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Old August 13th, 2006, 12:04 AM   #1
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XL1s Best Settings for situation

hello,
I plan on shooting a black and white feature on the XL1s and am new to the camera.

There are so many different things to manually set on the camera that it is hard to wrap my mind around things. I am not interested in making it "look like film) as it seems most people are, but I do plan on a film transfer later.

I just need the best picture possible...

I know already to keep my shutter speed at 1/60th sec (or under) because of what the different digital to film houses reccommend, but how about the iris settings or the gain?

How about AE settings? Sharpness settings... well basically everything else.

If anyone could help me to better make these decisions for whatever conditions (both low and bright conditions) please let me know because I am new to this. Thanks to anyone who replies.
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Old August 13th, 2006, 12:31 AM   #2
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With my XL1s, I always shoot with the largest iris possible, usually 1.6, but sometimes I have to go higher. I shoot in full manual mode with a 1/60 shutter, sometimes 1/120. I've never transferred anything to film nor have I shot for black & white. I wouldn't go below 1/60 because 1/30 is pretty choppy, and anything less is useless.

But at 1.6 with some zoom, ND filter, and polarizer, you get an excellent picture with a pretty shallow DOF... doesn't compare to 35mm, but it looks nice. I have some sample video from a recent wedding if you're interested, just send me an email.

On the custom preset, I turn the sharpness down about 1 notch, and the setup level down 1 or 2, which gives it nice contrast. I don't normally use the AE mode, so no help there. I keep my zebra stripes on 90, and all the other settings pretty much default. I don't shoot in the 30F movie mode, but just regular 60i. All color settings and fine tuning I do in post with Final Cut Pro.

The gain is very noticable on this camera. 6db looks ok, but 12 and higher really sticks out, more so than my Sony VX2100. If I'm outside, or in a bright setting, I will use the -3db for a nice clean picture.

Hope this helps and good luck with your movie
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Old August 13th, 2006, 12:51 AM   #3
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I've seen B/W stuff done very well on an XL1s. The person who did it, recommended shooting color so you can pick the color channel with the best character when converting it to B/W in post...or the 2 best using a compositing mode between them to enhance the look of it.

I don't have samples, but some testing should provide the answers you seek...tape is cheap :)

Oh! and stay kinda close to your subject...closer to any lens has shallower DoF...provide distance between your subjects and the backgrounds as a small chip camera will tend to blast everything into focus all the time and give you little control over DoF. Light well and use a tripod or other non-handheld device for better looking shots.
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Old August 13th, 2006, 01:27 AM   #4
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more specific questions

I plan on shooting some of it in color to transfer to black and white in editing (because I will reshow some things in color) but for the most part I believe I will shoot in black and white. (So many people tell me so many different things and I figure the benefits cons of each must be a pretty even...

I thank you for that tip though...
The nice person who was telling me about how he keeps the iris large... this is to minimize depth of feild, is it not... or am I backwards... why do you keep it large if no... I will also keep the shutter speed 1/60 because this is recomended by the people at the film transfer houses.

also what exactly is ae and gain? what happens when you raise it versus what happens when you reduce it?

Why would one turn sharpness down? The reason I ask is because the film transfer houses say they need a sharp image? Wouldn't it be better to have sharpness up all the way? Or would this be a bad thing? ( I realize that not everyone wants to transfer to film. I just thought sharpness was good usually anyway)

I thank all for the help :)
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Old August 13th, 2006, 09:21 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devon Powell
The nice person who was telling me about how he keeps the iris large... this is to minimize depth of feild, is it not... or am I backwards... why do you keep it large if no... I will also keep the shutter speed 1/60 because this is recomended by the people at the film transfer houses.
Keeping the iris large gives you a good depth of field, a shallower depth of field, so when you focus on your subject, the background is blurry.

Here's a simple example... this one is using a small iris (higher number, 8 or 9), see how you can clearly see the background?:
http://crisislab.com/files/misc/detective-still03.jpg

This one is using a large iris (smaller number, 1.6, 2.8):
http://fatih.smugmug.com/photos/46851961-S.jpg

See how the background is blurry? That's what you can get with a larger iris.

Quote:
also what exactly is ae and gain? what happens when you raise it versus what happens when you reduce it?
The AE shift setting changes the exposure in Aperature priority or shutter priority mode, and I do believe it works in green box mode too, but I'm not sure. On those modes, you either set aperature, and the camera will adjust shutter for you (aperature priority), or you set the shutter, and the camera will adjust the aperature (shutter priority), you can use the AU shift to control what exposure the camera automatically adjusts to. It works pretty well, but if you're shoting a feature movie, I would use full manual where you have control over the shutter and aperature.

The gain electronically raises the brightness of an image, but introduces a lot of noise. Think back in the good old still photo days, you would use a low ISO, like 50, 100, or 200 to get a clear picture when you have a lot of light, but other ones, like 400, 800, etc. were available that could take great pictures indoors even without a flash, but the end result had a lot of noise and grain in it.

Here's a picture with a lot of grain... this is about what the XL1s looks at 18db (maybe somewhere between 18db and 30db):
http://www.paulsprawl.com/images/Live%20Grainy%202.jpg

This is about what it looks like at 12db:
http://www.plutino.net/journals/etha...raffic_cam.jpg


Quote:
Why would one turn sharpness down? The reason I ask is because the film transfer houses say they need a sharp image? Wouldn't it be better to have sharpness up all the way? Or would this be a bad thing? ( I realize that not everyone wants to transfer to film. I just thought sharpness was good usually anyway)
The sharpness is really a personal preference. In my opinion, the XL1s when set too sharp, the edges of your shots get some white "noise" around them, and I can't stand it. Don't turn it down too low, just a little bit to take the edge off.

Here's an example of a picture with sharpness too high:
http://www.milori.com/articles/image...pness_high.jpg

This is more what it's supposed to look like:
http://www.milori.com/articles/image...es/correct.jpg

Hope this helps (the images were found using google images, btw)
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Old August 13th, 2006, 12:39 PM   #6
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On the topic of the sharpness, the camera adds digital sharpening to the captured image to help define edges in areas of high contrast. Your post house wants sharp images...which you can get with the sharpness turned off, you just have to be diligent about focus. I recommend an external monitor rather than the eyepiece, for both focusing and framing...I got burned by both on my last shoot. I shoot with the digital edge enhancement (sharpness) turned off...it doesn't blur the image at all, it just doesn't post process it. I can add the edge enhancement in post if I really need it, but then I have more control over how it's added there. I'd rather the camera just capture the scene correctly and let me effect it later.
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Old August 13th, 2006, 09:31 PM   #7
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clarification on sharpness.

Thanks... this has helped. I do have one more (rather important thing i would like to be cleared up.

When you say, " shoot with the digital edge enhancement (sharpness) turned off" do you mean in the middle (where the camera naturally has it) or do you mean turned all the way down (as in to the - end of the spectrum other than the middle.

I just want to make double sure I understand.
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Old August 13th, 2006, 10:37 PM   #8
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I turn it all the way down...but that's just me...some folks will argue...and they're just as right as me :)
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Old August 15th, 2006, 04:29 PM   #9
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I know this doesn't really have anything to do with the camera but if you intend to go with B&W then you should light accordingly. Us hard backlights to seperate your subject from your backbground. Your color images would already do this but things tend to blend more in B&W. Throwing more light on your subjects will require a little more on the ND side if you want that depth of field. Best of luck and please do report back here with your results!
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Old August 17th, 2006, 02:45 PM   #10
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Depth of field is a linear zone of acceptable sharpness that extends in front of and behind the subject that has been placed in sharp focus.

Depth of field is based upon the physical diameter of the camera's lens and its focal length. Extreme telephoto lenses have a very shallow depth of field where extreme wide angle lenses have a very deep depth of field.

As a general rule of thumb you can think of depth of field as an acceptable zone of sharpness extending 1/3 in front of the focus point and 2/3 behind the focus point.

Depth of field will also change for the viewer based upon the physical size of the video display and the viewer's physical relation to it. In a movie theatre, for example, a person in the front row will have a different perception of depth of field than another person in the back row of the balcony.

Most important, depth of field is highly subjective. It is used to help separate the subject from both the foreground and the background of an image so the viewer's attention goes where it is intended to go.
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