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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 October 7th, 2008, 09:21 AM   #1
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Exposing static objects correctly

I was wondering if anyone has any tips on how to expose static objects correctly using the Z1 (without a monitor)?

Its always been an area that I'm less than confident about as I don't trust the lcd and I'm not quite sure how I should judge the zebras. When I do an interview I judge it by the zebras on the face but when it comes to shots you might see in say, a property show, I wonder if there's a similar method of judgement that might help ie a touch of zebra on the edge of a house or flower pot?

Thanks
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Old October 7th, 2008, 11:46 AM   #2
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It really comes down to experience and knowing your camera Neil. If it's a real static shot then you could bracket as you'd do taking stills, then choose the best shot on the timeline.

But 'ask the camera' is a good starting point. Shoot the object in auto, then lock the exposure and open up for light objects, close down for darker ones.

Have you used a photographic grey card?

tom.
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Old October 7th, 2008, 02:47 PM   #3
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No i havn't used a grey card. How might that help?

My general technique is actually to go with the auto-exposure first and then nudge the exposure up or down as i see fit.
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Old October 7th, 2008, 03:00 PM   #4
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A grey card helps because it simulates incident light meter readings rather than the much more unreliable reflected light meter readings which your camera uses.

Think about it. If you film a girl in a white wedding dress your camera might choose f/5.6 (say). You pan to the left and your camera thinks the dark-suited groom (under the same light) needs f/2.8.

The camera's an unthinking idiot. It'll under-expose the bride's face and over-expose the groom's. If you'd metered off a grey card the camera would have been forced to give the correct reading.

tom.
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Old October 7th, 2008, 11:08 PM   #5
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I am somewhat less professional than most of you folk so discount my comment accordingly.

My habit has been as suggested, "ask the camera" with a short burst of the auto slide switch on the left side, giving the camera time to do its adjustment, then looking at the image in manual, adjusting the manual settings until I get a visual match to the auto setting, then customising on that in manual to suit the look.

I also adjust the LCD brightness level in the viewing conditions I am in at the time so that the pluge bar in lower right corner is just barely visible. This seems to help eyematching the camera image to the real scene if you have to move about a bit but might be less helpful in locked off shots.

The Sony LCD screen is really quite good - for me at least, and a better assistant than the eyepiece display which you cannot recalibrate as far as I know.

I had a Siemens star glued onto a tabletennis bat for critical focus on static shots for a while but I lost it. I found I was too lazy to remember to bring it and even more too lazy to actually use it but I will reprise the practice with a 35mm adaptor shoot next year.
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