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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 May 30th, 2007, 02:57 PM   #1
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ND Grad on z1/FX1

What's your opinion on which works better.... the hard or soft ND grad?

I have a soft 4"X6" ( used on outer slot in formatt box ) and it's only slightly noticibly graduated on final footage... even wide shots. Would the hard grad be to obvious?

No retail around here carries them around these parts... and cheap they aren't.... so I'd love to here from ya'll that use them!

Thanks in advance.
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Old May 30th, 2007, 06:05 PM   #2
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gradient ND filter

The gradient should not be visible in the image, but of course if you're shooting a uniform brightness colour you will see a graduation in luminance. A hard gradient needs to be well aligned (e.g. with the horizon in a wide seascape) and of course all filters must be set well out of focus. Using the far filter tray makes DOF critical and you must use a wide aperture (low f/number). I prefer the soft gradient for general use; often I want to hold back clouds in a scene that has extended foreground objects.
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Old May 31st, 2007, 07:15 AM   #3
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yes I'm aware of the idiosyncrasies of how to use a grad filter.... but was curious as to the preference of hard or soft by those who already own both.

The lee filter I have might be a bit on the "to soft a grad" spec for such a small lens opening. I guess I'll have to buy a hard version to find out.... maybe the hard grad will work better closer to the lens.

thanks
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Old May 31st, 2007, 11:09 PM   #4
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ah yes, thats the thing. The more you use filters, the more you want to have. it can get very addictive. I did sit in on a demo at NAB presented by Tiffen. they were showing their line of postproduction filter software. It looked really good - as most show demos do - However I feel that it would not be of as much use as a good set of ND's in the field since your needing to control light at the scene when using ND's, but for other filters this would save a lot of money in the long run.
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Old June 1st, 2007, 02:04 AM   #5
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I got the Cokin X-Pro set of B&H that comes with 3 filters (light , medium and dark).
I will post soon 4 pictures showing the difference.
it will be taken with my FX1
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Old June 5th, 2007, 08:32 AM   #6
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I use graduated Neutral Density filters all the time. I agree with Barry Braverman from his "Video Shooter " book, " the hard edge is used principally with telephoto lenses. The soft grad with a feathered transition is ideal for establishing shots with large areas of bright sky". I use the Geardear matt box, for this is the only company that I have found that provide the proper filter stage for ND grads.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 06:50 AM   #7
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This is a very interesting matter, because I have several times raised the point in this forum that graduated NDs are probably the most important filters for video shooting. Even if it's indoors. Particularly in documentary projects.

Matte boxes for NDs may be invaluable too, if they allow sliding the filter to the sides, or up and down.

Tiffen having released a filter software is very good news too. Right now I would love to have a graduated ND effect to correct a shot I did. Does anyone know of any other way to get a graduated ND effect with some other software?
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Old June 14th, 2007, 08:36 AM   #8
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Video tends to have less exposure latitude than film.... so obviously if there are clouds lost do to latitude, than I'd have to think that software would not be able to bring them back. If the camera has the option of capturing RAW, then it's more of an option in post.

So... this is where the grads really come in handy with the Z1's... gives more latitude.

to bad we can't swing the internal ND's just half way into view. ( or are the not physical filters? )
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Old June 14th, 2007, 10:12 AM   #9
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Hi there

I've been using a Tiffen 0.9 ND Grad regularly this summer and it really has made a big difference to scenic shot son my clips... I sometimes combine it with a polarizer and get a really cool and evenly exposed shot....

As to doing it in post.. well I've been messing around with Magic Bullet and there are several pre-set Grad settings in Look Suite, you can get Bluesky, Sunset, CSI Miami LOL!! .. or you can use After Effects to generate your own Graduated looks, then save them... you'd need to play with this setting but it works well... I do find less is more as it's really easy to over do these effects.

Cheers
Gareth
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Old June 14th, 2007, 07:22 PM   #10
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The video cameras under discussion have an illuminance range of 8 bits, whereas a film negative can be 24 bits and 12 bits is the range on a projection print. So pronsumer video, in general, isn't capable of handling scene bightness ranging from grass to sunlit clouds. If you expose for foreground then generally the clouds exceed the range of the sensor and get clipped. There is no way back from that -- the data isn't there. You have 3 options: tolerate the clipping (usual), paint in CG clouds in post, or you can prevent clipping by using a graded ND to pull the clouds back within the range of the 8 available bits.
How you treat the scene is your choice, but don't confuse the use of software filters for effects with using optical filters for exposure control.
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