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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).

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Old October 25th, 2007, 10:14 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Las Vegas, NV
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Theater lighting

I have never used a forum before, I have always tried to figure thing out myself but with my canon xh-a1 I am stumped, I use this camcorder mainly for dance recitals and plays and talent competitions which almost always puts you in dark rooms and very bright lighting condition on stage and usually shooting at long distances, I have noticed two different issues with this a1. 1st is focus in instance auto focus, if the subject moves on stage towards the camcorder greater the about four feet the subject becomes blurry (this I assume is related to depth of field). 2nd is over exposure, I have used both auto and manual shooting modes and still have more over exposures then I had seen in other camcorders I have used (auto is far worse then manual). In manual I used shutter, f-stop and gain to try to correct for the over exposures with some luck ( shutter @ 75, f-stop varied and gain to a -3 ) but still think I could do better. I have not used any of the custom pre-sets.
Could anyone give me some ideas on how to get better video shooting in a theater environment? I strongly believe this camcorder is capable of getting video then I have achieved. When I do get a chance to use this a1 outdoors the video is great.
Jeff King is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 25th, 2007, 10:47 AM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Philly,PA
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Use the VF to adjust your exposure and color. Then use the LCD to monitor after your desired look is achieved.

There is a "Spotlight" mode. Did you try it?

You should probably turn off the auto focus and make sure auto gain is off too.

I wouldn't use someone elses preset in that environment. You clearly know the look you want, and the A1 can do it. I would either shoot flat then adjust the color in post; or during the next shoot create a preset starting point and adjust it using the vf to get the look you want.
Eric Weiss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 25th, 2007, 12:59 PM   #3
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mays Landing, NJ
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Hi Jeff and welcome to DVinfo! Have a look at our "sticky" regarding stage shows, it should give you some ideas:

Here are a couple thoughts: Assuming you have an NTSC camera, I can't see any reason to use 1/75 shutter speed. If shooting interlaced video the shutter should be at 1/60 IMO.

Are you shooting from far away? If so then I'd suggest manual focus. Does the A1 have some kind of focus distance readout? If so, zoom all the way in and try focusing on an object at the front of the stage, then focus on another at the rear. Make a mental note of your focus readout for each of these. Then as you shoot it shouldn't be too hard to estimate the distance and manually set it. Small chip cameras like yours (and mine!) have a huge depth of field, and my experience is that focus isn't super critical for this kind of shooting, especially if the end product will be standard definition.

I shoot all our performance archive video here at Opera Company of Philadelphia (with a Sony Z1), and this is one trick I've learned the hard way after ruining tapes with the autofocus "hunting". The only location for my camera during a performance is over 100 feet from the stage. I find that focus really isn't very critical for a full stage shot. Close shots are a little more challenging, but they usually work fine using this technique.
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