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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 September 30th, 2006, 09:30 PM   #1
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Z1 Manual exposure gain

I'm not crazy about the way the gain works maybe someone can suggest a better approach to manual exposure.

Here's what I do:
1. set it to manual (the middle position on autolock/manual/lock button)
2. set the iris, shutter and the gain.

Here's the problem, the gain can only be one of three values set in the menu. So let's say i set it as (3,6,9db) indoors I might need a 12 or lets say I step outside now and i don't want any gain. Sure I could go into the menu and change it, but when you're doing run and gun wedding you don't have time to be fooling around in the menu and trying to keep track of what the current presets are.

I just don't care for the way sony handles manual settings. You'd think with professional being the primary target of the Z1 they would make the exposure setting easier to work with.

Maybe I'm the only one who feels that way.

Last edited by Pete Cofrancesco; September 30th, 2006 at 10:16 PM.
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Old September 30th, 2006, 09:52 PM   #2
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No, you're not the only one who feels that way.

I was surprised that it is handled that way on the Z1, especially after years of using the PD150 that allows more flexibility in gain.

But I'll take the tradeoff of the much better iris wheel. The 'steps' in iris settings of the PD150 used to drive me nuts.

On the Z1 I often set the gain to 0/6/9. Or even 0/6/12. This lets me choose no gain if I go outside.

When I get to the reception, I often change to 3/6/12, or 3/9/15 if it's a dark room. It's great how well the image holds up even with 9 or 15db of gain. Forget about trying that on the PD150!
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Old September 30th, 2006, 10:20 PM   #3
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Yeah, I don't like this Z1 feature either. It's especially problematic for me when shooting our Opera performances where the light levels can vary a lot. I wish there was an option for the Z1 to behave like my VX-2000 and PDX-10. After opening the iris completely, continuing to turn the wheel causes the gain to be increased.

But I agree with you Vito, the other improvements in the Z1 make it worthwhile.
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Old September 30th, 2006, 10:23 PM   #4
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thx good to know I'm not the only one. I just got the camera 2 weeks ago so I was like maybe I don't know what I'm doing. Its not a huge deal just annoying.

Seem strange that the shutter speed is give equal or greater weighting than the gain. shutter speed gets the comand dial. In all my years of video i maybe once changed the shutter speed. 99% of the time its at 60. If they had to put something in the menu I'd put that in it.
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Old September 30th, 2006, 10:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
Yeah, I don't like this Z1 feature either. It's especially problematic for me when shooting our Opera performances where the light levels can vary a lot. I wish there was an option for the Z1 to behave like my VX-2000 and PDX-10. After opening the iris completely, continuing to turn the wheel causes the gain to be increased.

But I agree with you Vito, the other improvements in the Z1 make it worthwhile.
Yeah, my last camera was vx2000 and prefered how it handled gain. Thats why I was confused when learning the z1.
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Old September 30th, 2006, 10:28 PM   #6
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I like the idea of having a physical control for the gain, but three options just isn't enough. Another knob would have been great.
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Old November 30th, 2006, 10:48 AM   #7
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Setting Exposure (no more gains)

Hi everyone! The first time I got my sony hvr-z1p, I was puzzled how'd i set my exposure level utilizing the gain functions . It was easier on my vx2000 to set aperture settings then adjust exposure through gain from 0db to 18db etc.
When i had the z1, i thought of manually going to the menu and adjust the preset values for the assigned 3 gain keys. But i was dismayed by doing so, coz obviously that won't work in uncontrolled environments especially during weddings!

So, after 3 shoots, i discovered that setting the right exposure isn't through the gain afterall!

It's all in the iris, gain button, and shutter speeds!
Ex. For indoor shoots with 5 lux illumination, i set my exposure to . F2, shutter at 60 then gain at 9db. I only boost my gain to 18db when the environment is lit at 3 lux and set my shutter to 30 (looks like film though)

nway, white balance plays an important role too. So, i assigned it to two of the preset buttons available from the cam. Low light gives a redish look to the subjects so i adjust my white balance manually through increments to attain proper whites then that's the time i'd shoot. (learned this from my friend emmanual at www.cameramanu.com)

To see still pictures of my actual footage of this shoot, visit www.shierdan.blogspot.com
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Old December 7th, 2006, 08:24 AM   #8
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Sony Z1 Shutter Speed

This is the best place I could find to ask this question.

I shoot high performance sailing from Helicopters, Chase boats, and on Board sailboats and have a shutter speed question. I shoot with the Sony Z1 and if it is rough I have a Kenyon KS-8 Gyro on the bottom of the camera with a Cavision shoulder brace and matte box. I also use the Century 1.6x tele, .7x wide, and on board the fish eye.

Most of the time I try and shoot a shutter speed of 60 but find the image is too jumpy. What are the problems that I will encounter if I go up to 125, 250, 500? I have tried this over the last year but only about 1 hr of footage with 80 hrs of footage at 60. Just not that much time to experiment until this Jan after the next job.

I do not have problems with too much light since I use ND and trust the Zebra set at 85. As for F-stops I set it manual if the light will remain the same for say 15 min but most of the time I go auto on F-stops since just holding on and shooting at 20 kts and big waves keeps both hands from moving much.

Thanks for the help since I have a huge job next week.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 09:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Cronin
Most of the time I try and shoot a shutter speed of 60 but find the image is too jumpy.
Cool job Paul, and it sounds like you have a nice setup! Can you define "jumpy"? Personally, I think shutter speeds faster than 1/60 look "jumpy" or "stroby" to me. When you shoot at a higher shutter speed there is less motion blur in each frame. That may be useful for looking at individual frames, but it makes for a more abrupt change between frames.

You should try different shutter speeds though and see what you think. I shot some stuff at a high shutter speed from a moving car awhile ago and it had sort of a flickering effect which I didn't like. But others like that kind of look, so I guess it's just a personal preference.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 10:02 AM   #10
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Thanks Boyd I have be learning alot from your imput through out the site.

I do have a great job and it is a easy transition since I have been a pro sailor since 1974 and shooting video as a coach since 1980. It has come a long way from big VHS on my shoulder.

The best way I can explain the jumpy is when I can't keep the camera steady enough. The jumps are much worse then my old digital 8 or Canon GL2 which is much lower res but smoother in general. Is this the Mpeg from HDV? It seems that the image stablizer can't keep up and it makes the picture jump. As for motion blur at 60 shutter I like that since I follow the boat which makes the water slighly blur a nice effect.

I am doing a test shoot today and will look at faster shutters to learn what I can.

Thank you for your imput.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 10:03 AM   #11
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It might help you to change the image stabilization setting. You say you are using a wide angle adapter, and in the menu you can change the setting to adjust the stabilization for wide adapters. You could also try the "hard" setting to see if that smoothes out your shots better.

As Boyd says, higher shutter speeds will change the look, but not make the shot smoother. You might like it if you are intending to use slow motion later on.

Higher shutter speeds will demand more light, so you might find the ND filter unnecessary.

I would still put the iris on manual if you are outdoors. Find a good FStop, lock it down and go. This will avoid the camera pumping exposure as you drive through shadows or whatever.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 10:52 AM   #12
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Thanks Vito,

I have been playing around the the stablizer with Hard used most of the time. And I do switch to Wide angle when I use that lens.

Good point on the f-stop being locked down, I will try that in today's test shoot.

Nice promo video on your site. How did you go about getting the rights to use Mr. Armstrong's song? Great song!
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Old December 7th, 2006, 11:10 AM   #13
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Sounds like if you are shooting wide angle, hard stabilizing on, and with a gyro, you're pretty well set up.

How steady does the gyro keep you? I know that Sony recommends turning off stabilization when on tripod. Could this actually improve the shot in your case? Seems unlikely, but you never know.

Don't know what else to suggest. You seem to have it figured out. Maybe you are already getting the best possible in your situation, you never know.

Quote:
Nice promo video on your site.
Glad you liked it. Thanks for taking the time to check it out. I also shot it with a Z1. No gyro, hehe...

Quote:
How did you go about getting the rights to use Mr. Armstrong's song? Great song!
Well, you know us wedding guys. We like to live on the edge....thank God it's not my company.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 12:04 PM   #14
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Thanks Vito,

Good point I have not tried to turn off the stablizer with the Gyro on. I will try that today.

I am always willing to look at a demo video on most sites, I always learn something. Ah yes pushing the limit.

Thanks again for your help.
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