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Old October 6th, 2010, 05:30 PM   #1
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HM-700 Settings for Night Event?

I'm doing the second string video coverage for a local charity event with my JVC HM700 in a day or two, and as it's way out of my normal shooting experience, I thought I'd ask if anyone has any strong opinions (or otherwise) about the best settings for the event.

My main problem is that lighting will not be under my control at any point, and will range from exterior early-evening sunlight through a catwalk fashion show to post-midnight DJ-led dance floors and such in near darkness. My main past experience has always been doing run-and-gun or staged stuff in excellent light and where high-speed subject motion is often encountered (and where I'm happy with the results from 720p60 and standard gamma, low detail, etc., and where I usually have white balance adjusted ahead of time). Pretty much every shot will be shoulder-mounted or hand-held, so camera movement's a given at this event along with lots of subject movement (and jostling :-)).

The likely use for any video I shoot will be a Vimeo- or YouTube-like record of the event, so we're not talking broadcast or BluRay quality here, just something that's easy to watch and gives a good flavour of the night.

I'm happy to go with what I'm used to and wing it on the night, but any hints or suggestions? 1080i60 vs 1080p30 vs. 720p60? Shutter speeds? Gamma? Etc....
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Old October 6th, 2010, 05:47 PM   #2
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A quick forums search would have brought you to this link. Very helpful lowlight settings for the HM700, and my current settings for lowlight

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/jvc-gy-h...ure-files.html
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Old October 6th, 2010, 07:12 PM   #3
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A bit of a warning... If you're prone to occasionally using Apple's SmoothCam filter in Final Cut Pro, which has saved a lot of run & gun footage from the dustbin, please note that in low light, the SmoothCam filter gets confused by photo flashes and jumps around, making low-light handheld stability critical -- you can't easily fix it later.
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Old October 6th, 2010, 07:47 PM   #4
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Thats a great low light tip, If I was more thorough I should have mentioned thatm Thanks for adding that in Bob!
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Old October 6th, 2010, 10:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Dougherty View Post
A quick forums search would have brought you to this link. Very helpful lowlight settings for the HM700, and my current settings for lowlight

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/jvc-gy-h...ure-files.html
Stephen -- thanks. I've seen that thread (I've even linked to it in a previous post), but I've not had enough low light experience to know whether those settings would work or not for the very changeable lighting conditions I'm likely to have; sounds like it's worked for you. Also, of course, I'm looking for very basic info -- 30p vs 60i, 720 vs 1080i gotchas, etc. with this camera in real-world conditions; low-light and highly-changeable light is way out of my experience with video (but not for stills)...
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Old October 6th, 2010, 10:46 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bob Richardson View Post
A bit of a warning... If you're prone to occasionally using Apple's SmoothCam filter in Final Cut Pro, which has saved a lot of run & gun footage from the dustbin, please note that in low light, the SmoothCam filter gets confused by photo flashes and jumps around, making low-light handheld stability critical -- you can't easily fix it later.
Bob -- thanks for the tip. I've used SmoothCam in FCP a few times, but it's not something I've used except in desperation :-). One of the reasons I have the HM-700 is the decent shoulder mount; I'm still not particularly steady with it, but I'm getting better....
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Old October 7th, 2010, 12:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Hamish Reid View Post
Stephen -- thanks. I've seen that thread (I've even linked to it in a previous post), but I've not had enough low light experience to know whether those settings would work or not for the very changeable lighting conditions I'm likely to have; sounds like it's worked for you. Also, of course, I'm looking for very basic info -- 30p vs 60i, 720 vs 1080i gotchas, etc. with this camera in real-world conditions; low-light and highly-changeable light is way out of my experience with video (but not for stills)...
because you are going to always be changing light, dont dare kid yourself into thinking that you will be able to shoot in 1080p, while I LOVE my 700, its 1080p capabilitys are laughable in low light. My opionion would be to shoot in 72060i with the settings I linked you, set your gain presets to +3 +6 +9 and just be ready to work that toggle a little bit every now and then. Maybe even investing in a cheap on camera light to help out a little. I just recently shot some RAW for a client who wanted a School Dance with virtually No Light at all. I actually shot in 720p60, with this little guy

Bescor LED-150PT 150W Dimmable LED Video Light LED150PT - B&H

It taps right into my AB plate, and while it might not be the best light for your camera, its cheap and really did the trick for me.

Hopefully some of this helps you, if not then hey, you helped me kill some time :)
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Old October 7th, 2010, 12:45 PM   #8
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because you are going to always be changing light, dont dare kid yourself into thinking that you will be able to shoot in 1080p, while I LOVE my 700, its 1080p capabilitys are laughable in low light. My opionion would be to shoot in 72060i with the settings I linked you, set your gain presets to +3 +6 +9 and just be ready to work that toggle a little bit every now and then. Maybe even investing in a cheap on camera light to help out a little. I just recently shot some RAW for a client who wanted a School Dance with virtually No Light at all. I actually shot in 720p60, with this little guy

Bescor LED-150PT 150W Dimmable LED Video Light LED150PT - B&H

It taps right into my AB plate, and while it might not be the best light for your camera, its cheap and really did the trick for me.

Hopefully some of this helps you, if not then hey, you helped me kill some time :)
Stephen -- thanks -- just the sort of stuff I was looking for! My instincts with the HM700 have always been for 720p60 which seems to work really well in most situations I encounter; I'll probably use 720p30 or 60 and see what happens.

And funny you should mention a cheap on-camera light -- I've managed to borrow a cheap light for the evening, but its battery life seems to be about ten minutes, and it has no easy way to plug into the AB power on my camera. I just don't have the time to get a real light before the night...
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Old October 7th, 2010, 01:10 PM   #9
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well, if you dont mind going out to home depot and spending around 10-15usd (lowes, home depot North Eastern United States Contracter stores) you can buy a few small LED flashlights. with some gaffers tape, a little rigging, you can create a LED light, its just not dimmable, they are very bright and might be a little much ,but its an option if you really need the light in a pinch!
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Old October 7th, 2010, 08:16 PM   #10
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I've had very good results with this light:

Comer CM-LBPS1800 On-Camera LED Light | L.A. Color Shop

It costs more than the others mentioned, but way less than some of the "name brand" lights but has higher output. It has a D-Tap connector which is compatible with the Anton-Bauer battery mount version of the HM700, or can be powered by its own relatively-inexpensive consumer Sony-compatible rechargeable battery (I forget the model # at this time - check the web site.)

I shot an outdoor wedding where the dance area was illuminated only by a bit of moonlight and tiki torches. The light on the camera did all the work. It helped of course that A) the bride was in a bright sparkly gown and B) the crowd was sufficiently party-hardy and inebriated that they didn't mind the single-source spotlight in their faces.

The nice thing about that light is the dimmer control (and LEDs don't change color temp when you dim them), and the flip-down color filter and flip-down beam concentrator. It has barn doors, too, but only for left/right.
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Old October 7th, 2010, 10:05 PM   #11
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Thanks again for the recommendations Bob and Stephen -- I'm sure I'll have fun whether I get every last detail right or not. In any case I've just managed to get a Litepanel Micro for the evening -- it's hardly ideal, but it'll probably help a fair bit...
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Old October 7th, 2010, 10:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Richardson View Post
I've had very good results with this light:

Comer CM-LBPS1800 On-Camera LED Light | L.A. Color Shop

It costs more than the others mentioned, but way less than some of the "name brand" lights but has higher output. It has a D-Tap connector which is compatible with the Anton-Bauer battery mount version of the HM700, or can be powered by its own relatively-inexpensive consumer Sony-compatible rechargeable battery (I forget the model # at this time - check the web site.)

I shot an outdoor wedding where the dance area was illuminated only by a bit of moonlight and tiki torches. The light on the camera did all the work. It helped of course that A) the bride was in a bright sparkly gown and B) the crowd was sufficiently party-hardy and inebriated that they didn't mind the single-source spotlight in their faces.

The nice thing about that light is the dimmer control (and LEDs don't change color temp when you dim them), and the flip-down color filter and flip-down beam concentrator. It has barn doors, too, but only for left/right.
wow that really looks like a great OCL Bob, Im actually going to do a little more research on that! Any chance you have a sample of some footage?

And im really glad to help you, I wish we had more active users on our 700 forums =[
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Old October 9th, 2010, 02:29 PM   #13
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Here are two examples snipped from the wedding footage:


Both are at 720p24, 1/24 shutter, iris mostly or fully open.

The first is late dusk, with a nearly full moon rising, dance area lit by tiki torches. No other nearby light sources. No camera gain used in this example.

The second is the same area, but late at night, tiki torches and (insignificant) moonlight only. At some point in the evening I switched the gain to +9db. I can't be sure but I believe it was on for the 2nd example, judging by the noise in the footage.

Lens is Fujinon 17x5. (I believe Fujinon has revamped their 17xN lens recently. This is the one which was shipping with the camera bundle in the summer of 2009.)

Important Caveat: This isn't exactly my best work! But it does show the effectiveness of the light quite well.

I've got two other examples where the light was used as a supplement to ambient indoor lighting and a portable kit. These examples can't be shown yet because one is for a national client that hasn't released the video publicly and the other is an infomercial-style promo for a new product which the client is still developing. I'll try to follow-up once those become showable.

Last edited by Bob Richardson; October 9th, 2010 at 02:56 PM. Reason: Original omitted description of lens type.
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Old October 10th, 2010, 04:31 PM   #14
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Thanks again to Stephen and Bob for the suggestions -- it was a quick learning experience :-). Anyway, I survived the evening in question, and ended up with nearly two hours of really pretty good footage. I shot at 720p30 with 1/30 shutter; the other settings were basically standard gamma and knee, etc., with -6 detail setting and NR on (I screwed the settings up a bit on the day -- hint: don't leave scene and picture files on the wrong card and leave your cheat sheet at home...). Due to poor and variable light, I ended up using +18db gain for nearly every shot (I'd hoped not to go much above +9), and I just used the 3200K white balance preset (wise move given the lighting). The Litepanels Micro was OK -- much better than nothing -- but I'll need something a little more powerful next time -- that Comer light Bob mentioned sure does look attractive (and when I get some money it'll be at the top of the list). Focusing in such low light was (predictably) sometimes difficult using the viewfinder, but that's something I got right a lot more than I didn't (I just wish it were possible to have the focusing scale in the viewfinder, as I'm getting to be a dab hand at estimating distance and the Canon lens's focus scale seems fairly accurate on my 700).

Overall, I guess I was surprised by how well the 700 performed, even at +18 gain -- the noise is obvious in the final clips, but it's not obtrusive or unwelcome. The nature of the event and what's in the clips works well with that sort of grainy look. The big plus of the 700 of course is the form factor and the ergonomics -- I had it on my shoulder for nearly six hours straight, and you quickly get to appreciate the balance, the workflow, and the general ease of use. I just wish I had three hands...
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Old October 15th, 2010, 09:09 AM   #15
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You are very welcome, and im glad your job went well, dont forget about these forums though! always come back with more questions and things for us to answer!
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