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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 July 3rd, 2008, 12:06 PM   #1
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Shooting Fireworks

I am planning on using my A1 to shoot some fireworks tomorrow and would like any advice on settings and tips to use.

60i, 30p or 24p?
Just set focus to infinity?
Shutter Speed?
Will I get enough light if I have the gain set to 0 or +3?
Any recommendations for any of the presets found here? I usually use Panalook2.
I usually shoot n either TV or full manual. I was planning shooting manual for this and was hoping to find a good f-stop that I wouldn't have to adjust.


Thanks in advance and any advice/experience is greatly appreciated.

Garrett
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 03:46 PM   #2
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I shot the Canada Day fireworks here a couple of nights ago. It was the first time i had ever shot fireworks. I shot at 30f, 1/30 and a wide appeture with no gain. I didn't use any presents thinking that I would see how it comes out and do any correction in post. The only thing I can recommend is the focus. I set focus to infinity and I was about 500m+ away. The fireworks turned out blurry. If possible, I would go out during the day and stake out your spot and focus on something where you think the fireworks will land at and set that focus point so that you can refer to that when you start filming.
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 11:42 PM   #3
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Thanks David,

I've got a lazer range finder for golf that I was thinking I would use. It's accurate down to 1/2 yard but Iw as thinking once the fireworks got up in the air they would be far enough away that I should be at infinnity.

Using 1/30 was there any blur? Could you push it to 1/60 and still have enough light?
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Old July 4th, 2008, 07:43 AM   #4
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Garrett... I shot fireworks at my local race track on Memorial Day weekend and again last night. The first time I was in 60i shooting @ 1/60. Iris was wide open and gain was at +12 because of the dark conditions on the track. The results were OK. The two problems were the gain caused noise and I had too much iris which blew out some of the colors.

In prepping for last night I resolved to keep the gain down and seemed to remember something in the manual saying that spotlight mode was good for fireworks. Now what I should have done is actually have read the manual but it slipped my mind. In going back and looking at the manual now it said nothing about fireworks, but it did say that the preset was for shooting objects illuminated by a concentrated light source. Fireworks are a concentrated light source and without knowing what the camera does with this setting, it made sense to try it. What I saw through the LCD looked good, but the LCD can deceive sometimes.

I won't capture the footage until tomorrow so I can't say how it looks on a monitor until it's too late to help you.

The comment about focus is important. Regardless of whether you shoot manual or spotlight mode, it's likely that the iris will be fully or nearly wide open so your theoretical DOF will be limited. David's right. Guestimate your distance to target and focus appropriately. This is what I did the first time and got crystal clear results which were verified on shots where I zoomed in and the explosions illuminated the left over smoke from previous concussions. Focus is key.
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Old July 4th, 2008, 09:41 AM   #5
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Thanks for the info Tripp. I was wondering if spotlight would work but wasn't sure if it would come out too dark. I could always just preset gains of 0 +3 & +6 and see what I have to use.

For focal distance, how did you estimate that? I've been play golf for over 20 years now and I still can't estimate distances worth a damn. That's why I got a laser range finder.

Thanks David and Tripp for your help.

Garrett
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Old July 4th, 2008, 07:54 PM   #6
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Garrett... You probably won't get this until it's too late, but don't, Don't, DON'T crank the gain up. It'll just populate every frame with white specs of grain. I hope you left it at +/-0, or better, -3.

Guestimating the distance was fairly easy. I focused on the launch point before they turned the lights off. (This was at a race track where I shoot every week.) I just locked the distance in. Without tools, I'm useless. If the middle joint on my left pinky wasn't an inch long, I'd have no idea what an inch might be.
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Old July 5th, 2008, 03:28 AM   #7
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This is a clip I shot from a 30 minute fireworks show called Celebration of Light in Vancouver. Shot with XH-A1. 24p, HDV, 1/48 shutter, manual focus. I focused on a barge where the pyrotechnics crew was set up and tilted up. No Tripod, just camera sitting on a backpack.

Quicktime mov file:

http://ia341202.us.archive.org/3/ite...FWexcerpt2.mov
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Old July 5th, 2008, 10:19 AM   #8
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I shot the fireworks show on Canada Day and suggest the most important consideration was focus. I tried a bunch of presets, set aperture to wide open, set the camera to "Night" mode, set the camera to auto focus mode, changed shutter speeds etc. and the only footage that turned out was footage shot in adjusted manual focus mode. I was a bit surprised that just setting the camera to "infinity" was not good enough and that you need to actually manually focus even though the fireworks were at least half a mile away!
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Old July 9th, 2008, 11:01 AM   #9
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Hey James, Nice shots- where did you shoot these from?
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Old July 9th, 2008, 04:37 PM   #10
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Hi David. Thanks! I shot it from Vanier Park in front of the Maritime Museum. The show was about a half hour. This clip is just before the finale.
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