However, sometimes you don’t want to grade. There’s no time, or maybe you’re just not good at it. In this video I share my favorite picture control, how I’ve tweaked it, and how I’ve used it to shoot video:
My favorite picture control
My favorite picture control is the Portrait Style. Here are the settings for you to use:
- Quick Sharp – 0
- Sharpnening – 0 (or -3 for a more filmic look)
- Clarity – o
- Contrast – -3
- Brightness – 0
- Saturation – 0
- Hue – 0
How to shoot cinematic videos with the Nikon Z6
For best results, use this method:
- Record via an external recorder. I recommend DNxHR HQX or Prores 4444. You get better color and control for tweaks in post.
- Select the following settings in HDMI:
- 10-bit 4:2:2
- Full Range – If your recorder shows negative blacks, switch to Limited Range (only for direct-to-YouTube videos, otherwise you can bring them back up in post).
- N-log: Off
- View Assist: Off
- Native ISO of 100 (you can go to ISO 12800 without much penalty)
- Middle grey is 45 IRE, similar to Rec. 709. However, the Portrait control is greater than Rec. 709, so your colors will not line up on a vectorscope.
- Expose normally. You can do this because of the great low light ability of this camera.
- Use Zebras to help you with highlight clipping and skin tone clipping.
- Use the False Color tool and Waveform for perfect skin tone exposure.
- The maximum dynamic range I’ve tested here is about 10.7 stops internally, and possibly 11 stops via HDMI.
Why not Neutral or Flat?
With both Neutral and Flat picture controls, you still need to grade. In that case, N-log is definitely the better option.
If you’re recording internally, the 8-bit 4:2:0 compressed footage falls apart even on simple grading. So there’s no point in shooting Neutral or Flat if you even need to grade even a little bit. Neutral is still okay, but avoid Flat completely – there’s just no benefit.
For me, skin tones are the most important thing – everything else is secondary. And, after testing all the styles, I’ve decided Portrait is the best setting overall, for my work. You can see the results for yourself.
Can you use this on the Nikon Z7?
Yes, no problem!