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-   -   Harsh natural light (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/photon-management/1386-harsh-natural-light.html)

Andrew Leigh March 23rd, 2002 08:18 AM

Harsh natural light
Hi all

How does one cope with harsh natural light (midday in the African bush). I just cannot seem to get the picture quality I would expect from my XL-1. Everything just washes out. I use the ND Filter and a polariser.


B. Moore March 23rd, 2002 09:23 AM


Try changing your shutter speed, you are usually at 1/60, you can go upto 1/15000 or any where inbetween, lets say 1/1000.

try it, hope it helps

B. Moore, Arizona

B. Moore March 23rd, 2002 10:35 PM

Afterthought: By changing your speed it will give you a wider range of F/stops to work with, i.e.

1/1000 might give you f/8
1/4000 might give tou f/4

etc. you may still use your ND filter to go wider in f/stops but it will reduce you depth of field.

I've been thinking about this all day snd forgot to mention these other points.


Andrew Leigh March 24th, 2002 01:15 AM

Thanks Bruce,

If I am shooting in the 1/60 @ F16 range (hypothetical) then I should have a great depth of field, this would mean that the "washout" would have nothing to do with "focus / depth" but rather exposure.

If I move to say 1/1000 I would need to stop to F4 (actually 1/960). I would lose my depth of field and would have fuzz in the background. In reality both exposures are the same.

What would change? perhaps I relate too readily to 35mm stills.

Then I happened on an article in the XL-1 Watchdog that for some reason I have never read, The Softfocus Workaround, the example in the article is roughly what I am experiencing. I used the term washout incorrectly as this to me means overexposure so may have mislead you. I do believe however that there is an element of exposure.

If you have not read the article I suggest you do as it is quite informative. While never having been in Arizona I would imagine midday lighting for you too is a nightmare.


B. Moore March 24th, 2002 02:24 PM

I believe the "sweet spot " on the xl-1's is F/5.6
supposed to be the best f/stop.

I do think that video exposure is like 35mm, it's all ratios. I was under the impression that your problem was that you had an over exposure problem which (would) gave you a lack of detail and therefor a washed out look. If you can't go past F/22, than the only solution is to add ND filter(s) or change speed or both.

Yes, in Arizona, the sun is extreme, so extreme we have what's called the WBBI (White Boy Burn Index), a local radio station announces the index. Let's say it's 15 today, that means a white boy like me will get a sunburn in 15 minutes if I sty out in the sun. In these days of PC it's nice to see someone has a sense of humor.

What part of Africa are you in? I hope you remain healthy and safe.

I've always wanted to goto Egypt and Djbouti.


Andrew Leigh March 24th, 2002 03:02 PM

Hi Bruce,

thanks for the response. What I need to do is to spend a hot summers day "playing". Keeping a register of in and out frames, what was done and what gave the best results. Could be good fun.

How do you get around the problem of looking into the viewfinder and getting completely different results depending on the angle. Often get it when craning my neck around. How would this be overcome.

<<What part of Africa are you in? I hope you remain healthy and safe.>>

Johannesburg, South Africa
WBBI 18min today


B. Moore March 24th, 2002 08:20 PM

With a WBBI of 18 it must be overcast,right?

1.) I've noticed the XL's electronic view finder (EVF) has the tendency to show less than what the tape records. Not bad in 35mm where you can crop in the darkroom, BUT on tape this can be a problem (notice how anti-pc I am) because it's not an issue it's a problem! I noticed the problem, after the fact just before I was about to submit my project for class and too late to do anything about it.

Soooooooo, here's my solution.

I bought a 5.6 inch active matrix lcd monitor
( comes in PAL or NTSC) and all the accessories total $447.00 US It seems to be more acurate than the EVF and is reversable so the shooter can see it and the entire field at the same time OR turn it toward the actor ( flip the reverse switch and the actors see themselves realistically) To date, it seems to give you 100% of what the tape is actually recording.

It is attached to the XL where you might put a light, is only 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep, weighs about 10 oz.; works 110v and 12v bat or automobile 12v.

Draw backs: outside in bright light it is hard to see. It helps to bring a black cloth like they used in the old day for the studio 8X10 cameras.
Drawback: If you're in lion country, you msy not see him comming and your ass is his! I have a lot of neet ideas which mighrt help you,since the extreeme sunlight is problem for both of us.
say hello to Shaka (Mr. Cole I think his name is) for me if you meet him in a pub.
P.S. Were you born in Sud Afrika?


Bruce Moore

Adrian Douglas March 25th, 2002 07:02 AM


one thing is to make sure that your gain is set to -3db. I'm not sure, and it could be wrong, but I think I read somewhere that when the gain is set to 'auto' it won't go below 0db.

That and the other suggestions may help you out.

The only other thing is to avoid shooting in the middle of the day. As the sun is at it's harshest then, as you know, the colours are washed out and the lighting conditions are very difficult. Try to restrict yourself to shooting in the morning and in the late afternoon. The colours are more saturated and the shadows can give dramatic effect

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