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Panasonic DVX / DVC Assistant
The 4K DVX200 plus previous Panasonic Pro Line cams: DVX100A, DVC60, DVC30.


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Old August 23rd, 2003, 11:49 PM   #1
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I'm having EXTREME trouble in the SUN. HELP! URGENT.

I'm going out tommorrow in hopes of better footage of what i got today.

in the sun i have so much trouble with the DVX100. The sun is as bright as HELL because im in a desert type area, and i cant see the LCD monitor worth CRAP. I try putting a blanket over me to make it dakr to see the LCD, but no go. the view finder is really small too. I can frame the picture great with the view finder, but i cant focus worth crap in it.

thats the other thing. in the sun, even if i DO somehow manage to get it to be visible, the focus ring seems to do nothing. why is this? why wont it focus in super sunlight? it pisses me off.

Also the iris goes really whacky when i adjust it sometimes. it seems in sunlight there is no 'in the middle' with the iris. its either too dark, or its way too bright and makes their skin look like an Iron Goddess.

What can i do?
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Old August 23rd, 2003, 11:54 PM   #2
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If you can't see well with the viewfinder or the LCD how do you know you're not focusing?? did you have your ND filters turned on? there's no way that you'll ever find yourself in a situation where it's too bright to get a decent picture with the DVX. If you're in a desert area, there might be tremendous contrast between the shadowed and lit areas, so you'll have to choose which areas you want to set your exposure to.
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Old August 23rd, 2003, 11:55 PM   #3
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its true i cant see much detail but i mean i would still be able to see it go really blurry then sharper as i play with the focus ring.
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Old August 24th, 2003, 12:49 AM   #4
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Doesn't the DVX100 has a good auto focus in bright lights? PD150's auto focus is very responsive and stable specially outdoor and bright light indoor. But there are times that you have to use manual focus. Try to use an ND filter.
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Old August 24th, 2003, 01:10 AM   #5
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You can always buy or even make a LCD hood. A nice umbrella would work too---or set up a tent or a canopy, and shoot from in/under that. Wearing a large, John Wayne type cowboy hat might also work.
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Old August 24th, 2003, 04:01 AM   #6
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That's crazy man. I agree with Yang and would make sure the ND filters are turned on. Then put in on Auto Iris and Auto focas.

I would definitly get a hood for the LCD. Because the view finder is not great for focusing.
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Old August 24th, 2003, 07:25 AM   #7
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I don't use a DVX100 either, but this all sounds like good advice. Most of these issues could apply to any camera. I use an LCD hood with my PDX10 (which has an extremely bright LCD), but in direct sunlight it's still pretty tough to see. Good or bad, I think you have to learn to work with the viewfinder. I'm also frustrated by the lousy color viewfinder on the VX-2000, but I've gotten used to it pretty much. It takes experience. Shoot some stuff, take it home, look on a monitor, remember how it looked in the viewfinder, then next time compensate as needed.

When you put the Sony cameras into manual focus mode there's a little push button you can hit to do an instant auto-focus... does the DVX100 have this? I like using it to pull focus - just hit the button whenever somebody moves towards or away from you, or hold continuosly when needed. But when you release the button focus will stay locked and won't inadvertently "hunt".

Also the ND filter advice is really important in bright sun. I like to ND down to the point where I can expose at around f4.5 at 1/60 as this seems to get the most out of the lens. If you can't do that with the builtin ND filters you may need to add an external one. Also consider experimenting with a graduated ND filter, this will help prevent the sky from getting overexposed (provided it works with your composition).
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Old August 24th, 2003, 08:34 AM   #8
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"When you put the Sony cameras into manual focus mode there's a little push button you can hit to do an instant auto-focus... does the DVX100 have this? "

To answer your Q Boyd, it does and its VERY effective... I thought of going down the sony route, but in the long term it was cheaper for me to stay with pana gear....

As for the intense light situation, the suggestion of hittin auto all the way is a wise one IMO (only AFTER turning on teh ND Filter), however once the cam sets itself, u can then change everythign to manual and if u hit the mode check button it will display the settings for you. usualyl you will find shutter settings are higher and iris levels decreased.
You al also adjust theGamma in the Scene config menus.

One thing i have learnt from doin events etc, is to use the viewfinder as often as possible... reason being is that not only does it save on batteries, but it also offers an uncorrupted frame.

What i mean by that is that on the LCD, it may SEEM framed, but the surrounding scenery.
You perspective of it vs the camera's sometimes go astray...
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Old August 24th, 2003, 01:18 PM   #9
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use the camera modes to assist

David,

I am assuming you are shooting in 24P or 30P mode (no auto focus).

Use the camera f4 mode to assist with focus (auto), switch back to f5 or f6 mode after the focus has been established, then start recording. You can also use auto iris in any mode and it will assist with getting proper exposure.

With that said, I recently did a shoot in full sun and I found that I should have opened the iris up a little from what the auto setting recommended.

You will need to turn on full camera ND and then adjust from there. I had no trouble getting usable footage in fact, as I mention I should have opened the iris up a little to get more detail in the shadow of my subject.

Another important thing to do is use your zebras; they will tell when things are blowing out. I use the zebras every time I record. On a recent full moon time exposure, I found them to be very useful. I also used then in my full sun shot(s) and did not have any trouble with blowing highlights out as long as I paid attention to the top end of the zebras.

I hope this helps.

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Aric
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Old August 24th, 2003, 08:34 PM   #10
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I recently took my DVX 100 to the highest mountain in Norway, and had a similar experience...

I had no chance of seeing anything in the LCD, and severe problems understanding or interpreting the image in the viewfinder.

I was a bit amazed by this, but it didnt take me too long to figure it out.
At 2400 meters+ height, a sunny summerday, the light levels are INTENSE to say the least, my eyes had adjusted to these extreme light levels, and hence it would take them up to 15 minutes to readjust to the relative (to the situation) low levels of the viewfinder or lcd screen.

At the time I could see almost nothing, my only choise was to rely on the automatic functions, so I went automatic on the iris, and automatic on the focus, which I never ever do normally, in the viewfinder I could barly make out the framing so I shot as best as I could.

From what my sun"blinded" eyes could see in the viewfinder I was sure all my recordings was crap... I was dead wrong, returning in the evening I watched what I had filmed in an almost blind state, and every shot I did far exceeded my expectations, in fact the only shot I messed up was one in which I had overexposed because I was fooled into thinking underexposing was what caused the problem.

I was quite suprised by what I experienced, but its a true testament to the wonder of the human eye and its adaptiveness, the DVX was not at fault, but you really get confused in cases like this unless you are used to it.

I have been shooting in 16mm, 35mm, Digibeta, DV, and more the past 10 years, and never been in such bright spot, too bad I didnt bring my light meter, I really wonder what exposure I could have made on a kodak 5245...
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Old August 24th, 2003, 10:14 PM   #11
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Sunglasses.

In bright-light environments cinematographers will often use dark sunglasses to keep their eyes appropriately adjusted. Pull 'em off when you look through the viewfinder, but don't look at the surroundings without 'em on.
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Old August 24th, 2003, 11:24 PM   #12
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Good plan! If only most cams came with good viewfinders like the one on the DVX. And don't forget the cap, or a John Wayne style cowpoke hat!
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Old August 25th, 2003, 08:59 AM   #13
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<<What i mean by that is that on the LCD, it may SEEM framed, but the surrounding scenery.
You perspective of it vs the camera's sometimes go astray...>>

Peter, are you saying the LDC isn't a true representative frame, as opposed to the viewfinder? The reason I'm asking is that in the wedding footage I shot a few weeks back (all shot using the LCD) I noticed my Lightwave furry on my ME66 showing a bit at the top of the frame on some full wide shots. And I'm positive I would've noticed that on the LCD (though it made me wonder). It isn't a big deal as it won't be in the picture anyway, but that made me suspect that the LCD and viewfinder may not be exactly the same.

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Old August 25th, 2003, 11:22 AM   #14
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Neither the LCD nor the viewfinder show the FULL frame, but they should both have a good approximation of "TV Safe". But then again, your TV may show more or less of the frame than someone else's, so there's no guarantees anywhere.

The DVX does have a frame guide for "full frame" on the LCD panel. If you're shooting for web video or for PIP work or large-screen projection, it can be very handy to know what's actually being recorded on the full frame. While no prosumer camera (that I know of) lets you see the full frame, the DVX at least gives you a way to guess: there's a grooved rectangle around the LCD screen, and that grooved rectangle is basically the exact size of the full frame. So if you can visualize what might be appearing just offscreen but would fit in that rectangle if the rectangle was all visible screen, then you'll have a good idea of what's being actually recorded.

This is no substitute for a decent monitor with underscan/overscan capability, but hey, at least it's a guide...
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Old August 25th, 2003, 11:27 AM   #15
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I strongly recommend that you set your dioptic adjustment (on the side of the eyepiece) in a normal location and leave it there. Once you set the dial for a clear image through the eyepiece you will need to accept the fact that there is a certain amount of "range" you need to adapt to for clearly focused shots. With the LCD you can zoom through an aquarium glass and capture a fish floating "in mid air" over a blurry background (via an open aperature)... however if you're shooting in hard to control conditions such as harsh sun, use as much nd as you can and keep the aperature as CLOSED as you can so that you get a HUGE margin for focus error.

Basically all I'm saying is if conditions get tough and you don't want to switch to auto-modes (the progressive modes don't do AF) then you must compensate by increasing DOF.

The thing I love about this cam is how easy it is to manipulate DOF, but when things get tough and you just want a sharp image you only have three choices: 1) go to AF modes 2) increase DOF by closing aperature 3) miraculously keep the subject sharp by feathering focus with an open aperature.
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