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Old February 7th, 2008, 01:01 PM   #1
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Shooting Auto vs MANUAL

Hi everyone!

I'm a new GL2 owner and I still feel most comfortable in AUTO. I am familliar and comfortable with Manual shooting in Photography but I haven't tried with my video camera yet.

What I'm wondering is if there are MAJOR differences in quality. I have a few weddings this summer and while I'd "like" to shoot them in Manual I would hate to find out later that I trashed the footage.

I find the eyepiece and LCD screen have such poor visual quality (I posted about this before) that I can't always tell what needs to be adjusted.

I guess I just need to practice...

Any thoughts?
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Old February 7th, 2008, 01:31 PM   #2
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Auto works to provide a reasonable exposure under typical/average conditions, but it will not likely be optimum for any given scene. Its performance under unusual lighting and scene conditions can be problematic.

Manual mode coupled with a good monitor and experience will allow you to get the best exposure. But without experience and a good monitor you can equally well mess up the image worse than you get using an Auto mode.

Managing full manual can prove a challenge fast moving/changing situations like a wedding reception, and requires an reasonably skilled videographer who knows the camcorder well to beat what you can get in an appropriate manual mode.

And yes, you need to practice with the various auto and manual options to learn the camcorder's capabilities and limitations, and to find your comfort zone. And keep in mind that with weddings there generally are no retakes the next day if something goes wrong - just whatever out takes as you may have, and leaving out the really embarrassing uncorrectable stuff.
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Old February 8th, 2008, 08:01 AM   #3
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Thanks Dan!

Based on your opinion I will definitely continue shooting in AUTO and also practicing in Manual!!

Thanks again!
Kelsey
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Old February 8th, 2008, 08:58 AM   #4
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The best advise I can give you...and I wish someone had told me this...is to make sure you use a custom preset and take the sharpening down 2 notches. (This worked best for me). Doing this and making sure that you do NOT go over 12db of gain will keep your picture very clean. Make sure you have a light for receptions.

I found out the hard way and thought that the camera would do everything in auto and I had VERY grainy video that was embarrassing to show.

The custom preset trick with keeping the gain at 12db or lower is really the way to go.
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Old February 8th, 2008, 12:54 PM   #5
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Thanks Todd!

I have to say that I also wanted to shoot in M because I find AUTO is very grainy and unproffessional looking!

I know that I read something about custom presets in my manual so I'll look that over again, but honestly I have no idea what "do NOT go over 12db of gain " means!!!

Again I'll check out my book, but I may have more questions for you!! :-)

Thanks
Kelsey
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Old February 8th, 2008, 02:30 PM   #6
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No problem.

When you shoot in manual you will see: Shutter, F-stop and then Gain.
The gain is the one not to go over 12db.

P.S. When you set a custom preset don't forget to activate it by pushing the button on the side of the camera.
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Old February 17th, 2008, 11:51 AM   #7
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Kelsey..

Welcome to the board and the transistion from still photography to the GL2. If u have been following the post i am in the same boat as you are re auto vs manual, i had my camera for 4 days before i shot a bridal fashion show..all in AUTO mode...its horrible, but i had to start somwhere.

If u understand the histrogram in your digital camera, then the zebra stripes will be a great help to you.

i am getting my exposure down, but getting out of the camera onto a DVD, or looking good in a PC have a lot to be desired. I guess i need to start figuring out color saturations, etc in post processing!

FWIW i dont like post processing, i want it right-right out of the camera...

Drop me an email let me know how its going for you!
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Old February 17th, 2008, 05:14 PM   #8
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David,

I came from a slr background. I to desire to have my exposures great right from the camera.

However I have learned from others on this forum, and found it to be fairly true, that often you need to make an exposure to get all the information on the tape and then make it the way you want it in post.

That of course involves learning more about color correcting and such which takes a huge amount of time. I am still working on this but I am getting a prretty good handle on it. It is worth learning.

I have had tons of great footage shot on the camera while using Auto, but even so when when you cut a dvd you have to have the color suitable to the medium it is ging to be watched on!! Lcd/ Plasma/crt are different.

Enjoy the learning process, it will all come in time!!
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Old February 19th, 2008, 07:48 PM   #9
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I agree with Dale Guthormsen fully. I have learned in a very harsh way that it is always best to film whatever it is you are capturing in the best possible quality you can. That means even if your filming ' lets say a dark ally way. ( I did last week :-) I Still filmed it very bright and sharp, then went into after effects and got it the way I wanted Perfect. I have filmed to many shots and spent half the time getting the light just right or using filters to get that sweet look. Unless you have the time and budget ( I never do ) try to get the best shot you can then fix it later. Just like cooking you can always put stuff in but you can NEVER take stuff out!
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Old February 19th, 2008, 09:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Ruhland View Post
FWIW I dont like post processing, I want it right-right out of the camera...
It's not always the most fun, but it is necessary -- and I do not think I am exaggerating here -- 99% of the time, even under the best conditions... especially with DV. You're going to have to do at least some minor post in order to improve exposure, broaden contrast, correct skin tones, or even correct for broadcast legality. Waveforms, vector scopes and histograms really do reveal much more about your footage than your eyes can see.
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Old February 20th, 2008, 03:26 AM   #11
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Very interesting thread this.

1] DV cameras can't come even close to how our eye and brain work, and consequently the way they work with each other. When we look at a scene and register the items that engage us and stir emotions and general give us the "wow" of what we are looking at, this has been as the result of millions of years of evolution and constant "upgrading" the hardware and software and re-programing of our own CPU. And we are wanting a 1500 buck camera to do the same? Not possible. But what we DO have is a simple piece of machinery that we can control on site and if it gets the footage we allow it to, that same footage can then reveal more than what was shot.

2] Forcing a Colour White Balance - Tungsten or Outdoors - is affecting the finally outcome. Manual White Balance is taking this further too.

3] Selecting the non Icon-ed WB is AUTO WB. Think about that for a second or two?! This camera will attempt to vary the WB according to what it is seeing - yeah? Nuh-uh!! I don;t want that! I want to be able to go the timeline and KNOW that at least the WB is constant. Even if that constant is set incorrectly by me! - Yeah, like nobody else here has done it!!!

4] And what do you think the WB is doing? It is applying a digital algorithm and creating the "best" match to the view it can. And guess what? These WB templates were created by Canon! So this is applying a pre-post-effect before you know it. Then, as I said, we have manual WB.

5] All cameras don't give what we finally see on film. Period. If this is the case, then this beggars the question: What exactly ARE we seeing? And for the final film/video the answer is: We see what we are allowed to see by the Director, the cameraman, the Editor, the colourist and so on. And what they see often isn't what their chums saw in the shoot! Am I right, or am I right? Now, we can either ignore this precept/construct and keep fixed on the idea/notion that it IS possible to achieve ALL in camera - and yes, you/I/we can achieve a lot in camera - but this work/endeavour/craft is not setup to get what we can by just using that which is available in-camera - without the additionality of post-prod. It just ain't! It allows us to be able to affect the final outcome in post-prod. I'll repeat that: It ALLOWS us to be able to . . . of course we can choose NOT to. But there is a whole heap of further opportunity being ignored if this is the case.

When I can find it I'll make a link to a post I did relating to WB in post and post-colour-grading. I still can't there was a way I could have achieved this solely in-camera. But what I did have in camera was the analogue view transcribed to digital information to ALLOW me to do what I did in post.

See this on PRESETS! http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=48753

See this on my own first stumblings here!: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=11725

See this on my own Colour Grading and post WB!: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/attachmen...1&d=1162401892

This was not possible solely within the camera. Nuh-uh! - (If I can find the before and after on the same frame f this blue sky and yellow I'll post it here.)

My point I am trying to make is that there did come a time when I had to realise that:

1] I had to capture as much analogue ( what I can SEE with my eyes) to allow for the digital capture for the XM2

. . so therefore . .

2] Once I get this into Vegas [ my NLE] I had/have a far better opportunity to bring out what I want.

Without 1] I can't do 2] - But without knowing this I can't apply what I NOW know to 1] to GET what I want to achieve within 2]

So now, and for the past 3 years, I don't just capture for the edit, I also set the camera-up using as much analogue devices as I can afford: Lights+reflectors; NDs + Polarizer; Sunshade; lens adaptors - wide or tele; Manual White Balance AND THEN the on-camera digital devices: Presets; Canon WB Icons and 16x9 - and then this can do the rest.

If you get a chance see the "additional" material on the Pirates of the Carib DVD. See the actual dailies. No post. No fxs. That was an eye opener for me, and a seminal change of direction in my own development.

Others have had the opportunities of working in the mainstream film/video biz - and for a long time too. I didn't have this available to me. I did other things, but being present on site on a major shoot hasn't been one of them. Much of what we discuss about this humble camera must make "others" chuckle a bit.

Apologies for the ramblings . . Move on . . . .

Grazie
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 08:14 PM   #12
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I found at the hard way that shooting AUTO will almost always break your heart. It happens time and time again, I shoot something and then put it on my computer and the camera loses focus on shiny objects.

That's just the focus. AUTO never yields perfect results, being able to change shutter speeds, iris, white balance and so on will always make your footage look better.

MANUAL is easy, it just takes practice.
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Old March 13th, 2008, 03:06 PM   #13
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Reception Autofocus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Cook View Post
I found at the hard way that shooting AUTO will almost always break your heart. It happens time and time again, I shoot something and then put it on my computer and the camera loses focus on shiny objects.
I had some reception footage that had a case of the "focus hunting" because object behind the subject were easier to focus on. Be ware! The "Manual focus" button is a good tool to "freeze" the focus on the subject and then leave alone.

I also found that a LANC controller (on a tripod of course) makes life easier because I can take the zoom sensitivity waaaaay down and have my other hand free to more comfortably adjust the focus in manual mode if needed.
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