How to use Zebras? at

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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.

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Old February 8th, 2008, 03:59 AM   #1
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How to use Zebras?

I have a FX1, and I think zebra's set to 90%, and I look at the picture, and assume that as long as 25-33% of the picture is stripey, it's pretty much correctly exposed.

I've been reading someone who says that zebra set at 70% is best for caucasian faces. SO I'm guessing, that I should set my zebra to 70%, and when the subject's face is all stripey, then I'm correctly exposed?

How should I use zebra?

Since you're feeling so generous, what's peaking all about? do I need that too?
How do I use that?

Oh, and Hello - it's my first post!
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Old February 8th, 2008, 08:25 AM   #2
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I don't believe there's only one correct way to use zebras. Some like to set it to 100% and make sure they see no zebras at all. Other set it to a lower percentage and adjust exposure such that the brightest parts of the picture are just starting to show zebras. Notice that I am using very vague terms; I cannot offer any detailed recipe. Maybe others will offer different suggestions.

Peaking is a feature that can help focus the image. The manual doesn't say very much about how it works; the way I understand it, peaking highlights areas with significant differences between adjacent pixels. If the image is not focues, blurring will even out these differences, so you don't see the highlight from peaking. In other words, if you do see something highlighted when the peaking function is active, you can be reasonably sure that it is in focus. The inverse is not necessarily true - your subject might be perfectly focused, but not offer enough contrast to trigger the peaking feature.

- Martin
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Old February 8th, 2008, 10:17 AM   #3
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The setting level of the zebras would depend on the nature of the subject you are filming. My old trusty VX2000 only has 70% and 100%, which is all I have ever used on any camera.

As mentioned already expose on white faces at around 70%, and check highlights with the 100% setting, however there is no right or wrong way.

You need to get used to the camera and it's functions, then view images which you think you have exposed correctly on a proper monitor, you'll start to work out if your are getting it right during filming.

All the best, Duncan.
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