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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 May 13th, 2008, 12:22 PM   #1
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I Got Stuck!

Recently I was filming a band concert on a decently lit stage. I was using the REALITY preset with my gain set to 0, +3, & +6. Everything was going well and I was able to adjust for lower light sections of the stage with different gain settings. Then the director stood in front of the podium to give a speech. Unfortunately, the podium was not in any light. Since this was a multicamera shoot, I did not want to stop filming to change presets and adjust my gain settings. Plus if I did that I would loose the audio. I ended up just filming it at +6, but there is not much information there.

I find not being able to change the gain and presets while filming to be a limitation. Shooting mostly live events, I feel that the A-1 sometimes does not allow me to adjust for unexpected situations.

If anyone has a better setup suggestion, I would love to hear it. I would rather not run into this problem again. Thank you

Jonathan Schwartz
CA Video Productions
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Old May 13th, 2008, 12:49 PM   #2
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if I'm not mistaken, if you set your gain presets prior to "shooting" then you can simply toggle the presests while rolling. Even if you can't do this, it will enable you to change the settings really fast.

Also consider your choices in FStop before adding too much gain.

-JS
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Old May 13th, 2008, 01:41 PM   #3
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You can totally set the Low, Mid, and High settings for the gain switch and switch between them while filming.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 01:46 PM   #4
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Since Gain=Grain, I generally use the gain switch as a last-ditch way of salvaging a shot and only use it for applications where noise is acceptable, like documentaries and certain kinds of videography.

If you set your camera to full auto you can let the camera make the focus, exposure and gain adjustments so that you will always have the most visible image, just don't be surprised by the amount of noise when you see it full-res on an HD display.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 01:48 PM   #5
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I totally understand you, Jonathan. I found the same thing this past weekend filming a conference. I had my gain set up ahead of time the same as you (0, 3, 6) but then all of a sudden the speaker moved to the audience where there was no direct light, I opened the aperture and set gain to H but it still wasn't enough. Sure would be nice to change the gain preset on the fly.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 01:55 PM   #6
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Gain Switch

I understand the gain switch. Like I said I had mine set to 0, 3, 6. But when the speaker moved, +6 was not enough. It just scares me that I could be left without a shot. Coming from a Panasonic DVC30 (which I know is not half the camera of the A1), the iris wheel scrolled from Fstops into Gain numbers so you had full range of lighting from F16 to db18.

Jonathan Schwartz
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Old May 13th, 2008, 02:13 PM   #7
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Switching to auto gain while filming is very fast and simple and will allow you to get the shot and keep the preset, just not control how much gain is used. In your case a noisy shot is better than no shot.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 03:39 PM   #8
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the key to taking advantage of the gain presets is to arrive a few minutes early, and adjust the settings as neccessary in the best lit part of the room, average lit part of the room, and darkest part of the room. Do this at each event.

-JS
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Old May 13th, 2008, 04:02 PM   #9
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I use 0, 6 & 12 for my gain settings. For weddings, this serves me well. I think there are days where I have been at 12db the whole time. Content is king, and I will never blame a missed shot on the camera. A quick flip of the AGC will get that shot, even though it is noisy.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 07:05 PM   #10
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You can change presets while filming, if by presets you mean the ones stored on the memory card. Gain you have only the 3 settings to set up and then select. Mapping a low light preset to the custom presets is helpful sometimes for varied lighting situations.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 02:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Hooey View Post
You can change presets while filming, if by presets you mean the ones stored on the memory card.
True James... however you have to do an extra step... you can't just hit the select button while rolling tape & expect to scroll through card & cam CP's. First you have to de-activate the presets with the CP on/off button... then you can scroll to the one you want to use, then make the CP active again. There's one drawback though... during the de-activate stage, you're going to basically be shooting flat (default) for the duration of time it takes you to select & then re-activate... so expect a shift, there's nothing you can do about it.

On another note... reading this whole thread, not one mention of simply going to a lower shutter speed such as 1/30 or even 1/15 if you have to. Instead all that was mentioned was gain. 1/30 in my eyes is perfectly more acceptable than going to a higher gain setting and adding any unnecessary grain.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 09:28 AM   #12
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Gain

I agree with Bill. Leave the Gain at 0. Only use a higher gain setting if nothing else is possible. Gain means grain or noise to some degree in all cases. Gain should not be used unless absolutely necessary and in my opinion a wedding is not the kind of event I would use a higher gain setting on. I would use a higher gain setting for example, if shooting perhaps wildlife at dusk or later.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 10:18 AM   #13
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Instead of pushing up the Gain, my suggestion to your surprise situation is to LOCK the exposure (a tiny button called Exp.Lock), then you can manually adjust Aperture using the ring on the lenses and adjust Shutter speed using the "shutter/K" scroll wheel. It works well in AUTO mode.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 11:00 AM   #14
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Duh

Bill - Thank you for reminding me. Can't believe I did not think of it. But what would you do in a setting such as a dance recital where fast motion would create motion blur?

Dez - I was in exp lock and at 3.4 (as open as it would go how far I was zoomed out)

Jon Schwartz
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Old May 14th, 2008, 01:47 PM   #15
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Jonathan, I would think/hope that any dance recital would... at minimum... be lit well enough to be seen by the audience :) Using 1/30 shutter will, at best... look more like film motion as opposed to adding much motion blur. 1/15 & lower on the other hand will definitely start to get interesting :)
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