How to Easily Film in Sony’s S-Cinetone Profile

Just when we thought that we had gotten a handle on S-Log2 and then S-Log3 we got another picture profile from Sony: S-Cinetone. Now available in more accessible cameras like the a7S III and FX3, S-Cinetone is designed to be used in a completely different way than Log as it is practically ready to upload if you need it to be.

Considering it has a different end goal than S-Log, any guidelines you may have gotten used to may need to be reevaluated. Coming from filmmaker Matt WhoisMatt Johnson is a guide on how to configure your camera to best use S-Cinetone.

If you have one of the few cameras with S-Cinetone (which might involve a firmware update), you can head down to Picture Profile 11 to find its default settings. You can also double check and make sure the Gamma and Color Mode say S-Cinetone.

Now that is settled you should figure out your exposure. Log used some overexposure to get good latitude with minimal noise. For S-Cinetone you want to try and nail the exposure. Being a profile designed to be used straight out of camera you want to get the exposure as close to perfect as you can. Using the in-camera meter you should try to get it to +/-0.0. Multi-metering is the recommended mode for general shooting.

To use a more precise exposure mode you should start using zebras. For Zebra Level you will want to set it to 100+, this will make it so that the camera will start showing zebras on the monitor when you start overexposing certain areas of the scene. 

Using the meter to get in the area of 0.0 and then following up with zebras to make sure you aren’t losing details in the areas of critical importance is a good practice.

The final setting to consider is the ISO. S-Cinetone has a good range of settings that actually goes all the way down to 100. For optimal dynamic range you will want to stick with the two dual native ISOs. With S-Cinetone on the a7S III and FX3 this is ISO 100 and ISO 2000. Moving up to the FX6 that is ISO 320 and ISO 5000. 

One good thing is that all these cameras are excellent in low-light scenes and it gives you some leeway to use different ISO options if you need to.

It’s not too much to learn and since S-Cinetone is WYSIWYG, you should be able to tell during shooting whether your footage is in a good spot.

[source: Matt WhoisMatt Johnson]

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