Night time presets for documentary (amusement park) at DVinfo.net

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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
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Old August 6th, 2009, 05:51 AM   #1
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Night time presets for documentary (amusement park)

Hi everyone

I am going to start shooting soon a documentary with my recently purchsed Canon XH A1s about an Amusement park (fun park) and as I am not yet familirized with the camera controls I would like to have some advice from you about settings and look.

Most of the shoots will be during night time and a few during the last 2 hours of light.
I am not going to use any artificial light but the one coming from the park. The illumination is good in most of the areas, very strong in some and mid in the rest. To get the light properly from the fairground rides moving seems not be very complicated as they have good illumination with the charasteristich flashing lights, but I would like to get people faces as well and general atmosphere and this seems more difficult when they are not under direct light.

I would like to know what setting would you use depending if you want to film fairground rides (all of them full of little lights flashing from time to time) with good ilumination during nigh time and as well of the people walking by when the light is not so strong on them.

I am planning to film everything with manual controls.

I want to go for HDV 50i, or is it maybe better 25f for night time?

Can i use the white balance (AWB) in automatic position? Is it Better the Indoors or outdoors option in the white bal Preset?

Should I use the Gain (AGC) differently depending on the light, or should be set on automatic? I dont want to have too much grain on the picture, maybe +6 (Medium) seems good for night action.

Is there any option to low the grain in the menu?

What about the shutter speed and Iris? What is the best during nigh time to get normal movement? How should i combine it with the Iris? Should I always set the shutter speed to the same value (50 or 60 i.e) and play with the Iris and gain to get enough luminosity?

Anyway, if there is any custom preset to download (like panalook, etc) that goes well with what i am looking for, please tell me.

I know i have asked a lot of questions but as I am newbie I need some advice from the experts. I hope you can help me to solve some of my doubts.

Thank you guys!!
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Old August 6th, 2009, 09:26 AM   #2
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Gustavo,
Alot of these seem to be basic setup questions. If you do a search for any of these things on this forum alone, you'll have hours of reading and possibly the answers to all of your questions here. I would say look at the sticky at the top of the forum specifically about grainy footage. don't EVER use AGC. But search for the rest. You'll find the way grasshopper.
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Old August 7th, 2009, 11:35 AM   #3
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Thanks Bill for your message.

so i should never set the agc in aytomict, better to decide myself the level of gain, right?

I am going to try to find all the info in the forums, just 2 quesitons quick, is it reliable the automatic white balance? and what shutter speed are recommended for night shooting?

thanks again!
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Old August 8th, 2009, 11:11 AM   #4
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I can give you my opinion, but I still encourage you to search. Alot of times the AWB is dead on. Most of the time it is slightly off. I prefer to manually balance, especially if I have time to set it up with a grey card, etc. Also, it depends on your frame rate as to shutter speed. If I'm shooting 24f, you could go 1/24 if you're in 60i I use 1/30 alot but it just depends on your tolerance of stutter. I don't mind, and my clients apparently don't notice, so I'm good with it. Experiment alot before you have to actually do the shoot.
Bill
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Old August 8th, 2009, 04:36 PM   #5
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It's a long time since I've been to a fun fair or similar at night, but what I do remember is a lot of coloured lights. That kaleidoscope of colours may well affect the white balance because the camera is trying to account for all of them. I think you would need to try it and see what happens - record a few minutes of general scenes and some close-ups, then play it back - the LCD screen should give you some idea of whether the colour balance is reasonable on play-back.
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