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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old May 16th, 2005, 12:48 PM   #1
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Shooting the Moon and Stars.

As you all know im still a new guy learning everything- well i am 16 so i guess thats obvious, but I had a question. Whenever I try to shoot the Moon It is always blurry no matter what. How do i get that Moon look that you see in horror films with the clouds moving across ect. I want a clean sharp look. The other thing was, am I able to make the XL2 record a frame avery 5 minutes so when you play it back you can see the sky rotating. The problem is the whole thing with even being able to see the stars. I hope that made sense. Thx

There was another post earlier like this but its a bit different.
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Old May 16th, 2005, 01:11 PM   #2
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When you are shooting the moon, are you using manual focus? Use a good steady tripod, lock it down, and focus manually. If you have forground objects, such as shooting through trees or buildings, you have to decide whether or not you want them in focus, or a little blurry with the moon in sharp focus. (deep or shallow depth of field)

As for taping stars as the earth rotates, there are others here who will probably have more info for you.

Dan
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Old May 16th, 2005, 02:03 PM   #3
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Forbes,
I have shoot lot of footage of the moon and got it very sharp. Put your XL2 in manual mode and adjust the iris. Also turn off auto focus and focus manually.
Take a look at the link below the iris was set to F11 and the shutter was 1/120

http://www.video-film.no/snutter/moon.wmv

Hope this helps

To your second question regarding filming the star. I dont think you could manage this, due to the low light conditions. Maybe someone else can help you out here?

- Per Johan
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Old May 16th, 2005, 04:11 PM   #4
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Forbes,

There's a thread called "XL2 and stop motion." I think reading through that would help you understand ways to capture intervals of the sky every 5 minutes. As for the 'low lighting' challenges, Im not that cool yet. Id be very excited though to hear from someone on that. There is another thread about "shooting the stars" that may provide some answers in the future too.

in the force,
stefan
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Old May 16th, 2005, 04:34 PM   #5
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Hi Forbes,

I've shot the moon (so to speak) once or twice in both still and video. There's a tendency for us novices to overexpose a bright object in a dark background -- like a full moon. I'd recommend setting exposure manually so you know the exposure of the subject is good, and not an automatically averaged exposure that would turn the moon into a bright blob.

There's another problem with extended shooting of a celestial object: that oh-so-subtle movement across the sky turns into a race across your viewfinder at high magnification. You'll have to choose between a longer shot with a smaller moon, or a much shorter shot at high magnification.

Personally, after giving it a go with video cameras...if I have a scene that needs a big ol' juicy moon, I'm going to composite it from a still image!
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Old May 16th, 2005, 04:51 PM   #6
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When ever I've shot the stars in stills photography, I've used a tripod and a really low shutter speed. I have never done it with my XL2 although I guess the principle is the same.

Lock off the camera using a tripod, lower the shutterspeed and play about. be careful though because if the shutter speed is too slow you may get motion lines from the stars moving. However, if you're interval shooting this shouldnt be a problem.

The problem of course will be if there's any foreground images (trees, people etc) the low shutter speed will give the 'webcam' effect but I assume you know that.

Apart from what I said, much what the others have said above. Manual focus and tripod it.

Im going off what I've used on stills cameras so I'm prepared to be shot down if I'm wrong. But hook the camera up to a TV and fiddle with the settings to see what best suits what you're looking for...best way to get to know the XL2 inside out, its what I did all through Easter and now I feel the camera is a shoulder extension. Learn her inside out, she's a fab machine capable of a lot!

Hope this helps

Owen
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Old May 16th, 2005, 04:55 PM   #7
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The moon, according to a guy I met, travels its width (diameter) in five minutes. Most moon cutaway shots last a few seconds (10 or less) so you should be able to get a good shot without much movement. You want the clouds moving across the moon so a still shot won't do. Ten seconds is a long shot (clip) but you could shoot a little longer and speed up the clip to have the clouds move across faster.

Dan
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Old May 16th, 2005, 08:10 PM   #8
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If I were to ever get around to it, I'd be happy to share it. But since it could be weeks, months, years before this actually reaches the top of my to-do list...here's the compositing plan I have to produce a big full moon rising behind skittering clouds:

Ingredients:
1 daytime video of puffy clouds against a blue sky
1 still image of the moon

Key out the blue sky in the cloud video.
Key out the black sky in the moon image.
Lay the cloud video on top of the moon image in NLE.
Adjust motion, opacity, scale, rotation, perspective, color, etc. of each layer to taste.
Export.
Lay behind scene of choice that has the sky keyed out. If this turns out as I imagine, you'd be able to create an endless variety of perspectives and mood from just the one video and one still image. Hmmm, I think this just moved up a few notches on my to-do list!

This is not to discourage anyone from doing a real shoot, but it should be a good and simple alternative -- and one that I'm sure is used even by Hollywood.
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