Zebra on the fx1-z1.Any tricks on how to use it? at DVinfo.net

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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
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Old June 7th, 2009, 10:54 AM   #1
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Zebra on the fx1-z1.Any tricks on how to use it?

Hola guys,
could you give me any advice on how to use the zebra for a correct exposure on my camcorder?Any tricks?Now i have set it to 70%

thx
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Old June 7th, 2009, 11:20 AM   #2
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Set it to 100 and make sure only a tiny bit of your picture has Zebra stripes. At 100, it will indicate areas of blown-out overexposure, which you want to minimize.
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Old June 7th, 2009, 12:18 PM   #3
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I also set mine to 100 and use it all the time. It's definitely a tool that you'll need to learn to use in a variety of ways though. Used in this way, it tells you what part of the picture is going to be blown out.

Here are some basic guidelines.

1. When you compose a shot in less than optimal light, the zebras inform you as to whether the brighter areas would have to be sacrificed in order to see more detail in the darker regions.

2. If the focus of the shot is the brightest region, you'll be able to make sure that the exposure doesn't kill your detail in that area...and then decide what to do about the rest of the picture if it then looks too dark.

3. Using zebras is more art than science, and there are no hard rules since you have the freedom to go for any look you want. Generally, in full-on sunlight, I don't want any zebras on my subjects' faces. If I want to silhouette them in a backlit scene, I obviously still don't want any exposure on their faces, but I can now judge the background to decide how much detail I would like to see there, with the understanding that I have some room to play with it in the edit. If someone is looking out a window where light is pouring into a dark room, I might want a hint of zebras on the subject's face.

4. Zebras don't just tell you how you might alter your exposure...they also help you decide on other elements of the shot. In some cases, I might look through my viewfinder and decide that I need to move my camera to another part of the room to get a better exposure. In other cases, I might move the subject, or light them differently, or zoom in tighter, or anything else I want.

I suppose the best advice I have is to go about shooting as normal, but to note the zebra pattern as much as possible. In the edit, note the exposure and compare it to what you recall of the zebra pattern during the shoot. With enough practice, you'll be able to depend on the zebras in difficult conditions.

Alec Moreno
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Old June 7th, 2009, 02:45 PM   #4
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For the theatre stuff I shoot. I set zebra at 100, make sure there are no zebra on faces but zebra on white shirts but not on coloured items especially yellow as this usually indicates over exposure, and I find this sets about the max brightness I can get to the scene. As Alec says shoot some stuff in auto with zebra on and note how the auto decides what is OK!! You will find it shows zebra on white but nothing else. If you really need that detail on the white object then adjust to just remove the zebra. I think the FX1 doesn't really give an accurate reading anyway and indicates a high value. ie 100% is really something less than 100.

Ron Evans
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Old June 7th, 2009, 04:36 PM   #5
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I tend to use zebras at 90% - but as someone just said, it's an art, not a science. 90% works for me, others like 100%...
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Old June 7th, 2009, 06:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Davies-Rollinson View Post
I tend to use zebras at 90% - but as someone just said, it's an art, not a science. 90% works for me, others like 100%...
Exactly, just pick something and get used to how it looks. I personally run 90% that way a little bit is still acceptable, that's just the way I like to view it.
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Old July 8th, 2009, 02:58 AM   #7
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I'm a 100% zebra man for no other reason than I grew up with it, and as Bryan says - it's what you get used to that matters.

Not so sure I'd agree with Adam's 'tiny bit of your picture' wording as it depends so much on the lighting situation. You could have someone indoors walking in front of a huge window and have to accept that maybe 70% of the frame was pure zebra as he crossed in front of it.

If I were you I'd turn zebras on, have the camera in full auto and go out and about, shooting in a huge variety of situations. Tell the mics what has zebras plastered all over it, then come back and replay this through your TV.

The zebras won't be there of course, but your voice will. How acceptable are the over-exposed sections of the footage? Generally auto exposure treads a middling path, and you may be quite surprised at how much 'over-exposure' is tolerated to make the pictures sparkle.

tom.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 09:43 AM   #8
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Well I have trouble w/ the Zebra stripes even though I always use it. I could get the stripes all over a sky but not on a cloud, for example. If I turn the fstop down it switches to the cloud but not the sky. If I turn it down one more, it inverts again to the sky and not the cloud. It should get less and less, but when I use it it becomes, less, less, more, less. It's almost random! Someone else must have had this problem?
I've only used it around 80%, but it only vaguely helps me. Without it I always over expose though.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 10:20 AM   #9
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You have to remember that the zebra stripes 'come and go' so that (for instance) as you open from f/5.6 to f/4 the stripes will appear on the brightest parts of the image. As you go from f/4 to f.2.8 the next brightest parts of the image will zebra up and the f/4 ones will disappear.

Also remember that the zebras follow a hysteresis loop, so that the same objects in the frame won't be zebra'd if you're stooping own rather than opening up the aperture.

tom.
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