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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 December 24th, 2008, 04:24 PM   #16
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Where can i get a sto-fen diffuser?Thx guys and...MERRY XMAS!!!!
i forgot:when am i supposed to use the black stretch?
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Old December 24th, 2008, 07:57 PM   #17
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you can buy direct, or most web outfits - my memory is that it's the OM-EZ that fits the HVL-20xx series - don't quote me on it, google around you should find a confirmation. It's a good solution, cuts the range of the light, but makes it tolerable to the subject/talent, good soft warm light (as opposed to the LED's that typically run to the cooler side...)
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Old December 24th, 2008, 10:23 PM   #18
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I'll second (or third or fourth) the 1/30th shutter speed. I recently shot a wedding with two Z1's where the church was pretty dark. And then 2 minutes before the ceremony started... the lights were dimmed even more!

Since there isn't a whole lot of motion during the ceremony anyways, I went to 1/30th on the shutter and 6db on the gain.

Problem solved! It looks fine! And when considering the alternative... it made sense.

At another wedding reception the light was pretty dim so we threw up a lot with a softbox and it made all the difference in the world. People understand that we need light. Heck, the flash from the still photog's light can be more of a pain than a nicely diffused Lowell!
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Old December 25th, 2008, 04:16 PM   #19
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I disagree Blake. I think gaining up is a far better option than dropping the shutter speed below 1/60.

I used to be scared of gaining up too much and insisted on never going above 9db (and always having to push the lighting in post). After much more real world experience with these cameras, I am now completely comfortable gaining up to 15db for a few reasons.

First...
When the final film is viewed on a DVD, the grain is nearly imperceptible to me. The grain isn't bad at all on Blu-ray or computer based HD files either. In fact, I would be surprised if a client were to notice this grain without me pointing it out to them. Of course we video professionals will notice some slight grain, but we're paid to notice the small stuff.

Second...
I haven't read about color preservation in this thread, but it is a huge issue. In my opinion, the colors are far more accurate in footage shot at a higher gain (i.e. closer to correct exposure) versus footage shot at a lower gain and then brought up in editing.

Third...
We have to factor in the contrast of the shot as well. I preserve contrast much more accurately using in-camera gain than if I underexpose and then adjust the levels while editing. Of course, I can further enhance the contrast (and generally do) via my NLE, that extra adjustment can lead to macroblocking, in which case I would prefer to settle for a slightly underexposed shot instead.

Fourth...
In my own work, 1/30 shutter speed is good for only two things...for effect and for emergency situations where I cannot move closer to the action and gain alone will not do the trick. To be fair, other videographers I know are more comfortable with 1/30 than I am. However, matching 1/60 footage with 1/30 footage looks awful to my eye. 1/30 footage in slow-motion looks awful as well. Also, it seems to me that the color is not as well preserved with raw 1/30 footage versus raw 1/60 footage with gain (when achieving the same exposure), though I have not done any extensive testing on this.

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Old December 25th, 2008, 04:29 PM   #20
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Alec i agree with you,to shoot @1/30 shutter doesn't always give you the perfect smoothness in the moves....When you suggest to use the blackstretch?


Talking about sto-fen diffuser:isn't it Dangerous for overheating if i mount it on the SONY HVL-20DW2 light ?


thx and Merry Xmas
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Old December 26th, 2008, 01:34 AM   #21
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I always leave the blackstretch on, and typically darken the blacks a bit in post. With the so-so performance of the Z1 in low light, I'm able to keep much more shadow detail for indoor shots, but still achieve the exact same look for outdoor shots (after adjusting levels) with no quality loss.

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Old December 26th, 2008, 02:12 AM   #22
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No heat issues with the Sto Fen...works just fine. Been using mine for two years. Couldn't work witout it.
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Old December 26th, 2008, 02:47 AM   #23
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Yes, the recommendation is to have black stretch on at all times when using the Z1. There are no disadvantages but lots of advantages.
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Old December 26th, 2008, 02:55 AM   #24
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I'm with Vito - my PAL Z1 looks a lot better shot at the default 1/50th and +18dB of gain up than it ever does at 1/25th and +9dB of gain. Very clean at that gain setting considering what it's doing for you, and MILES better than trying to lift it in post. The jerkiness of the slower shutter is a give-away even for couples standing 'stationary' at the alter, and I've never liked that.

For close-up work I use the excellent Sony 20-DW2 lamp with a Lumiquest 'Mini Soft-box' diffuser on the front. I've used epoxy resin to hold the velcro in place and the lamp heat makes the self-adhesive run. This gives beautiful diffused on-board light, great for cake cutting, first dance and so on.

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Old December 30th, 2008, 08:24 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
Yes, the recommendation is to have black stretch on at all times when using the Z1. There are no disadvantages but lots of advantages.
Well there's a bit of a disadvantage for Dana (who started this thread)... because he has an FX1 instead of a Z1 :-)
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Old December 30th, 2008, 02:07 PM   #26
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We'r sorry Dana,i'm tryng to find this soft box for my sony light.....
Any link?
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 03:12 PM   #27
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I also use a Lumiquest 'Mini Soft-box' diffuser. It's a must.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 01:45 PM   #28
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Me too, Dana. The Mini Soft-box comes with strips of self-adhesive Velcro but I found the heat of the 20-DW2 means the velcro starts to slide after a bit. Cured it by attaching the velcro using epoxy resin and now all is well.

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Old January 11th, 2009, 05:58 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Dana Salsbury View Post
I film low light wedding receptions, where I can only provide so much light without annoying the guests.
FORGET THE GUESTS, you charge for your service, so you have to do your best all the time, you have to do what you have to do:)
(never seen a wedding photographer hesitating work with the flash)
3x500 or 700 watt ( depending on situation) lowell tota, or similar, with remote power switches will solve all the troubles,
light doesn't have to be on all the time, but coming in, first dance, parents dances, garter and bouquet have to be properly lit. ( the rest is OK with just an on camera light)
way back I used to shoot weddings with FX/Z1 and i know how it looks withouh light, and trust me there is not much difference between two,
my advise - be professional, use the light,
all is just MHO :)
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Old January 12th, 2009, 11:21 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buba Kastorski View Post
FORGET THE GUESTS, you charge for your service, so you have to do your best all the time, you have to do what you have to do:)
(never seen a wedding photographer hesitating work with the flash)
3x500 or 700 watt ( depending on situation) lowell tota, or similar, with remote power switches will solve all the troubles,
light doesn't have to be on all the time, but coming in, first dance, parents dances, garter and bouquet have to be properly lit. ( the rest is OK with just an on camera light)
way back I used to shoot weddings with FX/Z1 and i know how it looks withouh light, and trust me there is not much difference between two,
my advise - be professional, use the light,
all is just MHO :)
While I agree with what Buba says, I don't think that 500 or 70 watt lighting is needed, lighting is needed. But this is a personal preference as to how much.
We use the The Wireless Wedding Reception Video Light style light. We custom built our own lights but ordered the remote controls to turn our powers on/off.

For a normal reception, we'll use two 75 w lights and run them pretty much an entire reception. They're placed on opposite sides of the dance floor, take up very little space, are unobtrusive to guests (as they're 10-13 feet up) and add some great depth to the image.

We also use onboard camera lighting for fill light purposes only, or for interviews away from the dance floor.

Photography and video both need light. There's no debating this, after all photography is literally painting with light.

The combination orReceptionlight style lighting and running camera in full manual, gives us just enough light that we don't necessarily need to use our camera lights and run our FX1's at 12db gain. But if we need to use onbaord ligitng, it's only for fill lighting, and we don't have to blast it.
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