A thorough study of Rec. 709 (800%)

In this lesson we’ll focus on just one picture profile – Rec. 709 800% (Hypergamma)- against four color spaces:

  • Cinema (the one Sony wants you to use with it)
  • Matrix 709 (Rec. 709)
  • Pro (Rec. 709)
  • S-Gamut (for S-Log2, but let’s see for ourselves!)

Cinema Color Space

Here’s what Rec.709 800% looks like, in the Cinema color space (In this order: -4, -2, 0, +2, +4, click to enlarge):

Cin800

What do you think?

Matrix Color Space

Here’s what Rec.709 800% looks like, in the Matrix color space (In this order: -4, -2, 0, +2, +4, click to enlarge):

Mat800

What do you think?

Pro Color Space

Here’s what Rec.709 800% looks like, in the Pro color space (In this order: -4, -2, 0, +2, +4, click to enlarge):

Pro800

What do you think?

S-Gamut Color Space

Here’s what Rec.709 800% looks like, in the S-Gamut color space (In this order: -4, -2, 0, +2, +4, click to enlarge):

Gam800

Who wins? Look for these things:

  • Which has better texture in the underexposed regions?
  • Which looks better when clipped either way? Is there a good roll-off at either end?
  • Which as more dynamic range?
  • Which has better skin patches?
  • Which has a better look overall?

Try to at least answer the above before reading the next. Otherwise I’ll be putting words in your head. Here’s a tip: Study each exposure point against the others. E.g., study all -2s together, then 0s together, and so on.

What I think

Rec. 709 800% or Hypergamma is the next best thing to S-Log2. Even though it should look good in Rec. 709 Matrix color space, I prefer the look in the Pro color space. The Cinema and S-Gamut spaces has lesser color noise though. One other quirk is the blue clipping that you can see at the top of the light bulbs in both Rec. 709 and Pro color spaces.

Overall, this is one instance where there’s no clear winner. It comes down to how you like the colors and the overall look. Except for Matrix color space, I think all the other color spaces are usable for the ‘right kind of project’.

Here’s the official wording from Sony:

Gamma curve for confirming scenes on the assumption of shooting using [S-Log2].

What does this even mean? I take it to mean, if you don’t want to shoot S-Log2 and deal with grading, this might be better.

Click on the link below to the next lesson or head over to the main menu (above). If you need help with something, feel free to send me an email. I’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.