1st outdoor shoot was foiled by exposure is there something i'm missing? at DVinfo.net

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Old December 29th, 2003, 08:48 AM   #1
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1st outdoor shoot was foiled by exposure is there something i'm missing?

hello everyone, i know that exposure is a subject that has been explained throughout this board, but i'm still having a hard time figuring out methods of controlling it. i shot a few takes yesterday for a local music video and the zebra stripes were in the viewfinder so i adjusted the f-stop untill they went away. as a result of me closing the iris my subject was underexposed. it was 4:30pm, the talent was a black male who was standing in a huge parking lot with the sun at a 45 degree angle to his left.

from reading different threads in this forum, i understand that the talent was competing with the background, and that his dark skin may be prone to underexposure when up against a brighter background. i understand that i can use bounce cards to put the sun in his face while his back is to the sun, but that would be a problem when framing a wide shot.

i know that the 500watt worklamps can not compete with the sun, but if i used one of those body sized mirrors from target to throw the sun back onto the talent it may work wonders. the only other thing about this is that it may be blinding to the talent.

i think from the hours of 8:00 untill 10:00 gives a more diffused light here in augusta georgia, but then i may have to add some artificial light.

the light meter indicated that it was an underexposed scene, but if i tried to brighten the image up the zebra patterns would then come on, what am i doing wrong?

i know that i can get a car ac/dc convertor to hook lights up to, but can it run multiple 500 watt worklights? would i need to buy an extra car battery just in case? i've read that some of them have alarms to warn you when your battery has just enough energy to crank the car, so would it be better to keep the car
running?

i thought that it would be easier for me to shoot in the day then at night, but boy was i wrong. any help is appreciated thanks.
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Old December 29th, 2003, 09:20 AM   #2
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My first advice is to shoot more. Getting the feeling of the zebra bars can be difficult indeed, especially the first time around.

Another thing that can be helpful is to post a few frame grabs so that others can specifically look at you problem and offer suggestions.

Using inverters to power worklights is one solution. However, to power a 500 watt work light takes a 500 watt inverter. When you go past about 300 watts, you really cannot use the cirgarette lighter any more and really need a direct battery connection. This means heavy guage wires and keeping the wire lengths short.

If you are wiring to your primary vehicle, watch your runtime. Nothing would be worse at the end of the shooting the day only to find that your Die-Hard battery had done just that and having to find someone to jump you so you can drive home.
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Old December 29th, 2003, 12:32 PM   #3
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Also, what were your zebras set to? If you're stretching the range of exposure in a shot, then I'd set them to max, and reduce til they just disappear, or one notch from disappearing (Allowing a possible clip). From what I understand of Zebras they can be set up to 100, on the XM2 and Xl1 but DV25 does allow a little more head room up to 110, so you may still retain deail in the highlights.

Also, some will advise that underexposure is ok and you can pull detail out of the shadows in post. Of course that will require rendering so that's up to you.

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Old December 30th, 2003, 08:04 AM   #4
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wow

thanks everyone. upon further viewing of the footage, it didn't turn out too bad. i think the problem was partly my television and my expectations. i have a rear projection television and i was sitting up close to it while looking up from the floor. when i viewed it later from the couch it look a lot better. i exported it into vegas and it then looked even better, then when i started tweaking some settings it just blew me away. this xl1 camera is awsome. i have a great deal to learn about the camera and about shooting period, but i know that i will have fun doing it.
thanks for all of the help.


how do i adjust the zebras for the xl1?
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Old December 30th, 2003, 09:17 AM   #5
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On the original XL1, you can't adjust zebra level. The only one available is 100%. With the new Xl1s, you can tweak it between 80% - 100% if I remember well.
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Old December 30th, 2003, 09:34 AM   #6
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Although I don't use an XL-1, personally I set zebra to 100 IRE (not percent) on my Sony's, then then expose so the pattern just barely dances on anything that's pure white. You might vary this a little depending on what's important in the picture however. For example, you might want to overexpose the sky a bit to bring out detail in something else.

Aaron also makes a good point about deliberately underexposing, then punching it up in your editor. This can work well for many applications (like shooting a live stage show for example) where you have a big contrast range and are concerned about not burning out the highlights.

Like Nathan says, just get out there and shoot a lot, then look at the results and see what works best under different conditions. After you get to know your camera you will start to have a "feel" for where to set exposure.
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Old December 30th, 2003, 09:57 AM   #7
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You are right Boyd. Sorry for this misinformation. Don't know why I had % in mind.
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