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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
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Old January 28th, 2006, 07:19 AM   #1
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City shots - reccomendations on how to improve them?

Hi there.

I am starting filming in a weeks time.

I will shoot the city shots first - yet I was wondering, are there any ways to make the shots look better?

What I mean is, will my HDR-FX1E make these vibrant neon lights in my city look...well, vibrant?

One will be of the city scape from a very high point.

The others will be done from within a car, tracking the sidewalks, the shops etc.
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Old January 28th, 2006, 01:03 PM   #2
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Anything should look good if you're shooting Times Square. But I don't think distant shots or twilight are the strong point of the camera, in my case the Z1U.

For the distant or twilight shots, you want resolution to be maximal. My picture profile settings for you would be:
Color Level +2
Sharpness 12
AGC Limit 12 db
AT Iris Limit F4
ATW SENS - MIDDLE
CinemaTone - OFF
AE SHIFT (-2)

What you're trying to preserve at once is the lens resolution (F4), depth of field for closer-in shots, and keep the video noise down. With the aperture priority on F4, AGC Limit will only start to come into play when the light levels go down. AE SHIFT (-2) and Color Level (+2) control the highlights and give it a film look. I use this in combination with BLACK STETCH, but since the FX1 doesn't include this, you should be mindful that AE SHIFT (-2) could compromise shadow detail. ATW SENS - MIDDLE keeps the white balance from shifting too much as you pan into the shadows.

The above settings are sort of a conglomeration of "all in one" automatic" settings for the conditions you described. You may of course want to fine tune them or shoot in manual modes. But to emphasize, distant shots need noise-free resolution, so you don't want to get diffraction artifacts from a tiny aperture (large number), nor lose contrast and resolution from an open aperture (small number).

Where the camera really "jumps out at me" is what it can do shooting people, human subjects at 10-14 ft, zooming in to the portrait of a face, capturing the live 60i reality look of the moment.
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Old January 28th, 2006, 05:26 PM   #3
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thanks.

also - for my film, there is quite a lot of movement, lots of fast tracking/zooming into people's faces. Now - I personally like the idea of keeping the filming at all times. Yet a lot of people I know are wary of the idea.

What does everyone think? The movement is to make sure the viewer is on a rollercoaster ride of images.
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Old January 30th, 2006, 07:13 AM   #4
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Using the analogy of the roller coaster. They are only fun because you are taking in a lot in little time. Looking here, there and then closing your eyes as you fall etc.

If someone told you to ride in a car, then look at the road as you drove, it would be boring, even if the road had cool images and lights and fancy stuff, its still one long boring car ride looking at road.

When thinking of doing moving motion, and trying to simulate movement within and without the camera, it is always good to fake it. Get the master shot, then go back and shoot the closer shots and find ways to blend a panning motion in the car, with a forward motion as you run around moving with the cam in your hands.

Use the idea that the audience is in the rollercoaster with four differnt cuts in mind. The Looking ahead, the left, the right, and the 'up' as in close up etc. Now pretend that everytime the persona moves their head to a different area it becomes one cut. If you understand where this is going.

Its the basic structure of most lyricless music videos you could find floating around out there. Dance club stuff and the such.

I could recomend Fatboy Slim's "weapon of Choice" music vid. There are moments where it simulates movement by having a panning/tracking shot with forward and backward movement cut into it.

HTH.
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Old January 30th, 2006, 07:34 AM   #5
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Just an odd suggestion, try shooting after it has rained. This will eliminate a lot of smog and dust, and wash everything. This should help bring the natural color out, thus improving the picture?
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Old February 3rd, 2006, 08:38 AM   #6
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thanks for info guys.
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