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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 31st, 2006, 10:42 PM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole McDonald
I'm personally shooting with an XL1s and run everything manual, I was wondering how you would prioritize them if you had to.

i.e. I'd pick auto-focus/manual exposure if the camera only gave the option of one at a time...or is the focus more important than constant exposure for getting a good picture.
Cole..you bring up a good point. Exposure will be obvious on any format (i.e. hd, sd etc..) since it will go light/dark/light/dark as the camera predicts. Focus, on the other hand, is much more noticable on HD than other formats. This being said...everything is important, but I think that focus is the number one item to have correct for HD footage. Just my 1 cent (not good enough for 2 cents)...yet :-)
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Old May 31st, 2006, 10:47 PM   #62
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Cole,

it's hard to understand your question since the XL1 is fully manual. I used to let it sit on auto white balance, until I was in a church and there were a million different colors in there. So long auto white balance, hello, oranges, blues and everything in between!

That's why I can't answer it. There's NEVER a good excuse to shoot in auto mode if the camera allows you to shoot in manual.

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Old June 1st, 2006, 08:29 AM   #63
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I absolutely agree Heath. I don't shoot auto anything ever on my XL1...but I do have to help teach folks who have cheaper cameras that won't allow you to run fully manual, you have to make choices.

In an effort to get them the happiest with their footge I've been recommending they use manual exposure (eyeballing it by the LCD - cheaper camera, no zebras) and let the camera focus. We also discus basic photography, framing, motion, lines, lighting. This is just something I've had to advise people on in the past, so I was looking for opposing arguments to my priority list.

Granted it also depends on shooting conditions...lower light, you'd want to let the camera expose and run manual focus due to the camera's inability to focus in lower light levels.

Thanks also for bringing up white balance, I always recommend manual-white balance.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 10:23 AM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fredrik-Larsson
I just noticed a clip that when two people leaves the image the sky becomes slightly darker than it was when they were on the screen. So that is auto-something-else I reckon. Is it the exposure?
Yes for sure, that's because the camera was on auto-exposure.
The people were 'darker' than the background that they were covering up when they were in-shot, and when they walk out of the shot, obviously the camera is now seeing the brighter background and so it re-evaluates the exposure and reduces it slightly as the scene as a whole is now slightly brighter and that's why the sky goes a little bit darker when the people have walked out of the scene.
If the people had been wearing, say, bright white clothing, then when they exit the scene, the sky may have become a little bit brighter as the camera might increase exposure a little in that situ.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 10:40 AM   #65
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Just like Stu said...The camera takes the entire picture and exposes to it. Camcorders are dumb in the sense they do not know what you are trying to expose for. The more bright objects in the overall picture, the darker the camera will make it and vice versa. This is why manual exposure is so important so that you can get your main subject properly exposed.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 10:42 AM   #66
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Yeah, what I have learned to do is press the auto-exposure then press it again so it goes manual and then I typically adjust it one step down and looks pretty good. But it all depends though.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 10:59 AM   #67
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Personally, I find auto-focus works great. For getting the initial focus that is. Then I switch it to manual and leave it there until I have to shoot something at a different distance or width. To be honest, I don't know if I *could* get as good an initial focus manually. At least not quickly.
I have not had the same luck with the auto-exposure (maybe my tastes are weird), so I always have to set those manually.
I do use the Portrait setting now for some shots to get a shallow DOF, since it seems to add to the A1s ability to make shadows look less, I don't know how to say it, overblack and overdone.
I always lock down my shutter, so that's a given.
But dang! To prioritize them would be tough though. I might agree with you that focus fishing is tolerable, that is until I had that one perfect shot ruined by it. That sort of thing.
There are so many variables. Somehow, I'm not sure there is any escaping learning at least a few base settings for different scenarios. As much as some of us want to create great output without becoming a complete gearhead. No offense intended towards anybody. Hell, the rest of us feed off the gearheads like crazy.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 11:07 AM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Howard
I do use the Portrait setting now for some shots to get a shallow DOF, since it seems to add to the A1s ability to make shadows look less, I don't know how to say it, overblack and overdone.
Yes I'm pretty certain that sony have played with the gamma curve in this PORTRAIT mode. I have a Standard-Def Sony DV cam and for sure when going into Portrait mode (from straight Auto, on tripod etc.) then the shadow detail increased. Exposure didn't change.
- Am sure this is a gamma curve change.

Why Sony have done this is portrait mode I'm not totally sure.
I think it's to lighten shadows on a subjects face, for example nose shadow. but that's just a guess.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 11:34 AM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Howard
Personally, I find auto-focus works great. For getting the initial focus that is. Then I switch it to manual and leave it there until I have to shoot something at a different distance or width. To be honest, I don't know if I *could* get as good an initial focus manually. At least not quickly.
I have not had the same luck with the auto-exposure (maybe my tastes are weird), so I always have to set those manually.
I do use the Portrait setting now for some shots to get a shallow DOF, since it seems to add to the A1s ability to make shadows look less, I don't know how to say it, overblack and overdone.
I always lock down my shutter, so that's a given.
But dang! To prioritize them would be tough though. I might agree with you that focus fishing is tolerable, that is until I had that one perfect shot ruined by it. That sort of thing.
There are so many variables. Somehow, I'm not sure there is any escaping learning at least a few base settings for different scenarios. As much as some of us want to create great output without becoming a complete gearhead. No offense intended towards anybody. Hell, the rest of us feed off the gearheads like crazy.
I never really minded a little focus search until I went HD. Man...it is so noticable when a subject is just a hair out of focus.
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 08:50 AM   #70
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Michael,

That's exactly right. Hence, there are so many different focusing assists on the HDV cameras.

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Old June 3rd, 2006, 12:16 AM   #71
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Well my Step son's graduation threw many surprises at me. Lights dimming, then going bright, an unexpected slide show with many different songs and no lights, to the entire graduating class (all 18 of them LOL) standing up in front of the stage to get their dimplomas. Usually only the person receiving the diploma will stand, walk up and get the diplomas but now I had several tall people in and around the stage when I was about 35 feet back.

All in all it worked out well and was a definate learning experience since everything was thrown at me with nearly 0 time to react. Because there was no time to react I did rely on auto focus quite a bit, but also used manual for probably 1/3. I did fix the exposure which helped a bit. One thing that threw me off was white balance. So many immediate changes in lighting caused some issues. I should have gone auto, but chose to use the whitecard at the start. I captured the slide show ok, but I will need to warm it up a bit in post processing and also need to brighten one section.

I will say this...the autofocus worked much better then I had expected. It manged to hold on to my main subject even though many tall heads were around. On one occasion I was in manual, but there was a change to the positioning of the people right away. I had never tried it, but I held in the one push AF button on my controller for a long time and it worked like a charm. I think that it basically kept it in auto until I was ready to go back to manual when I released the button. Hats off the the Bogen 521Pro.

Oh yeah...not a well lit room, but the A1 held it's own...
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