FX1 used in a low light wedding report 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 28th, 2005, 04:55 PM   #1
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FX1 used in a low light wedding report

I just got a new FX1 Thursday and used it on a Sweet 16th on Friday and a Jewish wedding on Saturday.
For the Sweet 16th I recorded HDV and went out DV to a switcher with 2 other DV cameras. The camera played good with the others. The only problen is the 16:9 format out of the FW. I new it ahead of time so I would be croping the other 2 in post to match.
At the wedding I was only hired to do the big screen video presentation so I had plenty of time to play.
The Wedding was at the Ritz Key Biscayne (Miami) outside by the beach but at 9:00PM. Needless to say that it was totally dark by then. I was about 75 ft from the B&G because they had hired someone else to do the video. I had introduce myself to them and they didn't mind me being there, but they had 3 cameras and I didn't want to be in their way. The hotel had placed 4 spot lights pointing to the top of the white fabric draping over each corner of Huppah and that was about all the lights reaching the B&G. That kind of lighting was perfect fot DV but not ideal for HDV. I found that F2.8 at 9db gain and a shutter speed of 1/30th of a sec. was the best posible combination. Even though this was not the perfect lighting for HDV, I found that the image looked better than if it was shot with a DV at optimum conditions.
I would like to post a clip but I am out of space in my web page.

Has anyone else here use this camera for life events? Any tips?

Douglas Villalba
www.dvtvproductions.com
Miami, Florida
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Old November 28th, 2005, 09:08 PM   #2
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You can go up to 12db without an appreciable change in the noise level. The image softens slightly if the aperture opens wider than f/2.8 so I agree with what you did to maintain it. 1/30th also gains you a full f-stop over the shutter speed the cam would otherwise default to. I have the Z1U, but I assume the FX1 also has a 12db gain setting? In any case, not a huge difference from 9db, but 18db gain is too noisy. My $0.02
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Old November 28th, 2005, 11:55 PM   #3
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I've been using the FX1 for weddings and agree with using some gain and slower shutter speed when needed in poor lighting. At the reception I use an on-camera light with a 10 watt bulb on one side and 20 watts on the other, which is enough for most situations. Sometimes the limited low-light sensitivity is a nuisance, but I'd call it manageable.
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Old November 29th, 2005, 01:25 AM   #4
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Modern camcorders that have mega-pixel chips can be used in the gain-up mode fairly well, with the grain not being particularly obvious. But every dB of gain up you apply robs you of some colour information, of this you can be sure. Want to prove it to yourself? Connect your camcorder to your TV to use the TV as a big viewfinder. Now point the camcorder at a subject and vary the shutter speed so that the camera’s using maximum aperture to give correct exposure.

Now switch in the neutral density filtration. The camera will automatically respond by upping the gain to give the correct exposure, and on TV you’ll suddenly see the loss of colour information. Once you’ve seen the effect you’ll be keen to add light, not gain.

tom.
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Old November 29th, 2005, 01:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Roper
The image softens slightly if the aperture opens wider than f/2.8
Note that Douglas said he was 75 feet away, so he was probably zoomed all the way in. In that case you don't have much choice with the aperture because it maxes out at f2.8! :-)
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Old November 29th, 2005, 02:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
Note that Douglas said he was 75 feet away, so he was probably zoomed all the way in. In that case you don't have much choice with the aperture because it maxes out at f2.8! :-)
You are correct about being zoomed in all the way, but I think it would be a good idea to keep the f stop at 2.8 in low light. By keeping it at that when you zoom out the exposure doesn't change.

I also shot some video at 18db and it does look better than DV at the same gain. The videographers hired were using 20w lights on their Sony 150s and 2000 but the reception place was so dark that it was hard to see where you were going.
I did some test at 18db f1.6 at 1/8 and 1/15 of a sec. to do something different and it looked bright but with a lot of motion of course.
The hired videographer called me yesterday to see if I some good footage 'cause "one of his guys footage was to dark". I didn't record the whole thing but what I have is good enough for an HD DEMO, so I told him to come by tomorrow to download it.

Douglas Villalba
www.dvtvproductions.com
Miami, Florida
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