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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 October 15th, 2008, 01:08 AM   #1
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Time lapse sunset

I just shot a time lapse sunset, and it was very dark. nd2 5.6 0 gain and 350 shutter speed, auto indicated that and I set it and locked it, I am sure camera can do better, anyone have any settings suggestions, I was using the sunset profile.
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Old October 15th, 2008, 03:02 AM   #2
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How did you set the exposure? Were you metering off the whole scene?

Better to meter off an area of the sky without the sun in it - zoom in and lock it, then zoom out to the whole scene.
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Old October 15th, 2008, 02:52 PM   #3
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I set exposure by setting camera to auto, that gave the settings, then I set to manual, and locked it, same with canon xt 35mm. although its settings were different.
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Old October 15th, 2008, 09:37 PM   #4
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I'm guessing that the camera saw the sun or very bright sky/clouds, and closed things down as if those were what you wanted correctly exposed.

Suggest instead that you turn on Zebras with setting 100, and set lens aperature and ND such that only the very brightest elements show zebras. For a high-contrast subject like sunset I think you're going to do much better by setting "peak" exposure than by letting the camera select an "average" exposure.
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Old October 16th, 2008, 10:07 AM   #5
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yes the camera saw the sun, on auto it gave me the settings I then locked them, however everything else was dark, and I also thought afterwards if I did not zoom in to max it would exposure would have been lighter so whole picture was clearer, I am going to try this next tiem, but as with a shot of the moon, if I zoom in close the settings change quite alot until I zoom out a bit. And I am not sure if I have my settings locked what happens when it starts to get darker as the sun gets closer to the horizon, maybe leaving it auto would take care of compensating for the changes in light. My Canon xt showed even higher shutter speed and the photo came out much better, here are pics for comparison:
One with my Canon XT and two from the V1
Attached Thumbnails
Time lapse sunset-img_9603.jpg   Time lapse sunset-image1.jpg  

Time lapse sunset-image2.jpg  
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Old October 16th, 2008, 01:09 PM   #6
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First thing - learn to use a tripod and spirit level to get your horizons straight!

Second - if you aim the camera at the sky (you probably won't have to zoom in to get the sun out of the picture) then lock the exposure, you should get a more correct exposure. If you have the zebras on, then the sun itself will show over-exposure. It is a high contrast scene, and you'll have to accept some overexposure is you want to retain detail in the rest of the scene.

Third - as the sun goes over the horizon, the scene gets darker naturally, so there isn't a lot of point in trying to get a "correct" exposure for that. Just let the camera record the changing light levels in the scene.
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Old October 18th, 2008, 03:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugh Mobley View Post
...And I am not sure if I have my settings locked what happens when it starts to get darker as the sun gets closer to the horizon, maybe leaving it auto would take care of compensating for the changes in light...
I think you've established that auto on the V1 is going to misread this particular scene. This is going to happen whether you then lock to manual or if you continue in auto.

One approach, as I suggested above, is to start in manual and use Zebras at 100 to determine where to park your peak exposure.

If you want to continue to exploit what auto can do for you, which does seem advantageous in this scene with changing exposure, you can apply a compensation to the auto setting. You would do this in the Camera Set sub-menu, set AE SHIFT to a positive value between 1 and 7. If you get that shift function right, you should be able to shoot the whole sunset in auto and get good exposure throughout.

(I don't use auto-exposure much - but if I did I would make use of the AGC limit function available in that same sub-menu. I don't much like using any gain over 6db...)

This will take some experimenting - to me the quickest way to set this up would to again use the Zebras. This is the best indication of exposure available on the camera, as it will identify specific areas of the scene and, depending on the Zebra setting, tell you whether those areas are exposed for middle ranges or peak exposure.

Another *very* useful exposure indication is the histogram. The V1 is the first camera I've owned that has it, very quick to use. If you use it in combination with the Zebras, there will be a line in the histogram at 70 or 100... Together, these are very good indicators.
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Old October 19th, 2008, 11:15 PM   #8
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I thought the cmos chip in the V1 would give me a better picture, without smear, of the sun, it shows a six sided star, totally unacceptable to me, last night I shot another sunset, exposed for the sky, but then left it on auto, nd2, didn't like results at all, got very good results from my canon xt tho, getting a good sunset is pretty tricky due to quickly changing light conditions, one of these times I might get lucky.
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Old October 19th, 2008, 11:28 PM   #9
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If you are doing a time lapse of a sunrise or sunset, I think the camera should not be allowed to change exposure settings. And they shouldn't be adjusted manually either. I shot a sunrise incorrectly and as a result, I was disappointed with the final time lapse footage. I used the 100% zebra to to keep exposure under control. The slow, subtle changes in exposure that I made, were not obvious in the view finder or LCD. And they weren't obvious when the footage was played at normal speeds. However, when I sped up the footage by 5000%, the very subltle changes in exposure became glaringly obvious and ruined the shot. And another effect is that the footage looses its dramatic impact, since you no longer have the drastic change from light to dark or vice versa.
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Old October 20th, 2008, 11:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugh Mobley View Post
I thought the cmos chip in the V1 would give me a better picture, without smear, of the sun, it shows a six sided star, totally unacceptable to me, last night I shot another sunset, exposed for the sky, but then left it on auto, nd2, didn't like results at all, got very good results from my canon xt tho, getting a good sunset is pretty tricky due to quickly changing light conditions, one of these times I might get lucky.
6-sided star is probably related to lens aperature, not cmos sensor - a different aperature may decrease or increase that effect.

I don't think you're going to "get lucky" sticking to auto, although AE SHIFT is worth trying. It keeps you in auto, but applies an exposure adjustment to the auto setting.

As you've discovered, auto can easily make bad pictures in high-contrast situations. When the camera's brain is fooled by the subject, there's really no other good choice than to use your own to decide what should be exposed light, middle and dark. This isn't particular to the V1 - all cameras suffer from it. Manufacturers try for the best auto compromise, but cameras will react in different ways to the same scene.

I don't know what else to suggest, other than getting more familiar and comfortable with camera settings. Perhaps your Canon is better for the kind of shot you want and what you're willing to put into it.

Good luck with it.
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Old October 20th, 2008, 12:30 PM   #11
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The other way to do a time lapse is to use the stills camera (if the Canon XT can be set to take a sequence - I don't know anything about that camera). Decide on your exposure and set it manually. Calculate how many frames per second you need for the time you want the finished clip to be. Set the camera going. Import all the frames (as jpgs) into your editor and it will convert them into the clip.
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Old October 20th, 2008, 08:20 PM   #12
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BTW, I am not just capturing footage to then speed up, I was using the interval settings, 1sec per minute, then taking the first five frames of each clip to get my time lapse, I works perfectly on clouds, after I figured it out, but on sunsets, I don't like the results
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Old October 21st, 2008, 06:07 AM   #13
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I tried something like that on clouds with my old Canon XM2. I wasn't happy with the results and so switched to single frames from the stills camera.
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