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Old January 11th, 2006, 11:41 AM   #1
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GS400 PAL; What shoot mode for doco?

Hello all,

I'm shooting an independant film/doco in conjunction with a University program in 3 weeks, having just bought my GS I'm trying to get my head around all the functions and features as fast as I can so that I know whats what when I get on the ground ... it's in the islands of the Indian Ocean no less!

I am not new to Still Photography but am new to Videography and need some fast advice on which mode to shoot in for this doco film that will get me the best look, pro results and allow the most options in post production for maximizing output quality.

# - So, shoot in 3:4, 16:9 or Pro Cinema? I want the doco to look as film like as possible ... suggestions?

# - What kinds of settings, picture adjustments would you recommend to enhance to the look ... making it more filmic?

# - I have allot of filters from my still photography but am a bit confused as to whether I should even be using these to control light or whether I should leave things to Post Production? There are issues of Zebra stripes, white balance, iris and shutter speed ... blowing out the highlights etc where do I start?

Usually in still photography I can meter for the best exposure and in a contrasty scene I can employ ND grads to balance it out ... can I do this with the Camcorder ... should I do this .... or should I just do the best I can, leave the filters alone and fix things in post later on? I have never used any NLE software yet so I don't know whats possible and what I can get away with.

Thanks to all who can advise me on this!

Best, Simon.
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Old January 12th, 2006, 04:11 AM   #2
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I am just a hobbiest using the GS400 but I have used it quite extensively on travel trips. My suggestions are:
1 Use 16:9. It produces a nice picture.
2 Leave the zebra control switched on when shooting to identify over exposure.
3 Get polarising and ND filters, as well as UV, and experiment with them before you go. These are essential for where you are going with bright sunlight and seascapes.

I use auto controls more often than manual - usually because time pressures on my trips leave no time for extensive manual adjustment or focussing. In bright sunlight I keep the ND filter fitted all the time. Also note that if you fit more than one filter at a time you will get vignetting.
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Old January 12th, 2006, 04:44 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Andrews
I am just a hobbiest using the GS400 but I have used it quite extensively on travel trips. My suggestions are:
1 Use 16:9. It produces a nice picture.
2 Leave the zebra control switched on when shooting to identify over exposure.
3 Get polarising and ND filters, as well as UV, and experiment with them before you go. These are essential for where you are going with bright sunlight and seascapes.

I use auto controls more often than manual - usually because time pressures on my trips leave no time for extensive manual adjustment or focussing. In bright sunlight I keep the ND filter fitted all the time. Also note that if you fit more than one filter at a time you will get vignetting.
Thanks David ...

I'm still trying to understand how best to USE Zebra stripes in the sense that in some cases you may get rid of the stripes but perhaps lose shadow detail in other areás of the frame ... how do you compensate for that?

With regards to 16:9 ... I imagine though that as I have a standard 4:3 TV and not a Wide Screen TV that anything I play back will be stretched vertically yes? Since I am shooting a documentary my delivery would be TV and DVD and perhaps Internet to some degree ... is 16:9 going to be compatable with all these media or can I adapt for each in Post Production like Vegas 5 or something?

As to Filters ... luckily I already have Pola's and ND's from my still photography I just have to get a 43mm adapter for the Cokin system and my screw in numbers. I definately intend to use the Polarizer in the islands as I use it heavily for my pro landscape still photography anyway and love the results. I will essentially be using manual operation all the time with the GS400 which is why I bought it ... better control etc but thanks for your advice and I would like to hear any other ideás you have also.

Thanks mate, Simon.
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Old January 12th, 2006, 11:48 AM   #4
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Re using zebra stripes, my method is trial and error but to err on the side of eliminating or significantly reducing the zebra. If the image is washed out/over exposed there is nothing you can do in post to get it back. Whereas you do have some chance of lightening up the shadow areas when you get to edit your video.

If you are using manual controls, with the ND filter, you will get far more control than my crude method of using auto most of the time. I suggest you start by exploring the differences using the iris (f#) adjustment with shutter speed at 1/60th, with and without the ND filter. The backlight compensation button is also extremely useful if you want to capture details in a shadow area at the expense of the rest of the image.

16:9 is now the normal format for new TVs and most, if not all nles. I am unfamiliar with Vegas 5 (I use Edius) but I would be astonished if it did not support the 16:9 format. If you are doing this just for yourself then 4:3 would be OK, but if you are doing it to distribute more widely then I believe that 16:9 is preferable.
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Old January 12th, 2006, 01:31 PM   #5
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Have you had a look at this site?

Has lots and lots of information about the GS400 including the picture adjustment, pro cinema mode, etc.

Jason
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Old January 12th, 2006, 02:01 PM   #6
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Yes mate ... yeah been there a week or so but sometimes I need more specific answers to specific questions that are ongoing ... and reading through miles of threads sometimes yields small results and half answers. I'm getting a few more replies over there than recently now and it's helping allot more but for a while there it was blood from a stone just about everywhere!
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Old January 13th, 2006, 04:16 AM   #7
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Three further (obvious) suggestions:
1 Make sure you have a spare battery, recharging kit and the adapters needed to connect to the local electrical supply (voltage and connector pins) - essential for your 3 week trip;
2 Have a wet bag (or protective rucksack) available to protect your camera from sea water - desirable if you will be carrying it in a small craft and/or will be wading ashore through the surf;
3 Get a good sized (250 or 500MB) SD card for taking stills with your GS400 using the max 2288 x 1728 picture size - on recent trips I have taken 200+ stills in only one week. You will find these very useful when you come to edit, for example as stand alone pictures, or used as p-i-p or imported into and manipulated by rostrum camera style software such as Canopus Imaginate.
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