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Old January 25th, 2008, 09:46 AM   #1
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No exposure meter in JVC HD110? How do you exposure?

Hello,

We just bought a new HD110E, and a lot of trainning is going to be needed for this camera, I've been using a Canon XL1S and the pro format of the JVC is quite impressing.

One thing I haven't found in this camera is a exposure meter on this camera like the XL1S. If is the case, how do you people expose with this camera, I'm used to rely on the meter to choose exposure and monitor light scenes and know (in exposure values) if I'm right, under or overexposing and find it very useful. I dont want to find out I will only have zebra to rely on.

How do you exposure and meter light with the HD110?

Thanks.
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Old January 25th, 2008, 10:05 AM   #2
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Jose sorry, but RTFM! There is a switch on the handle by the zoom control which turns auto-exposure on/off and a button for momentary adjustment to metered exposure. There are menu settings which can compensate the metering for certain light conditions.
There isn't an indicator in manual of relationship to what the meter recommends, if that what you are thinking about. But it really isn't such a useful tool in video as it is in still photography. Indication that you arre over/under the average meter reading by a given number of stops doesn't tell you whether the exposure is good for video.
Using the zebra modes properly is an important skill to get properly exposed video. (as in photography, there are many approaches to arrive at the ONE correct exposure for a scene)
The JVC uses an industry pro standard, that is common to cameras up the 6 figure price range. It's one of the real advantages that learning this camera will give you familiarity and confidence with operating other pro broadcast cameras, as well as making the camera intuitive for pro shooters.
I think you'll be better off trying to learn a new technique for getting proper exposure (and there are still many ways to get there!), than trying to adapt your existing approach.
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Old January 25th, 2008, 10:21 AM   #3
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Hello again,

Thats the reason to post to this forum to learn. It's true this is a really pro standard camera and new working methods has to be learned. I trully find it useful to have a meter scale and at least now what the camera is considering a good exposure, buy experience of the camera or what I'm shooting I can compensate manually but at least a have a constant numbered scale to look and base my decisions. I have several photo cameras and all have a meter scale that I use all the time and have provide good service all the time to try to make good exposures, so for me works very well.

So with this camera you only rely on the zebra and eyesight (watching the lcd or viewfinder)??? Consider you dont have a field monitor or vectorscope or wafe monitor how can you set your exposure using the technical aids that this camera provided?

I'm not going to cry if this camera doesn't have what I'm used to, quite the contrary I'm happy to learn the professional way of doing things, dont get me wrong, I'm willing to learn and thats way I'm posting I dont found ways to make proper exposure in the manual, or maybe I have to read it more carefully (please dont blame me on this).

Thanks
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Old January 25th, 2008, 11:13 AM   #4
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The only camera that I have seen with an "exposure meter" are the Canon XL series cameras.

The XL1 was my first video camera when making the switch over from stills to video. I enjoyed having the exposure meter, but you won't find it on any other pro level cameras.

Learn to use the zebra pattern. They are much more important when shooting HD than when shooting SD. Having a correct exposure is so much more important with the small chip cameras and when shooting 4:2:0.

Good luck,

Daniel Weber
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Old January 25th, 2008, 01:23 PM   #5
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The Canon models are the exception to the rule with their built in metering. Every other camera relies on zebra bars and your own eye. With practice you'll be fine.

Ben
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Old January 25th, 2008, 02:59 PM   #6
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You can't really trust the viewfinder or LCD for exposure, unless their brightness and contrast are consistent and reliable.
In real life they never will be - due to focus aids like peaking and ambient light on the LCD and/or light leak round the eye-cup round the viewfinder influencing your eye.

A Couple of ways of setting exposure manually -

1) With the zebra set to 100 percent. (99.9999% of the time this is the method I use myself)

Put a reference in shot if you can- a Macbeth chart or a "white card".
A piece of white copier paper will be OK too - or try to find something in the shot that should be a true white.

Open your aperture until the white patch or paper shows zebra, then close it until the zebra *just* goes away.

The only thing showing zebra should be a light source or the reflection of a light source in glass or metal like chrome, or just possibly the brightest part of a white cloud.


2) Exposure by "average"
On the top of the hand-grip of the lens there is a rubber button (at the front after the auto-exposure slide switch). pressing this momentarily will fore the camera to make an instant auto-exposure reading and lock the aperture.

If you do this in a wide view of your scene the exposure will be based on a (weighted) average of the view seen by the lens.
This method may be fooled by including a large amount of bright sky (for example) in the view when taking the reading.

If you use a close view for the reading it should be something that represents the middle of the range of brightness in the most important part of the scene.

For greater accuracy using this method you would use a "photographic Grey Card" - which is a card of a specific density of grey in the middle of the tonal range.

hope this helps.

lesh
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Old January 26th, 2008, 01:24 AM   #7
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well the first thing you'll learn is the eyepiece view finder burns out the highlights sooner then the LCD panel does. so even though it might look burned out in the VF, on a CRT you'll still have highlights that are ok. using the LCD is much better, but it still does not show you the full range of the camera, especially if you have white clip set to 108% for an extra stop of range at the top end. bottom line is if you make it look "ok" in the eyepiece, it will be dark on a real monitor. better to make it 1-2 stops brighter, and you'll be good. just takes getting used to.

zebras I think are best set to 70%. if you shoot Caucasian people and have zebra's on their face, you're good. maybe if you want a little hotter exposure use 80%, but thats pushing it a little. Other then that, learn to use color bars in the camera to setup the eyepiece & LCD, but I normally leave it set to the factory default for brightness as once you get used to it, its your reference point.

I'll also add, outside, a LCD shade is a very big help in blocking out extraneous light for judging exposure better.
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Old January 26th, 2008, 01:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Oakley View Post

zebras I think are best set to 70%. if you shoot Caucasian people and have zebra's on their face, you're good..
I've always used 70% too. Someone else else is saying 100%. Not sure about what advantage that gives...
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Old January 26th, 2008, 09:39 AM   #9
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The different zebra modes are all useful for different approaches. Again, multiple paths to the optimum (not necc, metered!) exposure.
The 70-80% is the most straightforward for interviews and people dominated shots, since matching skin tone to the key lit part of the face puts your subject right in the sweet spot of exposure. You do have to be careful to adjust for darker complexions - and you lose the warning of overexposed highlights if it isn't a controlled light situation.
Over 100% I find more useful when dealing with existing light, especially outdoors. In this case, we are using the zebras as a warning for areas that can burn out highlights. There could still be information above this point, but it should only be seen in areas of bright highlight.
85-95% Is useful working with a white or key background.
I generally use only the 1st 2 mentioned. Even still, it's critical to know the mode you are in; tuning IN zebras in one case, and tuning OUT zebras in the other. If you shoot a lot of run & gun, I think the over 100% setting is most important, since blown out highlights are ugly and impossible to fix - and you can get them even with a face in perfect exposure.
My general approach is to shoot in manual, hit the momentary exposure button on my subject, and scan the area of my shot looking for over 100% areas. Mind you, I'm not always eliminating these areas, and in fact, a high key shot (eg with white walls and windows or even winter sky) might have a fair bit in the frame in the interest of keeping my subject well exposed.
Personally though, I don't like really bright video, even when it's "legal" whites stay within broadcast specs). I find it more attractive to lose detail in shadow than to lose detail in brightness, but the aesthetics vary with the situation. I also know I can pump a few stops in post from underexposure, but burnt highlights are very stubborn.
Nothing beats the experience of shooting a lot. Especially in non-stressful situations, where you can try a few different approaches and look at them critically afterwards.
One thing you will appreciate in situations where you have to ramp exposure manually is how much easier that is on a "Broadcast" type camera like this. The iris ring has continuos ramped adjustment (many cams are stepped in 1/3 stops) , the ring is positioned where you naturally brace the camera, the range of movement allows precise settings, and exposures are always in the same position allowing a hand memory when returning to a previous setting.
Just realized that in leaving this overnight, that I'm repeating the gospel of others.... In the end, test, critically review, and repeat - develop settings and a system that suit you and the material you are shooting. Hand me someone else's camera without time to adjust to their zebra/monitor/preset settings and I could fall flat on my face.
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Old January 26th, 2008, 08:56 PM   #10
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Hello people,

Very good info in these post. I did not know the XL series of Canon where the only ones having metering scales, I thought it was the norm and now I found is the other way around!

For me it was easier to frame the picture to the area of interest, make a close up, put the camera in auto, then in AV to see the F number the camera suggested, and finally to full manual: usually 1/50th (Pal DV) and the f number, reframe the shot and see for minor adjustments: blown highlights or darker areas of interest, in which case I could adjust the f number myself and have the exposure scale as a reference all the time. I barely used the zebra (please dont get mad :-) option since I got consistent results with this method and maybe a knowing of the camera itself. Can I still use this method (close-up -> check exposure--with zebra now-- -> reframe -> adjust f number (if needed)?

Is kind of weird for me to start using the zebra from now on as my only reliable tool, since viewfinder or lcd are not as trustworthy (or can it be? maybe with the knowing of the tips about lcd and viewfinder posted before?) ...I know zebra is the norm (and the pro way) and once you get used to must be easy, but for now all the % numbers for zebras are a little bit puzzling...dont really know for what % I should set it depending on what I'll be recording and from what I read everyone has different methods, so I'll be needing quite a lot of research to be confortable using the zebra.

I dont know, but I guess using a light meter with along with this camera can start to make sense, but I would like to be able to make decisions only with the camera without needing a meter.

It must be second nature to exposure with zebra for you people and not a meter scale, but for me is a little puzzling and kind of hard, at least now.

Last edited by Jose Milan; January 26th, 2008 at 09:06 PM. Reason: syntax mistake
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Old January 27th, 2008, 09:54 AM   #11
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Jose. The camera has a meter, and I assume most of use it as a reference regularly. Zoom into your subject, push the momentary exposure button, then zoom out. The truth is that relationship to the average metering of the camera doesn't really tell you much useful. Average metering is not the optimum exposure in a number of situations, and you can't simply add or subtract stops of exposure by formula - you have to assess adjustments by examining the result. If in zooming out from your exposure there is lots of dark shadow that suits your purposes you might keep that exposure. If you zoom out and have glaring large areas of over 100% white, you will probably want to reassess your lighting/composition, or possibly compromise on exposure depending on situation. The over/under average doesn't really help here.
In a studio situation (or other mission critical shoots), having a reference monitor is the final call. The most experienced shooters will demand this, knowing just how much they don't know! Funny eh? The viewfinder and lcd screen have limitations, but they can be setup to give a good facsimile of exposure. In any case, there is no replacement for looking at your footage on a calibrated display, and cross referencing with your cameras display so that you can adjust in the field.
To reiterate, The metered reading is good in most situations, but if you are going to vary from that you need real feedback to asses the exposure - not a number. Zebras are a hard reference, and familiarity with your monitoring display serves as the confirmation.
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Old January 27th, 2008, 10:06 AM   #12
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We rarely use a light meter with video. It doesn't translate so well, since setting a fixed ISO for the camera alone is tricky. There are variables involved. Meters can be useful for getting RELATIVE exposures. I've used a spot meter to check a chromakey background to check if my lighting is even, and the relationship to my subject. I've also checked key/fill ratios on faces, but that's more of a learning experience than being actually useful in video where we do have direct monitoring of the in camera result.
What I don't get is how the number you get on your camera helps you expose. If you see blown highlights or lost dark details, these need attention, with physical changes or camera adjustment- regardless of what the camera meter indicates.
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Old January 27th, 2008, 06:29 PM   #13
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Hello Sean,

Thanks for your replies. For me the meter scale is a reference point and a place to star from, coming from the photography field is kind of the analogy in photography, with the reference in the scale I can see what the camera "thinks" is a correct exposure and I adjust if important areas of the frame depending if other areas of interest are in highlights or in shadows. Maybe I just got used to having this reference and should have started long ago using zebras, but I don't know still what porcent should I use depending on the scene.

I would like to get to the point of knowing from looking at the viewfinder or the lcd how the output will be on a final monitor (being able to make decisions with mental adjustments), because many times we wont have a reference profesional monitor (we still need to get one, can buying a good lcd monitor be used as a reference monitor?).

Another line of work, would be matching images coming from the Canon XL1s and the HD 110, since will be using the Canon for multiple camera work...so much trainning is going to be needed to match both in color and luminosity (I know people say the HD 110--HDV--is less sensitive to light than Canon XL1s-DV).
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Old January 27th, 2008, 10:23 PM   #14
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The zebras are a definitely an important tool. If you are familiar with the zone system of photography exposure it might help. Consider the zebra setting to be equivalent to a zone number. I think it's easiest to start working with the zebra setting at over 100%. Consider that say zone 9 (these aren't exact equivalents). You know these areas will be white, or possibly blown out white.
It's an exposure reading showing exactly where in your frame that borderline overexposure is happening. I find using the zebras this way - as a warning, helps me most in changing light conditions. It also keeps the display more clear for viewing the image.
The other settings you are looking to have the zebras placed in your shot, and this can be distracting to the picture if you don't switch it on/off.
Setting the zebra for a lower setting might suit you better, since you will then see where the average exposed areas are.

Good HD monitors are still expensive, and many of us are working without them. There are pro lcd hd video monitors (JVC actually makes some great ones), lcd televisions, and hybrid lcd computer monitors. The latter can still be handy to have on set to ensure focus is sharp and to set up shots - but even if you can't afford to buy a good monitor, try to look at your footage on one and make a mental reference for how it compares to your field reference.

All of the HDV cameras need more light than the DV cameras, but assuming there is sufficient light, you should be able to match the 2 cameras.
I'd approach it this way. Get the canon to look it's best with settings. Get a color chip chart, and a lit scene with a live person. Get a monitor which can do an A/B switch. white balance both the same. Try some scene presets on the JVC, start with the closest, and tweak away. There is tremendous control there, but it isn't elementary. You'll be able to save your "match" settings as a preset.
Paolo Ciccone has some very helpful posts, and a website with information about these adjustments.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 04:12 AM   #15
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Sean,

Once again very good tips and insight...I really like the HD110, it looks solid, I want to be able to make great pictures with this camera and take out all its potencial.

As always the better way (besides dvinfo.net) is working with it. The hardest is going to be to match the color and lights from diferent cameras, I know this might be and off topic, but once you record bars from the cameras and charts, how do you aproach the color match in post...I know this is a huge subject, but just some fundamental points or a link for further details if is available? I've been trying, only a little, but I dont find straightforward info on this very important subject, all the info seems to put it (color correcting) like an art form and like is no straight method for it, I know is truly and art form but I would like to know how to start, I've done color matching myself in the past (from XM1 and XL1s) but only buy eye and I know I dont get it always right or best.

Anyhow, thanks for the tips for the JVC.
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