VH S-Log Gamma profiles for Nikon HDslr's
What you are about to witness is the way you can improve the video capabilities of ANY Nikon DSLR through the use of a group of new Log Gamma profiles like those you found in your Nikon camera: Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Portrait, Monochrome, Landscape and the recently "Flat" gamma profile, presented with the D810.

Notice that the "flat" gamma profile presented with the D810 can be used only on the D810 and subsequent Nikon cameras, for ALL the previous models, Nikon Corporation won't* release the "flat" Gamma profile with a firmware upgrade.
(*Only available with the D810 and cameras released after the D810, Picture Control Utility 2 and Capture NX-D (as of June 26, 2014).  Source: http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/microsite/picturecontrol/picture/flat.htm#new

Apart from the Log Gamma profiles I crafted (Which I present here in the tests made with a D810 and a D7100) for all the Nikon cameras released after the launch of the D810 and the new Picture Control Utility 2, I have also made 2 Gamma profiles based on the VH Log Gamma profiles for the cameras that use the .NCP files (D700, etc), which works exclusively with the previous models released after the presentation of the D810, you can find the links to get them at the end of this document. 

The Gamma profiles I present here have been crafted and designed to get the top quality results above the use of the default Nikon profiles mentioned before, the VH Log Gamma profiles render its performance over the base of the Standard, Flat and Vivid Nikon Profiles taking the limits of the video on Nikon DSLR's a step beyond.


Descripción en español a la derecha / click en read more → → →

(May 29 of 2014)... During the last 8 months (previous to this publication) I've been researching in a deep way about Logarithmic Gamma profiles and their impact at the moment of capturing video on Nikon Semi and Pro DSLR's. All of this in order to produce a Log (Logarithmic) Gamma profile that could be able to improve the video capabilities of a DSLR, without carrying the appearance of image artifacts and other undesirable issues that I've found widely present on Gamma profiles that many Nikon users had created in the past by themselves using the Nikon capture NX 2© software.

Since my very first works on Cinema as a Cinematographer (Director of Photography) on which I used Kodak stock films as the main way to capture the image on my short films, and subsequently finalize them on digital, I have been very interested in the transition process and the way on which the information was distributed between the Photo-Quimic means (Logarithmic, Organic) and the Electronic means (Lineal, Digital). This was intensified through the first contact with the material captured with cameras like Arri Alexa and Red One Epic, professional cinema cameras on which Logarithmic curves are used to the capture and distribute the information, obtaining, among other things, a Cinematographic(ish), organic look and helping the Cinematographer to exploit in a better way the material which can be captured with these cameras at the moment of specifying a workflow, in order to achieve a given final product. Before I finished my Cinema and T.V professional career (B.A in Cinema and t.v) I got a scholarship to attend a course on digital electronic Cinematography: Digital processes for the development of the photoquimic professional image; sponsored by the development fund for Cinematography of Colombia and the “Laboratorio de la Luz”, dictated by the Cinematographer Alfonso Parra AEC, ADFC. The course had a length of 120 hours. We worked in several subject matters like the characteristics of the Gamma profiles and their role in the capture of cinematographic material in different Cinema cameras were analyzed, from the Canon 5D MK II,  through Panasonic AF-100, Arri Alexa and Red One Epic.

During the execution of my bachelor degree thesis, Diplomate on Electronic Cinematographic Photography dictated by the Colombian Cinematographer Jorge Mario Vera ADFC (120 Hours), several tests were performed, inside the studio and exterior sets to compare and determine the capabilities and characteristics of different Cinema cameras (including Canon and Nikon Dslrs), in order to determine the technical and artistic possibilities of this tools and its role on different workflows to achieve different audiovisual final products; it was during this time that the product presented in this document began to emerge and got mature, materializing on the VIDEOS and the VH LOG GAMMA PROFILES for Nikon DSLRs you'll found below. (D810, previous and subsequent models)

Given the constrained (poor we might say as well) characteristics of the video flow we found nowadays on DSLR cameras of most brands, we have the following characteristics:

* "Data compression (inherent to the H.264/H265 codecs) which is the process of encoding information to reduce the number of bits as compared to the uncompressed version of the information. A compression process will reduce the disk space required to store the information, and bandwidth required to transmit information. 
Compression can be lossless or lossy. Video Compression used in Dslr or mirrorless workflow is  Lossy compression, meaning once the original video information is compressed it can never be decompressed to restore all of the original information. In lossy compression, if the information is compressed then decompressed then recompressed and so on, more and more information will be lost with each successive compression. 
Video information lends itself well to lossy compression techniques. The reason being, there is a significant amount of data the human eye does not perceive in the uncompressed version of the video or image. Image and video compression takes advantage of this fact. 

Specifically, the human visual system perceives brightness more readily than color (More rods -Luminance sensitivity- than cones -Colour sensitivity- on our retinas!). If you have ever compared LCD televisions, you may have noticed displays with higher contrast ratios look better. The contrast ratio is the difference from the brightest white to the darkest black that can be displayed on the set. Since our visual system perceives differences in brightness more than color, the effect is a more appealing display, which is the same effect JPEG compression takes advantage of".1*

*The most of Dslr cameras capture the material using H.264 Mpeg codec, which is based on an algorithm to compress the raw data recorded by the sensor.

*The DSLR cameras have a color Sub-sampling of 4:2:0 which is translated in a poor color reproduction. (Some cameras like the Nikon D8xx series, Nikon D5 and Canon 1Dc and 5D series are able to capture uncompressed video through an external recorder like the Ninja Atomos series, with a color Sub-sampling of 4:2:2 via HDMI.)

*8-bit space which allows you to capture a maximum of 8 stops of Dynamic range, this limitation is attached to the nature of the H.264/H265 Mpeg Codec.

*Bit rate is contained between 24mbps to 65mbps flow in the most of cases. (24mbps for Semi-Pro Cameras recording via SD or CF, 50 up to 100mbps recording via Hdmi uncompressed signal with an external recorder.)

So... What does that mean?, that the video signal that is finally captured and stored in a memory card (SD, CF, XQD etc) it's already compressed, and came to be limited (even more) by the Gamma profile which we were using to record it, this means that the Gamma profiles irreversibly affect the way the information is exploited, (or how it is compressed) the color depth, the dynamic range, and the Logarithmic or lineal distribution of the highlights and shadows across the whole range of the recorded material.

In general terms the Gamma profiles that Nikon and Canon offers do a great work recording the information between an acceptable limit of what the video capabilities of DSLR cameras are able to offer, but...

...Is this the limit of the possibilities of the Gamma Profiles that are used to capture and represent video in a DSLR?.

For instance manufacturers like Lightillusion and Technicolor had presented Gamma profiles which squeeze more information than regular Canon gamma profiles does, helping the users of this brand to obtain a better information throughout the material recorded from their Dslrs.

About Nikon we can say that there's not so much Manufacturers like Lightillusion or Technicolor which provide Gamma profiles like those for Canon's, so many Nikon users have chosen to get the most of the possibilities that Nikon capture NX 2© software offers, getting, in the most cases, results that are disappointing and doesn't represent a significant performance or efficiency over the official Nikon Gamma profiles:



Personally, I was very unsatisfied with the possibilities that the Nikon gamma profiles had to offer, so I embarked myself on the task to make an investigation, and several rigorous tests about the possibilities of crafting new Logarithmic Gamma profiles which could fit my needs when capturing video in a variety of different situations with a Nikon Dslr.

I finally came to a pleasing accomplishment in my task: the VH Log Gamma Profiles, which allowed me to get profit with the poor video Dslr characteristics that I mentioned before without constraining or compromising the information in order to do a proper post-processing of the clips obtaining the following over the Nikon Gamma profiles:

* A better distribution of the Highlights range, (Logarithmic, organic instead of linear, digital) preserving more information and achieving very natural highlight roll-off than if I work with the brand Nikon Gamma Profiles.

* A better distribution of the Shadow range (Logarithmic, organic instead of linear, digital) allowing me to have more room to grade the material using S-Log modified curves in post, avoiding (in some cases) or minimizing in a certain sense the typical red color cast of the Nikon in-camera interpolation process, which generally affects the lower shadow range, especially when you have skin tones located there.

* The image artifacts are minimized at maximum, and in the most of the scenes, you'll find none given the 18 control points (nodes), upon the VH Log Gamma Curves are built on, in order to achieve a maximum control over the whole range.

* The VH Log Gamma Profiles gets the most of the 8 stop dynamic range in which the Dslr video is contained (codec) given its aforementioned characteristics.

* The VH Log Gamma Profiles are based on the Nikon Standard, Flat and Vivid Gamma profiles with the intention to retain the great colour reproduction these profiles gives, its characteristics enhance the balance between reds (magentas also) and greens (passing through less greener yellows) that is difficult to get given the typical characteristics of the sRGB space color linked to the H.264 codec.

* The VH Log Gamma Profiles gives you more room to grade the material in post, helping you to avoid visual artifacts such as compression, aliasing, noise, granulation and pixelation, minimizing the risk of having this undesired visual artifacts when you are grading the clips, contrary to when you are using another Gamma profiles which can constrain the material.

* The VH Log Gamma Profiles are intended to preserve the richness of the original capture allowing you to manipulate the material in a way you may found a lot more practical and flexible in the post process than with other Gamma profiles.

* Have in mind that using the VH Log Gamma Profiles you'll get an increase of the bitrate over what you usually got using the Nikon's default gamma profiles.

I present to you the final tests and the results of using the VH PseudoLog Gamma profile to improve Video on Nikon DSLRs:​​​​​​
As It follows you can see the effect of the Nikon "Flat" Picture control on the LEFT SIDE / VH Log curve on the RIGHT SIDE. Notice how my curve renders the skin tones, highlights and shadows in a better way, expanding the Dynamic range as well in comparison of what Nikon's Flat Profile delivers. (the vignetting effect is due to the use of a 35mm lens at 1.8 maximum aperture)
Look at how the VH Log Curve ( LEFT SIDE ) renders the Highlights with a softer roll-off, you can find more information across the shadow area with better textures, preserving a lot more information, Greens, Yellows and Magentas are also different. Nikon's "Flat" profile ( RIGHT SIDE ) offers a dull look overall, deeper blacks and shadows, the highlights areas are harsher and tend to burn quickly.
Showing up next I present comparisons from stills captured from material (in video) recorded with VH PseudoLog and its posibilities in post.  Original ungraded straight from the camera (D810) on the Left side / Graded on the right side.

October 30 of 2017.

Now let me present to you a newly created S-Log Gamma profile for Nikon DSLR models after the launch of the D810 (.NP2).

It has been very difficult to craft a functional an S-Log Gamma profile for Nikon Dslr's and mainly for one reason:

The information captured both ways, stills and video, is represented in an 8-bit form in the screens of all DSLR cameras, the reason for this is:

1. As I mentioned before the video codec used to capture video on the Nikon Dslrs (This applies for almost all Dslr and mirrorless cameras) is an 8-bit based one, therefore the information is constrained to only 8 stops of dynamic range. This makes the appearance of the material recorded to look somehow contrasty when reproduced on the camera's screen and on any platform. For instance, if the codec could be 10 or 12-bit the recorded files will look more Cinematic (Sony Cine Alta, Canon Cinema cameras, Red One, Arri Alexa use 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 color sampling at 10 or 12-bit gamma space) and pleasing given the wider representation of the gamma, which somehow emulates a more natural look, closer (but still far away) to what our eyes perceive as "natural".

2. There is no true display of the complete Dynamic Range of a raw file on the screen of ANY Dslr of mirrorless camera nowadays. So, when you use different gamma curves applied to a raw file (stills) the screen of the camera will show you a compressed version of the image representation of the Raw file, BASED on an 8-bit (jpeg) image. What does it mean? that even when you use a VH S-log Gamma profile (which I am presenting here) the images will look a little -contrasty- when viewed on the camera display.

So, the solution for this is:

-To develop the Raws (stills) in order to unleash the full potential of the 14-bit gamma space (On Adobe Lightroom or alternate software).
-To grade the video files on a professional software which will give you more control over the captured material like Youtuber Armando Ferreira shows in the next video, which is the process INTENDED to apply when you use my VH S-log Gamma profile in order to vastly improve (Over Nikon's Picture Profiles) the capture on Nikon Dlsrs:


The New VH S-Log Gamma profile ( RIGHT SIDE ) vs the Nikon's Standard picture profile ( LEFT SIDE ) 

I'm not saying that the VH Log Gamma profiles are perfect, they represent an OPTION to what Nikon Gamma profiles offers and the tests you have just seen are a proof of its GREAT value for Nikon users that want to get the most of their camera video capabilities rendering an Organic look as an added value.

I crafted this mathematic profile intending a professional use, but if you are an amateur you can use it as well, just remember something:

* The Gamma profiles don't do the Cinematography for you.

* You have to expose perfectly to achieve the best results.

* The technique will be always at the service of the message you want to communicate with Cinematography, never on the opposite way.

* The camera is just a tool, Good Cinematography is the result of orchestrating the tools you have at your disposal to communicate a Story, no matter they are not the most expensive or cutting edge technology in the world.

* And the most important thing is that you need to have something to say, a story good enough, if you don't have something to say you may have the better tools in the world but you'll get the same result. Always.

If you liked my work here you can appreciate it as well as any of the other projects giving a click on the blue button below. 

You can find other works here as well: instagram.com/nicolaioterov

DOWNLOAD the VH Log Gamma profiles from the following links:

(Last Update on all them: 30/10/2017 at 1:10 p.m)

*VH Log Gamma profiles for D810 and subsequent models (.NP2):

1. VH S-Log Gamma: The widest Log gamma, crafted to get the full potential of the Dynamic Range of the H.264 8-bit video codec and to grant the maximum flexibility to grade the files on professional video editing software.


2. VH PseudoLog D850:  The alternative (to Nikon's Flat) Log gamut for all subsequent Nikon camera models from the launch of the D810 and the revamped "Nikon Picture Control 2" system. The capture of video and stills with this profile allows you to have the widest Dynamic range possible for the raw (stills) file or video file without adding artifacts of any kind.


3. VH RAD CineLog D850: This is a truly Log "Baked In" film emulation, it preserves the widest Dynamic Range representation compared with ALL the original Nikon Picture Controls, but being designed to be a truly Log profile, it accurately emulates the film character which will add the depth of a film look for stills and video, the proper saturation and balance between highlights and shadows, deep blacks with character, and beautiful highlights roll off, enhancing the textures all across the range to get an Organic, non digital look for most scenes.


4. VH FL CineLog D850: The best alternative to Nikon's "Flat" Picture Control, a truly Log film emulation, it has a wider Dynamic Range representation than the "VH RAD CineLog D850", designed to enhance skin tones all across the range, it accurately emulates the film character, softer than the  "VH RAD CineLog D850", this Log profile equally adds the depth of a film look for stills and video, the proper saturation and balance between highlights and shadows, beautiful highlights roll off, delivering softer textures all across the range in order to get an Organic, non digital look for all kind of scenes.


VH Log Gamma profiles for ALL Nikon DSLRs (.NCP):  

1. VH PseudoLog D700:  The very wide Log gamut for all Nikon camera models previous to the D810 "Nikon Picture Control 2" system. It allows you to capture video and stills showing the widest Dynamic range possible without adding artifacts.


2. VH RAD CineLog D700: This is a truly Log "Baked In" film emulation, it offers the widest Dynamic Range representation compared with ALL the original Nikon Picture Controls, but being designed to be a truly Log profile, it accurately emulates the film character which will add the depth of a film look for stills and video, the proper saturation and balance between highlights and shadows, enhancing the textures all across the range in order to get an Organic, non digital look for most scenes.


Thanks so much for taking your time for seeing this!!!

I hope many of you can give me feedback about the use of my profile on your cameras.

1* http://www.salientsys.com/files/whitepaper/Understanding%20H%20264.pdf

I co-own the copyrights with Nikon corporation so any commercial or inappropriate use of the VH Log Gamma profiles, the modification, copy in part of the whole of the information is totally prohibited.

VH S-Log Gamma profiles for Nikon HDslr's

VH S-Log Gamma profiles for Nikon HDslr's

Durante los últimos 8 meses he venido investigando de una manera profunda acerca de los perfiles de gamma pseudologarítmicos y su impacto o efect Read More
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