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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old February 27th, 2007, 05:21 PM   #1
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Location: Ashford, Middlesex (England)
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ND Filter

Just looking for advice of best practice from other peoples experience ....

When shooting in manual mode, with a lens which has a built in ND Filter, there is no display advising to switch the ND filter on or off, but I know such a display will appear when using Easy Recording or Auto Mode.

So when using the manual mode outside with the sun appearing in and out of the clouds during continuous filming of a sporting event, are best results obtained by still using ND filter when the sun comes out, or by a combination of changing the shutter speed, gain & iris and maybe using the zebra pattern as a guide for over exposure?
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Old February 27th, 2007, 06:00 PM   #2
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Here are my thoughts, if anyone has a different opinion, please share...

Don't use the shutter speed to control exposure, especially if it's one event. Different shutter speeds will generate different looks to the captured footage. This will be very appearent in fast motion shots.

As far as switching ND filters or taking the ND filter off, I would also steer clear of that. Usually the change in exposure when you add or remove an ND filter will be greater than the change in light and you'll have to adjust the iris anyway.

So my suggestion would be to just change the iris mannually, or shoot in shutter priority mode and let the camera adjust the iris for you. The only problem with adjusting the iris manually is, and I'm sure that you know this, the iris works in steps so changes can be noticable.

As far as gain goes, if you're shooting outside during the day, I don't beleive that you'll need to turn the gain up at all. I'd start out with it set at zero or -3. Pick one or the other though, changing from 0 to -3 or the other way around will effect the sharpness of your image.

Hope this helps...

"... the drama is on your doorstep..." - John Grierson
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Old February 27th, 2007, 06:30 PM   #3
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Outside on a sunny/cloudy day, I'd run in Tv (shutter priority) at 1/250 using 30P recording. Leave the gain at -3, and use one or both ND settings. If you find that the camera wants to run the iris too open or closed, you can reach under the handle and adjust the AE offset to bias it a little more towards your taste and what makes the subject matter look better.

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Old February 28th, 2007, 04:59 AM   #4
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ND Filter

Thanks guys for the tips. Greg, I forgot to mention I am in the UK with a PAL camera so don't have 30p. I use 50i for a soccer match.

I have tried the TV mode previously but indeed found an over reaction to the sun coming out which is why I tried going manual. Can you tell me more about the AE offset option.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 07:08 AM   #5
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Hi Julian

I don't have the Canon, I shoot on a Z1 ... but the principals are the same...
I nearly always shoot at shutter speed 50....(very occasionally upping it if I want to shoot faster action, or reducing it if lights is so low my gain isn't enough) but these are very rare situations.

I always shoot manual.. setting both shutter speed & iris manually and adjusting as the sun goes in and out. Yes can be a pain, as you it can be perceptable in shots..but I only find this to be a hassle only on the rare occasions where the light is all over the place... (ie.cloudy days with lots of wind)

The major issue with any kind of auto even TV mode, which I love on the EOS's by the way.. is it does what the camera wants, and can give you some surprises... If a light subject moves in front of the lens if changes your setting and darkens your picture, if a dark subject comes in to shot you get a sudden brightening.. this is really noticeable..

As I said unless your light is all over the show, you can set exposure for each take or shot... If the change is too great I just yell 'Hold it!!' or 'Cut' or something and readjust exposure... if this is not possible rolling the iris gently on the Z1 closes it down gently without being to evident. Far better than auto.

I use both the 2 built in ND's and extra 4x4 ones on a matte box to keep the camera at between f1.6 and f4 or f5.6. These are the sharpest apertures for this camera...

It all takes some juggling, but I far prefer that, being in control of my settings and exposure, than leaving it to the uncertainties of any auto setting...

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