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Old November 3rd, 2003, 02:03 PM   #1
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What settings for Fireworks shoot

Hi all,

I want to shoot my local village firework display in a couple of days. Trouble is, I've never shot fireworks before, and I'm not sure what the right approach is.

Anyone have any guidelines?

Regards,

Julian
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Old November 3rd, 2003, 03:10 PM   #2
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Hi Julian:

This past July I had the same questions you do. Here's some things I found to be of help.

You don't want to be too close, or you won't catch everything. Don't get too far away, either, although you can zoom in.

Set up on a tripod. If you want the sound of the explosions, you'll likely want to be away from people talking, etc. That may not be possible, however.

Go manual on everything, from focusing to shutter speed to iris aperture. Start with a fairly wide shot and a wide open iris. As the show opens, you can frame your shot (and focus as well) and then start to adjust the aperture and shutter speed.

You can see some fireworks that I taped (composited into an opening sequence for a patriotic concert that I taped and edited):

Let Freedom Sing intro

Good Luck!
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Old November 4th, 2003, 03:19 AM   #3
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Hi,

well, the proof is in the pudding, and your fireworks certainly look bright and crisp.

How do you expose for this? I would guess maximum aperture because, even when exploding, it's still pretty dark.

I will be using a PDX10, but that only allows manual aperture OR manual shutter speed, but not both. Oh, and it has doubtful low light capability, so this may not work out too well...

Julian

Come to think about it , this will probably become more PDX10 related - can a wrangler transfer this to the PDX10 forum?
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Old November 4th, 2003, 03:30 AM   #4
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Use a shutter speed of 1/60. Even though a slower shutter will work better in lower light, the fast moving footage will have gaps in it. Manual everything, tripod, and not too far or close, as the other members suggest.
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Old November 4th, 2003, 08:41 AM   #5
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A few more observations:

As the fireworks themselves ARE the source of light when they burst in the sky, you'll probably want to close your iris a little more than you'd thought if you want to capture their true colors.
If you adjust the aperture on the night scenery before the fist bomb goes off, all your fireworks will come out as washed out white. Anyway, avoid turning the gain on.

Keep your framing wide. Don't try to follow a bomb going up with your zoom: you'd miss its blooming. Try to anticipate the size of the burst and frame safe. Keep steady on a tripod. No need for the image stabiliser.

Any shutter speed slower than 1/50 (1/60 NTSC) will deinterlace the picture and discard half of the vertical resolution. Any speed higher than 1/50 (1/60 NTSC) will reduce exposure and force you to push the gain up, inducing grain.

If you can shoot from across a river or a lake, you'll get beautiful reflexions of colors on the water.
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Old November 4th, 2003, 09:33 AM   #6
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<<<-- Originally posted by Julian Luttrell : Hi,

well, the proof is in the pudding, and your fireworks certainly look bright and crisp.

How do you expose for this? I would guess maximum aperture because, even when exploding, it's still pretty dark.

-->>>

Thanks. I don't remember what my exposure settings ended up at. What you saw was part of the finale, so I had adjusted everything the way I wanted it by the time these were shot.

I should point out that on a TV set the fireworks are not as crisp as I would have liked. It can be hard to get them in as sharp focus as you'd like when using a view finder or LCD on a dark night.

Mine were shot with a GL2, totally manual. But I know of someone else who used a GL2 in auto mode and was quite happy with his results.

Give it your best shot and let us know how it goes!
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Old November 4th, 2003, 08:19 PM   #7
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Also, remove all the filters off your lens, otherwise you'll wonder where all the ghosts in your picture came from.
I shot fireworks before, and with the lens fully wide, I had some issues with it.
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Old December 6th, 2003, 08:51 AM   #8
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Keep it alive - more fireworks questions

Ok, I'm shooting a fireworks show tonight sync-ed to Christmas music. So, I will not be able to edit it much and stay with the music. I have to get it right the first time.

In my mind, I should use my wide angle converter(GL2).

It seems to me that I should set the focus to infinity and leave it there. Am I on the right track? I just don't see any way to adjust focus during a fireworks show.

The good folks so far have said to stay with 1/60f and not be so concerned with the dark night. Also should I use a low gain, like 2?
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Old December 6th, 2003, 09:54 AM   #9
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In my attempt, I found the only thing to do was to use a PAL/NTSC monitor. Refer to it continually and make corrections to the camera based on what you see there.

Julian
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Old December 28th, 2003, 02:56 AM   #10
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Best way of filming fireworks...

Hi

As usual I will film the fireworks on december 31.
Last year was the first time I used my XM2 for filming the fireworks. I then used the auto mode.

I hope users of the GL2/XM2 will share their epinion in this topic about the best way of filming fireworks.

Gabriel
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Old December 28th, 2003, 03:24 AM   #11
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Auto Exposure BUT Manual Focus

Auto comes with Auto Focus too. This aint good. Think about it? Going from a black sky to a blazing array of bright colours and light will drive the auto focus bananas. Auto Exposure will have to do.

Yes go Auto BUT use Manual Focus too. Zoom way in and Focus on a point a little beyond your "estimated" plane of filming. Get the Focus real sharp. Now Zoom out and take in the whole panorama. This worked for me. Oh yes, I should have either with moving the tripod a little further back OR attempted to use the wide angle Canon Lens.

I've got other tweaks - but I'll give ithers a chance to pick holes in my approach first - yeah?

Grazie
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Old December 28th, 2003, 05:14 AM   #12
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I would also "fix" the shutter at 1/50th. Less than that, the cam will miss fast moving detail, faster than that, your lux requirements will increase; and since this is night-time shooting, the cam is already tasked.
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Old December 28th, 2003, 06:57 AM   #13
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I like that Frank!
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Old December 29th, 2003, 03:09 PM   #14
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I shot some fireworks full manual with my XL1S (forgot the settings).
Basically because it will otherwise overcompensate (because
it goes from complete dark to very light etc.).
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Last edited by Rob Lohman; July 30th, 2006 at 10:59 AM.
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Old March 14th, 2004, 12:25 PM   #15
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Filmimg Fireworks

I'm looking for some advice from anyone familiar with filming fireworks on mini DV...shutter speed,f stop etc.
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