XH-A1s settings for sunrise?? at DVinfo.net

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Old March 4th, 2010, 02:14 AM   #1
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XH-A1s settings for sunrise??

Hi guys, I have a Canon XH A1s for a few more days, but I'm not too sure about the manual controls.
From my office desk I can see my city centre/skyline (I'm 3 miles from the centre) and the sun rises from behind the skyline and the colours are really good every morning.

I'm wanting to use the clip at the start of a wedding video I shot last weekend that was in the city centre for my brothers friends so I'll be coming into work an hour or so early tomorrow to capture it

Can anyone recommend what settings to use on the camera? (I assume the main problem will be exposure so does anyone know how to set it up?)
I will keep gain on 0db and manual focus, should I use ND filter with the sun coming straight at me?

If I'm speeding the footage up I don't want it flickering etc but I want them to be able to tell what the buildings are so they know it's this city

thanks
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Old March 4th, 2010, 11:27 AM   #2
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I'll do my usual welcome, Maff, and point you towards this thread Greetings from Great Britain, United Kingdom You'll be on the doomsday list when I post the next update, probably when we hit 400 dvinfo Brits.

In answer to your specific query, do you want mainly the sky colours with buildings in silhouette, or do you want to show details of the city skyline? You could film it twice with two different exposures. At this time of the year in the UK I don't think you are in too much danger of frying your CCDs by pointing directly at the sun, especially at that time of day, but it's something to bear in mind if you are using the longer focal lengths. Using the ND will mean you have to open up the lens to compensate, so I'm not sure it will make much difference. Don't hang about an image of the sun once it's much over the horizon. I don't really know but I usually work on the principle that if I can look at it without discomfort it is fairly safe to film it. If you find yourself screwing up your eyes, don't point the camera directly at the sun especially in closeup.

I assume you will be filming in HiDef, either 50i or 25f, so your shutter will be 1/50 or 1/25 or possibly 1/100 or 1/50. The aperture will depend on the effect desired and whether the ND is used. Generally speaking try to avoid the high f numbers as this can affect the clarity of the image. There's lts of posts about the optimum apertures and shutter speeds for this camera depending on the style (eg cinematic or sports action etc).
Try a couple of of different exposures but maybe keep to the same shutter speed as you used o the wedding shoot.

DISCLAIMER The above advice, while provide in good faith, may cause you incinerate parts of yourself and your XH-A1 which you later may find you need. If you go blind and fry your camera, don't come looking for me!

Last edited by Colin McDonald; March 4th, 2010 at 04:31 PM. Reason: Added bits
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Old March 4th, 2010, 12:18 PM   #3
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Thank you for that colin, I'll have a proper read through later when my 3 month old stops screaming at me! It's much appreciated
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Old March 4th, 2010, 03:41 PM   #4
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I've shot a few sunrises with my XH-A1, even allowing the sun to get pretty high above the horizon, and I've never fried my sensor. Your mileage may vary. : )

Whenever I'm shooting timelapse I slow the shutter down as much as possible (one third of a second on my NTSC XH-A1) and compensate with the ND filter and a higher f-stop. One-third of a second becomes 1/48th when you speed it up 1600%.

Also make sure not to over-expose. If you do go with a slow shutter, you will probably need to use the darkest ND filter and close the iris almost all the way to avoid getting completely blown out when the sun comes up. It will look too dark at first, but don't doubt yourself. Five minutes after sunrise the sky will be orders of magnitude brighter than the pre-dawn glow.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 03:54 PM   #5
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I've borrowed the camera without instructions and I'm new to all this so I don't really know how to do what you just said, thanks though
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Old March 4th, 2010, 04:29 PM   #6
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Maff. there's a link to a pdf version of the XH-A1 PAL user's manual here Download the XH G1S / G1 / A1S / A1 Operator's Manuals
You can use the "find" function of Adobe Reader to home in on the bits you need.

Sorry I should have realised that you might want a timelapse on your sunrise.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 10:05 PM   #7
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Sorry for spewing jargon! Browsing the manual is a great idea. The nice thing about the XH-A1 is that most of the controls you need are right on the outside of the camera (not buried in a menu) so you can just flip switches and see what they do. That sounds like kind of lame advice, but you can really learn the camera quickly by trial and error.
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Old March 5th, 2010, 01:26 AM   #8
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cheers guys, the sun is now up here, I'm gutted though, because the sun shines directly on me through the window we've had the blind shut for a few weeks, the sun has now shifted so far North it doesn't rise over the city centre, it comes up behind a big building next to us!
Looks like I'll have to wait until November/December to get a decent shot again!

I still filmed it as the sky changing colour looked good and you could see the sun reflecting off some of the taller glass covered buildings
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Old March 5th, 2010, 09:49 AM   #9
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Stupid sun. Why does it always have to be moving around?

I found myself in the exact same situation recently. I went to re-shoot a sunrise timelapse seven months after the original, and the sun was no longer in the right place! I guess I should have paid more attention in astronomy class.

Well, at least you made the most of a beautiful sky!
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