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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old March 20th, 2006, 12:56 PM   #1
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Lessons Learned: Shooting in front of window

Well, I got my first lesson in shooting in 'easy cam' mode in front of a window with bright sunlight beaming through. First and foremost, easy cam is for amateurs!

I realize I should have shot it in manual and adjusted the iris because as I found out later, the iris was going crazy adjusting to differing levels of light as I zoomed and panned, and as people walked in front of the windows.

Of course, another lesson learned was not having a monitor to get a realistic depiction of what was being recorded!

All in all, I got enough good enough video to salvage enough of the event (baby shower) to satisfy my daughter-in-law (who wasn't paying me for the assignment) but I learned a solid lesson.

Having just got the XL2 a week ago this past Saturday, I've got a great deal to learn about the different modes and maximizing the features of the camera, particularly as it relates to adjusting the camera on the fly and as conditions mandate!

My experience with shooting came with shooting Beta-Cams, mostly in a controlled environment. Generally, all I had to be concerned with was ensuring I was using the right filter. Even then, I never liked (and rarely used)auto focus/ iris.

My height and steadiness gained me a reputation as a top hand-held camera operator. Being 6.6 with long arms, I had no problem with hand/finger dexterity in relationship to where everything was located. I've got to get used to the size of XL2 and position of the settings and everything.

I would like to get some feedback on what you have had success with while being forced to shoot in front of a window with bright sunlight beaming through at mid-day. How did you shoot it, what mode did you use?

BTW, closing the window off and lighting the room was not an option.

Thanks.

Chuck
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Old March 20th, 2006, 01:21 PM   #2
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I don't really think it's a situation that's very easy to deal with. If you can't light the subject, you'll either be overexposing the window or underexposing the subject, both of which are undesirable, but I'd probably go with the second one and try to tweak the gamma in post. My first instinct would be to try to move to a different place in the room where I don't get the window in the shot, but I realize that isn't always possible. I shoot in M(manual) no matter what the situation is, so this wouldn't be any different.
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Old March 21st, 2006, 11:53 AM   #3
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Windows suck - plain and simple!

some ideas though:
- Could you put some scrim over the window with something to knock down the intensity of the light? Most scrim won't show up on camera.

- If you couldn't close the window - could you move the subjects over so that the light acts as a key light instead of a back light?

- Reflectors and whiteboards could have also been used to bounce the light a little bit better.

Just some ideas. . .

Actually a book entitled Lighting for Digital Video & Television by John Jackman - is really good and give many solutions to these common problems. I highly recommend it to anyone shooting video!

Ryan
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