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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 26th, 2006, 04:48 PM   #16
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note that in my long post from yesterday, there are a couple of occasions when I said "f16" and this should read "f1.6". For some reason i cannot edit it.
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Old May 26th, 2006, 10:28 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Holmes
Very true Graham.

HC1/A1 have i think 2 or 3 internal ND filters that move in and out of the optical path. Camera is not keen to physically stop-down further than f4.
So it starts using ND filters - it even will use PARTIAL ND filter. i.e. move it partially into the optical path (apparently).

As Gian said, I think that Sony play with the gamma curves for definite with these programs. You can see visible changes, but the reported aperture, shutter, gain does not change and to me it just looks like they've programmed some of these 'Program AE' modes and moved gamma up or down.
I think they've done this in modes like the Portrait and Spotlight modes. SOMETHING changed but it was subtle and tended to affect shadow areas - i suspect a programmed (non-user-configurable) gamma change.
Then this may be a good and bad. Many times very usefull but at the same time upredictable since adjusting curves to one situation will greatly effect a slightly different situation. Either way...I still do not trust the data codes. The scenes I have tested do not make sense with the reported numbers.
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Old June 4th, 2006, 05:49 PM   #18
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Stu - I have to do the wifes family reunion thing next weekend. It will be very bright outside (Texas sun and at the beach), but the family will be under a gazebo. From what you posted it would seem that spotlight mode would help here. Do you agree? I will have no front lighting and a very strong back light since the gazebo will be all shade. I could expose to the people, but I believe this will white wash the back scene drastically. Thoughts on this?
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Old June 5th, 2006, 10:11 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Michael Stowe
Stu - I have to do the wifes family reunion thing next weekend. It will be very bright outside (Texas sun and at the beach), but the family will be under a gazebo. From what you posted it would seem that spotlight mode would help here. Do you agree? I will have no front lighting and a very strong back light since the gazebo will be all shade. I could expose to the people, but I believe this will white wash the back scene drastically. Thoughts on this?
just typed a nice long informative reply and SUPER-p1ssed-off that i lost that text completely cos of the board logging me off due to time-out due to 'inactivity'.

Admin: Please can you change the time-out settings on this board so as to prevent this happening. I usually try to Ctrl-C to save my text if it's long-text before submitting but i forgot this time and it's just so exceptionally irritating to lose a big chunk of text. Going 'back' in browser didn't work.

Going to type it again in a few minutes when i've chilled-out a little bit.
:-( (x 10...)
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Old June 5th, 2006, 11:05 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Stowe
Stu - I have to do the wifes family reunion thing next weekend. It will be very bright outside (Texas sun and at the beach), but the family will be under a gazebo. From what you posted it would seem that spotlight mode would help here. Do you agree? I will have no front lighting and a very strong back light since the gazebo will be all shade. I could expose to the people, but I believe this will white wash the back scene drastically. Thoughts on this?
I would use the 'spot meter' on some of the faces in the party to set the correct exposure. Your right, this will probably wash out ('white-out') the background but that isn't your subject is it? Also try using the 'Portrait' mode so you get some automatic blurring of backgrounds...

I have been using the Sony 'nightshot' mode in brilliant sunlight down the graveyard with an IR filter on the lens (1000nm -i.e. quite strong!). It seems to setup as f1.8 -wide open and 1/50sec.

Also has anyone else noticed that the HC1 has a very nice Macro mode when the lens is in wide angle -it can focus right down to a few mm/cm...


Nick.
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Old June 5th, 2006, 11:22 AM   #21
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OK i'll try again...

In short, you could try using 'Spotlight' but to be honest, you really should just let the ultra-bright background do what it wants and bleach out.

What you're interested in is the people under the gazebo, so i'd use Spot Meter mode for that, zoom in tight on someone's face whilst under the gazebo, and spot meter. That will lock in that exposure until you quit that mode. The light-level under the gazebo should be pretty consistent and if you're lucky, you will get something of a giant soft-box effect with some light coming thru the gazebo roof and providing soft consistent lighting without any harsh shadows. (Depends on how thick the roof material is).

So for exposuire i'd definitly use manual exposure (spot meter is just manual exposuire with a particular method of setting the exposure). When you're filming someone (or a group of people) in that scenario the amount of background visible is going to vary a lot and if you'd left the camera on 'auto' exposure (Spotlight is auto exposure mode, but with a few tweaks) then the camera will 'see' all the ultra-bright sandy background and reduce exposure far too much and silhouette or partially-silhouette people. Just expose for the people's skin and don't worry about the beach bleaching out.

2nd issue you may have is White Balance. Shady areas on a bright sunny day are often notoriously blue-ish and this isn't very nice with people shots, so i'd do a one-push manual white-balance whilst fillinf the frame with a pure white object. a white towel or white t-shirt is ideal. You MUST do this *in the light that you will be filming in*. For the first 2 or 3 minutes under the gazebo, what i'd do is set the white-balance (get camera directly overhead of the towel/tshirt which is lying on the ground in the middle of the gazebo) first and then zoom in TIGHT on someone's face (tell them to keep still - it's just a test shot), and spot meter off their skin.
Film a minute or two of the sort of shot you're going to be taking, and then quickly review that footage by placing a large towel over your head and camera and checking it out in the viewfinder or LCD screen. You need to do that or else you won't be able to see much due to the bright light-levels.

Consider using WB SHIFT set to maybe +2 or similar as this should warm up tones. It *may* not work if you've already set manual white-balance, and if this is the case, then fine don't worry about it.

Final thing is i'd mix up the shots to make it less 'boring'. Some TIGHT-framed shots of individuals faces/expressions. You can 'chop' the top of their heads off and 'chop' their chins off, it shouldn't look odd.
ALso standard advice to get down low sometimes. If everyone's sitting-down, i'd shoot sitting down (most of the time). If everyone's standing up i'd shoot standing up (most of the time).

that's about it for now i think.
Summary: Use manual exposure (spot meter on someone's face is easiest), use manual white-balance, vary the shot, consider using a shotgun microphone to isolate one or two people from 'the crowd'. Having said that, think on your feet. If something's not working then just change it if you're confident you know why it's not working and go with it.
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