the first place. As a rule, try to apply a nice S-curve to the image, adjust its contrast and saturation, and add some sharpness to your taste.
Best of all, you can copy those settings and paste them to the rest of the clips on your timeline or even save them as a ready-to-use preset. This workflow should produce some decent results right off the bat so that you’ll be able to continue the creative process further by dipping your toes into more advanced color grading techniques later on.