Tech Tips by Leigh Ockey, Metro Screen Hire and Post Production Manager.
The Atomos Shogun is an excellent little tool to have on any set as both a professional monitor and a recorder. The engineers at Atomos listen to their customers and have a powerful product to show for it. Most importantly for FS700 users is that the Shogun now records 4K from SDI. Similarly the Odyssey 7Q can also record the same, but having used both I know which one I would rely on (though if you need uncompressed recordings the 7Q is your option). Sony’s AXS-R5 has been available for a long time as well, but the price difference is noteworthy.
Before recording 4K make sure that your Solid State Drive has a high enough write speed to sustain the higher data rates of 4K. If you use cheaper SSDs your recordings may drop frames or become corrupted, or possibly permanently damage your hard drive from being overworked. You don’t want dramas with video capture. Shogun’s recommended drives can be found on their site, and to be safe we did some further comparisons of Read/Write speeds before choosing the 480GB Intel 730 Series.
The SDI port on the FS700 has two modes switching between HD output and RAW output, controlled by the REC/OUT Set menu. From this menu you can choose between RAW recording formats 2K or 4K and 25fps or 50fps. The camera does not actually record RAW, instead this setting is turning the SDI port into a river of RAW video data. In this mode the SDI output will not display on any monitors or devices that have not been set up to read Sony RAW, which is currently just the Shogun, 7Q and AXS-R5.
With the FS700 ready to output RAW over SDI it is also able to simultaneously record HD onto the SD Card. This is great for getting proxies or having a backup should something happen to your external recorder. If would like to record Super Slow Motion you’ll have to leave RAW mode and record in HD.
Now that the SDI port is outputting RAW, plug in and turn on the Shogun. It might not automatically recognize the signal but you can refresh it by hitting the input type in the top left corner and re-selecting SDI.
From that Input configuration screen there are a few decisions to make about how the Shogun is going to record for you.
- Below the source is a choice of S-Log inputs. Because FS-700 only uses S-Log2 the decision here is pretty clear.
- Next up is Trigger mode. If you leave this as none then the Shogun will only record when you hit the Record button.
The other option with an FS700 is to set Trigger to Timecode which will begin recording when the timecode starts rolling. In this way if you have the FS700 recording simultaneously (and not set to Free Run Timecode) your start and stop will be triggered by the camera’s recording timecode.
- From the Record options you can “burn in” a 3D LUT. This is not actual 3D so don’t go grabbing your 3D glasses.
If you don’t plan on grading this is a great option to record in a normal “TV Standard” looking image. More info on this later, or view this article that also helps with grading and applying LUTs in Premiere Pro
- The Pre Roll option records from about 4 seconds before hitting record.
- Lastly you have options to set the Output from the Shogun’s SDI and HDMI ports. Amazingly this monitor is also a cross converter (outputting HDMI while inputting SDI) and down converter. As shown in these options you can output HD video for another external monitor and choose whether it sends with a LUT or straight S-Log.
If you have camera displays on your screen then turn them off. It will show up on the Shogun as time code in the top corner and menus on screen. The last option of the FS700’s DISPLAY SET menu should be set to LCD PANEL.
Even though you will be able to record an image from your camera when there is no Picture Profile in use (as opposed to the Odyssey7Q which must be in an S-Log picture profile) the colours in your image will not be handled properly unless you are in S-Log.
Without going into great detail about shooting “Log” and what it actually is, the simplest explanation is that the image your record looks bland while there is a heap more data available for unpacking with grading. Log goes hand in hand with Look Up Tables (LUT). A LUT is a set of calculations applied to the image to tell your monitor how to expose brightness and chrominance.
Picture Profile button on the side of the FS700 will bring up all the PP’s that you have saved. Select one of these and RESET it to the factory setting (last option). Now go into GAMMA and scroll down to S-LOG2. When in S-log the camera’s native ISO will change from 800 to 2000, so you may want to change your ISO settings as anything below ISO2000 will have become unavailable. If you use Gain instead of ISO you won’t notice a change.
When the camera is outputting Log the Shogun can interpret and apply a LUT for either monitoring only, or to the recorded video (if you turn on 3D LUT in the Input options).
The yellow rectangle on the bottom right of the Shogun is your LUT and Display otpions. The Shogun already has one LUT available for converting S-Log2 into a Rec.709 look, it just needs to be set to one of the numbered slots. There are many more that could be found online for alternate looks and colour spaces, as these are the same files used by Davinci Resolve. Here are a few to try. Copy the cube files onto an SSD that is formatted for Shogun and they will be available to be saved as one of the 8 spots.
To select which LUT you want to monitor or record with, select the number and then the folder icon. Those that are stored on the SSD will appear (if you have added some) and you can see on the second tab the options that have been provided by Atomos. Because S-Log2 is the only option from the FS700 then you’ll be using FS-RAW-S-Log2_to_Rec709 or no LUT at all for recording in Log mode and grading in post.
By touching the MON LUT button you will toggle between monitoring with the LUT applied, monitoring half the screen with it on and half off, and no LUT. If you are recording with the LUT burned into your image then the MON LUT icon will flash in red.
If you adjust the display settings on your monitor don’t get confused between the LUT you are recording and your display settings. These sliders are only changing what you are viewing and not the recorded image.
A common practice when shooting in Log is to expose your white values at 90% (or even lower) to preserve more colour information in highlights. There will be plenty of latitude to pull up the brightness in post.
There are other options that you should experiment with before shooting. If there’s a blue arrow you should click on it to see what other options the device has to mess around with.
- Waveform and Monitor Assist on the Shogun are great: easy to use and reliable.
- If you are recording more than a handful of clips you will benefit from changing file names regularly.
- There’s also Tags that the engineers from Atomos would really like you to start using. You can apply Tags to clips while recording or in playback.
Final Cut reads XMLs for tags and can help you instantly sort through your footage in post. Premiere Pro, Avid and Resolve are still a bit hit and miss in terms of which tags work and which ones are not understood. I would anticipate this to improve soon.
Due to the demand on processing power, overlays and LUT monitoring are not available when recording 4K at 50fps.
If all of the LUT and Log talk was too much then record with the 3D LUT turned on and put no further thought into it. However, if you know a bit about Davinci Resolve then shoot with LUTs off and grab a shot of a colour chart in each location so that you can handle all of that in post. Handsome chart model is optional. Resolve’s Color Match is amazing in that it does all the work of your Primary Grade (correcting exposure and colours) in one move. You can see below that you simply select the Source Gamma as S-Log2, and the Target Gamma, Colour Space and Temperature are completely up to you. Once the color chart is dragged into position (change selection tool from the dropdown on the bottom left of the video window) and you have the right brand of chart selected, you’re done! Alternately you can scour the interweb for .cube files that apply a look you like to the S-Log2 footage and apply them to your clips.