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Canon XF Series HD Camcorders
Canon XF305, XF205 and XF105 (with SDI), Canon XF300, XF200 and XF100 (without SDI).


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Old December 23rd, 2010, 12:47 PM   #1
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Zebras, Waveform and skin?

I've had my 300 for about 4 months and am still scratching my head over exposure. To be safe, I've been underexposing my shots, but would love to hear from the forum about setting exposure. My zebras are set to 70%, but when I expose the face to 70%, it looks over exposed. And can I trust the waveform?
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 04:34 PM   #2
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The way I use zebra is, the 70% setting should be right at the edge of the shaded to highlighted part of the face.

In other words the shadow parts are below 70% and the bright hi lighted parts are above. Dont set the darker part of the face to 70%. it should be more like 45-50. and the highlighted part of a face 75-90.

OK this is under ideal lighting conditions controlled by you.

On my primary cameras EX1R and EX3 there are 2 sets of zebras. I don't know about the Canons. But I set the second to 100 and make sure none of the shot hits 100. because 100 is blown out.

The best way to get used to your particular camera is to hook it up to a calibrated Pro evaluation monitor and a set of scopes and then point the camera at different scenes, get the shot so it looks good on the scopes and the monitor. And observe your cameras zebra and (in the case of EXcams histogram) sounds like you have waveform in the Canon.

Then go and shoot some with what you think is right. Come back to your edit suite and see how it came out. In a fairly short time you will have it down pat.

BTW this is how I figure out the Picture Profiles I want to use in any new camera. The gamma sat and knee settings etc. etc. make a huge difference in how your video will look in any camera, and how to expose any scene.

I have used dozens of different cameras over the decades and this is the procedure I always follow.

It use to be simpler when you had to take your camera in to a service center to have it calibrated to something like the Macy Standard Setup.

Now you have to figure it out yourself. And modern cameras have dozens of settings.

This board is a great place to get this kind of info. There are lots of people here that will help you out.

Sorry I cant be more specific to your camera but I don't currently use this great Canon cam. I just had a 305 here for a few days and I was very impressed by its beautiful sharp picture.

Good luck and Happy Holidays.
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Old December 25th, 2010, 03:31 AM   #3
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I've found using 70% you do need to allow for the flesh tones, At correct exposure, deeply sun tanned people may not even register, where as with the air skinned it can cover much of their face.
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Old December 25th, 2010, 10:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olof Ekbergh View Post
The way I use zebra is, the 70% setting should be right at the edge of the shaded to highlighted part of the face.

In other words the shadow parts are below 70% and the bright hi lighted parts are above. Dont set the darker part of the face to 70%. it should be more like 45-50. and the highlighted part of a face 75-90.

OK this is under ideal lighting conditions controlled by you.

On my primary cameras EX1R and EX3 there are 2 sets of zebras. I don't know about the Canons. But I set the second to 100 and make sure none of the shot hits 100. because 100 is blown out.

The best way to get used to your particular camera is to hook it up to a calibrated Pro evaluation monitor and a set of scopes and then point the camera at different scenes, get the shot so it looks good on the scopes and the monitor. And observe your cameras zebra and (in the case of EXcams histogram) sounds like you have waveform in the Canon.

Then go and shoot some with what you think is right. Come back to your edit suite and see how it came out. In a fairly short time you will have it down pat.

BTW this is how I figure out the Picture Profiles I want to use in any new camera. The gamma sat and knee settings etc. etc. make a huge difference in how your video will look in any camera, and how to expose any scene.

I have used dozens of different cameras over the decades and this is the procedure I always follow.

It use to be simpler when you had to take your camera in to a service center to have it calibrated to something like the Macy Standard Setup.

Now you have to figure it out yourself. And modern cameras have dozens of settings.

This board is a great place to get this kind of info. There are lots of people here that will help you out.

Sorry I cant be more specific to your camera but I don't currently use this great Canon cam. I just had a 305 here for a few days and I was very impressed by its beautiful sharp picture.

Good luck and Happy Holidays.
olof-

thank you for sharing your thoughtful experience.

be well

rob
smalltalk productions
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Old December 26th, 2010, 05:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olof Ekbergh View Post
The way I use zebra is, the 70% setting should be right at the edge of the shaded to highlighted part of the face.

In other words the shadow parts are below 70% and the bright hi lighted parts are above. Dont set the darker part of the face to 70%. it should be more like 45-50. and the highlighted part of a face 75-90.
Olof, is this what you are describing? Yellow on the Marshall false colors are 80-90% while gray is 70%. Zebra 1 is 70% and Zebra 2 is 100%.
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Old December 27th, 2010, 12:42 PM   #6
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Les,
It is hard to tell exactly how I would set up that shot. I would probably stop down a half stop more. I would also use a cinegamma 4 on the EX for this shot. I would also mess with the light on the talent so it is not so flat. I don't know exactly how you want that shot to look. I just think it could be more dramatic.

A lot of times I zoom right in on the face to get that critical iris setting perfect, then you get a better idea from the histogram and the Marshall false color indications. You can use the zoomed in view like a spot meter and check all the parts of your shot in detail, to balance the light perfectly, then zoom back out for the final framing.

This is just my way of doing it, with film you always take lots of readings with your light meter to figure out how many stops different parts of the shot varies. With modern vid cams this can be done very easily now. This may seem complicated but it really is quick and simple once you get used to doing it. Also remember it is even more critical in video to get the dynamic range right as you don't have the latitude of film.

Bear in mind that the EX lens gets somewhat slower as you zoom in. I try to shoot between f2.8 and 5.6 with that lens as that is the sweet spot.

Really a good evaluation monitor and scopes is the best way to know for sure. Use your edit suite scopes and evaluation monitor to learn what looks right on the Marshall. I like the Marshalls too but they are not great for critical evaluation, unless you learn exactly what it needs to look like to give you the result you are after.
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Old December 31st, 2010, 05:58 AM   #7
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I moved the key just a little more off axis, cut the fill in half and shot at f2.4. The man was well tanned and is a touch dark but easily corrected. The woman was more fair skinned. In both cases, there were no zebras and no yellow on the Marshall false colors indicating skin tones were below 70. No ping-pong balls anywhere! Thanks Olof.
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Old December 31st, 2010, 07:21 AM   #8
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Thanks everybody, this was very helpful.

Kevin
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Old January 1st, 2011, 02:26 AM   #9
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There are two types of zebra on the XF3xx.

Zebra 2 is the one that seems most useful as it shows all those areas that are over a certain percentage so you set it to 90% or whatever so you can then just stop down the aperture to either make sure that no part of the picture is over bright or just leave those unavoidable peaks.

Zebra 1 is more confusing as it shows +/-5% around the percentage figure you have set. So if you set it at 70% the zebras will appear on all parts of the picture that are between 65-75% which means that anything over 75% will not be highlighted. I am still not quite sure in what circumstances you would want to use Zebra 1.
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Old January 4th, 2011, 09:51 PM   #10
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Hi Nigel,

Zebra 1 is for nailing skin tones. Like Olof said, for someone with fair skin you'd want only the brightest portions (tip of nose etc, key lit cheek etc) causing zebras to appear.

So for interview shots etc I close the aperture down, then open it up until those portions are just starting to show zebras... then you know your skin tones will be correctly exposed.

You can then use the second set of zebras at 100% to show clipping, although for me I prefer to use Zebras 1 at 70% and the vectorscope to show exposure across the image.

Personally I love Zebra 1 because the vast majority of my shots are people shots.
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Old January 5th, 2011, 12:52 AM   #11
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Josh,

Thanks for the explanation.
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