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Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC Series
Sony's latest single-CMOS additions to their HDV camcorder line.


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Old May 6th, 2006, 04:13 PM   #1
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Post your HDR-HC1 settings

I was wondering which settings other people were using. Especially with regards to shutter speed, exposure, sharpness, color and maybe one or more of the effects or programmed auto exposure modes. I am also interested in which settings will give me the best result if I later want to convert the footage to a more film like look with Final Cut Pro.
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Old May 7th, 2006, 09:14 AM   #2
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HC1 Settings

Here are the settings that I normally use...

Color= +1 from center
Sharpness= -1 from center

I always use a manual white balance. I also always use manual focus unless I'm outside on a bright day. I use the zebra's set to 100. The Auto Exposure tends to overexpose in my opinion so I will bring the exposure down until ALL of the zebras are gone and then I will bring it back up one click (minimal zebras). Obviously this is done to taste, but I found this method to work most of the time. It may look underexposed on the LCD, but don't worry about it. It will be fine when viewed on a screen.
For low light, I ALWAYS use the Sunset/Moon setting, and even then, don't be afraid to pull down exposure if you sense there will be noise. Takes practice but I have been totally happy in low light situations. I have heard some people recently saying that the Beach/Snow setting works well for low light but I have not tried it.
For shutter speeds, I usually leave it on auto unless I want a filmic effect and then I will manually set the shutter to 30. I know most 24p folks will scoff at the results but for me, with some carefull camera work, it really looks pretty good. I'm not sure if that's what you want to do though if you're going to be converting to 24. I have no experience with 24.
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Old May 7th, 2006, 11:24 AM   #3
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I've been hearing to compensate for the red problem, that the color needs to be adjusted. But different people say +, others say -. I have my A1 on -2 (which is the same as -1), but which should it be? +2 or -2 (or +1/-1 in the case of the HC1)?

Also, I've heard that WB Shift and AE Shift should be adjusted, but to what?
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Old May 7th, 2006, 11:53 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Thames
I've been hearing to compensate for the red problem, that the color needs to be adjusted. But different people say +, others say -. I have my A1 on -2 (which is the same as -1), but which should it be? +2 or -2 (or +1/-1 in the case of the HC1)?

Also, I've heard that WB Shift and AE Shift should be adjusted, but to what?
I would suggest that you need to increase saturation on the color, reduce exposure, and bias the WB SHIFT to the red-end (think that's positive value - a quick check of the manual will tell you).

So in summary, something like:
COLOR +1 or +2 (increase saturation)
AE SHIFT -1 or -2 (reduce exposure by 0.5 - 1stop)
WB SHIFT +1 or +2 (bias towards red 'warmer' end).

but as ever, a bit of experimentation will confirm if these settings or something close to them improve the result.

EDIT: Just checked an online A1 PDF manual and indeed a positive value for WB SHIFT biases the color a little towards the red end. It's probably fairly subtle though, so you may need to give it quite a bit of + value. try it and see.

ps. A manual white balance may well make *more* difference to the 'red' problem than all of the above settings put together - if you're shooting reds especially bright reds, try the above settings and if it still doesn't look too good on the LCD or viewfinder then try a one-push manual white balance while filling the frame with a pure-white object *in the same light that your intended scene is*.
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Old May 7th, 2006, 02:25 PM   #5
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What is the rationale for reducing exposure? Seeing how the A1 doesn't perform well when light is low, why reduce exposure? Also what does AE stand for?
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Old May 7th, 2006, 04:09 PM   #6
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There are two reasons that I reduce exposure..

1. In Bright situations, the camera tends to overexpose giving the picture a washed out look and you will loose detail in bright areas. Using the zebras will show you where the image is overexposed. Any place the you see a zebra stripe, the picture is overexposed (or nearly).
2. In low light situations, the camera will add as much gain as it can, which will add lots of noise and grain to the picture. The camera doesn't know what you want so it just tries to get the brightes picture possible. If you pull down the exposure a little, it will take a lot of the noise and grain out and give you a much cleaner, more pleasing picture.

AE stands for Automatic Exposure. This setting lets the camera decide where to set the exposure.
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Old May 7th, 2006, 05:02 PM   #7
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Thanks to everyone again for the great advice. This forum really has become an invaluable resource for me. One more thing I would like to ask is, if I want to get a more filmlike look, am I looking at a shutter speed of 1/30 or is it better to achieve the 1/24 in post-production?
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Old May 8th, 2006, 11:19 AM   #8
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Film Look

I've been experimenting with my HC1 over the past few days and have found that manually setting the Shutter Speed to 30 and then using the Field Interpolate effect in Premiere Pro 2.0 is in a very effective way to achieve a film look.

The field interpolate effect drops out one of the interlaced fields and fills in the missing lines using data from the other field. If you shoot with a shutter speed of 60 and then use the field interpolate effect to remove interlacing, then you'll be looking a 30fps video with each frame having a jerky 60th/sec motion blur. Setting the shutter speed to 30 and then using the field interpolate effect results in a very natural looking 30fps video with 30th/sec motion blur.

I'm no expert on the various pulldown methods to reach 24fps, but I've been quite happy with the filmy 'feel' of the interpolated 30fps.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 11:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Portilla
Setting the shutter speed to 30 and then using the field interpolate effect results in a very natural looking 30fps video with 30th/sec motion blur.
Why would you field interpolate when using 1/30 shutter speed? The picture is already "progressive" when the shutter goes below 60/50.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 07:36 PM   #10
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I don't think a raw recording made with the HC1 can be considered 'progressive'

The HC1 always records at 60i, 60 interlaced fields every second. (I think Europe is a bit different, correct me if I'm wrong)

So every 1/60th of a second, an image is captured to the camera with the default shutterspeed of 1/60th of a second.

During playback, every 30th of a second, two consecutively captured images are displayed 'interlaced' together. The slightly offset time of capture between those two images is what results in the 'interlacing' artefacts that many people seek to eliminate.

The field interpolate effect essentially deletes every other image captured by the camera so that instead of displaying two images interlaced together every 30th of a second, your timeline will show only one image every 30th of a second, and the interlaced lines where the other image would have provided the data are simply calculated from the first image.

That is the reason is why capturing THAT image with a shutterspeed of 1/30th of a second is the most important step to making the film 'look' right.

I really hope this makes sense. I'm only just figuring all this out myself and I'm quite new to this (really cool) forum, so If i'm wrong about any of this please chime in and let me know. I'd really love to find out before I dig myself to deep a hole.

Cheers,
Adam
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Old May 10th, 2006, 04:14 AM   #11
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Interesting feedback here. Can anyone else comment on this cause now I still do not know what is the best way to achieve a filmish look. For me, it sounds logical that when I use a 1/50 shutter speed (PAL model) and then somehow take 50% of the frames in post, I have 1/25 which is like film. And as it is a 50 frames/second PAL machine, that sounds as the highest quality with the least practical problems. Otherwise I would use a shutter speed of 1/30, but I am not sure if that causes motion blur for the somewhat faster movements.

I am really interested in this so please keep responding! The thing I would like about shooting 1/50 is that you can always decide to go for real vs. film-like look in post-production, as if you can decide for SD or HD quality.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 11:53 AM   #12
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Shutter speed to achieve 'film look'

This is a very interesting thread.

There are some further discussions on this in the www.dvfilm.com forums, e.g.
http://dvfilm.com/cgi-bin/board/main...num=1121906917

This company recommends shooting at shutter speed of 1/50(PAL) and 1/60(NTSC). Of course this only applies if you are trying to achieve blur due to motion. To achieve background blur due to shallow DOF (Depth Of Field) try the 'portrait mode' on the HC1 which opens up the iris and zoom in at least half way.

-Of course even a 24fps film camera will not have its shutter open for 1/24 of a second. If it did there would be no 'dark time' for the 35mm frame to snap over to the next one. Hence the shutter probably opens for more like 1/48 sec (just a guess guys and if you do know exact opening times please post)... The 'film look' / blur is thus the movement of objects in the 1/nth second that the shutter is open for...


Regards, Nick.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 02:23 PM   #13
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I've always been torn between when to use the exposure and when to use a higher shutter speed.

ie: Bright sunny day, Footage of people playing soccer or frisbee outside

Most of the time I will leave the exposure alone, and then crank up my shutter speed to lower the brightness (get rid of the zebra lines) rather than keep a slow shutter and lower the exposure. But that's because I prefer sharp images as opposed to 'blurred' ones.

There are occaisons when I prefer to lower exposure, because a higher shutter speed will give me more video noise (usually in lower lit situations)

Why do alot of people prefer to set their shutter speed to 1/30th and lower the exposure? Do you get a shorter Depth of Field doing it that way?

thanx,

jg
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 04:11 PM   #14
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The thing I do not like about the AE modes is that you lose some of the manual control with this (i.e. control over shutter speed if I am right).

But I still do not understand this completely. If I am right, this are the options:

- 1/50 (or 1/60 for NTSC) shutter speed
- 1/50 (or 1/60 for NTSC) and then pull it down to 1/24
- 1/25 (or 1/30 for NTSC) and then pull it down to 1/24

The main question is IF I want to achieve the film look, is it better to shoot my footage straight away at 1/25 or at 1/50 and achieve it in post?

Of course, I want to know which way will give me the highest quality.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 04:29 PM   #15
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shutter

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Gerber
I've always been torn between when to use the exposure and when to use a higher shutter speed.

ie: Bright sunny day, Footage of people playing soccer or frisbee outside

Most of the time I will leave the exposure alone, and then crank up my shutter speed to lower the brightness (get rid of the zebra lines) rather than keep a slow shutter and lower the exposure. But that's because I prefer sharp images as opposed to 'blurred' ones.

There are occaisons when I prefer to lower exposure, because a higher shutter speed will give me more video noise (usually in lower lit situations)

Why do alot of people prefer to set their shutter speed to 1/30th and lower the exposure? Do you get a shorter Depth of Field doing it that way?

thanx,

jg
With a slower shutter you will need to raise the 'f' stop (decreasing the Iris area) to maintain the same exposure amount per frame. This will have the effect of increasing DOF not shortening it. People lower the shutter speed to get some form of blur effect approaching film. It's going to be quite a demanding shooting mode though if you think about how appalling 35mm film shots look if you get 'camera shake'. You may have heard of an 'ND' or nuetral Density filter. This lowers overall light entering the camera. Why do that? Well it allows you to have a wider aperture/Iris AND a slower shutter so you get shallow DOF AND motion blur...

The "problem" with digital cameras is the small CCD size compared to a 35mm frame, this has the effect of greatly increasing DOF. Even with the Iris open as wide as possible you still get quite a big DOF unless you really zoom in. I put problem in quotes as some Directors (notably Orson Wells) used to go to great lengths to get larger DOF flooding the scene with light... It seems we have become accustomed to shallow DOF = Film. Of course there is also it's use to focus attention on a particular subject.

For your tastes I would say you are doing the right thing with a higher shutter speed and given the fact that you have a lot of DOF to play with shouldn't worry too much about the Iris being larger.


Nick.
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