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Old May 7th, 2005, 09:08 AM   #1
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Sports and shutter speed

I am going to be shooting some sports. One of them will be ice skating

What i am not sure about is what shutter speeds to use. I am a still photographer for years and wth still photography shutterspeeds have to be high enough to freeze action.

In video obviously it is not as nessecary as you can not inspect a single frame closely but i was wondering if there is a rule for shutterspeeds when shooting action with panning

THis shouldnt make any difference but we will be shooting with an XL2 indoors at crappy lighting so any help we can get from a lower shutterspeed would be good but i do want good video

if anybody has a pointer towards maybe a web site or a back that may talk about these types of issues more i would appreciate that as well

Thank you
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Old May 7th, 2005, 03:28 PM   #2
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Moved to XL2 board.
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Old May 7th, 2005, 05:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
Moved to XL2 board.
Why ?

This has nothing to do with the XL-2. It is a general question and was posted here because it was the right place to do so. Obviously the question is generic and would be able to get more answers in a generic place.

Instead of mindless moving of messages a thoughtful reply might help more ...
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Old May 7th, 2005, 05:26 PM   #4
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Actually it is an XL2 specific question. I moved it here because this is the best forum for attracting a helpful answer to your question. I'm sorry that I don't have any direct experience with your particular ussue, but this is the largest XL2 user group on the planet and I know that some of our members here will be able to help you out. Best wishes,
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Old May 7th, 2005, 05:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
Actually it is an XL2 specific question. I moved it here because this is the best forum for attracting a helpful answer to your question. I'm sorry that I don't have any direct experience with your particular ussue, but this is the largest XL2 user group on the planet and I know that some of our members here will be able to help you out. Best wishes,
It obviously is not.

Except if the XL-2 is the only camcorder with variable shutterspeeds.

variable shutterspeeds are IMHO available on almost all camcorders and the question as to what shutterspeed to use in a given situation is obviously not dependent on the camcorder.

It is a question of how much motion blur is acceptable on a single frame which again has nothing to do with the type of camcorder used.

To make this more clear i could simply remove the reference to the XL-2 from the original post which would in no way change the question.

You guys need to read posts first and not simply move them around because of one word.
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Old May 7th, 2005, 09:16 PM   #6
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Clearly the thread belongs here because it is an operational question which is specific to the XL2. What concerns me is that our message database is neatly organized according to the category that the topic belongs in. Although most all camcorders do allow manual control of shutter speed, exactly *how* the operator does this, which steps and in what order, depends *entirely* on the specific camera in question. This board, which covers the XL2, is most definitely the correct forum for this topic. And yes, it all hinges on that one word. If you had said "DVX100," then I would have moved it to our DVX100 board. If you had said "VX2100," then I would have moved it to our VX2100 / PD170 board.

I own this place, so I should know. Trust me. I've been at this for awhile.


Quote:
It is a question of how much motion blur is acceptable on a single frame which again has nothing to do with the type of camcorder used.
How much motion blur is acceptable to you is a judgement call that you have to make for yourself. No one else can remotely evaluate what you would personally deem to be an acceptable amount of motion blur. It's entirely subjective. You might like a little or you might like a lot of motion blur. Either way is certainly possible with the XL2, if you know the techniques that are specific to that camcorder (see, it has everything to do with the type of camera).


Quote:
To make this more clear i could simply remove the reference to the XL-2 from the original post which would in no way change the question.
If you had done that, then the next follow-up response would have been, "what camcorder are you using," and then you'd find yourself right back in here where you belong. We just got here one step quicker is all.


Quote:
You guys need to read posts first and not simply move them around because of one word.
The fact that I moved it is proof that I did read it. And I put it where it will benefit people the most.

So, with regard to helping other XL2 owners with this issue, I have been thinking about this question for the past hour, and since no one else has taken a stab at it yet, I suppose I will. Usually the default shutter speed for most NTSC DV camcorders is 1/60th sec. I've done my fair share of choreographed dance video in the past, not quite the same thing but somewhat related to ice skating, and I've found 1/60th sec. to be perfectly acceptable with little to no motion blur at all. But skaters are faster than dancers, so I would experiment with 1/100th sec. or even 1/250th sec., opening the iris up as wide as necessary in compensation (I like to expose with zebras set at 85db but your mileage may vary).

If you're going to be zooming in, then you have to be careful when you open the iris not to exceed the maximum aperture value at the full telephoto end of the lens... otherwise the exposure *will* shift for you automatically (in other words, when you don't want it to) if you go all the way in on the zoom. If we're talking about the stock 20x lens on the XL2, the maximum aperture value at full telephoto is f/3.5, so you don't want to open up any wider than that, or you'll find the camera adjusting exposure down to that f/stop anyway whenever you're zoomed all the way in. Still not enough exposure at f/3.5? Fortunately there's some Gain available.

In a low light situation, the XL2 offers some rather clean electronic gain-up at its lower levels of +3, +6 and +12db, but I would resort to using gain only as the last step in the process. No matter what, for any moving subjects in front of an XL2 with the desire to keep motion blur at a minimum, I would shoot in 60i mode and stay away from the progressive frame rates of 30p and 24p. From an aesthetic standpoint, if I wanted the temporal motion stutter of a progressive rate over interlaced, I would choose 30p. However, in all honesty I think 60i is a better choice for the subject matter. So how I would set up for this using an XL2 would be:
  • Turn the XL2 on in Tv (shutter priority) mode.
  • Choose a frame rate of 60i. Want some motion judder? Try 30p.
  • Dial in a shutter speed of 1/60th sec. Too much motion blur? Try 1/100th sec.
  • Press the Exp. Lock button.
  • Now dial in an exposure to match, using zebras set at your favorite IRE level.
  • Don't open wider than f/3.5 as this is the max. ap. at full telephoto on the 20x lens.
  • If required, add Gain sparingly, from +3db to +12db ( it's too noisy at +18db).

I'm hoping we'll hear from other XL2 shooters, but to me the recipe outlined above would be the steps I'd take for shooting low-lit sports with panning involved and the intent to keep motion blur at a minimum.

For the other way around, that is, to *add* motion blur with an XL2, I'd keep it at a frame rate of 60i but choose a shutter speed of 1/30th sec., adjusting exposure to match. For a visually interesting mix, try a frame rate of 30p combined with a shutter speed of 1/30th sec. while panning! For a *lot* of motion blur, go to 1/15th sec., but at this point we're in the realm of artistic stylisation.

There is one Hail Mary option remaining on the XL2 for this type of shooting, and that's the Spotlight program mode. Spotlight ignores how dark the surrounding areas of the image are, and exposes only for the center. The nice thing about Spotlight mode is that no matter how poorly lit the edges of the frame are, flesh tones in the center aren't blown out in compensation, but are rather normally exposed. The only trouble with Spotlight is that it's fully automatic; no exposure adjustment, no option for gain.

There are those XL2 shooters who will suggest the Manual program mode, but I'd recommend trying the Tv mode with Exp. Lock first and see if you don't like that better. There's really not a whole lot of substantial operational difference between the Manual program mode and Tv mode plus Exp. Lock, however.
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Old May 8th, 2005, 09:17 AM   #7
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Hi Michael,
Rest assured, moving posts from one forum to another for exactly the reason Chris said is commonly done and not at all meant as a negative thing. DVinfo is closely moderated (mostly by volunteers with regular jobs, like myself) to keep it polite, on-topic, and organized, which is why I ended up here myself.

Of course, different cameras have different characteristics; therefore it follows that techniques will vary per camera. You're in the right place!

Chris,
Thanks much for stepping in...your answer goes beyond what I have to offer on the subject. In fact, I learned a thing or two from your post! Maybe others who regularly do this kind of shooting can expand even more?
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Old May 9th, 2005, 06:48 AM   #8
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Chris

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
Clearly the thread belongs here because it is an operational question which is specific to the XL2.
Again i didnt ask how to set the shutterspeed on an XL2 i asked about what shutterspeeds to use when shooting sports.

If i had a Sony camera as a second camera what would your suggestion be to use as a shutterspeed when shooting action sports ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
  • Turn the XL2 on in Tv (shutter priority) mode.
  • Choose a frame rate of 60i. Want some motion judder? Try 30p.
  • Dial in a shutter speed of 1/60th sec. Too much motion blur? Try 1/100th sec.
  • Press the Exp. Lock button.
  • Now dial in an exposure to match, using zebras set at your favorite IRE level.
  • Don't open wider than f/3.5 as this is the max. ap. at full telephoto on the 20x lens.
  • If required, add Gain sparingly, from +3db to +12db ( it's too noisy at +18db).
Why woudl you use the camera on Tv with exposure lock ? I would simply use the camera on manual set the shutter speed to a value i would like and then set the iris to F2. F2 because you do not need to set it to the max at full telephoto but rather to the max at the telephoto range you will be using. Full telephoto goes far beyond what i would need at the ice rink so F2 will do just fine. Then obviously use gain as nessecary.

Any specific reason for the Tv mode ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
There are those XL2 shooters who will suggest the Manual program mode, but I'd recommend trying the Tv mode with Exp. Lock first and see if you don't like that better. There's really not a whole lot of substantial operational difference between the Manual program mode and Tv mode plus Exp. Lock, however.
In a situation where lighting doesnt change i prefer using manual mode. That is really what the manual mode is meant for and makes it very clear what it is you are doing.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 12:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Again i didnt ask how to set the shutterspeed on an XL2 i asked about what shutterspeeds to use when shooting sports.
Here at DV Info Net we're all about usability. This really isn't the place for theoretical debates about what shutter speed to use for shooting sports, because that is a very much subjective preference which changes from one person to the next. Some folks want to shoot with as little motion blur as possible. Others want to add motion blur. It's all good. There's nothing wrong with discussing personal technical preferences, as long as you have a preference to begin with. If you don't have a preference, or if you don't know whether you'd like motion blur or not, then let's examine the steps you need to take to add or subtract motion blur. And although it's somewhat of a general principle, the actual procedure depends on the specific camera, since there is no consistent naming or placement convention for various functions among all of the camcorder manufacturers.

This is about usability and practice. So you have an XL2. We've just gone through the exact steps specific to the XL2 of adding and subtracting motion blur while shooting sports. So now you're in a position to decide for yourself as to how much motion blur is acceptable according to your own personal tastes.

This isn't giving you a fish, it's teaching you how to fish, which is something you can use.


Quote:
If i had a Sony camera as a second camera what would your suggestion be to use as a shutterspeed when shooting action sports?
If you had a Sony camera then we'd be having a conversation very similar to this one over in one of our Sony boards, although Mike or Boyd or one of those guys would be at the helm. Then your big question isn't about shutter speeds anymore. Instead it's about how to match the Sony and Canon images, which tend to be quite different straight out of the box.


Quote:
Why woud you use the camera on Tv with exposure lock ? I would simply use the camera on manual...
On the XL2, shutter priority with exposure lock (Tv mode w/Exp. Lock) allows the same degree of full manual control over shutter speed and exposure as Manual mode, but with one very distinct difference which can represent an advantage to some shooters (maybe not to you specifically, but definitely to some others who may be reading this).

Shutter priority with exposure lock provides "the best of both worlds" on the XL2 in that you can easily go from auto exposure to manual and back again without having to cycle through the program mode dial. In Tv (shutter priority) mode, just press the Exp. Lock button to gain full control of exposure as well as shutter speed, just as if you were shooting in Manual mode. To quickly go to automatic exposure if you need it, just toggle off the Exp. Lock button and now the camera will take over exposure control. You can tweak this auto setting up or down by a couple of f/stops to a fine degree in quarter-stop increments in using the AE Shift dial (which by the way is NOT available in Manual mode). To go back to full manual control of both iris and shutter (just as if you were in Manual mode), simply push the Exp. Lock button and you're there. Now you have the full range of aperture adjustment as well as shutter speed with a single button press.

I know there are some die-hard Manual folks out there who are saying, "why would you ever want automatic exposure." Well, I'm one of those rare oddballs who thinks the XL2 does a great job with auto exposure. On a tripod in a locked-off position, you may or may not need to worry about changing exposure. But if you're running around handheld, having the camera in AE means there's one less thing you need to worry about, and you can concentrate instead on framing and composition. If you're Mr. Super Shooter, then sure, go full Manual all the time and do it all yourself. I know people who are like that, and I envy them. But as for me, I'm not the type who likes to juggle all those parameters. Usually I have to pay more attention to what's going on in the frame and in my headphones. Auto exposure in the XL2 is actually really very good, and anyway I can always tweak it up or down to my liking, either ever so slightly or by a full stop or two. The point is, with Tv mode plus Exp. Lock, I've got full manual control which is no different at all than being in the M (manual) mode, except now I've got the option, if I want it, to quickly go to auto exposure without having to cycle through the XL2's program mode dial to get there.


Quote:
Full telephoto goes far beyond what i would need at the ice rink so F2 will do just fine.
You didn't say before that you wouldn't be zooming all the way in. I included that tip for the benefit of others who are in a similar situation but *will* be using the full telephoto range. There's a much bigger goal at this site than answering specific questions. We want this to be an information archive for the next person who comes along researching this exact topic. Perhaps they will be using the full telephoto range. Hope this helps,
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Old May 9th, 2005, 01:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Salzlechner
Why ?

This has nothing to do with the XL-2. It is a general question and was posted here because it was the right place to do so. Obviously the question is generic and would be able to get more answers in a generic place.

Instead of mindless moving of messages a thoughtful reply might help more ...
Michael,

As a New Boot, you may not know this, and since our host is too polite to say anything, I'll let you in on a little secret.

You're sharp reposts on each of these messages is directed toward the owner of this forum. So basically, your whiny attitude about moving your post is pissing on the bosses leg while he's being a real gentleman and providing you a wealth of information that answers your newbie question perfectly. But instead of reading and heeding, you're moaning and groaning.

You aren't going to get better info than you will at this forum, but if you continue as rude as you were in your posts here, you may have trouble finding anyone willing to share their expertise for fear of being slammed in an effort to help you.

So reread this entire thread and notice how accomodating Chris was, not to mention how good his explaination was; then say "thanks". Or not.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 03:18 PM   #11
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Chris...you are incredible. What a gentleman you are. This guy is a smart @ss and you calmly write about a 20 min response. I can tell you pour your heart and soul into this forum, and if I ever get back to Texas (orig from Dallas) I have to buy you a beer.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 04:47 PM   #12
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Michael, I think this is largely about personal preference since you seem to understand the nuts and bolts part already. Have you tried some tests at different shutter speeds? That's the sort of thing I generally do when an issue like this comes up. Personally I don't usually like the effect of high shutter speeds with action because it creates sort of a strobe effect. But that's just me...

But this is based on my experience with Sony cameras. The progressive modes of the XL-2 present you with more options, so why not shoot a few minutes with different settings, make some notes, and then see how it all looks on a monitor?
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Old May 9th, 2005, 07:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Salzlechner

Why woudl you use the camera on Tv with exposure lock ? I would simply use the camera on manual set the shutter speed to a value i would like and then set the iris to F2. F2 because you do not need to set it to the max at full telephoto but rather to the max at the telephoto range you will be using. Full telephoto goes far beyond what i would need at the ice rink so F2 will do just fine. Then obviously use gain as nessecary.
Michael, I suggest you try this out before deciding that you want to use max aperture for sports shooting. Since you will be following the live action, you might want a bit more depth of field to maintain a sharp image.

Richard
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Old May 9th, 2005, 09:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
Michael, I think this is largely about personal preference since you seem to understand the nuts and bolts part already. Have you tried some tests at different shutter speeds? That's the sort of thing I generally do when an issue like this comes up. Personally I don't usually like the effect of high shutter speeds with action because it creates sort of a strobe effect. But that's just me...

But this is based on my experience with Sony cameras. The progressive modes of the XL-2 present you with more options, so why not shoot a few minutes with different settings, make some notes, and then see how it all looks on a monitor?
Boyd

i am working on some tests but it is generally always good to get real world experience.

I am coming from a still photography background where there is generally no room for error in either shutter speed or aperture depending on what you shoot.

With video it seems a lot easier and i may be too anal trying to 'get it right' but i am a person that likes to get good results. I also tried to find books but havent had much look there either. But i will definately do some tests to see the results.

thanks
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Old May 9th, 2005, 09:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Hunter
Michael, I suggest you try this out before deciding that you want to use max aperture for sports shooting. Since you will be following the live action, you might want a bit more depth of field to maintain a sharp image.

Richard
Richard

thanks for the warning. The depth of field of video cameras is so much more then what i am used to with still photography so this shouldnt be a problem at all. With still photography we shoot at 200mm and F1.8 and the XL2 would shoot at F2.0 and a focal length of 6mm to about 70mm or so. The DOF on that will be about 8 times as large.

I even prefer less DOF as it makes the subject stand out much better.

I did some test shooting already and DOF as well as focus doesnt seem to be an issue but i will do some more tests to come up with the best settings for this.

thanks
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