Double post? Not really, since the previous one didn’t cover any of the technical aspects of the shooting and I’m pretty sure – based on my A7s2 post – that there are many people interested. First of all, VOTE FOR US HERE!
Shooting this teaser was my first experience with the A7s2 and sLog-3. Also my first shoot with SLR Magic’s VariND Mk II, and some anamorphics to be the cherry on top. I wanted to keep the shutter speed constant at 1/50 and we had plenty of daylight/exterior shots, including sunset and sunrise. I had the ND on for both of these, and almost at the maximum setting, due to sLog-3’s minimum ISO of 1600. On the bright side – pun intended – of having too much light, this allowed me to stop down my taking lenses to f/4 and get reasonable depth of field even in the most extreme shots, such as the exterior night ones, without ANY lighting but the city’s.
For stupidity reasons (I forgot the proper step rings at home), I shot most of the teaser on the Jupiter 9 (85mm f/2). Looking at the footage in post, it was waaaay shakier than I remembered on set – I was doing it all handheld, again for stupid reasons, and it weighted quite a bit – and the anamorphic had a misalignment wobble to it. Upon later inspection I learned that my M42-EF adapters are all too lose on the Metabones for the A7s2, but that was too late. In order to solve both the wobbliness and all the camera shake, to get the smooth shots you see in the teaser I resorted to After Effect’s Warp Stabilizer. I hadn’t used it in forever, and had some troubled memories of previous experiences. It seems they upgraded the tool, since I was able to achieve positive results and not even need to crop in more than 5%. Since we shot it all in 4k and downscaled to 1080p, I believe the extra resolution might’ve helped with things such as “Synthesize Edges”, another thing is that the shots were shaky but they didn’t have a lot of motion in them (like pans, tilts and stuff), nor busy backgrounds (lots of tiny moving things like traffic or people).
The Rectilux behaved as expected, with sharp results and allowing me to do close focus shots without a hitch. Even though the front rotates – which is a problem for the VariND – all our rack focuses were so subtle that the polarizing effect went unnoticed. I didn’t tape the Jupiter 9, so the focus ring kept moving between shots and that got me a little annoyed for I always had to re-check focus for everything. The wide shots of the patio – and the crew – were cheated with Canon’s EF 17-40mm f/4. We used the grid lines in the camera to have a good idea of how the final framing would be (2.35:1), and then switched back to the 4:3 grid for, again, a rough idea of the final anamorphic framing.
When I got the two hours of footage down to the maximum duration of one minute it was time for color correction in After Effects. This is when I saw the sLog footage shine and was really impressed by how clean the images were. Some of the shots had ISO 12800 and after a little bit of denoising they were all good and clean! I did the color correction using Magic Bullet’s Colorista III and MB Looks, which are easy to play with and give great results. I added a some specific Hue changes here and there too, as well as some glow and sharpening for final touches and voilá!