Shooting at an air show, so should I use AGC ? at DVinfo.net

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Old December 17th, 2007, 02:29 PM   #1
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Shooting at an air show, so should I use AGC ?

I'll be shooting an air display in a couple of days, and was wondering what gain setting would suit my conditions. It'll probably be a bright day, and I'll be shooting planes in the air, so I was wondering whether or not to use AGC. Would I get cleaner results (less grain) if I used a manual setting, if so, what would you recommend. I normally use the ND filter at its 1/32 setting to keep everything looking fluid and sharp.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Mark.
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Old December 17th, 2007, 03:04 PM   #2
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No you should not use AGC. Switch AGC to off and manually set a gain value of 0db or -3db.
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Old December 17th, 2007, 03:08 PM   #3
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Ok thanks Chris. Should I still use the ND filter when recommended.

Mark.
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Old December 17th, 2007, 03:35 PM   #4
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Well I've shot a lot of airshows. With a Panasonic GS400 I swap between manual and AGC depending whether there's cloud, how close the flyers are, how fast etc. AGC will hunt focus on small air images.

Panning with an aircraft, you've really got to concentrate on it, like you've never concentrated before. Every now and then let the plane fly out of the frame and you can dissolve to another shot in post.

A huge problem will be the audio, an F15-16 on burner will distort big time at any setting, you can't avoid it, don't worry. Just set low levels and play around in post.

I use a Mighty Wondercam shoulder mount, IMO a tripod is useless, just not fast enough and folk can fall over it. But I did make some bright red vinyl tripod leg covers which also keep the dirt out of the shackles around airfields.

I try to stay well back from the front crowd line as I like to see the crowd occasionally as a speed reference, it makes for more visual interest.

A big difference with the A1 will be its weight, as my A1 is brand new aching arms and back, here we come baby.

Hope for a nice diffused cloudy day and zero wind especially zero wind.
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Old December 18th, 2007, 12:46 PM   #5
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Thanks Allan.

Ok here's another question, sorry if I sound thick....

If I use manual gain control, the ND filter warning doesn't work. I usually use the 1/32 built in ND filter which gives much sharper results than not using it. So what Aperture should I be using to get the best results, and also Shutter speed. I shoot in 50i mode. Can I use the gain control AND the ND filter, or do I need to use the ND ?

Thanks in advance,

Mark.
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Old December 18th, 2007, 01:18 PM   #6
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By "gain" I'm assuming you mean iris?

With ND 1 or 2 engaged for outside use, my general rule of thumb for f stop is a target from f5.6 to fully open (f1.6). Just pay attention to your zebras.

Bill
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Old December 18th, 2007, 02:18 PM   #7
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AGC (automatic gain control) is usually refrencing the audio, but I guess you're talking here about video exposure Mark.

You should never leave the exposure on automatic when shooting movies. Well, that may sound harsh, but if you shoot in auto for 5% of the time that's too much. Sunlight of aeroplane bodies, deep blue sky and white fluffly clouds, shooting on auto will have the diaphragm blades forever on the hunt, and your plane will be constantly varying in brightness. This looks awful.

So select the default shutter speed as it blurs the propeller blades nicely. Don't leave 'auto shutter' on as strobing can even make propeller blades look as if they've come to a stop and reversed their direction. I've seen this on PDX10 footage.

Switch in the ND filters as you ideally want to be shooting around f/4 or f/5.6. I know what Allan's saying about tripods, but come the edit bench you'll find you only want to use the tripod footage. With a zoom like yours it's all too tempting to zoom in that little bit more, and OIS and shoulder braces are often not up to it.

tom.
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Old December 18th, 2007, 02:56 PM   #8
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Thanks for the A1 tips guys and I meant auto not AGC. When I first got the Mighty Wondercam shoulder mount for airshows I had a woeful time, first thought it was a mistake then thought I'd bought the wrong one. But after a while with experience it started to come good, then better then great. That was 4 years ago, now I wouldn't be without it.

The big airshow advantage is, I get shots just not possible with a tripod and they're steady. The new A1 is a different kettle of fish, but I've got a HV20 as backup for air shots, we'll see.
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Old December 18th, 2007, 03:12 PM   #9
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That answers my question, so thanks. I usually find setting the focus to manual, zooming in and setting to infinity, then zoom back, this keeps everything in focus and doesn't have the problem of the Autofocus struggling on small items in a blank sky. The only problem with this is you can't zoom fully into things that are closer than a 100m or so, but then most things are a lot further out than that. I also have a Hague shoulder brace which does work well, just got to hold your breath on the full zoom shots.

So my setup will probably be....

Manual focus (this does work well)

Manual Gain Control (probably set to -3)

Manual Aperture (set this to around f5)

I'll keep shutter to auto as this will be a jet show, so still props won't be an issue, and it'll be easier than having to work out the zebra (I'm still learning)

Oh one more thing.....

I wish there was a way of having the shutter speed displayed on screen when in Auto shutter mode, at least I would know what my other settings are doing. Is there an option for this ?

Mark
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