Raw and log are just a couple of shooting workflow options that you have available to you in production. What are raw and log, and why would you want to pick one over the other? In this movie, Richard Harrington and Robbie Carman define raw and log recording and why you might want to consider using either on your next production.
- Before we jump into specific details, I think it's important that we lay down some basic ground rules and understanding on the difference between, let's just call it, regular video versus log video versus raw video, because sometimes you can have two out of three. - Yeah, and these are terms that a lot of people use incorrectly, and are confusing. I'll give you a quick anecdote. I had somebody come into my color correction suite the other day, all huffing and puffing that we couldn't get the look that they wanted out of a shot. And they said, "But we shot it raw!" And I said, "No, you didn't.
"You shot it log, it's regular video, it's log video." - You can't recover those blown-out highlights and shadows. - They didn't quite understand what I was talking about, and I think that is a really good point. You know, by regular video, we really mean kind of what we've all become used to doing on set. Making decisions about what the video is going to look like, and baking those decisions into the shot. I'm talking about things like ISO, color balance, the gamma curve, all of these kind of things that we bake into the signal, and more or less the way that we record it is the way it is.
Now, that doesn't mean we can't do things with it later on in post-production, but we're committing to some decisions. - And this is why things like camera filters exist. Pro-Mist, the ability to diffuse the blacks, screw-on filters, lighting decisions that are being made on set, as well as just having a calibrated monitor on set. Now, there is nothing wrong with those workflows. They're absolutely fine. But I think what's happened, Rob, is that camera manufacturers have realized that people desire more flexibility down the road. - Absolutely. I mean, in certain, when I recall regular video, there's certain genres that it's going to be perfect for, right? Obviously, going out and shooting raw or something for your newscast is not great, probably for following a soccer game live, also probably not great.
Regular video still has its purposes, but you're right. To me, log and raw, and we'll explain the differences between log and raw in detail a little bit later, but to me it's all about capturing the most information possible, right? And the way I like to think about it, as these technologies develop, we're getting closer to how the human eye actually sees. In terms of overall dynamic range, in terms of color fidelity, gradation that we can have. Log and raw formats help us get to that point. They're helping us get to higher-fidelity images that are closer to ways that we see the world, and, most importantly, giving us the most flexibility in post-production to manipulate in creative ways how we want the images to look.
- I think of it this way. Lots of times, you go on set, and you can see something with the naked eye. But then you look through the viewfinder, and you're like, "Wow, it looks kind of muddy." Or "Wow, that's completely overexposed!" You can walk onto a bright scene with windows behind your subject and look at that in the real world, and your eyes can compensate, perfectly exposing for the subject and to see out the windows. But you point a video camera at that, and it just goes to heck. And you're doing neutral-density filters on the windows, you're putting up gel, you're trying to block it.
Not saying that raw and log-- - They're not perfect, absolutely not. - But they certainly get past some of the mechanical limitations that we had versus what the eye can see, what a camera can see. - And we're getting there every day. It's a little beyond the scope of this class to talk about HDR imaging, but we'll touch on it briefly. But yeah, you're right. These formats, you know, log and raw recording allow us to get closer to there, and here's one way I like to think about it, right, is that in this discussion over the next couple hours, we'll have a lot of acronyms, and a lot of terms, and a lot of techniques that we'll talk about. There's a lot of math behind those things, and if you want to, you can dive into all the math and the tech specs and all that kind of stuff.
But really, what it comes down to to me with shooting log or shooting raw is about better pixels. And if you keep that in mind, that these formats are all about capturing better pixels with more information, to a certain degree, a lot of the tech stuff doesn't really matter. As long as you kind of keep it in mind that, oh, look, I can get better pixels when I'm shooting something in raw, and so on. - And what I liken it to a lot is gravity, right, Rob? Like, I can understand the concept of gravity. I understand that if I jump out of a window, I am going to fall to the ground.
- But you're not writing Einsteinian physics about how it works, that's exactly-- - That's my approach to log and raw. I understand it enough that I can take advantage of it in my cameras. I know when it works, I know when it's worth the investment to do it right, but I don't have to understand the math. Now, I know you do, and for your level of being a colorist as well as a workflow consultant, you can help people with that. So, today, as we go into this, know that there's a deeper level. Just like you can understand the concept of gravity versus writing mathematical formulas to computate exactly to the millisecond how long something's going to take to fall from a 140-story building if you pushed it.
So, we can balance these things out. Now, Rob, I think another thing, here, just to get it out of the way before we dig into each of these, let's just do a 30-second comparison of log versus raw. - The 30-second comparison is this: Log and raw are not the same thing, get that? That's the first fact that you need to know. Log, or logarithmic recording is video, and essentially, the deal with logarithmic video, or log video, is that it's a way of preserving shadow and highlight detail. We'll get into some of the technical parts about this in just a little bit, but the thing to understand is that log encoding to your video signal allows you to preserve shadow and highlight detail, and the content that you see from log video is going to look flat, desaturated, with not a lot of contrast.
That is correct. Later on in post-production, because the content looks like that, you as the editor, colorist or DP or whatever can expand that contrast back out to how you see fit, add color and color matrices as you see fit. But the important thing to understand is that log is video, it's just a way of encoding that video. - [Rich] And it doesn't lead to any significant changes in file size, and this is a lot like in the world of still photography, making sure when you shoot that you don't let the highlights blow out by underexposing slightly or making these changes.
Now, this isn't a change to exposure when shooting, but it's a change in how the camera maps the information you're giving it, and it will keep it within a targeted range that makes it easier in post-production to manipulate for shadows and highlights. - Now, with that said, though, raw is something totally different. - Much bigger. - So, raw, and this is kind of hard to get your head around, raw is not video. If you take a raw signal by itself, it is not video that you can actually see. By the time you actually see raw video, you've processed it in some sort of way, and we'll talk about what that processing means later on.
The real advantage of raw video is that it bypasses a lot of the in-camera processing that we find in regular video cameras, where we're committing to decisions like ISO, and color balance, and things of that nature. Those parameters become available as metadata for us to later on, in post-production, manipulate. And because we have them as sort of non-baked-in, free-floating pieces of metadata that we can manipulate, we have a ton of image flexibility, but you're right.
It's a lot of data. You're going to find-- - [Rich] Big hard drives. - Right, big hard drives, uncompressed raw, compressed raw, it's all big. But it allows you, basically, to have more flexibility. But the thing I want you to understand is that raw by itself is not video, log is video, and sometimes, raw can be log, but let's hold that thought. We'll get to that later.
In this course, join Rich Harrington as he shows you how to record video in raw and log, process the files, and complete a post-production workflow. First, Rich explains the reasons why raw and log files can be beneficial to use. Then, he shows you how to configure camera settings and start recording, monitoring along the way. Next, he covers the file transfer process so you can get the videos ready for post. Finally, he takes you through post-production editing workflows using Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Final Cut Pro X, and DaVinci Resolve. Additionally, Rich shows you some manipulation tricks.
- Recording options for log and raw
- Acquiring video in raw formats
- Configuring cameras to recording in log or raw
- Monitoring log recordings
- Following typical camera workflows
- Getting ready for post
- Using raw and log files in Premiere and After Effects
- Using raw and log files in Final Cut Pro X
- Using raw and log files in DaVinci Resolve
- Managing and manipulating lookup tables