Several years ago, at an NAB focus group, I showed Sony the difference in how Alexa saturates color with overexposure vs. an F55. Or, maybe I should say I showed them how Alexa desaturates color with overexposure: once a hue passes a point at or near middle gray in brightness, its saturation locks and it only gets brighter. Traditional video cameras continue to saturate color as exposure increases until color channels clip, at which point they focus on damage control to prevent highlights from shifting hues.
Arri emulates film, a subtractive color process where maximum color saturation is found in shadows and mid-tones. Sony works with videoís inherent additive color properties and allows saturation to increase with brightness until a color channel fails. Both systems have their merits, but for an old film guy like me film-style highlights are the way to go.
To Sonyís credit they responded quickly to my demonstration. Within six months they rolled out the LC709 Type A LUT, which attempts to somewhat emulate Alexaís color response. Itís not perfect but itís a solid alternative to Sonyís traditional broadcast look, which is a bit dated for the digital cinema world I currently inhabit. Bright saturated color may sell TV sets in retail stores, but cinematographers tend to be visually sophisticated craftspeople who find highly saturated colors garish. We prefer subtlety and sophistication in our color palettes. Our job is to tell stories, not sell TVs. LC709 Type A brought Sony a step closer to our world.