What settings for the mountains out west? at DVinfo.net

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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 May 13th, 2009, 06:20 AM   #1
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What settings for the mountains out west?

Well, I just got an FX7 a few weeks ago and have not really learned it yet. In four weeks, I am headed for Yellowstone and Grand Teton NPs. Will be taking it and an SR11 with me as I and my wife hike up into the mountains, etc.. The FX7 will have its tripod along, while the SR11 will not. Anyway....
I would like some advice on suggested settings with the FX7. Subjects to be shot will be both rather near (flowers, etc.), and far (wildlife, panaramic sweeps). Of course times will vary from early AM to late in the evening at dusk. I know that leaving all on auto would work, but just wondering if there are things I could do to make the video even better, clearer, more like being there.

Thanks.
Mike
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Old May 13th, 2009, 08:08 AM   #2
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get a cpl filter, pref one with rotation - you wont believe what a difference it will make!

shoot standard, don't use presets, etc., any cc, tweaking can be done in post.

enjoy your trip

leslie
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Old May 13th, 2009, 09:49 AM   #3
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My 2 cents... (and I am not a "pro").

After reading an article by Stefan Sargent, I got a 0.6 ND filter to pop on the front of my V1. In bright sunny weather you can open the iris up, engage the built in ND and screw on the 0.6ND filter, and get pretty good depth of field very easily.

I also got a white balance card from Lastolite (though any white card would do) - it's made from fabric, and can fold up pretty small without getting damaged.

I also keep a careful eye on the histogram and zebras to try to get the exposure right. Not sure if you can get those on the FX7.

Apart from this, I don't use any magic picture profiles. I tried the above combination for the first time at the weekend - instead of normal iris settings and preset white balance - and it gave me some lovely shots (cliffs/wildlife/rocks/plant life).
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Old May 13th, 2009, 10:03 AM   #4
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These cameras get pretty good images right out of the box...but I would focus on what would truly make your footage more like 'being there'. First, practice smooth pans/tilts and make sure your tripod is up to task. Learn the basics rules of composition (and use them). Make sure you're not doing the typical 'vacation handheld 360' where you stand in one spot and pan your camera all around while describing what you see. Save the voice overs for post (but take notes in the field). Mix up your wide/medium/close up shots. Stay off the zoom whenever possible. Make a 'story' out of your trip, come up with a theme (the environment, the history of the area, the geography). Find some park rangers to interview (informally). Better yet, read about the area, come up with some 'must have' shots for a mini-doc you can put together.
I understand the need for a quick-fix to get good pix, but I can promise that a good story will overcome bad camerawork (think Blair Witch), whereas good camerawork cannot overcome a bad story (Ishtar).
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Old May 14th, 2009, 12:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Burgess View Post
I know that leaving all on auto would work, but just wondering if there are things I could do to make the video even better, clearer, more like being there.
Well, yes and no... I've had footage from some trip abroad that was ruined by that very auto behavior. The HDR-FX7 is temperamental. It also depends on how high your expectations are. So make sure you've checked & understood your camcorder's behavior in the color / focusing / sharpness departments, and if necessary adjust your practice accordingly. Plenty of practice tips & tutorials available from your friend Google.

Regarding the pools in Yellowstone, the white ground will drive your shutter speed up and give a strobing effect on the water projections (ugly!) So the advice for the ND filter is a good one so as to keep shutter speed @ 1/60 for those shots. Don't settle for cheap, buy a high quality one because cheap NDs aren't so exactly, totally neutral. But again, it depends on your expectations.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 08:45 AM   #6
 
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After many years of shooting in the deserts of the American Southwest, I've found the following general rules:
1-NEVER use any automatic settings
2-use ND filters, either built in or screw on, to keep lens apertures around f/2.8
3-depending on your cameras metering system, always expose for the blue sky. Setup your zebra function to 100% and use manual apertures to barely get the zebra to disappear. If you allow the camera to set up an average exposure, you'll blow out sunny, blu skies every time.
4-there are some situations where a gradient filter works wonders to make spectacular sky/foreground shots.
best of luck
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Old May 14th, 2009, 06:30 PM   #7
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Outdoor Picture Profile

I've saved a picture profile you might want to try on my V1U;
COLOR LEVEL +7
COLOR PHASE 0
SHARPNESS 10
SKINTONE DTL off
SKINTONE LVL 4
WB SHIFT +7
KNEE POINT auto
BLK COMPNSTN stretch
CINEMATONE GAMMA off
CINEMATONE COLOR on

I start with this, check white balance,zebra 100, use ND 1 or 2 for sunlight and keep everything manual and adjust for aperature, shutter speed. Try it, I am happy with the results! Dont forget to use shot transition for focusing close on spring flowers and then panning back to the mountain vistas! Time lapse is good too but I dont think the FX-7 has that. Show off your samples on your return. Good Luck

Last edited by Garry Moore; May 14th, 2009 at 06:39 PM. Reason: double post
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Old May 14th, 2009, 06:32 PM   #8
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Aurora, IN
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Outdoor Picture Profile

I've saved a picture profile you might want to try on my V1U;
COLOR LEVEL +7
COLOR PHASE 0
SHARPNESS 10
SKINTONE DTL off
SKINTONE LVL 4
WB SHIFT +7
KNEE POINT auto
BLK COMPNSTN stretch
CINEMATONE GAMMA off
CINEMATONE COLOR on

I start with this, check white balance, zebra 100, use ND 1 or 2 for sunlight and keep everything manual and adjust for aperature, shutter speed. Try it, I am happy with the results! Dont forget to use shot transition for focusing close on spring flowers and then panning back to the mountain vistas! Time lapse is good too but I dont think the FX-7 has that. Show off your samples on your return. Good Luck
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Old May 15th, 2009, 07:04 PM   #9
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Thanks to all.
I have shot hundreds of hours of video on my old Sony digital cam, and on my SR11. Have shot everything from Lake Michigan shorelines to the desert southwest. However, for this trip, I am very nervous, in that it may be my last time visiting there (been to these parks four times before), and since this is the first time with HD camcorders, I want to make it the best possible with outstanding video.
I will be taking the camcorder out during the next two weeks or so, and do some practicing. I will be taking a copy of these responses with me and trying the things you all have given.

Thanks again.

Mike
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Old May 16th, 2009, 01:02 PM   #10
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Mike, have you checked the HDR-FX7 tutorial lately? There's maybe a couple of tips there you might find helpful if you're looking for a comprehensive checklist when on the go.
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Old May 16th, 2009, 01:41 PM   #11
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Shoot in default mode, and color it in post, Magic Bullet is good to use
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Old May 16th, 2009, 09:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephan Stryhanyn View Post
Mike, have you checked the HDR-FX7 tutorial lately? There's maybe a couple of tips there you might find helpful if you're looking for a comprehensive checklist when on the go.
No I haven't, but I'll give it a look. Thanks.

Mike
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Old May 16th, 2009, 09:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugh Mobley View Post
Shoot in default mode, and color it in post, Magic Bullet is good to use
Something else to think about. Thanks, Hugh.

Mike
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Old May 17th, 2009, 06:34 PM   #14
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check out Philip Blooms' tutorial on Magic Bullet on Red TV
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Old May 17th, 2009, 06:50 PM   #15
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Hi Hugh. Not familiar with Red TV. Will google it. Thanks.

Mike

By the way, Hugh, looked at some of your stuff, very nice.



Stephan, just downloaded the tutorial. Seems like some good stuff. Thanks again.

Mike
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