March 21, 2017

FiLMiCPRO for iOS Now Enables Shooting in LOG Mode

FiLMiC Inc.
Version 6 of FiLMiCPRO for iOS is now available, and it's a major upgrade.

FiLMiC Inc. recently released version 6 of its popular mobile video software FiLMiCPRO for iOS. This is a gangbuster free update, with the addition of the ability to shoot in LOG mode getting the most attention, and for good reason. You can now shoot b-roll or steal shots on your phone that could be credibly cut in with your A-Cam footage. However, remember that you're still encoding to 8-bit H.264 and using a small sensor. 

The update also includes some other notable new features. This version adds zebra stripes, focus peaking (accurate on a per pixel level), false color, a waveform and automated focus pulling.  They've also added manual arc sliders for focus, ISO and shutter speed making it easier to dial these settings in accurately. 

 Automated Focus Pull
Automated Focus PullCredit: FiLMiC Inc.

For an additional $9.99, there is the Cinematographer Kit in-app purchase that adds powerful features like Temporal Noise Reduction and gamma curve presets. Reading the documentation, it is clear that the company has a clear road map and that they are making intelligent choices.  For example, the TNR composites three exposures, only working on static parts of the frame, ignoring high noise areas and leaving them for you to deal with in post using spatial noise reduction (generally you want to do TNR before SNR). The kit requires an iPhone 7/7Plus for hardware.

Gamma curves
Gamma curvesCredit: FiLMiC Inc.

The gamma presets available are: Natural (rec. 709), Dynamic (higher contrast, higher saturation rec. 709), Flat (what we're used to shooting on DSLR's) and LOG. For LOG, the app works with data from the sensor and applies 10-bit math to it prior to encoding. The bottom line is that you should get an extra stop of exposure without altering the blackpoint/whitepoint. It also means a more complicated post-production pipeline, experimentation on how it works in this implementation, and probably supplemental battery power to feed all this processing.

Temporal Noise Reduction
Temporal Noise ReductionCredit: FiLMiC Inc.

Overall, this is an exciting update for filmmakers, particularly with the LOG shooting. Our guts tell us that there are going to be times that you'll want to shoot flat rather than LOG, depending on conditions. As with any new technology, experimentation (and luck) will yield the best results. Anyone out there have any insights, or footage to share?  Let's throw some interesting footage into Resolve and push the pixels around.     

Your Comment

17 Comments

I bought the app. The log mode is really grainy. ( I've only tried it indoors, but had plenty of light). The Natural settings is really nice. The App upgrade is worth it.

March 21, 2017 at 3:12PM

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That was what I was worried about with the log mode, under certain conditions, and why I think many people will end up using Flat instead. Still, it's pretty impressive that for $9.99 they're doing 10-bit math on data right off the sensor and then VBR encoding it on a phone.

I haven't been able to test the Cinematographer Kit yet since I'm still on a 6S. If you feel like uploading some of the ungraded LOG footage, post a link. Or please let me know if you find any compelling ungraded LOG footage online, still looking here.

Overall, even without the Cinematographer Kit, it is a monster upgrade. Waveform on a phone!?? It's clear that they're doing their homework and seem intent on building a long-term product that continues to grow.

March 21, 2017 at 4:04PM, Edited March 21, 4:27PM

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Craig Mieritz
Color, Light and Camera Geek

I'm curious as to how they're getting raw data from the sensor. The ASICs in the phone do a lot of the processing in a "black box" that exposes only a limited set of controls and information to the developer. That's why the iPhone hasn't been usable as a precision color-temperature meter.

Maybe Apple changed something in the iPhone 7 to allow greater access to the image pipeline. That doesn't counterbalance the asinine removal of the headphone jack, but at least it would be ONE real upgrade.

March 24, 2017 at 7:36PM, Edited March 24, 7:39PM

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David Gurney
DP
1815

Yes, FiLMiCPro hasn't explicitly explained what is going on, other than to say that they are remapping, in 10 bit, data from the sensor prior to it being encoded. I'm taking them at their word. Many of the things we would consider major changes by Apple, say possible greater access to the image pipeline, tend to not be publicized, or even announced by Apple. I know that from developing iOS apps, sometimes things just change from one day to the next. It's a question I'll keep in the back of my mind and try to track down the answer.

March 25, 2017 at 1:11AM

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Craig Mieritz
Color, Light and Camera Geek

After reading this article I bougth filmic pro and the cinematography kit and tested it out on my iphone 7+. The design of the controls is great in filmic pro, but the results aren't. I feel like I've wasted $25. I shoot with the procam app all of the time and post videos that you can see on my instagram https://www.instagram.com/josef.lorenzo/ The filmic pro app is disappointing for two reasons.

1. It bypasses the optical stabilization in the iphone7+ which doesn't matter if you have a gimble.
2. The results compared to procam are not as sharp and much noisier. I can get a much nicer starting point for grading with procam by applying a log-c lut to the footage that is less destructible and less noisy.

March 22, 2017 at 12:36PM

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Josef Lorenzo
Director
379

Thanks for the feedback. First, I don't think you've wasted your money buying this app. I did not receive anything from FiLMiC to write the article and I genuinely believe that this is a product that will continue to grow and you will grow with it. They are doing good work and I think it will continue to get better. These are early days and experimentation is the rule. Frustration and excitement.

Your points are well taken. I also use ProCam, for video and still photography. For still photography, using the ProCam RAW mode, I find that I get (under certain conditions) better results using the 645 PRO app shooting to TIFF. Why is that? My guess is that 645 is using the very good built-in Apple noise reduction and that ProCam does not when shooting to RAW. Sometimes I use one app, and other times, I use the other. And I'm still experimenting with ProCam's implementation of RAW (and Lightroom too).

My suggestion is to continue using the workflow that you are comfortable with for your day-to-day, for now. But keep experimenting with the LOG on the FiLMiC PRO, and give the Flat Mode a shot. Exposing for RAW and doing the post on RAW is a different creature. The details of what and how these apps are handling the data from the sensor is complicated. And details like built-in noise reduction, image stabilization are important and need to be factored into your decision as to which tool is correct for your job.

March 22, 2017 at 2:15PM

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Craig Mieritz
Color, Light and Camera Geek

What do you mean by FiLMiC Pro bypassing optical stabilization? My understanding is that nobody can bypass OIS, not even Apple, because OIS is in the lens module and is mechanical. There is no physical on/off switch for it, it's simply there and always functioning. On the other hand, Apple has included software based stabilization named 'auto stabilization' and 'cinematic stabilization'. This software based stabilization also known as 'Image Stabilization (IS)' can be turned on or off by almost all photo/video apps, such as FiLMiC Pro.

March 23, 2017 at 12:30AM, Edited March 23, 12:30AM

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Jade, you are correct. The OIS is a module built-into the sensor and is always on. The electronic stabilization is added during processing and what I believe Josef was referring to...we ae approaching the point where concepts that only professional camerapersons thought about are becoming accessible to a much broader audience. Which is why I think, unless you really take the time to understand what you're doing with the LOG, many people will be better served by shooting flat. Thanks for the input, it's hard to catch everything.

March 23, 2017 at 10:51AM, Edited March 23, 10:51AM

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Craig Mieritz
Color, Light and Camera Geek

Sorry yes, the image stabilization is forced off in filmic pro and there isn't a setting to turn it back on. What Ben says is really true in this case. When you've got 8bit log the image has lost so much information that was barely there that's it is too hard to recover the information. I strongly believe procam beats filmic pro for nearly half the price. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCMgxQ5uIRI&ab_channel=TonyMauroRuiz Check out this comparison that was done almost a year ago. Yesterday, I shot footage with the exact same settings on both apps to test how the two grade. Unlike the log footage that you can convert digital bolex or black magic raw to, filmic pro's log footage is unrecoverable. And the stop of dynamic range is in the shadows which I don't think is useable anyway because it's so noisy.

March 23, 2017 at 2:11PM

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Josef Lorenzo
Director
379

8 bit log is always terrible and grainy. When working in a small color space it's actually better to shoot with more contrast and get it right in camera. Way less grain and better final tonality. 8 bit LOG should be illegal.

March 22, 2017 at 9:10PM

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Ben Miller
benmillerphoto.com
74

What is the difference between Log and Flat? Would it be better to shoot flat and then with the aid of a color chart balance in resolve?

March 23, 2017 at 10:08AM

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Here is the best primer on shooting flat, by Stu Maschwitz:
https://prolost.com/blog/2009/8/3/flatten-your-5d.html

Check out the No Film School link I included below regarding an intro to LOG.

March 23, 2017 at 10:58AM

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Craig Mieritz
Color, Light and Camera Geek

8-bit RAW video, that would be worse. My presonal preference would be to shoot flat, which is a pretty awesome built-in option to have on a cell phone. I haven't been able to shoot in the LOG mode, but I'd be looking at the curve I applied to it and playing with noise reduction in order to get the most from the image. Shooting LOG is not simple, look at the problems Sony has had educating professional shooters on their S-log. And this implementation, a cell phone camera, is going to be not the most forgiving.

This might be useful for folks shooting LOG for the first time:

http://nofilmschool.com/2015/11/beginners-guide-shooting-grading-log-foo...

March 23, 2017 at 10:45AM, Edited March 23, 10:45AM

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Craig Mieritz
Color, Light and Camera Geek

Hey Craig- Still don't feel like you've answered my question. Would it be better to shoot flat on the iPhone instead of log?

March 27, 2017 at 5:41PM

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That would be my inclination. I just upgraded phones, so I'll be doing some testing.

March 31, 2017 at 6:50PM, Edited March 31, 6:50PM

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Craig Mieritz
Color, Light and Camera Geek

Filmic Pro is such cool app. Just loved it. You can get the free version of app on tutu helper app store. All the latest paid apps are available for free on http://tutuhelper.co

May 16, 2017 at 6:51AM

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williams23
Assistant film excutive
74

This is such a cool feature. It's true at times flat is a better option, but this is definitely worth it IMO. Can't wait to see how it's going to evolve in subsequent versions.

Best,
Vincent
http://www.vincentbettschart.ch

October 30, 2017 at 5:05PM, Edited October 30, 5:09PM

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