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Old June 25th, 2008, 03:36 AM   #1
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New Canon XH A1 user needs help please

Hello - I'm new to the Canon XH-A1 and to this forum and I'm hoping to get some advice.
I've been doing wedding videography for about 4 years now and up until this year have used Sony VX 2000/2100 cameras, this year I upgraded to the XH-A1.
I'm still getting used to using the camera and have found that in very bright sunlight for example when shooting the bride outside the light reflects off her white dress (that dazzles) and I end up with a soft focus look on her face and those stood next to her, for some shots admittedly it looks rather good - and I have had do to some post production work (in CS3) to sharpen the images whilst editing to make it not as noticeable but still consistent with the other clips.

I've read a lot of threads referring to white balance adjusting and shooting more in manual focus, the latter sometimes isn't possible given how much people move around and I have to rely on auto focus - but ultimately what do I need to prepare/do to ensure anything white or throwing back a glare in bright sunlight can still be filmed but doesn't result in soft focus?

Sorry if this seems a basic question to most of you out there, reading some of the posts I can you're all quite advanced and experienced. Thank you for your time.
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Old June 25th, 2008, 07:49 AM   #2
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Hi Rachel,

My understanding is that the soft focus you're experiencing isn't really a focus issue - more an issue of the camera struggling to cope with so much light.

Try using the built-in ND filters on the A1. They basically filter out excessive light coming into the camera - perfect for situations involving direct sunlight.

On a side note, my father and grand-father are both from Wales. Cymru am byth :)

Cheers,

Matthew.
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Old June 25th, 2008, 08:03 AM   #3
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I second that. I think that it has something to do with the aperture. With so much light coming into the camera the circuits close down the aperture, which can soften focus in a lot of situations.

I had a similar problem when filming an auto show here recently. I talk a lot about it in my blog post about the experience: http://exposureroom.com/members/Will...blogs/post/206

But basically it boils down to me needing to turn on the ND filters and open up the iris.
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Old June 25th, 2008, 08:36 AM   #4
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Don't be afraid to use those ND filters. I was just shooting last weekend on a cloudy day and still had to engage the ND filters to stay in the F4-5 range.

Just remember to disengage them when you go back inside :)
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Old June 25th, 2008, 11:47 AM   #5
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Circular Polarizing Filter

I am new at video shooting but I have a fair background in DSLR camera's. I recently purchased the XHA1 and I bought the Circular Polarizing filter the same day. I have left the filter on the camera for almost all shots outside except for a very low light evening shot. The polarizer filter gives a richer and slightly more color saturation to the film and reduces the glare and reflections. I recently shot video of streams for the local university and the polarizer filter takes all the glare off the water and and adds depth. I have also used the built in ND filter in strong daylight along with the polarizer filter. The filter also gives protection to the lens when I am shooting outdoors. I shot a video of a butterfly on a white flower yesterday and had to get the shot quickly, the polarizer was on the camera and I got a good shoot that I might have missed taking the time to set up the ND filter. I would buy a good quality polarizer compared to a less expensive one due to better quality of glass. I am not an expert when it comes to video so others may disagree, but it works for me.

Jim Cameron
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Old June 26th, 2008, 05:19 AM   #6
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This might be a little bit out of left field, but I have found that the Normal AF (versus the IAF) actually works better for me and holds a finer focus better than the IAF, especially since it doesn't seem to "hunt" for focus quite as much. Just my 2 cents.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 05:40 AM   #7
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A long zoom range lens like the one XH-A1 has has so many lens elements in it and consequently much internal reflections that contrast suffers compared to a fairly simple primes. Bright lights or white areas smudge the picture, real sharpness maybe does not suffer, but lowered contrast makes it look that way. Also using F-stops smaller than 5.6 start to bring the effects of diffraction into play.

Using built-in ND filters is normal bread and butter in video cameras where exposure can not be adjusted (much) by shutter speed. No need trying to avoid using them.
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Old June 27th, 2008, 05:46 AM   #8
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wow guys - thanks alot for all your advice. i have to be honest and say i was shooting in A mode and went by what the LCD screen told me I needed to do wrt the ND filters which judging by the threads for the Canon XHA1 is not to be advised - everyone seems to promote use of manual and some of the customer presets that have been made available, looks like i've got quite a bit of practice ahead of me, if i want to be able to film what is going on around me and make the clips a decent professional looking standard.

any suggestions for low light in a church to make footage seem less grainy and avoid CS3 having a hissy fit in post production when rendering the clips??!! an additional light on top of the camera would likely blind the bride and groom for the vows - so need suggestions?

btw Matthew - you know more Welsh than I do!!!! I'm a scouser born and bred and have only been in Cardiff for the last 4 years and my Welsh is shocking .........
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