FX-1 shooting "preflight" checklist at DVinfo.net

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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 November 29th, 2004, 01:16 PM   #1
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FX-1 shooting "preflight" checklist

Here's a checklist I came up with for someone on another board and I was asked to post it here too! If anyone thinks I'm forgetting something, or you do things differently, feel free to post here for others to see as well.


Preflight checklist (things you set at the beginning of your shoot - usually don't change)

-Record format - HDV or DV

-White balance preset - set indoor or outdoor - depending (Always run manual but set incase you get caught and need to go auto)

-Gain setup - if you're shooting in the daytime, ext. maybe you want L=3M=6H=12DB. at night or indoors L=6 M=9 H=18db

-Steadyshot on or off (I have on assign button)

-Widescreen record- on or off (DV only)

-Audio level - manual and level '5' - I like manual because it shows you the UV meter on the LCD so you know if you're getting the audio or not.. with auto, you're left guessing unless you're wearing headsets- which you should be doing anyway.

Picture profile - OFF or verify settings
If selecting a Profile:
-Color level - set (I like +2)
-Color phase - 0
-Sharpness - 11 (default)
-Skintone Detail - as needed
-Cinegamma - set on/off
-Cineframe30/24 - set on/off

Zebra or Peaking - on / off as desired

- Load Tape and record 15-20 seconds of bars



Then before EVERY shot or scene- check these settings: Usually verified in viewfinder or quick glance at left side of camera.

-White balance - manual and set

-Gain - manual and set 0db or as needed

-Shutter - usually auto

-Iris - auto

-ND - set as needed

-If auto iris: backlight/spotlight on or off

-Focus - manual or auto if desired (I like manual when I can but when you're shooting family running around, etc.. auto sure makes it easier, especially in HD and when shooting with the LCD)

From then on it's monitoring tape time remaining and white balance. Hitting "status check" and scrolling through the displays every now and then will also remind of settings you might have forgotten.
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Old November 29th, 2004, 02:24 PM   #2
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<< -Gain setup - if you're shooting in the daytime, ext. maybe you want L=3M=6H=12DB. at night or indoors L=6 M=9 H=18db >>

Question. Why have gain anything but 0db if you can control the image within the desirable shutter/iris combination? (which is always the case outdoors at the daytime.)

Now, I understand that if you have a run-and-gun night video shoot, then of course you might allow whatever the gain - simply to get the shot.

But otherwise? Why not 0 always? Isn't gain making image grainy/low res?

Just trying to understand. Thanks!
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Old November 29th, 2004, 02:40 PM   #3
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You do always have the gain set to 0db. I said that. But if you do, for some reason, need gain while shooting in the daytime you don't need as much, so you might set your presets much lower. Lets say you're shooting run-and-gun and end up in a parking garage or something - you don't need 18db of gain. By resetting the L M H gain settings, you can "fine tune" any gain you might need.

Yes gain makes the image grainy so you should always use 0db or a little as possible.
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Old November 29th, 2004, 03:20 PM   #4
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Curious as to why you set the shutter to "auto." Not familiar with HDV, but I personally dislike high shutter speeds on my DV cameras. They make fast motion look jerky. If I want to process in post as 30p then 1/60 sec shutter is needed for the best results. I don't know if it's an issue with the FX-1 CCD's, but on the PDX-10 higher shutter speeds lead to increased vertical smear problems.

Of course it all comes down to a matter of personal preference, and it looks like the FX-1 offers a lot of options to refine your settings.
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Old November 29th, 2004, 03:25 PM   #5
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Boyd, 1/60 shutter produces high blur on fast-moving objects. This leads to "unclear" perception while viewing such video.

I have discovered that 1/125 shutter solves the prolem, plus it makes pulling a *bluescreen key* on such footage much easier.

All this relates to FX1 from my experience, not sure about DV in general.
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Old November 29th, 2004, 05:52 PM   #6
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Actually I find the motion blur desirable much of the time with DV25. If you use an adaptive deinterlacing program it gives a film-like feel with motion blur consistent with 1/30 sec exposure. I know people are talking about doing this with the FX-1 to acheive 24p or 30p type results. Do the software companies (DVFilm, Graeme Nattress, Magic Bullet, etc) say to use higher shutter speeds? They recommend 1/60 sec exposure for their DV products. But perhaps the effect looks different at HDV's higher resolution? Regardless, isn't it disconcerting to have the camera continuously changing shutter speed in auto mode? Interesting point about bluescreen, I wouldn't have thought of that.
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Old November 29th, 2004, 06:06 PM   #7
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Boyd, you wrote:

<<isn't it disconcerting to have the camera continuously changing shutter speed in auto mode?>>


Absolutely. That's why JVC H10 was a no-go when everything was said and done.

I'm sure Mike simply meant that shutter is auto when everything else is auto - in the situations when you have no time for any setup.


<< Interesting point about bluescreen>>

Yup. I worked my way from AE's keyer to Keylight to Ultimatte. While Ultimatte is hands down the best keyer (to the point of being unbelievably good), it still wouldn't pull a good matte on the clean, chroma noise-free FX1 image when someone, say, quickly waved their hand overhead.

Looking at individual frames reveals that images shot at slower than 1/125 shutter show an ugly blob around the moving object. The blob tends to trail the moving object, and such trail looks unnaturally on the keyed image. It no longer looks like a moving blur, but more like a disfigured cursor trail - if you ever engaged that feature on your PC.

Shutter speed of 1/125 solves the problem.
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