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Old September 28th, 2003, 07:20 PM   #1
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Exposure and Manual Focus (Stupid Questions, but I dont' know them)


I have questions about how to set exposure and manual focus.

I'm using the DVX-100.


To set manual focus, I assume you set the diopter to your eye until you can read the display words on the screen.

- Here is my first stupid question. If you wear glasses, how does this affect things. I wear glasses, but only to see a movie in the theater. If I set the diopter to my eye, does that act as glasses to me?

Also does that mean that I shoudl use my glasses when using the LCD to monitor the action.

- Sometimes I spend a long time going back and forth and trying to find perfect focus. In film school we measured.

But should I worry about finding perfect focus, or is the goal to just have it good enough as not to annoy the audience. Some out of focus add depth, right?

Sometimes I will fiddle with the dial for too long I think.


Well I used to use a light meter in film school (of course I was for some reason bad at it and never did quite understand it all) but how do you do it in video?

I assume most people don't use a light meter.

Should I just set the Zebra lines to 100 percent and try to find the best setting with the least amount of zebra lines?

Is there an ideal F-stop (like 5.8 or something?)

I'm just totally lost on how to get the right exposure.

I'm stupid obviously, when it comes to the element of DP.

I'm more of the writer/director type, but I really do want to learn. I'm not as dumb as I think I am, but boy do I need help. When I make a feature film, I will find a DP, but for now, it's all me.

Throw this dog a bone! Thank you.
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Old September 28th, 2003, 07:52 PM   #2
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I wear glasses all the time, and the diopter correction will correct without your glasses, if your eyes aren't too bad (you'll know). If you need glasses to focus on the LCD, you should use them with the eyepiece as well.

When I focus I deliberately start out of focus and rapidly shoot through the focus to an obvious blur, and then back into focus. Too much fiddling and fussing will more likely confuse your brain and result in poor focus. When the image snaps, stop.
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Old September 28th, 2003, 09:56 PM   #3
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Viewfinder: Indeed, adjust the diopter so you can see the onscreen text clearly. Viewing the lcd is no different than viewing anything else.

Focus: Yes, you want to pull the best focus possible on your subject.

Exposure: Zebras are a good way to detect potential overexposed areas of your image. Basically, a video camera is like one big light meter. Since you continuously see what you're getting an external light meter would be superfluous for most applications. With film, you can't see how well you've done until the film is developed. Hence the need for light meters to help set exposure more accurately.

The bottom line is that you need to practice, practice, practice. Whether you consider yourself a camera operator or a "writer/director", if you're shooting your own story guess what: you're a camera operator. If you attended a film school you can certainly appreciate that good photographic skills do not manifest themselves overnight.

I think you noted in another post that you were planning to rent a DVX100. Do you currently have the camera to explore and experiment with?
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Old September 28th, 2003, 11:07 PM   #4
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I don't get the camera until Friday... about 12 hours before I shoot.... going to be a quick learning curve...

I'm doing this short in order to get hands on experience....

I talk so much theory, that I forget what it was like to make something.

And I have never used mini-dv before for this purpose. I've been thinking aobut it for literally 7 years... talk about procratinating.

I mean film school was in there for 4 of them, but jeez, these past 2 years I've been doing nothing.

Well not true, I just become totally focused on screenwriting.

Yes, I understand that I will be the DP. I did do it in film school... I mean i'm not as bad as I think I am, but man, do I hate setting up the lights.

I just know that I would be better off with a DP for feature length projects. I not interested in being the cameraman like rodriguez or sodenberg.

Thanks for all the advice Ken.
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