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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 November 14th, 2010, 03:15 PM   #1
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Do you find the zebra funtion useful?

I have had my XHA1 for quite a while now but have never used the zebra fucntion. Can someone please give me an idea of how to use the IRE settings and what they represent. Thanks.
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Old November 14th, 2010, 04:44 PM   #2
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Spot my pet Zebra

Seek and ye shall find...
Another zebra stripes question
Basic zebra stripes question
V1/FX7 Zebra and superwhite
Zebra Basics

To name but a few.

And there are links within the links.

The Google search box at the foot of the page is useful, really.
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Old November 15th, 2010, 03:38 AM   #3
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Hi

I always have zebra setting to 100% and most of the time adjust exposure so that no zebra lines can be seen. My reason is that I then have full control of the exposure and can keep as much light as possible in the shadows without blowing out highlights. I know some people recommend 70% for interviews as this is is supposed to give nicer skin tones. As I seldom do intervies I never use this setting. Even if I would do an interview I would use the 100% zebra anyway and adjust the light in post. It's easier to remove light in post than adding light, as that will create noise. 70% might be a recommended setting in a live transmission but in a recorded interview the 100% will give you more options in post.

Another thing, if you have zebra set to 85% and accepts a little over exposure, you never know if the exposure is 95% (which is OK) or 110% (which will give blow out highlights witout any information).

Regards,

/Bo
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Old November 15th, 2010, 12:53 PM   #4
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Colin, thanks for the links. One in particualr was quite helpful. Bo thanks for your input. So just to confirm, the lower ire settings make the zebras less tolerant of light correct?
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Old November 15th, 2010, 01:13 PM   #5
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Yes. If you set your zebras for 100% you need to be sure that they don't ever appear, except when setting the exposure etc, because it means that the limit of the digital system has been reached and you have literally blown it. If that happens on a tiny bit of a brightly lit white area and your footage is not for broadcast it probably won't be noticed, but many folks (me included) prefer a lower setting eg 90 or 85 because it allows some headroom. If you are shooting under controlled conditions this might not be needed, but for many live/event type shoots things are not so predictable.

A point to watch on the XH series and similar cameras is that the use of a Custom Preset can make your zebra display less accurate, or so I have found, having blown or almost blown whites without triggering zebras set at less than 100% when using some colour enhancing CPs.
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Old November 15th, 2010, 01:32 PM   #6
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My biggest concern is making sure that the zebras are set to reflect good skin tones. Based off of my reading, it seems that for this purpose I should set them between 70-80.
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Old November 15th, 2010, 01:45 PM   #7
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There seems to be quite a lot of support for that approach. But if you have done without them so far, then continue to go by what looks best on the final footage. Zebras are a tool which can be useful but it doesn't do to get obsessed by any dogmatic approach. There are so many variables of lighting, backgound, style etc.
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Old November 15th, 2010, 02:09 PM   #8
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Colin, I think you are correct. I have done without them in the past and have had great results. I am always looking for a way to improve and I thought that using the zebras would be a great addtion to my set of tools. I will continue to experiment with them and see what happens.
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