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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 March 7th, 2007, 05:53 PM   #1
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Snow and New A1

Just got the camera and wondering if there is anything else besides WB that I need to know?...first time shooting in the snow. Any presets out there?
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Old March 7th, 2007, 06:06 PM   #2
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Disjecta has some nice looking black and white presets he shot some snow footage in. I don't believe there is a specific preset somebody made for snow. Depends what look you were going for. I'd imagine you might want to make your image just slightly bluer to get the snow to be as white as possible. Disjecta's B&W preset is a sticky on the custom preset list.


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Old March 7th, 2007, 08:06 PM   #3
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Yup I am in Houston but leaving for Squaw Valley....it did snow about one inch Christmas Eve 05.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 10:55 PM   #4
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If you are shooting falling snow, you might want to bump up the shutter speed to about 250 to catch each snowdrop falling. Otherwise you kinda miss the magic. Slightly underexpose so you can get some detail in the snow (there tends to be very subtle shadows that give it definition on the ground).

Other than that, I would white balance off the snow itself (that's what I usually do) and it gives it a really nice purity.

You can check out some shots I did here (shutter speed was mostly 1/500 on both of these pieces):
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=83887

and I shot some black and white on this one:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=84014

They are pretty big files because they are at full resolution.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 11:02 PM   #5
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i shoot snow a LOT, as i'm currently working on a snowboard documentary...

a neutral density filter will help. sometimes(most times) once you balance your picture properly and get the snow looking right, other things in the frame tend to be too under exposed, such as people, faces, the sky, etc... and the ND filter will help with that. a gradient filter might work well too although i dont own one, in theory it seems a good option.

and if you dont have these filters at your disposal, i'd suggest to adjust the shot using the lcd screen until it looks pleasing to you, a lot of it is personal preferance, hopefully you can find a nice balance between blown out snow and underexposed subjects.

and yes, use the snow to white balance, but becareful, you dont want it to be too blue because that will be hard to fix in post!

good luck
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Old March 8th, 2007, 08:07 AM   #6
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I have some experience with still photography and snow and the rule there is to not WB off the snow since it is not technically neutral and varies in color . I will use a grey card and just eyeball it at times...that is easy to fix in post with Edius anyway. The exposure issue is what I am concerned about. I am very interested in your experiance and why the ND filter...with the on camera ND the 1/6 option takes down the exposure by 2 stops, while the 1/32 option reduces the light intake by 5 stops. I am pretty sure you meant using something like a .3,.6 or .9 added filter and have those and will play with them. Which one do you use say for bright sunny days?
Usually with a mostly white foreground/background a still camera under-exposes 1 to 2(depending on sunny vrs cloudy) stops and my guess(since I don't know) is whether that is true with video camera sensors as well. I see where there is a balance between blowing the whites to get the subject right but I thought(again without knowing) the sensor was tricked by the snow to under-expose in the first place. Sand I thought does the same thing and I have experienced that with my Sony Z1....subjects badly underexposed. Any help here is appreciated.Spot metering?

Bottom line you are right about just playing with it and see what it looks like but how many times have you liked it in the view finder/LCD then groaned when saw it in full res...too often for me anyway. I borrowed a GL 1 years ago skiing and it had a preset for Snow/Sand that did a good job and just wondered what those canned settings did and how to interpret them with the A1 I am getting TODAY!!. Anybody want to buy a Z1?

Last edited by Randy Donato; March 8th, 2007 at 08:55 AM.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 04:00 PM   #7
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Randy,

My experience with still photography, like yours, combined with my experience with video shows that exposure and white balance with snow follows the same logic for both video and stills. Simple logic says that since the snow is bright you should underexpose it a little. But as you alluded to, since the camera is trying to set exposure so the scene average about 18% gray, it will underexpose too much already and your snow will turn out gray and people will be too dark. So with snow and other bright scenes, you should overexpose like you would for still photos because you don't want the snow to be gray, but a couple of stops over that, making it white. Because of the high dynamic range possible in snow scenes, it may be impossible to get detail in the shadows while still maintaining detail in the snow. You will have to play with it and see what you would rather give up.
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