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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 February 17th, 2009, 11:21 AM   #1
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Shooting in snow

It's been snowing a lot lately around here and last weekend I final got to download some video I shot on our XHG1 and my little old Sony HC3 camcorder.

I didn't mess around both were just set to HD and out of the box, although the Canon (50i)needed 1/6 ND filter in place. I did have zebra control on in the Canon.

I have to say the Sony beat the Canon picture quality-wise standing, I was shocked to say the least. The Sony image was perfectly crisp and the snow was white and a nice neat grey in the shadows.

The Canon... oh boy, the snow was a patchy colour - really weird, on one shot looking straight across a field the snow was a warm white in the centre going to a pink-white towards the edges. About the middle third warm white, outer thirds pinkish. Strange (to me) that the shadows were a reasonably good grey across the frame.

The shots I took looking up at the trees were not so hot either with the Canon. again pink flaring especially around the edges of the frame and on the slowest of panning there was a kind of drag effect.

The little Sony handled all this without a hitch.

Okay so I'm not the worlds greatest videographer - just going through a learning curve to help out at work, but hey surely a 4 year old 600 camcorder shouldn't out perform the Canon
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Old February 17th, 2009, 01:58 PM   #2
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The Canon really isn't meant to be shot "out of the box." You need to manualy adjust all the settings for your environment as well as use different custom presets. If you do all this, the Canon will far surpass the Sony HC3.

All the buttons and switches on the side of the Canon are there for a reason! I suggest you learn how to use them all, it will be a lot more fun!
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Old February 17th, 2009, 11:18 PM   #3
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To me, it sounds like a clipping issue - I have seen this in digital photography quite a bit, while working with RAW images. My guess is that you have a lot of blown out highlights due to the snow. Snow is difficult to shoot in, unless the camera is set up to compensate for it...
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Old February 18th, 2009, 03:33 AM   #4
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Joe and Jay
Any suggestions about how to set the camera up for snow?
We don't get a lot of it in this part of the world so there is no opportunity to experiment.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 04:52 AM   #5
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If the sun is shining you will need the stronger ND. Snow is as white as white can be, so set the zebra level to 100 and let just some twinkle appear in highlights. If you take the WB reading from snow, make sure it is sunlit side, not shadow. If overcast, just anywhere on the snow.

In general; taking a meter reading from show expose 2 f-stops more. That places the snow to highlight region. Same for film and digital.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 07:24 AM   #6
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Petri is dead on, although my approach to zebras is a little different. I set my zebras to 90. This way I'm sure that I'm not blowing out the highlights. I push everything in post so I can nudge the highlights up there if necessary. I so hate the look of blown out snow so I'll do almost anything to avoid them.

When I first started shooting snow, I would keep the light level reading one mark low to avoid blowing out, but I soon found that the zebras are much more helpful with this as they are in many situations.

One other thought. I generally always shoot with a polarizer mounted when in partial to full sun. This can add a little definition in the shadows.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 07:49 AM   #7
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Thanks guys
That's really helpful
I have a pet project that requires driving two hours to shoot a location in snow. I was getting over flu when we just had the best snow in the south of England for 18 years and have missed this opportunity.
I'm hoping to get something next winter and will only have one chance to get it right. So this info is very helpful indeed.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 09:21 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the advice. guess I'll have to wait until next year before I know if you're right :-)
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