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Sony HVR-V1 / HDR-FX7
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old September 14th, 2007, 02:54 PM   #1
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V1U options ... recommendations please

We are going Oct. 5 for a month to shoot a documentary in Ethiopia. I am still looking for some last-minute advice for shooting this project.

Here are some questions about shooting with the V1U:

1. Do you recommend shooting with a circular polarizer? Not having used them for video, is there a potential problem if we shoot everything outdoors with them? Any pitfalls to lookout for when using them?

2. We have four cameras going to Ethiopia -- two HVR-V1Uís and two HDR-HC1ís (consumer cam for b-roll stuff). Would it make a difference if the cameras didnít all have the same brand and / or grade of polarizer? I donít know how different the polarizing effect is from the different filter manufacturers.

3. In addition to the esthetic effect of using a polarizer, would a polarizer have the same or similar effect at cutting light as an ND?

4. I tend to shoot everything I can at 1/60th shutter. But when in bright light outdoors I find that when in auto iris the ND1 and ND2 and NDoff indicator changes all the time it seems. I have limited the iris to f4 due to the small sensor size of the cam which in bright light is a problem with a 1/60th shutter Ė often footage is overexposed Ė even when switching the ND2 filter on. Would it make sense to buy an ND filter for the lens to cut the light hitting the lens? I donít want to shoot at higher than 1/60th . . . but I donít want to let the camera go to f5.4, f11, etc. to handle the excess light. So, in addition to the built in filters would you recommend having an ND .6 or .9 filter on the cam to cut light a stop or two?

5. What time code mode / setting is the best everyday mode to shoot with?

Many thanks!

Ian Campbell
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Old September 14th, 2007, 04:55 PM   #2
 
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I use a circular for most situations outdoors, but a linear is nice to have along.

You might want to match the polarizers on the sets of cams, but it won't matter if there is cross branding or models on the different sets.

A polarizer reduces the amount of light, but not like an ND filter, depending on the amount of light you want to cut. A polarizer is an ND filter of sorts, given that it reduces light, and is neutral in cast. A polarizer is for reducing reflection, not light. An ND filter is for reducing light, not reflection.

Find a set shutter and aperture for each set of scenes you'll be shooting and then do what you have to do in order to manage the light for those set values, IMO.

Timecode? NDF.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 05:03 PM   #3
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1. You shouldn't need a "circular" polarizer. I use a linear and it works well. The pitfall could be that you need to orient the polarizer by rotating it depending on the angle of the sun. If the operators don't keep the polarizer facing the right direction the effect will be different between cameras.

2. It can differ between manufacturers. Also see above as it also differs between camera angles.

3. Yes. The light is reduced noticeably.

4. I have a Cokin square filter system, so adding an ND filter is easy. If you are going to use an ND filter instead of a protective/UV filter it should be fine. As I said earlier, a polarizer can also do the job. Try to limit the number of filters as they can all add their own reflections. I use an ND when polarizer is not appropriate and a clear when I only want protection.

5. Sorry, I can't help you there as I rarely need to sync cameras.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 05:20 PM   #4
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Thanks Doug . . .

Are there any outdoor conditions where you wouldn't use a polarizer - or situations where they are to be avioded?

I didn't know whether shooting with a polarizer for all outdoor work was good or not. I thought mostly in video they would be used for dramatic sky and water shots, but great if they are okay to use on all day exterior shots.

I guess I'll be shopping now for a few good polarizers for all of the outdoor shooting.

Some of the video guys I've worked with pretty much always shoot at 1/60th. But in bright light you feel its fine to go to 1/500 sec. shutter, as an example, to work with strong light at f4 or lager iris vs. using an ND filter to cut light? I guess if we do the bulk of our work in 1/60 and then choose for outdoor a set of values that work with stong light we should be okay.

Thanks for the quick reply and good suggestions!

Ian
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Old September 14th, 2007, 05:20 PM   #5
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I am curious as to wether you are going to shoot in interlaced or progressive mode.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 05:35 PM   #6
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Hi, Marcus . . .

Thanks for your advice regarding using a linear vs. cirular polarizer. I have little experience with polarizers for video and don't want to get into trouble misusing them -- especially when there will be times we are doing a multi-camera shoot and need matching shoots - best as possible. If you can't orient the linear filter, how much effect does one give up vs. using a circular?

If two cameras are covering the same event outdoors from differnt angles, how can one easily make sure that both cirular filters are in the correct position?

I'll check into the square filter system. Sounds interesting.

From your experience, do you find that using a polarizer works for most all outdoors work?

Thanks . . .

Ian
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Old September 14th, 2007, 05:38 PM   #7
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We are shooting in 60i - non progressive. We almost went with 30p which I like for a lot for many things we've shoot. But since we are using two HC1's as b-roll cams (which don't do P) we are sticking with 60i.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 05:51 PM   #8
 
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60i is your best option when you're not completely sure what your final output or mixes might be.
re; circular vs linear;
circular gives you more options, that's it. It allows for more screwups too, if you're not paying attention.
On some cameras, linear can cause auto-focusing probs, but in the V1, this isn't an issue.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 07:02 PM   #9
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Great. Maybe the linear is the way to go when reducing the chance of screw ups over circular. Should we leave these on for all outdoor work -- or just for certain effect shots?

Glad Douglas you mentioned that the linear filters can hurt auto focus. Two of the b-cameras are HDR-HC1's. What effect will we likely find placing linear polarizers on these cams. They have a hard enough time auto focusing as it is! :)

Ian
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Old September 15th, 2007, 05:51 AM   #10
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All polarizers must be oriented correctly, so you don't escape that no matter what you buy. "Circular" polarizers are made for cameras that use polarized light in their metering or focusing system. I'm not sure that Sony ever used that system as even my VX2000 didn't need a circular.

Matching shots with a polarizer might be challenging as they don't work the same at all angles to the sun. At some angles the effect will be strong and at others it will be weak. It will be up to the operators to keep things oriented, so that is up to their coordination. Of course, I would rather one shot be good and the other better than to go without a polarizer in a situation that benefits from it's use.

Situations where they work are where there is blue sky and reflective surfaces, including foliage. If you are in the desert, all the polarizer will effect is the sky. Water, foliage, and the sky are the primary components of an image that can look better with a polarizer. The white highlights on reflective surfaces get filtered out and the color underneath shines through. This can make leaves look much greener and water more blue. The effect can actually be overdone a bit and make the sky look too dark so you need to practice before going to a paid shoot.

Last edited by Marcus Marchesseault; September 15th, 2007 at 06:00 PM.
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