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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old May 20th, 2003, 07:48 PM   #1
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shooting in the desert

I am shooting in the desert this weekend with my XL1s and I was hoping that I could get some good advice.

The project is a music video, and this part of shoot is b-roll (concept and story) so I won't be shooting audio.

I was wondering if anyone could suggest what kind of filters to put on the Xl1s lens, or if someone could direct me to a link or a site that may give me options. I will be shooting during the day in the Mojave desert, and I am still not sure what kind of look I want to achieve, or if I should shoot clean and then 'get the look' in post.

I also would appreciate any suggestions for time lapse shooting of the sunrise and the sunset. Should I just shoot standard and speed it up in post? Do I need any special filter to protect the lense as it points at the sun (both during sunrise/sunset and maybe midday)?

I think this DV info community is spectacular, and invaluable, and I thank anyone who wishes to put in his/her two cents.

_steven
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Old May 20th, 2003, 08:20 PM   #2
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I've been doing lots of time lapse stuff recently, with good results. If you're shooting things like clouds and sunsets the best approach is to just "set it and forget it", let the tape run at normal speed. Use manual exposure since it will look strange (IMO) when the camera compensates as night falls. Depending on how long you want the sequence to run you might shoot anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes at a time. Some of my favorite sequences are sped up in post between 20 and 30 times. In other words, 30 minutes of real time would yield 1 minute of finished video. Of course, this all depends on many variables, so you will need to experiment yourself! I'm using Final Cut Pro to edit, and it seems significantly faster if you turn off "frame blending" when altering the speed.

Also be certain that you turn off image stabilization and autofocus. These can look really bad in this sort of situation. A slow moving cloud or sun can trick the camera into jiggling around the frame and ruining your shot. For sunsets/sunrises you'll probably want ND filters and may also need to use high shutter speed to handle the bright sun.

I've also learned to be certain that the lens and filters are very clean and dust free, since this sort of thing really tends to show up when you shoot towards a bright light.

Make sure to bring plenty of batteries and tapes! :-)
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Old May 21st, 2003, 07:05 AM   #3
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Definitely use an ND filter. I would not point my camera at the
sun when it is not sunset or -rise. Too intense light source
at the other times.
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Old May 21st, 2003, 08:28 AM   #4
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I use graduated filters a great deal in those type lighting situations. Grads are available in colored and ND. They help control the contrast between the sky and foreground.
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Old May 21st, 2003, 01:33 PM   #5
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sunrise video example

I thought an example might be of interest:

http://www.greenmist.com/sunrise

This is a ~3MB file which runs about 30 seconds with no audio. It was shot at full telephoto with a PDX-10 in 16:9 mode. Best I can recall, I used my ND8 filter, possibly stacked a ND2 on top, lens opening ~f 4. It was shot normal speed, then sped up in FCP by about 1600% (the original duration was ~9 minutes). Nothing was done to the color. To get the file down to a reasonable size I used Sorenson 3, high quality, 12 fps and reduced the frame size to 427x240 (stretching the anamorphic image to the correct aspect ratio). Of course that pretty much wipes out anything subtle in the original clip, but it gives you an idea of what's possible for this kind of shot.

One thing I'm learning as I do more nature photography; it's hard to shoot something like this without getting birds in the picture, especially if you're near a large body of water! It may be hard to tell on this little clip, but there are lots of time-shifted birds flying across the frame!
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Old May 21st, 2003, 05:51 PM   #6
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Nice clip, but it was very easy to tell where the birds are. Quite
distracting! Perhaps it would be better to hand pick the frames
in that region (ugh.. hard job for sure)
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Old May 21st, 2003, 06:56 PM   #7
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Yeah, before I use that clip I will need to do something, or maybe just shoot again at a better location. It was really more of a "proof of concept thing" to show some people, part of about 20 minutes of time-shifted nature shots. It was very successful for that, but not ready for prime time :-)
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Old May 22nd, 2003, 09:31 PM   #8
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Bird Problem solved

Just paint out the birds by refrencing a frame ahead or a frame back. Ta-da. Instant no -birds. Honestly takes little time and little problems. Better then running around looking for no-birds alowed signs-giggle- Enjpy' Nice clip by the way''
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