White Balance & Exposure for Dummies at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon HDV and DV Camera Systems > Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders

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


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old March 28th, 2008, 10:14 AM   #1
New Boot
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ottawa Ontario Canada
Posts: 20
White Balance & Exposure for Dummies

I've had my Canon XH-A1 for a few months now (my experience level is about one notch above newbie) and I'm interested in capturing the most neutral and accurate footage possible.

I've also been following the 'TrueColor configuration for XH A1' thread and I'm currently using Paolos' recommended preset.

Could someone please explain to me what their routines are for setting proper white balance and exposure for this camera?

Is there a recommended white balance and/or exposure card?

I checked out a PhotoVision product http://www.photovisionvideo.com/stor...egory_Code=DCT

but I'm unsure if this product works for video and I'm still unclear if, and how, I can use the 18% gray panel.

Little help? Lotsa help?

By the way, I am stunned at how helpful and professional people are on this forum. I have already learned a lot.

Thank you in advance!
__________________
In Solidarity,
Alain St-Amour
Alain St-Amour is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 28th, 2008, 06:15 PM   #2
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 55
Hi Alain,

All I do to white balance is do what is described in the Canon manual: hold a sheet of white of white paper (make sure it's white and not "off white"!) towards the camera in the light you'll be shooting, and hold down the white balance button until it stops flashing. It works fine for me. I asked a news cameraman about using charts and he just laughed and said sure, you can, but for 99% of his shooting there was just no need to. That was good enough for me.

For exposure, you can turn on the zebra bars so they're visible on the flip out LCD screen (zebra bars are diagonal lines that appear on your screen wherever the camera's exposure meter determines a part of the footage is over exposed). If you're shooting in manual mode (or aperture priority) you then adjust the aperture (iris ring on the lens) until the zebra bars diminish/go. This just takes a bit of practice and you should review your footage to see the results. Pretty quickly you'll work out how much overexposure you are happy with (or not!). In my experience, especially filming outside, it's not unusual to have some part of the footage overexposed--to get absolutely no over exposure, the rest of your footage may be too dark, so having a small amount of overexposure (eg a part of someone's hair; or some leaves on a part of the tree) may be the lesser of 2 evils.

Trust this helps.
Jim Press is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 28th, 2008, 11:58 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 224
I use the white foam board that you can pick up at any school/office supplies store. It also works great for bouncing light too.

They can be had for about 89 cents each.
Bryan Gilchrist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 29th, 2008, 02:41 AM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 477
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alain St-Amour View Post

Is there a recommended white balance and/or exposure card?

I checked out a PhotoVision product http://www.photovisionvideo.com/stor...egory_Code=DCT

but I'm unsure if this product works for video and I'm still unclear if, and how, I can use the 18% gray panel.

Little help? Lotsa help?

By the way, I am stunned at how helpful and professional people are on this forum. I have already learned a lot.

Thank you in advance!

While I have no experience with this particular product that you linked to, I can say that I have used a standard 18% photo gray card before and it works great. I just bought one from the local camera store for about $5.
Well worth it, especially on the critical stuff for clients. Before every important shoot, I would recommend turning off the AWB, and setting WB manually, especially indoors. I would use the photo gray card 1st, but white foam board is OK, too.
Steve Wolla is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 29th, 2008, 07:00 AM   #5
Obstreperous Rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: San Marcos, TX
Posts: 26,900
Images: 513
Nothing against those folks using a plain sheet of white paper, but in my experience there's too much variation in "white" among different types and weights of paper. So I use a CamWhite chart from DSC Labs -- mine is part of their CamBook spiral-bound chart package which has their white card, greyscale, multiburst, backfocus and color chart in one 30cm x 20cm book: http://www.dsclabs.com/cambook.htm
__________________
CH

Search DV Info Net | DV Info Net Sponsors | A Decade (+5) of DVi | ...Tuesday is Soylent Green Day!
Chris Hurd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 29th, 2008, 06:49 PM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Worthington, Iowa
Posts: 191
I have been using a device that fits like a filter on the front of your lens called a expodisc, it is the neetest filter and gives you accurate white balance every time becasue it is reading the actual light through the lens and not different varations of white or grey. There is a couple videos on the expodisc web site that will give you more insight to this wonderful tool. http://www.expodisc.com/?gclid=CO2lm...FRzHIgodH24wNg I use it on my video camera and my Canon 20D...
__________________
Jeff Mayne
Gone Thinkin Outdoors
Jeff Mayne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 29th, 2008, 11:59 PM   #7
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Sydney.
Posts: 2,569
I second that Jeff.

Cheers.
Allan Black is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 30th, 2008, 01:20 AM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Espoo Finland
Posts: 380
Normal office copy paper is good enough in an emegency (I have even balanced from a white wall sometimes), but high grade photo printing paper is just about the whitest thing we all have laying around at home or office, besides styrofoam reflectors, of course. Back it up with some cardboard and you are all set. Bigger white card is better than a small one, as the card must fill the whole frame.

It is easy and cheap to also print a series of "warm cards" from those photo papers. Just add a tiny bit of blue, and you have cards giving you nice warm effects. Much cheaper than store bought.
Petri Kaipiainen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 30th, 2008, 02:15 AM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Sydney.
Posts: 2,569
Well that's right too, and if you shoot a wedding wear a white shirt and balance off the sleeve. The single women go nuts.

Cheers.
Allan Black is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 30th, 2008, 02:52 AM   #10
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Posts: 1,521
Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
Well that's right too, and if you shoot a wedding wear a white shirt and balance off the sleeve. The single women go nuts.

Cheers.
I keep a warm card under my kilt for that effect.

Only kidding!
Colin McDonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 30th, 2008, 08:38 AM   #11
New Boot
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ottawa Ontario Canada
Posts: 20
Thanks so much for your replies.

My apologies, I wasn't as specific as I should have been. I use the zebra (mine is set to 100 ire) and I always manually WB.

What I wanted to know was, is there any difference between just white balancing on a sheet of white paper or using a pre-made chart? I suspect, and this thread seems to confirm, that not all white sheets are created equal.

1 - Is there an industry standard 'white' for the purposes of white balancing? - Here I am referring specifically to the hue of white itself here, not a product.

2 - If yes, is there a product known to offer this specific hue of white?

3 - These 18% gray scale charts. What are they for and how do you use them?

My goal is to try and capture the most neutral, real, and natural footage I can in order to give myself more options in post.

Thanks again to everyone.
__________________
In Solidarity,
Alain St-Amour
Alain St-Amour is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 30th, 2008, 09:10 AM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Posts: 70
try this site


http://www.apogeephoto.com/mag2-6/mag2-9st_1.shtml
Kenneth Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 30th, 2008, 09:14 AM   #13
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: NJ, USA
Posts: 169
Alain,

I have noted differences in gray cards between different brands, and I'm sure that white cards are o different. I have a nice plastic gray card from calumet that is the most neutral I have, but I also have a Kodak cardboard gray card that is about 10CC magenta. Not noticeable, unless the 2 are side by side. But a real difference.
That expodisc looks pretty good--reading the ambient instead of the reflected should give better results.
Jeff Rhode is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 30th, 2008, 09:20 AM   #14
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Warrington England
Posts: 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Rhode View Post
Alain,

I have noted differences in gray cards between different brands, and I'm sure that white cards are o different. I have a nice plastic gray card from calumet that is the most neutral I have, but I also have a Kodak cardboard gray card that is about 10CC magenta. Not noticeable, unless the 2 are side by side. But a real difference.
That expodisc looks pretty good--reading the ambient instead of the reflected should give better results.
I have just ordered an expodisc for my XHA1 some very good reviews and will let you know how it performs after I have used it

Alan
Alan Craig is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 30th, 2008, 04:11 PM   #15
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Sydney.
Posts: 2,569
When you order an Expodisc for the A1, IMO get the 82mm. With step-down rings it'll cover your other lens. Check you're ordering the correct one, there are warm ones available, as I found out too late.

Cheers.
Allan Black is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon HDV and DV Camera Systems > Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:05 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network