New A1 owner here! Shooting AirShow this weekend. 60i or 30f? at DVinfo.net

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Old May 23rd, 2008, 07:44 AM   #1
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New A1 owner here! Shooting AirShow this weekend. 60i or 30f?

Hello all!

Well, I finally did it! Just received it yesterday with my VariZoom DV Media Rig and VZ Rock Lanc Controller!!! Many thanks to all the guys here sharing their vimeo and Exposure Room samples (especially Mr Dempsey)!!!

I slapped the title down on my FJ Cruiser to get a loan for my new XH-A1 and accessories! Man, this camera is one Hefty Sexy piece of Glorious Equipment! So much to learn!

Well, I need some quick advice as I have been invited to shoot a video for a performer at an Airshow this weekend. I'm getting on the other side of the fence for the 1st time in my life with a video camera!!! What a treat!!

Anyway, I haven't had anytime to play with the camera as I'm trying to get my work caught up so I can go to the Airshow so I was hoping you guys could give me the quick set up guide to get the best footage possible.

It's going to be a nice bright day for shooting (both Sat and Sun) so there will be plenty of light. Keep in mind I will be shooting fast moving objects.

My main question is 60i or 30f? 30f is basically 1080p right? Shooting a full 30fps? Having a progressive shooting camera has been my dream for a long time now, but I want to make sure it will hold up. I mean isn't 60i basically going to give me the same results in post?

So with that question, what about the others tricks?

A friend shared with me a few things:
ND filter @ 1/32
AGC off
Gain 0db

I look forward to any help you guys can share with me. I leave late tonight so I'm kinda desperate!!

Man, it's nice to be an A1 owner finally! I was thinking of getting an EX1, but the cost is just too over the top for me. Besides, Canon is truly my favorite camera to have in my hands. My HV10 has served me very well so to stay in the Canon family just makes me all tingly on the inside! :)

Thanks guys.
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 09:25 AM   #2
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I suggest 60.

Brad,
I suggest shooting in 60i. I shoot car shows for my employer and shot the last one in 30F. Now I'm wishing that I had shot in 60 so I could get some cleaner results when slowing the footage down.

I would keep gain at -3, and definitely use an ND filter (though the camera has two built-in, so you could use those.)

Here's my last car show and I just got it uploaded today.

http://exposureroom.com/members/Will...c7e8facb38793/

Good luck and I can't wait to see the footage!
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 10:40 AM   #3
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Hi Brad,

Will is absolutely right. Definitely 60i, with the ND filter on (probably lower setting). Also be sure to try some of the custom presets here, sky shots should look good with either Panalook or VividRGB (but I suggest bringing the color gain down a bit from its initial setting). Have fun, it's an amazing cam!

Patrick
home: Florida and Ukraine!

PS- also, you may want to try aperture priority at F4 rather than straight auto mode. I find that shooting at F4 gives better image quality than smaller apertures (due to diffraction).
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 10:51 AM   #4
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You haven't mentioned your editing system. Some will not handle the 24F or 30F mode. Since you just got the camera, I'd play it safe and go with 60i. I shoot everything 24F and have no problems (editing in FCP), and shoot lots of fast-moving objects. However, if you've never shot 24 fps before I think it's best to stick with 60i for the moment.

On the other hand, if you have time, why not go do a test? Shoot some fast moving cars in both 30F and 60i and see what you like best.

Shooting outdoors, you need to set your gain at -3db and the ND filter at the highest position. It's even better if you have an external ND, like an ND.3. You want to shoot with the lens in the middle ranges, like around an f5.6 or so, whenever possible. The -3db gain will take you down a bit, so it functions like an ND also.

When you're shooting from a tripod, make sure you turn the optical stabilizer off, otherwise you're going to have some problems with fast pans when following action. If you're doing it handheld, leave it on. It's unfortunate that there's no external switch for this function, but that's the way it is.

In addition to the auto gain off, turn off all the other auto stuff too. The camera comes out of the box with all the automatic things on. You want auto iris off, auto shutter off (set your shutter speed to 1/60 for shooting 60i or 30f, to 1/48 for 24f), auto focus off. Oh yeah, one more--auto white balance off.
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 11:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
You haven't mentioned your editing system. Some will not handle the 24F or 30F mode. Since you just got the camera, I'd play it safe and go with 60i. I shoot everything 24F and have no problems (editing in FCP), and shoot lots of fast-moving objects. However, if you've never shot 24 fps before I think it's best to stick with 60i for the moment.

On the other hand, if you have time, why not go do a test? Shoot some fast moving cars in both 30F and 60i and see what you like best.

Shooting outdoors, you need to set your gain at -3db and the ND filter at the highest position. It's even better if you have an external ND, like an ND.3. You want to shoot with the lens in the middle ranges, like around an f5.6 or so, whenever possible. The -3db gain will take you down a bit, so it functions like an ND also.

When you're shooting from a tripod, make sure you turn the optical stabilizer off, otherwise you're going to have some problems with fast pans when following action. If you're doing it handheld, leave it on. It's unfortunate that there's no external switch for this function, but that's the way it is.

In addition to the auto gain off, turn off all the other auto stuff too. The camera comes out of the box with all the automatic things on. You want auto iris off, auto shutter off (set your shutter speed to 1/60 for shooting 60i or 30f, to 1/48 for 24f), auto focus off. Oh yeah, one more--auto white balance off.
Bill you are right, but he sound like a newbee, turning everything to manual might to much for him to handle, he doesn't know how to manually exposed, that is why he asked about the settings in the first place, and he won't have enough time to learn by this weekend, I would suggest that you
1 turn off auto gain
2 set it on -3db
3 white balance on outdoor of auto
4 max ND
5 shoot in A mode, (apperture priority) and set your apperture at around F4 to 5.6, this way the shutter speed will auto adjust accordingly to the lightning situation and so you don't have to manually adjust exposure.
Good luck.
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 12:10 PM   #6
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I meant Av mode ( apperture priority) not A mode f(ull auto)
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 01:03 PM   #7
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You may be in the deep end a little for a first assignment with a new camera.

If you are going to shoot an acro performance ground-to-air, try to get hold of a good heavy fluid-head tripod which is oversize for the camera weight, one that it going to stay firm with its own weight and not rely on the camera's mass to keep it on the ground. You may find it helpful to drive a tent peg into the ground and rope the centre of the tripod down to it with a tension knot or use a tension strap and buckle. If you are in a paved aircraft parking area, maybe a look around for a tiedown to fasten onto.

For ease, you need to position the tripod head fairly high but so that you are neither stretching to use the viewfinder or LCD when the aircraft is near groundlevel or having to stoop under the camera to be able for follows overhead.

Try to develop a rocking see-saw techique across the tilt and pan centre of the tripod head rather than relying on inputs to the pan and tilt arm.

You may find it helpful to mount your camera a little forward on the tripod head rather than on centre and maybe to add another arm which points forward to help the see-saw action.

For smoother control of your pan follows you may find need to use a little more lower back movement with a bit of a bent posture.

The bend in the tripod handle should be set so that it points a little upward, not downward and a little to the outside otherwise it is going to foul on the tripod legs on steep overheads as you walk around.

You will need to set the legs fairly narrow and look for the best compromise between tripping over the legs as you walk around or dragging the thing over in a fast follow against fluid friction.

Without a longer lens to keep the frame full, you are probably going to have to get fairly close to the performance box which means a more awkward steeper overhead angle.

At a steep angle, the movements of the tripod become a little bizarre. The pan movement on the subject actually becomes a cone of movement and an aircraft flying a straight course requires both co-ordinated pan and tilt movements which a pan movement alone at ground level would handle.

In absence of wild birds to practice on, perhaps set your camera up on a tripod near some overhead power lines with the lines at about 50degree inclination overhead and practice your follows along a wire keeping it in a constant place in the frame.

If there are feedlines coming off to houses, practice jumping off and following those to get used to sudden directional changes.

Use the normal compositional rule of "nose-room" on a moving aircraft. Compositionally it is better to lose a little of the tail rather than have the nose always jumping forward out of the picture.

As well as looking more natural it also allows you some wriggle room if there is a sudden directional change and you are less likely to lose the subject out of the frame.

My personal preference is to try to frame as tight as I can for my follows otherwise the shot is a meaningful as a tiny fly on a window. For my wides, especially if the aircraft is leaving a smoke trail, I try to allow the aircraft to do as much of the moving as possible without following except to re-frame for best composition in approximate four-second steps. I also like to keep a ground reference in the wides.

A final recommendation for your own peace of mind more than anything else.

You might tell your friend that if you observe something going on that breaches good common sense and risk limits beyond those which are normal for sports aircraft performances, that you will point the camera off subject and walk away from it.

This is my own personal policy which I make known to pilots before I shoot their displays. This may not necessarily reduce excessive risk taking but it does act as a disincentive to playing up to the camera, another distraction in a pilot's high workload environment.

There is a bit of my aerial stuff on YouTube under the membership DARANGULAFILM.

If you are already experienced in this work with other camera types, please feel free to ignore my suggestions as you may well have evolved a better way of doing things.

Good luck and enjoy.

Last edited by Bob Hart; May 23rd, 2008 at 01:40 PM. Reason: error
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 01:06 PM   #8
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I wouldn't want the shutter speed to change during a shot. If you're going to use an auto iris mode, I'd do the TV mode. You can let the camera set aperture, then hit the exposure lock button to turn off the auto mode so it won't change during a shot. It might also be helpful to use the auto focus button judiciously too when following planes in the air.

Sometimes auto functions can be handy, but only if you can turn them off easily. I often will zoom into something, press auto focus to let the camera focus quickly, then release the button so the focus doesn't shift when I recompose.

Same with the auto exposure--there are times when the camera will set an auto exposure accurately, like on wide shots outdoors in reasonably flat light. Using the TV mode allows you to let the camera do that, and you can easily lock the exposure down with the exposure lock button so it won't shift when you pan or tilt to something. Thanks to Chris for pointing out this feature. I was accustomed to professional lenses which have an auto iris button you press and release. Chris found that the TV mode does basically the same thing, but instead of holding the button down, you press it to go to auto or press it again to go manual. Very handy. But the thing to beware of is that if you power down and then fire up the camera again, when in TV mode, it will revert to auto even though when you shut down you were in manual. I got burned by that on a shoot last week. I panned from one part of a scene to another and noticed an exposure shift when I thought I was in manual. Fortunately I had a chance to redo that shot.

You bring up a very good point about being a newbie. Even if you're experienced, a new camera like the XH A1 requires a lot of learning so you're comfortable with it, unless your previous camera was something like an XL2. For me, going from a 2/3" chip fully manual camera to the XH A1 was a bit of a pain, and some things are still a little awkward for me.
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 03:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Vaughan View Post
My main question is 60i or 30f?
Definitely 60i. I'm going to break with some of the other's here and suggest that you lock the shutter down to a fast setting 1/500 or even 1/1000 if it doesn't open up the iris too far. No ND if you don't need it.

Why. You should be able to get footage with that you'll be able to slow down with great clarity in post, if you want to. And I think you might. You can let the shutter float, but if it's a bright sunshiny day and you're not shooting right into the sun, it shouldn't be a problem.

My justification for this is definitely not length of experience as a shooter, but I do have experience shooting races up here at a local track, and if the light lets me, I keep it at 1/500. You can see some of the slomo bits in the pieces here:
www.vimeo.com/oxfordplains

The first was shot on a tripod and the second on a mono. I'll agree heartily with Bob that a good, solid, heavy tri is a must. I find myself occasionally lifting a leg on mine on a tilt/pan move. If you can, hang something heavy from the center of a light tri, like a bag of sand or 5# bag of rice. It'll help.

And to add to the complexity, you might want to bring your HV10 and a small tri or clamp mount and set it on a wide angle to catch peripheral action and to use as cutaway shots in post. I focus mine on turns 3 & 4 at the track and I've gotten some interesting action I would have missed when following the battles on the track. It caught a car going into a small lake at fast speed to make an impressive splash. Glad I had it.

And oh, by the way, have fun.
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 03:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Megenty View Post
Also be sure to try some of the custom presets here, sky shots should look good with either Panalook or VividRGB
Try PANALOOK. VIVIDRGB is a little extreme, especially if the planes are at all colorful. You'll be dialing the color back in post to keep it legal with VIVIDRGB.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Megenty View Post
PS- also, you may want to try aperture priority at F4 rather than straight auto mode. I find that shooting at F4 gives better image quality than smaller apertures (due to diffraction).
I'll second that!

If you have a polarizing filter, use it. It can deepen the blue of the sky and make any clouds pop.
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 06:13 PM   #11
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Hi Brad...........

If you want to read how NOT to do an air show, give this a scrute.

I've still got welts on my shins from this little adventure!

http://dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=117949

Certainly not one of my finest hours.

CS
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 11:55 PM   #12
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Thanks guys.

A true wealth of info.

Well although someone said I may be in over my head I wouldn't go that far.

Perhaps up to my chest, but not over my head. I will definately shoot in TV mode at about 1/500 -1/2000 if extremely well lit situations. I personally like the effect it gives when I go slo-mo in post.

The Exp Lock is a nice button, I will make sure I use that often!

I will also go 60i as it gave me great results in my other Airshow pieces. I just thought I would try 30f, but I'll wait til later since I don't really have time to experiment with it yet.

Thanks again guys, I truly appreciate the advice.

So here's my plan:
60i
TV Mode
Exp Lock
1/500 - 1/2000
AGC off
-3db
1/32 ND
VividRGB (most likely...I love saturated colors.)

I'll share some samples later next week.
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Old May 24th, 2008, 05:01 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Hart View Post
You may be in the deep end a little for a first assignment with a new camera.

If you are going to shoot an acro performance ground-to-air, try to get hold of a good heavy fluid-head tripod which is oversize for the camera weight, one that it going to stay firm with its own weight and not rely on the camera's mass to keep it on the ground. You may find it helpful to drive a tent peg into the ground and rope the centre of the tripod down to it with a tension knot or use a tension strap and buckle. If you are in a paved aircraft parking area, maybe a look around for a tiedown to fasten onto.

For ease, you need to position the tripod head fairly high but so that you are neither stretching to use the viewfinder or LCD when the aircraft is near groundlevel or having to stoop under the camera to be able for follows overhead.

Try to develop a rocking see-saw techique across the tilt and pan centre of the tripod head rather than relying on inputs to the pan and tilt arm.

You may find it helpful to mount your camera a little forward on the tripod head rather than on centre and maybe to add another arm which points forward to help the see-saw action.

For smoother control of your pan follows you may find need to use a little more lower back movement with a bit of a bent posture.

The bend in the tripod handle should be set so that it points a little upward, not downward and a little to the outside otherwise it is going to foul on the tripod legs on steep overheads as you walk around.

You will need to set the legs fairly narrow and look for the best compromise between tripping over the legs as you walk around or dragging the thing over in a fast follow against fluid friction.

Without a longer lens to keep the frame full, you are probably going to have to get fairly close to the performance box which means a more awkward steeper overhead angle.

At a steep angle, the movements of the tripod become a little bizarre. The pan movement on the subject actually becomes a cone of movement and an aircraft flying a straight course requires both co-ordinated pan and tilt movements which a pan movement alone at ground level would handle.

In absence of wild birds to practice on, perhaps set your camera up on a tripod near some overhead power lines with the lines at about 50degree inclination overhead and practice your follows along a wire keeping it in a constant place in the frame.

If there are feedlines coming off to houses, practice jumping off and following those to get used to sudden directional changes.

Use the normal compositional rule of "nose-room" on a moving aircraft. Compositionally it is better to lose a little of the tail rather than have the nose always jumping forward out of the picture.

As well as looking more natural it also allows you some wriggle room if there is a sudden directional change and you are less likely to lose the subject out of the frame.

My personal preference is to try to frame as tight as I can for my follows otherwise the shot is a meaningful as a tiny fly on a window. For my wides, especially if the aircraft is leaving a smoke trail, I try to allow the aircraft to do as much of the moving as possible without following except to re-frame for best composition in approximate four-second steps. I also like to keep a ground reference in the wides.

A final recommendation for your own peace of mind more than anything else.

You might tell your friend that if you observe something going on that breaches good common sense and risk limits beyond those which are normal for sports aircraft performances, that you will point the camera off subject and walk away from it.

This is my own personal policy which I make known to pilots before I shoot their displays. This may not necessarily reduce excessive risk taking but it does act as a disincentive to playing up to the camera, another distraction in a pilot's high workload environment.

There is a bit of my aerial stuff on YouTube under the membership DARANGULAFILM.

If you are already experienced in this work with other camera types, please feel free to ignore my suggestions as you may well have evolved a better way of doing things.

Good luck and enjoy.
What a mightly load of sound advice. I have to shoot an airshow in a few months, and this post will certainly keep me from making most of the newbees mistakes. Thanks a million, Bob!
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Old May 24th, 2008, 08:40 AM   #14
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Hey Brad,

Some great advice you've received here.

I'd suggest:

Shoot 60i
-3db gain
AGC off
TV mode
and make good use of the exposure lock button.

Here's a clip from a car and airshow I shot recently - it's a mixture of cars and planes - most of them were on the ground though ... the planes I mean ... there were plenty of flying cars :)

http://www.vimeo.com/996086

Let us know how you get on - and post some footage if you get a chance.

Good luck with it!

Cheers,

Matthew.
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