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Old May 1st, 2003, 11:07 AM   #1
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Techniques for filming toward the sun ??

Any advice for shooting toward it? I went to my favorite place a few days ago, the dragstrip, and of course took along my GL2. Now the dragrstip runs east to west, and I was there in the late afternoon until dark. My footage of cars doing burnouts and launching looks great (in the east), but as I follow the cars down the track into the sun, everything is washed out. The sun is not actually in the viewfinder. I tried several different settings without much success. Maybe I'm expectig too much from the camera. Thanks!!

One thing I did learn is that autofocus does not work well filming the smoke from the burnouts.
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Old May 1st, 2003, 11:24 AM   #2
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If light changes you will have to compensate with shutter and
iris controls, ND filters or gain levels. What settings did you have?
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Old May 1st, 2003, 11:45 AM   #3
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Rob, I don't remember any exact settings, just tried some of the modes like Tv, Av, Sand & Snow, and played around with exposure compensation. There isn't much time to switch settings for going from good to poor shooting conditions. I suppose I was looking for one setting to use, but I think that's unrealistic.

Since the sun sets in the open cornfields across the street at my house I guess I should get out there and experiment.

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Old May 1st, 2003, 12:21 PM   #4
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Kirk,

If the sun wasn't actually in frame, you may want to try a larger lens hood. Might help minimize the flare from the sun. Sounds like a cool shot though, from ground level, right behind the car it would disappear into the sun!
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Old May 1st, 2003, 02:18 PM   #5
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Good question! I'm asking myself the same!

How dangerous for the camera is direct sun light?
I'm going a lot of siluette video for my upcoming project so I dont want to ruin my new XL1.

Do anyone have any good hints for getting good video in the sunset?
/Andy
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Old May 1st, 2003, 03:06 PM   #6
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NEVER point your camera at the sun... You can definitely
damage your CCD chips!!! Now it might be possible and such
with enough ND filters and things like that but be VERY VERY
careful!
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Old May 1st, 2003, 03:12 PM   #7
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Well, I can't figure out why it should be harmful?

I thought the CCD only looked at a picture and said, green pixel, green pixel, white pixel and so on... So if I pointed it to the sun it sould say White, white white and so on?

I mean are the CCD heat sensitive? Could anybody explain this for me? I've actually pointed loads of cameras at the sun, DV, CVHS, 35mm and so on.. never had any problems..

I've done 3 years of electronics training but can't figure out why the CCD should take any harm if pointed to the sun. It would/should be equally bad pointing it at a ordinary lamp..

I'm not posting pointing your camera is not bad, I just want to know why?

Thanks guys!

/Andy
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Old May 1st, 2003, 03:57 PM   #8
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Pulling this out of my butt. . .maybe the lens acts like a focus and concentrates the sun's rays onto your chip. . .burning it. . .similar to the way you can use a magnifying glass to burn stuff.

All I know is, you're not supposed to point your lens directly at the sun, nor the viewfinder.
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Old May 1st, 2003, 04:08 PM   #9
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I suspect you (or your butt) is on to it. While I have never seen a camera spontaneously combust and burst into flames, the heated generated from pointing the camera at the sun is probably considerable. Heat probably cause things to crack, melt, deform etc. and that's all she wrote. Very expensive repair on a 3 chip and probably fatal on a single chip.

It's not a big risk at sunrise or sunset because the sun is at a different angle to the atmosphere. But at mid day the suns energy is enough to do considerable damage, I suspect.

I have seen viewfinders smoke quite heavily, but never burst into flames. The lenses in the VF concentrate the suns energy and focus it on the LCD screen and deform it and cause the surrounding plastic to melt and deform. Nothing like the smell of smoldering plastic at high noon.
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Old May 1st, 2003, 04:19 PM   #10
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Maybe your camera is not old enough to smoke.

It doesn't happen instantaneously. When I've seen VF smoke, they were left pointed at the sun for may 30 to 45 seconds or longer. Getting the material around the CCD to deform or melt might take longer.

If the sun is low on the horizon your OK. But if the sun is overhead, I think exposure to the sun could cause damage to the CCD block.
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Old May 1st, 2003, 06:46 PM   #11
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Just yesterday I shot a sunset. If you wait until the sun gets low on the horizon you should be fine. Common sense tells me not to point the camera at the sun if it appears to bright to look at with the naked eye. I've shot a variety of sunsets in the last month with two different cameras and no apparent harm. But be careful, best not to try if you aren't a bit adventurous! :-)

In this case it was pretty cloudy and I used an ND2 filter at f3.4 1/60 sec. But other times I've had to go up to 1/1000 sec to get a reasonable iris setting. Just for fun, here's a quick clip. It's time lapse at 5x original speed. Of course it suffers from lots of compression, low frame rate and 50% size reduction to make it reasonable to download. The original was shot in 16:9 on a PDX-10.

http://www.greenmist.com/sunset
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Old June 5th, 2011, 04:45 PM   #12
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Re: Techniques for filming toward the sun ??

yea, i have a built in n.d filter.. and a screw on polarising filter, wouldnt this make it safe to film sun?
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Old June 5th, 2011, 08:47 PM   #13
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Re: Techniques for filming toward the sun ??

I don't know that I'd risk it. I was heavily into astronomy for a bunch of years, and got into solar observing. Obviously, using a telescope with much higher magnification greatly increases the risk of intensifying the solar radiation optically, but the filters used for direct viewing are about 70% denser than a welder's mask.
A vari-ND filter closed off completely "may" work if you're shooting right at the setting sun, but I don't think I'd want to risk very many seconds of direct exposure that way.
I think I still have a couple of solar filters around. I'll try to find them and shoot a short clip of the setting sun on auto and see what the camera interprets
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Old June 5th, 2011, 09:46 PM   #14
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Re: Techniques for filming toward the sun ??

i pointed my camera at the sun setting a few years ago before i knew of the dangers.. fortunately it was ok... got a lovely shot which i can speed up/slow down/reverse... i did it without any filters at all so i was lucky!
A reason id like to film the sun during day time... is this planet x/niribu/comet elenin thing! I can see it using a mobile phone cam.. which i wasnt fussed about breaking.... would be good to see what video camera makes of it! i dunno where u located but to see it here in uk you have to point directly at sun about 11 am to mid day... on a clear day.. ie no clouds. In other parts of the world its more visible sometimes with naked eye.

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Old June 5th, 2011, 10:11 PM   #15
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Re: Techniques for filming toward the sun ??

I've actually shot the sun for an hour without any ill effects. I've used a Sony Z1, Sony EX-1, and Sony CX-550V for all kinds of sunset shots. These cameras are both CCD and CMOS. In some instances with the Z1 and 550, I shot from 6pm to 7pm locked down, and let the sun creep into frame until it set, with the intention to speed it up in post. The Z1 and EX-1 has built in ND filters, the 550 does not. In that case I upped the shutter speed and let it go... none of my cameras showed any signs of damage... so far. Do it at your own risk.
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