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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:25 PM   #1
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HMC-150 and filming bright lights:

Hello,

I did a project today that required me to film 3 monitors with bright lights surrounding the monitors. See attached picture.

As I checked out the results tonight, I learned the footage was very dark. I was using automatic settings. I am new to the HMC-150.

What should I have done to avoid such a dark video shot when dealing with bright lights?

Thanks for any help.

Simon
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HMC-150 and filming bright lights:-test.png  
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Old September 30th, 2009, 11:56 AM   #2
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The bright lights fooled the auto-exposure system. For better results you should have zoomed in on the main subjects and set exposure on them and locked it manually, then zoomed back out to frame and shoot the shot. Yes, the bright light would have been even more bright in that case, but at least your subjects would have been at proper exposure.
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Old September 30th, 2009, 01:43 PM   #3
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Simon:

Barrys answer is the first step.

If you were shooting in 1080i, you could have tried the DRS 1, 2 and 3 settings. This compresses the exposure latitude so the dark is lighter and the light is darker. It makes quite a bit of difference.

For shooting in 30P, the Knee should have been set to low, although in this case, DRS would work better.

You can also adjust parameters like master pedestal and gamma to create a more pleasing picture. You would really need a monitor to accurately fine tune the picture.

Also read the scene file manual:
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/attachme...e-file-doc.pdf

Edit: forgot to add, that's a bit of a tough/odd shooting situation. Shooting with strong backlight is always a challange.
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Old September 30th, 2009, 02:42 PM   #4
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Interesting advice.

What do you mean when you say the knee should have been set to low? I was shooting in 30p.

Next time, I will just TURN OFF the lights. :)

I made a very beginner mistake but I LEARNED the hard way. It won't happen next time.

Fortunately, the client is a good friend so we will re-shoot but pretty embarrassing to say the least. Wasted a good day of shooting!

Sighh!

Simon
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Old September 30th, 2009, 02:45 PM   #5
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Thanks for the pdf. Good information.

Now I know what knee means.

:)

Thanks for the feedback guys!

Simon
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Old September 30th, 2009, 04:11 PM   #6
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Turn em off! Those things are awful.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 09:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green View Post
For better results you should have zoomed in on the main subjects and set exposure on them and locked it manually, then zoomed back out to frame and shoot the shot.
Hello Barry,

i have been practicing with my camcorder and was unclear how to set the exposure and lock it as you explained. I normally use the camcorder in automatic mode.

Could you explain the exact work flow please (which buttons to push)?

Thanks,

Simon
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 08:16 PM   #8
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Make sure the auto/manual switch is in "manual". Zoom in on your subject. If the iris is in manual mode, turn it to auto mode by pressing in the "iris" wheel. The camera will set exposure on your subject. Then, put the iris in manual exposure mode by pressing the "iris" wheel in again. Zoom back out, and shoot.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 09:15 AM   #9
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Cool.

I will try it out later today.

Thanks Barry!

Simon
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Old October 4th, 2009, 10:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Zimmer View Post
I normally use the camcorder in automatic mode.
If you're a one man band and are expected to control everything from composure to audio, then it's almost certain that you'll have to leave some of the camera's disciplines to the automation. But, and I'd say this loud: the exposure isn't one of them.

For movies it's 99% imperative you lock down the exposure (shutter speed, NDs, gain and iris). You could leave the white balance in auto, but why not lock that down too - it follows a hysteresis loop in auto and is always 'late' to change.

Then there's the focus - auto works well at times, knows which way to 'turn the lens' and doesn't need to rock 'n' roll when it gets there. Lastly audio - modern AGC circuits act far more like limiters these days - are fast and effective and is the one thing that is near invisible if left to the automation.

So follow Barry's advice. expose for the important subject matter and avoid silhouettes and bleached out faces against dark backgrounds.

tom.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 04:02 PM   #11
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Hello Tom,

I appreciate the good advice. I am new to having a "real" camera. Before I was using the HV20 which had limited manual options.

I love the HMC-150 but I realize I still have a lot to learn. I will experiment with manual exposure and the other things you mentioned.

Any other advice would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Simon
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Old October 4th, 2009, 06:45 PM   #12
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Questions:

Hello,

I practiced some and can see the benefits of keeping the exposure locked once you have it set. Thanks again!

I am still a bit confused about the AWB Button, White BAL switch and ATW function.

I think I want ATW on the whole time to make sure the white balance is constantly maintained during the recording. If this is the case, do I need to use the AWB Button ever?

What about the presets for the White BAL switch? Any recommendations when to use these different settings?

Thanks,

Simon
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Old October 5th, 2009, 01:55 AM   #13
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White balance presets are very useful as they lock down the WB to pre-selected Kelvin values. In the auto WB mode the camera will try and correct for the colour shift of a sunset for instance - not what you want at all. But it'll also try and correct for the WB shift inside a marquee - very useful indeed.

The closer you get to the correct WB when you shoot, the less timeline correction you'll have to apply in post. If you're new to this I'd say do this: take your camera out and about and simply do WB shots - one with the preset turned on, and one with auto turned on. Tell your mics what mode you're in when you shoot.

Come home, plug into your best TV monitor and look at the results, listening to your words on the audio. Does the camera respond fast enough when you move from indoors to outdoors? When you film in the shade, is the preset too cold-looking?

tom.
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Old October 5th, 2009, 07:43 AM   #14
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Thanks Tom!

I will try this out this week.

Have a good week!

Simon
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Old October 5th, 2009, 09:27 AM   #15
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There's some good advice here about how to deal with the high contrast in this situation. However, a better solution, if possible, is to increase the brightness on the people using additional lighting. You still need to expose manually for the subjects though.
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