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Sony ENG / EFP Shoulder Mounts
Sony PDW-F800, PDW-700, PDW-850, PXW-X500 (XDCAM HD) and PMW-400, PMW-320 (XDCAM EX).


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Old May 11th, 2009, 12:11 AM   #1
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Zebra Questions

Three zebra questions:

1) What percentage range does zebra 1 actually show? For instance, if you have it set for 75%, does it show you 75% to 80% with zebra 1 indications? I thought I read in the manual what percentage range above the actual setting it showed, but looking now, I can't find it.

2) What is the best zebra setting for caucasian skin? I usually have my zebra 1 set at 80%, and I expose to just not show zebra on skin. I guess some are taught to show some zebra on skin and have it at a lower setting?

3) I'm getting a Marshall monitor to use with my F335, and it includes a false color exposure filter, where it gives a color range of exposures, as apparently RED cameras also do. Well, what shocked me is it says that "normal" skin exposure, represented by pink on the false color scale, is at 56 IRE. Isn't that way too dark for skin?

Thanks.
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Old May 11th, 2009, 03:25 PM   #2
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I use zebra 1 at 85% and 2 at 100%.

I normally expose so that zebra 1 is just showing (only a tiny amount) on the skin highlights.
I often back light hair so that is it hotter than the skin so that may have zebra on it too.

I'm not sure what the zebra range is (ie 80-85 or 80-90) but can't you check by filming a gradient, adjusting zebra 2's level and seeing at what setting zebra 1 and 2 merge?
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Old May 11th, 2009, 06:38 PM   #3
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Same as Mike. 85% seems to be about perfect for Caucasian skin. 100% for max video level. Some people prefer 70 IRE for flesh tones with some zebra's on the face. Whatever works for you.
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Old May 12th, 2009, 07:20 PM   #4
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Good idea on doing an empirical test. The results surprised me.

The Zebra 1 setting is actually a +/- 5% setting.

So my setting of Zebra 1 at 80% actually gives me zebra indication from 75 to 85%.
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Old May 13th, 2009, 02:27 AM   #5
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Interesting to know. The important thing, whatever settings you use, is that YOU know how it works so that you can always get consistent exposure.
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Old May 13th, 2009, 10:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene Kosarovich View Post
Good idea on doing an empirical test. The results surprised me.

The Zebra 1 setting is actually a +/- 5% setting.

So my setting of Zebra 1 at 80% actually gives me zebra indication from 75 to 85%.
On the 700 and 800, the tolerance is adjustable, it's called Zebra Aperture.

I set mine for 65 or 70 on caucasian skin. I've also been told that 70 is a good value for concrete reflectance if there are no humans in the frame.

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Old May 13th, 2009, 01:57 PM   #7
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I just heard back from a friend of mine that has a RED, he explained that RED uses a much less aggressive gamma curve since it has more shadow sensitivity than highlight sensitivity. So for RED, 56% is right for skin, being 2.5 stops from clipping. But for other video cameras that would be too low a setting for skin.
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Old May 13th, 2009, 10:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Boston View Post
I set mine for 65 or 70 on caucasian skin.
I can offer no advice on the 700/800 cameras but in my ten years of broadcast using Sony Betacam (SP, SX, Digi) cameras, my preference has been to use 75IRE on the thinnest highlight possible (ie. upper cheek bone and/or forehead of toplit subjects) on caucasian skin tones, to avoid large areas of zebra pattern on what I consider to be one of the most important features for focusing (ie. the face). Barring this, I use 70 IRE on highlight side of caucasian skin tone. Of course, this assumes "normal" exposure and doesn't take into consideration a specific "look" you may be going for. YMMV. Hope this helps.
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Old May 13th, 2009, 10:56 PM   #9
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Shaun,

What I can say is that the Zebra 1 on the 350 defaults to 70. Early on, myself and others found that 70 seemed a bit high on this camera. When I'm using 70, I want just a small bit of zebra showing on the brightest parts of the face. That should put me in the 65 to 70 range for the skin.

As you pointed out, the paint settings on the camera can affect where the ideal value falls on the IRE scale.

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Old May 14th, 2009, 06:01 PM   #10
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Greg: interesting. Thanks for that. I have a shoot with a 350 next month and I'd be over exposed using my old routine from Betacam days. On the BetaSX cameras I last used at the national broadcaster I used to work for, I set zebra to 75 and got the result you describe (ribbons of zebra), but perfectly exposed. Good to know that the latitude has shifted somewhat.

See, you CAN teach an "old" dog new tricks...
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