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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 December 8th, 2010, 12:46 PM   #1
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? about xha1 grid / markers

The xha1 has various grids including one that facilitates using the rule of thirds. Can any of these grids be used to measure proper camera height when framing for an interview?
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Old December 8th, 2010, 03:07 PM   #2
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I'm not sure I understand your question fully.

"Camera height" I would take as distance of image centre from floor. The grids are not going to help with that. I have never been in a situation where I actually needed to measure camera height - I judge what height is needed from the shot I have in mind (though this is sometimes affected by practical limitations). Perhaps you are meaning what I would call tilt angle (though that term can be used in different ways).

I use grids for ensuring horizontal/vertical alignment as well as aspect ratio/safety zone markers. Sometimes the grids can be helpful for framing. But for critical framing you can't rely on what you see in the viewfinder anyway. If you want to be absolutely certain that a low boom mic is out of shot, or that a critical detail is fully in shot, you have to do a test recording and view it.

I find that you can't be sure what equipment people are going to view things on at the moment anyway. Some viewers seem completely blind to aspect ratio matters and are quite happy to watch distorted pictures or pictures with bits missing on both sides or on the top and bottom.

For rule of thirds framing, I judge by eye within the safety zones.
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Old December 8th, 2010, 04:31 PM   #3
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My rule of thumb to start with is to set the lens at eye level and then raise or lower it (rarely) based on the feel I want. I usually always raise it slightly to give a "third party observer" feel. And as was pointed out recently by Nino Giannotti, it acts to hide the chin flab.
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Old December 8th, 2010, 05:13 PM   #4
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Lee: Ninos post is exactly what made me ask the question. I'm trying to find a systemized way of making sure that the lens is at eye level to avoid the previously mentioned shadow. I'm going to reshoot that segment and I need to make sure that I am as informed as possible.
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Old December 8th, 2010, 07:05 PM   #5
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I put the subject's eyes between imaginary lines at 2/3 and 3/4 from the bottom. Then I adjust the camera height and then compose. The attachment shows eye level from just the other day. Here's a link to on where I raised it to hide the chin:
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/attachme...e-img_0130.jpg
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? about xha1 grid / markers-rd.png  
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Old December 8th, 2010, 09:18 PM   #6
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Les: Thanks for the sample. So when you say "eye level", you mean the subjects eye level correct? Also, was the shot of the women filmed at 30F? The lighting looks great. Did you use a soft box?
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Old December 9th, 2010, 06:48 AM   #7
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Yes, I meant eye-level as in the subject's eyes.

The woman was shot at 1080/60i on an A1 with my own variant of the factory default "J" Custom Preset. The man was shot at 1080/24p on an EX1R with Vortex PP.

Thanks. Lighting was done with a 500w Lowel Tota in a Chimera softbox for key, 50w Altman Micro for fill, 50w Altman Micro for edge and a modified (to 120w) Kleigl Brothers Fresnel for hairlight. The background is lit by a single Kleigl Brothers Pin light. Lastly, there's a dimmable 30w Frezzi in a softbox for catchlight and to soften any hard shadows on the face. Everything but the hair and background lights are on Harbour Freight 1500w dimmers so you can dial in the precise amount of light and retain modeling.
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Old December 9th, 2010, 07:20 AM   #8
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Lee is there a noticable difference when using the tota with a soft box as oposed to an umbrealla? Also, whats your thoughts on using the soft box for a full body shot?
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Old December 9th, 2010, 07:41 AM   #9
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BTW, the name is Les not Lee.

The key difference (pun intended) between an umbrella and softbox (in my book) is control and footprint. I used umbrellas for a few years and found them unwieldy, especially on a light stand. They were good when working in a large space but cumbersome in a small studio.

As for control, you get tons of spill from an umbrella and when you are trying to "paint with light", you need to light only what you want with each fixture. For me, a softbox is critical for achieving the black void and similar effects where you only light what you want. Softboxes also enable the addition of egg crates to further control the light.

Lighting a full body requires a large softbox plain and simple although I haven't had experience in that since the days I was using umbrellas. I use Chimera in my studio where space is at a premium and a Lowel Rifa for my mobile kit.

Last edited by Les Wilson; December 9th, 2010 at 08:31 AM.
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Old December 9th, 2010, 07:53 AM   #10
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Thanks for the input its been very helpful.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 07:29 AM   #11
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Kevin, I came across the bookmark for this article that I read long ago and adopted as my philosophy for lighting women. There's many other articles that you may find informative.

Women Deserve Soft Lighting
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Old December 10th, 2010, 11:20 AM   #12
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Thanks Les, that was a good article. I'm curious about the black background in your photos. Are they green screen shots with the green removed and nothing put back in its place or is that an actual black background?
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Old December 10th, 2010, 03:06 PM   #13
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It's black muslin background. The real deal. No artificial ingredients. :-) .... I might be on last person on earth still shooting real backgrounds tho....
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