Why Film in Log

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Why Film in Log

Filmmakers have always strived to capture the best possible images on the screen, and one technique that has gained significant popularity in recent years is shooting in log. Shooting in log provides filmmakers with more dynamic range and flexibility in post-production, allowing them to achieve richer colors, more detail in shadows and highlights, and greater control over the final look of the film. In this article, we will explore the benefits of shooting in log and why it has become an essential technique for filmmakers.

Key Takeaways:

  • Shooting in log provides more dynamic range and flexibility in post-production.
  • It allows for richer colors, more detail in shadows and highlights, and greater control over the final look of the film.
  • Log footage requires color grading in post-production to achieve the desired look.
  • It is compatible with various cameras and editing software.

**Log** is a shooting profile or format that captures footage with a **flatter** image compared to the traditional **REC 709** gamma curve. This means that the image captured in log preserves more information in the **shadows** and **highlights**, giving filmmakers more latitude in post-production to manipulate and enhance the image. *By shooting in log, filmmakers can achieve a more filmic look and a greater sense of depth in their visuals.*

When shooting in log, it is important to note that the footage will appear **dull, low-contrast, and desaturated** straight out of the camera. However, this is a deliberate part of the process, as the flat image profile allows for more flexibility in **color grading** during post-production. With log footage, filmmakers can bring out the **vibrancy** and **detail** in the image, creating a final look that suits the story and vision. *The creative possibilities are endless when working with log footage.*

The Advantages of Shooting in Log

  1. Increased Dynamic Range: Shooting in log expands the dynamic range captured by the camera, resulting in more **detail in shadows** and **highlights**. This translates to a greater ability to recover and manipulate exposure in post-production.
  2. Flexibility in Color Grading: Log footage offers more latitude for color grading, allowing filmmakers to achieve the desired look and mood of the film. Whether it’s a *warm and cozy atmosphere or a cold and desaturated aesthetic*, shooting in log provides the freedom to bring out the intended color palette.
  3. Greater Control over Final Look: By shooting in log, filmmakers have finer control over the final look of their film. They can selectively enhance or mute certain colors, adjust contrast levels, and fine-tune the overall tone to match the narrative and evoke desired emotions.
  4. Compatibility: Log formats are widely supported by various digital cinema cameras and editing software, making it accessible for filmmakers with different equipment and workflows. It allows for seamless integration into the post-production pipeline.

Log Footage and Post-Production

Once the log footage is captured, it requires **color grading** in post-production to bring out its full potential. Color grading involves adjusting the **exposure, contrast, saturation**, and **color balance** of the image to achieve the desired look and feel. *It is during this stage that the final visual aesthetic of the film takes shape.*

**Color grading** log footage can be a complex process, as it requires a good understanding of color theory and the capabilities of the editing software being used. However, the flexibility and control it offers make it worth the effort. With the right tools and techniques, filmmakers can create stunning and impactful visuals that enhance the story being told.

Data Points:

Camera Model Log Format Dynamic Range (Stops)
Camera A Log C 14
Camera B Log 3 15
Camera C EI Mode 13

Table 1: Comparison of dynamic ranges between different camera models and their log formats.

Table 1 provides a comparison of the dynamic range (in stops) offered by different camera models and their corresponding log formats. The higher the dynamic range, the more latitude filmmakers have in post-production to manipulate the exposure and enhance the image.


Shooting in log has become an essential technique for filmmakers seeking greater control and creative freedom in their visuals. While it requires proper understanding and expertise in color grading, the advantages it offers make it a worthwhile approach. By shooting in log, filmmakers can elevate their storytelling and produce visually stunning films that leave a lasting impact on the audience.

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Common Misconceptions

Misconception 1: Film in Log is only for professional filmmakers

One common misconception about Film in Log is that it is only for professional filmmakers who have extensive knowledge and experience in the film industry. However, this is not true as anyone with a passion for filming can benefit from shooting in log.

  • Shooting in log allows for greater flexibility in post-production editing.
  • Beginners can learn and experiment with different color grading techniques using log footage.
  • Log shooting can enhance the quality of videos, even for amateurs and hobbyists.

Misconception 2: Film in Log is only for high-end cameras

There is a common misconception that shooting in log is exclusive to expensive high-end cameras and not accessible to the average filmmaker. However, this is not true, as many consumer-level cameras also offer the log recording format.

  • Some smartphones and action cameras now have log shooting capabilities.
  • Entry-level mirrorless cameras often offer log profiles for more dynamic range.
  • Choosing a camera with log capabilities can be affordable and accessible to beginners.

Misconception 3: Film in Log makes your footage look flat and unappealing

An erroneous belief is that shooting in log produces footage that looks flat and unappealing before any color grading is applied. While log footage may appear less vibrant compared to standard shooting modes, it actually holds more information that can be brought out during the grading process.

  • Log recording preserves details in highlights and shadows for greater dynamic range.
  • Post-production color grading can revive and enhance the visual appeal of log footage.
  • The flat appearance of log footage is intentional to capture a wider range of colors.

Misconception 4: Film in Log is unnecessary if you shoot in RAW

Some people believe that shooting in RAW format negates the need for shooting in log, as RAW captures all the image data without any compression. However, log shooting and RAW shooting serve different purposes and can be used together to achieve the best results.

  • Log footage can be more easily adjusted for exposure and color balance in post-production.
  • RAW files may require more computational power and storage space compared to log footage.
  • Using log and RAW together can yield the highest quality footage with the most flexibility.

Misconception 5: Film in Log is a new and trendy technique with no real benefits

Some may perceive shooting in log as a recent trend in the filmmaking industry with no real benefits other than being fashionable. On the contrary, shooting in log has been around for a long time and offers tangible advantages that professional filmmakers recognize.

  • Log shooting preserves more details and allows for better adjustments in post-production.
  • The increased dynamic range in log footage results in more beautifully balanced images.
  • Log shooting provides a standardized format for consistent color grading across different projects.
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Advantages of Shooting in Log

Shooting in log format has become increasingly popular among filmmakers due to its numerous advantages. Log, short for logarithmic, is a camera profile that captures a wider dynamic range and preserves more details in both the shadows and highlights. This table highlights some of the key benefits of shooting in log format.

| Advantage | Details |
| Enhanced dynamic range | Log format allows for a wider range of luminance values, resulting in more realistic images with greater details in both dark and bright areas. |
| Increased post-production flexibility | Shooting in log provides more room for adjustments and color grading during post-production, allowing filmmakers to achieve their desired look and style. |
| Reduced noise and banding | Log preserves more information in the image, reducing the likelihood of noise and banding artifacts, resulting in a cleaner and smoother final product. |
| Retains more image data | Log format captures a greater amount of data in the image, making it easier to recover details in post-production and avoid clipping in highlights or shadows. |
| Better color reproduction | Shooting in log preserves more color information, providing greater flexibility for color grading and achieving a more accurate representation of the scene. |
| Easier matching of shots | Log format provides a consistent image profile that is easier to match across different shots and cameras, ensuring a seamless and cohesive visual experience. |
| Higher latitude | Shooting in log provides a higher latitude for exposure adjustments, allowing filmmakers to correct mistakes or push the boundaries of lighting without sacrificing image quality. |
| Film-like cinematic look | Log format emulates the characteristics and aesthetic of shooting on film, giving the final product a more cinematic and immersive feel. |
| Better texture and detail | Log captures more information in the image, resulting in enhanced texture and finer details that can significantly enhance the visual impact of the final footage. |
| Greater artistic control | Shooting in log offers filmmakers greater control over the final look and feel of their project, enabling them to express their creative vision and storytelling effectively. |

Comparison of Log Formats

Different camera manufacturers and models often offer various log formats, each with its own unique characteristics. This table provides a comparison of some popular log formats available in the industry.

| Log Format | Manufacturer | Dynamic Range | Color Space | Bit Depth |
| ARRI Log C | ARRI | 14 stops | Wide color gamut | 12-bit |
| REDLogFilm | RED | 16 stops | Wide color gamut | 16-bit |
| S-Log3 | Sony | 14 stops | Wide color gamut | 14-bit |
| C-Log2 | Canon | 15 stops | Wide color gamut | 10-bit |
| V-Log | Panasonic | 14+ stops | Wide color gamut | 10-bit |
| LOGC | Blackmagic Design | 13 stops | Film color science | 12-bit |
| X-OCN ST | Sony | 16+ stops | Wide color gamut | 16-bit |
| LOG3G10 | Fujifilm | 14 stops | Wide color gamut | 10/12-bit |
| BMD Film | Blackmagic Design | 13 stops | Film color science | 12-bit |
| Cinestyle | Technicolor | 13 stops | Wide color gamut | 8-bit |

Benefits of Shooting RAW

RAW footage is an unprocessed and uncompressed image data format that provides numerous advantages for filmmakers. This table outlines some of the key benefits of shooting in RAW.

| Benefit | Details |
| Maximum image quality | Shooting in RAW captures the maximum amount of image information, preserving the highest possible quality and details for post-production processes. |
| Greater flexibility in post | RAW footage provides filmmakers with more flexibility during post-production, allowing for adjustments such as exposure correction, white balance, and color grading. |
| Better control over highlights and shadows | RAW allows for better recovery of details in both highlight and shadow areas, reducing the risk of blown-out highlights or crushed shadows in the final footage. |
| More latitude for color grading | RAW footage offers a wider color gamut and greater color bit depth, providing filmmakers with more control and options when manipulating colors during post-production. |
| Enhanced image resolution | RAW files typically offer higher resolution options, allowing for greater sharpness, finer details, and improved overall image quality compared to other formats. |
| Reduces compression artifacts | By avoiding or minimizing compression, shooting in RAW significantly reduces the chance of compression artifacts, resulting in a cleaner and more pristine final image. |
| Better green screen workflows | RAW footage preserves more color information and detail, making it ideal for green screen workflows where accurate color separation and fine edge details are essential. |
| Preserves dynamic range | RAW format retains a wider dynamic range, ensuring more details are preserved in the highlights and shadows, resulting in a more balanced and visually appealing final image. |
| Long-term archival value | RAW files are considered a more future-proof format for archiving due to their lossless nature, ensuring that the footage remains accessible for future projects and technologies. |
| Higher potential for re-purposing | RAW footage offers more options for re-purposing and repackaging content, providing flexibility for different distribution channels, formats, and future technology advancements. |

Popular RAW Formats

There are several popular RAW formats used by different camera manufacturers and models. This table illustrates some of the widely used RAW formats in the industry.

| RAW Format | Manufacturer | Dynamic Range | Color Space | Bit Depth |
| CinemaDNG | Adobe | Varies | Wide color gamut | 8, 10, 12, 14-bit |
| RedCode | RED | Varies | Wide color gamut | 8, 10, 12, 14-bit |
| ProRes RAW | Apple | Varies | Wide color gamut | 10, 12, 16-bit |
| Blackmagic RAW | Blackmagic Design | Varies | Wide color gamut | 8, 10, 12, 16-bit |
| Sony RAW | Sony | Varies | Wide color gamut | 10, 12, 16-bit |
| Canon Cinema RAW | Canon | Varies | Wide color gamut | 10, 12, 14-bit |
| ARRIRAW | ARRI | Varies | Wide color gamut | 12, 16-bit |
| Nikon NEF | Nikon | Varies | Wide color gamut | 12, 14-bit |
| Panasonic V-RAW | Panasonic | Varies | Wide color gamut | 14-bit |
| Fujifilm RAF | Fujifilm | Varies | Wide color gamut | 14, 16-bit |

Impact of Shooting in Log and RAW

Shooting in log and capturing footage in RAW format have revolutionized the way filmmakers approach their craft. This table highlights some of the significant impacts that shooting in log and RAW have on the final product.

| Impact | Description |
| Increased image quality | Shooting in log and RAW formats preserves more image information, resulting in superior image quality. |
| Greater post-production flexibility | Log and RAW formats offer more room for adjustments, allowing filmmakers to achieve their desired look and style during post-production. |
| Enhanced creative control | Shooting in log and RAW enables filmmakers to have greater control over the image’s final look and feel, allowing them to express their creative vision effectively. |
| Improved exposure correction and grading | Log and RAW formats provide more latitude for exposure correction and advanced color grading techniques, resulting in a polished and professional final product. |
| Retained highlights and details in shadows | Log and RAW formats help preserve details in highlights and shadows, preventing overexposure and crushed blacks, resulting in a more balanced visual presentation. |
| Reduced artifacts and improved visual fidelity | Shooting in log and RAW minimizes compression artifacts and preserves more accurate colors, textures, and details, resulting in a more visually immersive experience. |
| Seamless integration with VFX and CGI | Log and RAW formats seamlessly integrate with visual effects (VFX) and computer-generated imagery (CGI), allowing for consistent and realistic integration in post-production. |
| Better long-term archival and future-proofing | Log and RAW formats are future-proof and provide long-term archival value by preserving the maximum amount of image data, ensuring accessibility for future projects. |
| Cinematic and film-like aesthetics | Shooting in log and RAW emulates the aesthetic qualities of shooting on film, providing a more cinematic and immersive visual experience for the audience. |
| Compatibility with professional workflows | Log and RAW formats are widely supported by professional editing software and post-production tools, ensuring seamless integration into existing professional workflows. |
| Differentiation in the competitive industry | Utilizing log and RAW formats sets filmmakers apart in the competitive industry by delivering visually superior content with unique artistic choices and stylistic expression. |

Industry Examples of Log and RAW Usage

Many renowned filmmakers and productions have embraced the advantages of shooting in log and capturing footage in RAW format. This table showcases some notable industry examples of log and RAW usage in various productions.

| Production | Filmmaker(s) | Log Format | RAW Format |
| “The Revenant” (2015) | Emmanuel Lubezki| ARRI Log C | ARRI RAW |
| “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014) | Ben Davis | REDLogFilm | RED RAW |
| “1917” (2019) | Roger Deakins | ARRI Log C | ARRI RAW |
| “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015) | John Seale | ARRI Log C | ARRI RAW |
| “Dunkirk” (2017) | Hoyte van Hoytema | IMAX DMR, Technicolor DMR | IMAX/65mm/65mm |
| “La La Land” (2016) | Linus Sandgren | ARRIRAW | ARRIRAW |
| “The Shape of Water” (2017) | Dan Laustsen | ARRI Log C | ARRI RAW |
| “Gravity” (2013) | Emmanuel Lubezki| ARRI Log C | ARRI RAW |
| “Blade Runner 2049” (2017) | Roger Deakins | ARRI Log C, REDLogFilm | ARRI, RED RAW |
| “Birdman” (2014) | Emmanuel Lubezki| ARRI Log C | ARRI RAW |

Camera Models Supporting Log and RAW

Various camera models from different manufacturers offer log and RAW capabilities to cater to the unique needs of filmmakers. This table provides an overview of some widely used camera models supporting log and RAW formats.

| Camera Model | Manufacturer | Log Formats | RAW Formats |
| Arri Alexa Mini | ARRI | ARRI Log C, ARRI Log3, ARRI Log C HDR, ARRI Log3g10 | ARRIRAW |
| RED DSMC2 Brain | RED | REDLogFilm, REDLog3G10, REDLog3G12, REDLog3G16 | REDCode Raw |
| Sony A7S III | Sony | S-Log3, S-Log2, HLG, HLG3, HLG2, Picture Profile 10 | XAVC S (using Atomos Ninja V external recorder), XAVC S-I (8-bit only) |
| Canon C500 Mark II | Canon | Canon Log2, Canon Log 3 | Cinema RAW Light |
| Panasonic Lumix S1H | Panasonic | V-Log, V-Log Lite, HLG | RAW (using Atomos Ninja V external recorder) |
| Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K | Blackmagic Design | Film, Extended Video, Video, Extended Film | Blackmagic RAW |
| Nikon Z6 II | Nikon | N-Log | ProRes RAW |
| Fujifilm X-T4 | Fujifilm | F-Log | Fujifilm RAW (uncompressed) |
| Phase One XF IQ4 150MP Camera System | Phase One | Varies depending on the digital back | Capture One RAW |
| Canon EOS R5 | Canon | Canon Log3 | RAW (internal) |
| Sony PMW-F55 | Sony | S-Log2, S-Log3 | XAVC HD, XAVC 2K/4K, RAW |

Post-Production Workflow Considerations

Shooting in log and capturing footage in RAW format impacts the post-production workflow. This table highlights some key considerations for post-production when handling log and RAW footage.

| Consideration | Description |
| Color grading techniques | Log and RAW footage require specific color grading techniques to maximize the image’s visual potential and achieve the desired look and feel. |
| Advanced post-production tools | Utilizing log and RAW formats often requires advanced post-production tools like professional color grading software and specialized plug-ins for optimized workflows. |
| Storage requirements | Log and RAW footage generate larger file sizes and demand more substantial storage capacities to accommodate the increased amount of image data and preserve the maximum quality. |
| Computational performance | The post-production workflow for log and RAW requires higher computational performance to handle the increased data processing demands and maintain real-time playback. |
| Time allocation for color correction | The color correction process for log and RAW footage is more involved and time-consuming, requiring ample time allocation during the post-production stage. |
| Backup and archive strategies | The larger file sizes generated by log and RAW footage necessitate robust backup and archiving strategies to ensure no loss of original content and labor invested. |
| Collaboration and compatibility with VFX | Log and RAW footage often demands seamless integration and collaboration with visual effects (VFX) teams, necessitating compatible file formats and workflows. |
| Ensuring proper color management and calibration | Accurate color management and calibration techniques are crucial to preserving the integrity of log and RAW footage throughout the post-production process. |
| Learning curve for post-production professionals | Post-production professionals need to familiarize themselves with the intricacies and nuances of handling log and RAW footage for effective and optimized workflows. |
| Versioning control and asset management | Proper versioning control and asset management systems should be in place to avoid confusion and streamline the post-production workflow with log and RAW footage. |
| Efficient proxy workflows for smoother editing | Proxy workflows are often employed to ensure smoother editing performance while still preserving the full quality of log and RAW footage during the final post-production stages. |


Shooting in log format and capturing footage in RAW offer substantial benefits to filmmakers, allowing them to achieve superior image quality, enhance post-production flexibility, and exercise greater creative control over their projects. The introduction of log and RAW formats has revolutionized the industry, providing filmmakers with the tools necessary to elevate their storytelling and visually immerse the audience. From preserving dynamic range and color accuracy to reducing artifacts and enabling seamless integration with visual effects, log and RAW bring a new level of professionalism and artistic expression to filmmaking.

Why Film in Log – Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I film in log format?

When shooting in log format, you retain more information in the highlights and shadows of your footage. This allows for increased flexibility during the post-production process, giving you more control over color grading and a wider dynamic range.

What is the difference between log and standard video formats?

Log formats capture a wider dynamic range compared to standard video formats. Standard formats typically have a narrower range of tones, resulting in less flexibility during color correction and grading.

Which cameras support log recording?

Many professional and high-end consumer cameras support log recording. Examples include Sony’s S-Log3, Canon’s Log, and Panasonic’s V-Log. It is important to check if your camera model offers log recording capabilities.

Do I need special software to edit log footage?

While most video editing software can handle log footage, it is recommended to use dedicated color grading software for optimal results. Applications such as Adobe Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve, and Final Cut Pro offer advanced tools specifically designed for working with log footage.

Can log footage be viewed on regular displays?

Log footage may appear flat and lacking contrast when viewed on regular displays. However, you can use a color grading monitor or apply a LUT (Look-Up Table) to convert the footage to a more visually appealing format for monitoring purposes.

How does log recording affect storage requirements?

Log footage generally requires more storage space compared to standard video formats due to its higher dynamic range and increased bit-depth. It is essential to plan your storage capacity accordingly when shooting in log format.

Can I shoot in log format with a smartphone?

Some smartphones offer log recording capabilities through third-party camera apps. While the performance and image quality may not match dedicated cameras, shooting in log format can still provide more flexibility for color grading compared to standard video recording on smartphones.

What are the challenges of working with log footage?

Working with log footage requires more time and expertise in the post-production stage. Color grading and correcting log footage can be more complex due to the increased dynamic range, requiring careful adjustments to maintain the desired look and feel of the final product.

Are there any specific settings I should use when shooting in log format?

When shooting in log format, it is important to expose correctly to maximize the dynamic range. Overexposing or underexposing significantly can lead to loss of details in the highlights or shadows. Additionally, setting appropriate white balance and using a flat color profile can provide a better starting point for color grading.

What are the advantages of log recording for post-production?

Log recording allows for more flexibility during color grading, enabling you to create unique looks, match different scenes seamlessly, and correct exposure or white balance issues effectively. It also enhances the overall image quality by preserving more details and improving the overall dynamic range of the footage.