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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old November 17th, 2006, 01:52 PM   #1
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Shooting on a cloudy day problem

I know it's not the best kind of day to shoot outside, but I travel to areas where it's cloudy a lot. White skies are not a camera lens' friend, especially if you're trying to interview someone or take landscape shots. But: could you take a look at this video and see what I could have done better (besides not shooting into the sun!) to not only go from the view in the background to the person I'm talking to (at the beginning), but to be able to shoot the area afterwards with the best results possible:

http://download.yousendit.com/CD64D0F71E7B98AA

When I shot this, with my XL2, I don't remember what settings I had (unfortunately), but it was on manual iris (you can tell because you can see me stepping it down when I go from the sky to the person. Unfortunately, the situations I shoot won't allow me to set up big HMI lights or anything like that to light the subject so I can bring the iris down.

Thanks for any and all criticisms/comments/help.

Jonathan

*edit: new download address

Last edited by Jonathan Kirsch; November 17th, 2006 at 03:27 PM.
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Old November 17th, 2006, 06:27 PM   #2
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Bad link. Could not view or download video.
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Old November 19th, 2006, 10:16 AM   #3
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Link is DOA.
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Old November 20th, 2006, 01:30 AM   #4
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You need to lock the exposure using Exposure Lock, a rectangulgar button located on the left side of the camera. Choose the exposure on the Man. Lock exposure. Now when you tilt to the sky, the exposure will not change and the sky will not darken. Of course now the sky is over exposed and probably blowing out (you'll see zebras if the zebra function is on) and you can't see the rain anymore, but at least the scene is consistent.

Also your frame rate is high. That's why the motion of your subject looks like he's in Black Hawk Down or Saving Private Ryan.

Douglas
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Old November 20th, 2006, 03:00 AM   #5
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I'm still a noob, but here's my OPINION.

As mentioned, also believe your shutter speed is too high. The givaway is in the subjects hand movements. It has that "Saving Private Ryan" look as was mentioned. I would of shot this at 1/60 in 30P.

I would expose for the subject. Forget the sky, it's not the subject. The tour guide and vineyard are. If I wanted shots of the sky, I would shoot them later after the speaker is done and then got some properly exposed shots of the sky and dropped them in as cutaways.

Anyways, that's just my opinion.
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Old November 20th, 2006, 10:15 AM   #6
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Thanks for the advice, guys. I realize I had a high shutter speed, but anything else would have looked too dark, though. If I didn't open the lens wide, I would not have been able to get good levels. I will test it out, though, just to make sure. And I usually shoot in 60i because I have no need to shoot 24p or 30p. I don't need that "film look." And doesn't shooting at those frame rates take away some of the detail as well? Or can I compensate for that using some of the presets here?

Thanks for all the comments.

Jonathan
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Old November 20th, 2006, 04:36 PM   #7
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Don't use the shutter as way to adjust light levels. IMO , this is a major no-no. I can fully understand the temptation though. It seems like a perfect solution in the viewfinder, but on the screen it will become obvious it was a mistake.

Even if I shot this in 60i, I still never would have never used a shutter speed over 1/75. Higher shutter speeds are used to catch fast action. A tour guide giving a speech in a vineyard is not fast action. That's why when he moved his hands, they had that "fast action blur". Too high of a shutter speed. A lower shutter speed of about 1/60 or 1/75 will give him more natural movement.

The decision of 60i, 30P or 24P is a personal choice. I like 30P because it's not that "dry" video look, yet not as "strobey" as 24P. It's a happy medium. My understanding of the XL2 is footage shot in 16:9 have a higher resolution than the 4:3. Don't quote me on that though.

30P, 1/60 is normally where I keep my camera at unless there's a need to change the shutter speed. I use the iris, ND filters, menu settings and gain to adjust for exposure, not the shutter.
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Old November 20th, 2006, 09:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Kirsch
Thanks for the advice, guys. I realize I had a high shutter speed, but anything else would have looked too dark, though. If I didn't open the lens wide, I would not have been able to get good levels. I will test it out, though, just to make sure. And I usually shoot in 60i because I have no need to shoot 24p or 30p. I don't need that "film look." And doesn't shooting at those frame rates take away some of the detail as well? Or can I compensate for that using some of the presets here?

Thanks for all the comments.

Jonathan
Hi Jonathan. A slower shutter speed would let more light in, so would help if your image is a bit dark.

Richard
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Old November 21st, 2006, 02:23 PM   #9
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To clarify what Richard is already saying, if your image is dark, like you say, then you would need to slow down your shutter speed in order to let more light in. That is, you would need to do the opposite of what you're currently doing.

And to confirm what Adam suspected, yes, 16:9 provides greater detail than 4:3 in the XL2. When you're in 4:3 mode, the camera has to crop out a certain part of the CCDs.

As far as frame rate affecting "resolution" or "detail" the two really have nothing to do with one another. Frame rate will affect motion and that can have an effect on bluring caused by the motion but not "detail" per se.
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Old November 21st, 2006, 03:42 PM   #10
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Ok, I'm a bit confused now. It seems this is all contrary to everything I've learned in the biz the last 8 years (unless I'm understanding something wrong...and that could very well be the problem!) I thought I understood the ideas behind lighting...maybe I just need to get better with the camera itself and how the XL2 can work for me.

And I usually shoot as close to 1/60 as possible, since a lot of the areas I go to (cellars, barrel rooms, etc) don't have much light anyway. Outside, though, it's a crap-shoot. I try to keep it as low as possible.

And thanks for the clarification Adam and Douglas. I probably used the wrong words. The way I look at the difference between video (60i) and film (24p or 30p) is like the difference between watching the "Cosby Show" (videotaped) and "Cheers" (filmed). Obviously two different mediums, but you can tell "Cheers" has that grainy film look and doesn't seem to have the detail that videotaped shows or even the news (live) has. Maybe it's just me. Anyone else notice the difference?

Jonathan
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Old November 21st, 2006, 04:04 PM   #11
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In terms of shutter speed: Although people do sometimes call shutter speeds "higher or lower," it's usually easier to understand if you think of them, instead as just "faster or slower." 1/75 is a "faster" shutter speed (sometimes called "higher," in the sense that a faster speed is also a "higher" speed) than 1/60, which is slower (or "lower").

In terms of iris: Although your notes say you shot at 1/60 of a second, the sample movie you showed us really looks like the shutter speed was set faster than that. And that's why many of us suggested slowing down the shutter speed (to something like 1/60 sec. in 60i or 1/48 in 24p, which we assumed you were not using). I could be wrong about your shutter speed. Maybe you really did shoot it at 1/60. But it doesn't look like it.

In terms of nd filter: If you were having trouble getting enough light to the camera, you might have wanted to switch off the nd filter. I can see why you might want to use a polarizing filter under those overcast weather conditions in order to capture some of the clouds more clearly, but I don't think the nd filter is doing much for you except make the whole scene darker.

Douglas
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Old November 21st, 2006, 04:50 PM   #12
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Thanks for the reply, Douglas.

Didn't really know that's what the ND filters did...I was always taught to use them when it's a bright, sunny day or when shooting near water and the reflection is too much. Never got an explanation. Thanks, the polarization makes sense.

Jonathan

**edit: I was looking at the wrong notes. My bad. Sorry for the confusion, but thanks for the explanations. It really does help. Unfortunately, I don't know what I was shooting that day. I guess we can all say it wasn't my best work, eh?
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Old November 21st, 2006, 05:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Kirsch

And I usually shoot as close to 1/60 as possible, since a lot of the areas I go to (cellars, barrel rooms, etc) don't have much light anyway. Outside, though, it's a crap-shoot. I try to keep it as low as possible.
Inside...outside...high light...low light. It does not matter. The shutter is not a tool to adjust exposure. It's a tool to shoot subjects of different speeds.

Slow subjects = slow/low shutter
Fast subjects = fast/high shutter

Video of wine barrels and tour guides should never have over 1/60 shutter speed in my opinion.


Use the XL2s iris, menu settings, gain and ND filter to adjust exposure. Not the shutter.
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Old November 21st, 2006, 06:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Robbins
And to confirm what Adam suspected, yes, 16:9 provides greater detail than 4:3 in the XL2. When you're in 4:3 mode, the camera has to crop out a certain part of the CCDs.
Hi Douglas. Not trying to stir up an old argument, but I think this is not very accurate. Yes the CCD is cropped in 4:3 mode, but the image is cropped by the same amount so there is no loss of detail. In fact, the 16:9 image has to go through a downsampling from 960 to 720 pixels so there is a potential loss of detail in the conversion, although in practice it is not noticeable (at least on my system).

Richard
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Old November 22nd, 2006, 12:11 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Kirsch
Didn't really know that's what the ND filters did...I was always taught to use them when it's a bright, sunny day or when shooting near water and the reflection is too much. Never got an explanation. Thanks, the polarization makes sense.
Jonathan,

ND or 'neutral density' filters are for cutting down the amount of light hitting the imagers. The stock lens has two ND stages but if it was really bright, you would want to use a mattebox/filter holder on the front of the lens to add more ND to cut the light even further. Think of ND filters as sunglasses, or in more extreme cases, as a welder's shade. They are called neutral density because they affect all wavelengths of light equally and therefore do not create a color shift.

Polarizers are what you use to cut down on relflections from non-metallic objects such as the water scenario you described. Also for eliminating reflections from windows and to enhance color saturation from the sky by reducing the glare.

Many of the filter manufacturers provide excellent explanations of what each filter does and where or how to apply them in a given situation.

-gb-
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