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Old June 28th, 2008, 01:31 PM   #1
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[A1] Auto shooting: Tips to quickly adjust exposure?

Hey,

Firstly, I try to shoot in manual everything as much as possible... I am forcing myself to get comfy with all of the manual settings...

With that said, sometimes I have to shoot auto... Just curious if you fine folks could give me some tips on how to shoot auto (not the full "green" auto), and still be able to adjust the exposure up/down a tad?

For example, I shot some people the other day who were in the direct sunlight... Most were wearing hats... the bill/brim of the hat would cause their faces to be in shadow, but surrounding environment would be lit brightly.

Hindsight being 20/20, I should have stopped-up the exposure a tad... But, how does one do that in auto mode? AE shift?

In terms of A1 controls and settings, what (quick) technique would you apply to get more detail in the shadows of the persons face?

Because I shoot so much manual (just to get better at it), I am less familiar with the auto settings... Is there a mode where I can just adjust the aperture? Seems like that would do the trick...

What would you do in that type of situation? I ended-up having a nice auto exposure for everything but the shadow parts of the faces... Hmmm, maybe it would have been wise to bring a light reflector.

(Sidenote: I tend to shoot with AGC turned off, and gain switch set to -3 or 0.)

Hehe, sorry if scattered question. :)

Many thanks in advance!
Cheers,
Micky
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Old June 28th, 2008, 08:58 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Micky Hulse View Post
Hey,
Just curious if you fine folks could give me some tips on how to shoot auto (not the full "green" auto), and still be able to adjust the exposure up/down a tad?
Don't know how fine I am, but you can use the exposure lock button to temporarily throw you into manual mode. I've used it in Av and Tv mode.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micky Hulse View Post
I should have stopped-up the exposure a tad... But, how does one do that in auto mode? AE shift?
Again, the exposure lock button is the quickest way. AE shift would take WAY to long to get to in the menu structure. exp lock is one touch on and one touch off.

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Originally Posted by Micky Hulse View Post
In terms of A1 controls and settings, what (quick) technique would you apply to get more detail in the shadows of the persons face?
Don't have tons of experience shooting people but I think your best tool is lighting. Outside it has a ton to do with positioning your subject correctly relative to the sun. If you have a sidekick with you on a shoot, let him/her carry a light bounce. This is less a camera issue than a cameraman creative choice.

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Originally Posted by Micky Hulse View Post
Is there a mode where I can just adjust the aperture?
Depends on what options you want available. Grab a cup of coffee or a beer and read through that portion of the manual. It's very helpful. Better yet, keep it in your camera bag or load a pdf version into your PDA or smartphone. There are times you WILL want it with you. From experience, I speak.

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Originally Posted by Micky Hulse View Post
(Sidenote: I tend to shoot with AGC turned off, and gain switch set to -3 or 0.)
Good move. I leave the gain presets at -3, 0, +3 so I can grab some gain if I really need it.
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Old June 28th, 2008, 09:37 PM   #3
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Hey Tripp! Thanks for the quick reply, I greatly appreciate you sharing your expertise!

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Originally Posted by Tripp Woelfel View Post
Don't know how fine I am, but you can use the exposure lock button to temporarily throw you into manual mode. I've used it in Av and Tv mode.
Ah, interesting! Thanks for that tip. Grabbing the manual now. :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp Woelfel View Post
Again, the exposure lock button is the quickest way. AE shift would take WAY to long to get to in the menu structure. exp lock is one touch on and one touch off.
Oh, for sure... I think I played around with AE shift while shooting that event the other day... Kinda clunky to change, esp. when needing to do it quickly.

I am excited to learn more about Exp Lock... Sounds like it will come in handy for certain situations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp Woelfel View Post
Don't have tons of experience shooting people but I think your best tool is lighting. Outside it has a ton to do with positioning your subject correctly relative to the sun. If you have a sidekick with you on a shoot, let him/her carry a light bounce. This is less a camera issue than a cameraman creative choice.
AH, interesting... Yah, that is what I was kinda thinking... I mean, I would hate to over-expose the surrounding scene just to pull out a little detail in the face shadows.

I may have to purchase a light bounce... At my last shoot, it was just me and the reporter... We talked about positioning the people so the sun hit their faces, but some things happened so fast... Sometimes, there was no room to move them around... I guess I need to get more aggressive when it comes to positioning for optimal light (and audio for that matter.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp Woelfel View Post
Depends on what options you want available. Grab a cup of coffee or a beer and read through that portion of the manual. It's very helpful. Better yet, keep it in your camera bag or load a pdf version into your PDA or smartphone. There are times you WILL want it with you. From experience, I speak.
Oh yeah, great advice!

I have actually read the manual pretty well, but I kinda skimmed over the auto features... I do have several well-positioned, and labeled, sticky notes stuck to some of those helpful pages. :D

With that said, I know I need to re-read many sections again... Hehe, esp. the sections on Exp. Lock!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp Woelfel View Post
Good move. I leave the gain presets at -3, 0, +3 so I can grab some gain if I really need it.
Nice! Heck, I may have even picked that up from reading a post you made in another thread! Up until recently I was at the factory defaults for Gain control... Nice to know they offer a negative value. :)

Yup, sounds like I need to do some shooting, with a (PDF) version of the manual at my side.

Thanks again Tripp! I really appreciate the attention and professional advice.

Have a great day/night.
Cheers,
Micky
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Old June 29th, 2008, 02:07 AM   #4
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Are you using the zebra feature? It will help you to nail the exposures (especially for faces). I keep mine at 70% and have yet to screw up a shot (when I'm paying attention to the zebras). Also, if you are going to err on the exposure, its better to be a little bit underexposed than overexposed. Once you blow out the highlights, you won't get anything out of it.
Pick up a good book on color correction and you will see just how much lattitude you have within the .7 volts of video signal alloted to Chroma/Luma.
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Old June 29th, 2008, 03:56 AM   #5
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Alternative light bouncers

If you can arrange the subject in the right position for sun and background:
1) use the side of a white or pale-coloured vehicle to bounce the light
2) use a white or pale-coloured wall (check your white balance if using a coloured wall or vehicle)
3) still water will work, but if there is any water movement you get ripples of light
4) if the camera is on a tripod, you can fix a collapsible reflector to the legs
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Old June 29th, 2008, 01:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oren Arieli View Post
Are you using the zebra feature? It will help you to nail the exposures (especially for faces). I keep mine at 70% and have yet to screw up a shot ...<snip>...
Pick up a good book on color correction and you will see just how much lattitude you have within the .7 volts of video signal alloted to Chroma/Luma.
Oooh, good call.

I currently have zebra turned on and set at 75. Normally I have peaking on, but zebras show when that is off... and then I have assigned the first custom button to turn off zebra.

So, with zebra at 70, what do you look for?

Good tip on color correction. I know the same is true for Photos, but I have yet to really dig-into color corrections for video... Just started dabbling with FCP's 3-way color correction filter -- pretty nice tool! :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie Haycock View Post
1) use the side of a white or pale-coloured vehicle to bounce the light
2) use a white or pale-coloured wall (check your white balance if using a coloured wall or vehicle)
3) still water will work, but if there is any water movement you get ripples of light
4) if the camera is on a tripod, you can fix a collapsible reflector to the legs
Awsome tips!!! Thanks!

I need to make a list of all the great tips I find on these forums.

:D

Thanks!
Micky
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Old June 29th, 2008, 01:30 PM   #7
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<off-topic>

Anyone see a thread around here where the person was going to shoot sailboats, and he was going to use two different video cameras... I think he only had a few days to work with one of the cameras.

That thread had some pretty good tips via one of the posts. :)

You see! I need to start bookmarking, or at least subscribing-to these threads with great tips!

</off-topic>
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Old June 30th, 2008, 09:56 AM   #8
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When there's a lot of shadow around, you can use Black Stretch to squeeze more detail from the dark areas. It's not something you can do on the fly (in the Customize; Custom Presets menu) but you could have two versions of your favourite Custom Preset, one with black stretch, one with black normal, then flick between the two on the run.

I second the suggestions about using the Exp Lock button. It works in Auto, Av and Tv modes, and gives manual over-ride when you need it.

It's a shame the AE setting is so hard to get at. There are a few suggestions about it in the (very long) thread about possible improvements to the XH-A1. Personally, I'd like to have it assignable to the shutter/K thumb-wheel.
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Old July 2nd, 2008, 03:38 PM   #9
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Hi Mark! Thanks for the reply, I really appreciate it. :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Fry View Post
When there's a lot of shadow around, you can use Black Stretch to squeeze more detail from the dark areas. It's not something you can do on the fly (in the Customize; Custom Presets menu) but you could have two versions of your favourite Custom Preset, one with black stretch, one with black normal, then flick between the two on the run.
Oh, very cool! Thanks for tip. I will look into this. :)

Would this work for night shooting too?

I may have a night shoot coming up soon, and I have never tested the A1 at night. There should be building and street lights and such... Hmm, I may just bring my Sony hot shoe light.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Fry View Post
second the suggestions about using the Exp Lock button. It works in Auto, Av and Tv modes, and gives manual over-ride when you need it.

It's a shame the AE setting is so hard to get at. There are a few suggestions about it in the (very long) thread about possible improvements to the XH-A1. Personally, I'd like to have it assignable to the shutter/K thumb-wheel.
Re: Sutter/K thumb-wheel: That would be perfect!

Thanks for tips! I can't wait to try out some of these new techniques.

Have a great day!
Cheers,
Micky
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