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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 November 9th, 2007, 08:27 AM   #1
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filming in direct sun

I may be forced to film some outdoor scenes in direct sunlight again (the chance of rain ruins the overcast day). So i was wondering if there is a way to make shadows and highlights less strong in this kind of lighting. Seems there is always a huge contrast, with highlights blowing out, and shadows being black.
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Old November 9th, 2007, 08:46 AM   #2
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Hi there

Well sun light gives far better saturated colours... so it's not all bad...
I have to film a lot in the sun and I've not found these HDV cameras too bad (I'm using a Z1).

Basically here's what I do. Not gospel but I find the images are just fine:
1) I always try to keep the sun behind me, 2) I expose for the highlights, 3) use black stretch, 4) If I have to shoot into the light I try to make it an artistic silhouette. 5) I use a polariser, and ND grads to even up the scenic shots..6) If I need interviews, or detail in faces I use a Lastolite reflector.

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Old November 10th, 2007, 01:40 AM   #3
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Bounce Boards

I love shooting in the sun because I feel my colors are always much better, and I don't have to worry about setting up massive lighting rigs.

One thing I always make sure I have tho is several large bounce boards. Even if you just picked up large pieces of white poster board that would work fine. Just have a crew member - or a C-stand - hold the board on one side of your talent to bounce the sunlight into the dark shadows. Which helps to make sure the the fall off on one side of your talents face isn't too dark, or if you just don't want that high contrast look.

Hope that helps! :-D
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Old November 10th, 2007, 10:41 AM   #4
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I'm a video newb and learned this weekend the hard way that direct sunlight can really saturate your colors.

I was filming yesterday in Almonaster (little mountain village in the southwest corner of Spain) using Steve's VividRGB preset. When I got home and viewed it on my monitor, ouch! My wife (who has olive skin) actually came out orange. I'll have to fix it in post.

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Old November 10th, 2007, 10:47 AM   #5
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Nathan,

Anoter thing you might want to try is to use a diffusion cloth or a white bedsheet mounted in a couple of C-Stands in such as way that it blocks the direct sunlight on your subject. This provides a diffused soft light and so produces sgot shawdows rather than hard shadows.

Or shoot in the shade.
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Old November 10th, 2007, 12:12 PM   #6
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White Balance

Danial,

I've never had that extreme of a color difference just from filming in the sun. I have however had this issue early on before I really understood white balance and color temperatures.

Did you white balance your camera in the sunlight before your shoot? Could this have been the reason for the orange skin tones... perhaps?
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Old November 10th, 2007, 01:54 PM   #7
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Quite possibly, Tim.

It was my very first shoot, and I'm new not only to the A1 but to digital video in general.

I didn't manually adjust WB, but rather had it set to the outdoors preset.

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Old November 10th, 2007, 11:03 PM   #8
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Timothy,

White balancing in the sun would render white to be white (for shots in the sun). So that should not change the color of skin either.

Daniel,
I've not used the VividRGB preset but it's possible that that preset was not made for shooting in sunlight. I would bet that it's the preset that caused your colors to be over saturated.

I've shot plenty in the sun and I don't use any custom preset. All I do in post is bump up the black level a bit. When shooting in Sunlight I use the sunlight white balance preset. Shooting the shade or cloudy day I white balance before shooting.
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Old November 11th, 2007, 02:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiv Kumar View Post
White balancing in the sun would render white to be white (for shots in the sun). So that should not change the color of skin either.
I beg to differ. If you don't white balance in the sun, and are still on, lets say, an old preset from when you were shooting in-doors with Tungsten lighting, your skin could possibly appear grayer than normal skin tones should be.

The A1 also has a "skin detail" feature in which would be able to boost the reds in your skin tone causing them to appear over saturated or "orange".

White balance has everything to do with skin tone. It effects much more than just the "whites".
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Old November 11th, 2007, 03:59 AM   #10
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I was under the impression (from the manual) that all the Skin Detail feature did was to soften the image on skin tones so as to conceal wrinkles, big pores, and other skin imperfections (similar to my airbrushed high school yearbook picture :-)

You can indeed select a general hue and brightness, but my impression was that all this does is to alter what tones get recognized as skin tones - it doesn't actually alter the hue/saturation of those tones.

Of course, I've only read, and not actually experimented with this feature, so if someone knows better, by all means correct me.

cheers, d.
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Old November 11th, 2007, 08:39 AM   #11
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Timothy,

I did say, "White balancing in the sun...". :)

So how do you then say, "if you don't white balance in the sun"?
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Old November 11th, 2007, 08:42 AM   #12
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I see... indeed you did. ;-)

As I re-read my first post I realized why you might have made that response. I was merely suggesting that perhaps he didn't white balance in the same light he shot in. Not that white balancing in the sun would make his skins orange. :-P

So... there! lol
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Old November 12th, 2007, 10:57 AM   #13
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Back to my question - for those who have similar fears and such, its really not as bad as it seems on the LCD. Once I looked at a little of the footage the shadows and such weren`t that bad, looked kind of cool actually. Test filming is always best though, do test runs before the actual filming date.
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Old November 13th, 2007, 08:25 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Park View Post
I didn't manually adjust WB, but rather had it set to the outdoors preset.
I'd also suggest that if, for any reason, one is not able to use a manual white balance, it is better to chose the Auto white balance rather than the fixed "outdoor" setting. The Auto on the XH-A1 is pretty good, if a little on the cool side (looks very like a Sony Z1). In my experience, the fixed Outdoor setting is almost never right! I've had a couple of situations recently, in the dull, dim light of a November afternoon, when the manual white balance would not "fix" on a setting. AWB did the job quite acceptably. HTH
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Old November 13th, 2007, 09:09 AM   #15
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...AWB did the job quite acceptably. HTH
I agree, AWB has been acceptable in most circumstances for me.
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