A thorough study of Rec. 709

In this lesson we’ll focus on just one picture profile – good ol’ Rec. 709 – 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 looks like, in the Cinema color space (In this order: -4, -2, 0, +2, +4, click to enlarge):

Cin709

What do you think?

Matrix Color Space

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

Mat709

What do you think?

Pro Color Space

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

Pro709

What do you think?

S-Gamut Color Space

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

Gam709

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

To be honest, none of them look good when clipped. I can’t see myself using this profile at all. Even slight highlights take on a yellowish tone that is instantly noticeable and ugly. I’ll pass!

Here’s the official wording from Sony:

Gamma curve that corresponds to ITU-709.

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.