Right to go manual exposure? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony HDV and DV Camera Systems > Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1

Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old June 8th, 2007, 02:11 PM   #1
New Boot
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: London, UK
Posts: 20
Right to go manual exposure?

I was filming a protest last weekend that turned into a riot. It's not something I'd experienced before and I stuck with my usual method of keeping everthing set manually.

At the time i thought it was the best thing to do, but in hindsight, with so much going on and at such speed, i was debating if going automatic exposure would have been best (Changing exposure manually while hand held on the Z1 always seems quite cumbersome to me).

I was hoping people might share their thoughts and experiences with me.
Leslie Knox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 8th, 2007, 02:42 PM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: France
Posts: 578
Hi there
Not covered any riots with my Z1, fortunately I'm shooting relaxing fishing promos now..LOL!!

But done loads on stills... either with a Nikon F3P then later an EOS1... Auto on most of these high end Canons is pretty good compared to the older all manual Nikon...

In fast moving situations you tend to work on pre-set settings anyway, coz as you say you just don't have time to set stuff... Set thus it is usually close enough..

Auto can often be all or nothing... if focus fixes off subject your shots are useless... or if the subject dips into shadow.. or bright sunlight..

On balance though, in a situation where often you're up against it... I've found auto settings are as good as I could have been. Fast sport was the only exception, but if you know the sport it was somewhat more predictable. So I always shot manually

A street riot where anything could kick off, I'd probably shoot in autofocus with the Z1. Exposure latitude is far better, so you can probably stay in manual on this, the well placed iris lets you open up or stop down fast..

At present with my fishing stuff, when I'm shooting staged shots, or slow and repeatable footage, I try for focus effects with Dof etc... but when it's faster, these cameras just aren't precise and fast enough to focus manually.

This has always been my biggest criticism of the Z1... however good the LCD or VF... neither allow critical focusing...the servo lens lacks finesse too. I would love the precision of a good still lens and the clarity of the viewfinder.. but its often very hard.. AF is usually better than me... not because I can't focus, but because the viewfinder info won't let me accurately...

They are fabulous cameras.. though.. but I'm looking forward to either the new XDcam Ex or the replacement for the DSR 250 in HDV.

Cheers
Gareth
Gareth Watkins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 8th, 2007, 04:34 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Hamden CT
Posts: 470
That is definitely a great idea. At wedding receptions, when I roam the dance floor, I have everything set to manual except the iris and gain to compensate when dancers get to close to the cam. However, I do limit the gain.
Richard Zlamany is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 8th, 2007, 08:30 PM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 1,585
Everybody's got a different system. In a riot, I would have been more concerned about getting my ass out of there, hehe. If I had stayed, auto focus for sure, manual iris and gain.

That's how I usually shoot run and gun, such as wedding reception dances. Anything on tripod or a hand held situation in which I have time to think, manual focus as well.

I really respect those guys who can shoot hand held, run and gun and manage iris and focus at the same time. It's just beyond me...
__________________
.
http://www.nosmallroles.com
Vito DeFilippo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 9th, 2007, 02:36 AM   #5
New Boot
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: London, UK
Posts: 20
That was my thought after...when people get too close to the camera or I had to move into a crowd of people, it would get dark and I'd have to manually expose. And cause I was filming almost all the time, it may have been smoother to go just auto-exposure and worry about manual focus (and safety!).
Leslie Knox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 11th, 2007, 11:44 AM   #6
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Atlanta/USA
Posts: 2,507
When filming unscripted events (or when I don't have the time to follow the script), I leave the focus on auto except for special effects. As mentioned above, the auto settings can pretty much be as good as manual settings - I use the auto iris to get an idea what the camera "thinks" it's best, then go manual from there. Gain is always fixed (I prefer dark footage to grain) and exposure is always 60 in my case.
__________________
Ervin Farkas, CDVS
Certified Legal Videographer
Ervin Farkas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 11th, 2007, 05:37 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: France
Posts: 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ervin Farkas View Post
When filming unscripted events (or when I don't have the time to follow the script), I leave the focus on auto except for special effects. As mentioned above, the auto settings can pretty much be as good as manual settings - I use the auto iris to get an idea what the camera "thinks" it's best, then go manual from there. Gain is always fixed (I prefer dark footage to grain) and exposure is always 60 in my case.
Yep that's pretty much what I was getting at... I haven't actually tried measuring against auto exposure... I just use the zebras... and in my case keep the speed set to 50...(pal land)

I'd prefer to go manual with focus, as I have done with Betacams but I find the focus on the Z1 just too imprecise for fast work.. and the AF works far better than I could, unfortuately...or am getting old..??

cheers
Gareth
Gareth Watkins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 12th, 2007, 12:26 PM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 226
I actually prefer to leave everything manual -- especially in crazy environments. The Z1 in auto mode just doesn't reach the quality I can achieve, so I've just trained myself to be fast. Focus fast and constantly, ride your iris, and watch the gain. I leave the shutter at 60 for natural movement, keep my ND filters on for outdoor activity.

Auto errs on the side of overexposure. I shoot things dark and bring 'em up in post generally -- a little color curve action in Vegas usually fixes underexposed footage perfectly. Better than trying to recover overexposed stuff.

And I just flat out like manual focusing. It's gotten to where I don't feel like I'm really filming if I don't have a hand on that wheel.

That's just me, though.
Brandon Freeman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 12th, 2007, 03:01 PM   #9
Trustee
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 1,585
Brandon,

I applaud your ability to focus on the fly with the Z1, but I just can't seem to quickly find critical focus with the LCD or viewfinder. I'm always not sure.

Any tips?

Thanks,
Vito
__________________
.
http://www.nosmallroles.com
Vito DeFilippo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 12th, 2007, 03:38 PM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 226
Part of it is guess work. I work the focus ring fast, but if you were to see it in slow motion, basically I focus past what I know I want (focus to the background), then pull back until that background is now blurred, again past the object I want focused, then ease it forward, back, forward, and then set. Mind you, with all the practice that I've had (I'm a focus junky -- I play with my eyes' focus too), I usually can bounce once and then set.

Mind you, I generally keep the iris at 2.8 at all times so that my DOF is shallow, yet not all the way to 1.6, as many times I want to zoom in and out, and I don't want the exposure changing.

If the situation is challenging, I turn on peaking, and that generally helps me determine what is really in focus. But one issue there is that peaking just identifies contrast and sharp corners (I've found), so it isn't always an accurate judge.

Not saying that I NEVER use auto focus, but I really work my "skills" to do it manually, because I'm a control freak and don't trust the camera.

:)
Brandon Freeman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 12th, 2007, 09:03 PM   #11
Trustee
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 1,585
Yeah, maybe it's the type of shooting that can be problematic as well. I do a lot of weddings and events, and need to change focus as the subject approaches (entrance of the bride, for example; or chasing moving people around). Also do a fair bit of shooting in low light, and there's no way in hell I can tell if I'm in focus when the light gets bad enough.

Thanks for the input. Much appreciated.
__________________
.
http://www.nosmallroles.com
Vito DeFilippo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 12th, 2007, 09:08 PM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Hamden CT
Posts: 470
I think an iris setting that low makes for less DOF. In other words, f11 has a more shallow DOF than f1.6.

That is why at low light receptions focusing is easy.
Richard Zlamany is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 12th, 2007, 09:17 PM   #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Stockton, UT
Posts: 5,648
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Zlamany View Post
I think an iris setting that low makes for less DOF. In other words, f11 has a more shallow DOF than f1.6.

That is why at low light receptions focusing is easy.
Actually, that's the opposite, Richard. f11 is a smaller aperture than f1.6. The larger the aperture, the more shallow the DOF. The smaller the aperture, the greater the range of focus. One way to get shallow DOF with a small format camera is to back the camera way off, zoom in, open the aperture as wide as possible (usually 2.2/2.8 on small chip camcorders), and you'll get a reasonably shallow depth of field. Increasing the aperture number increases the range of depth, which means you've got a sharper image. Decreasing the aperture number decreases the range of depth, meaning you've got a softer image outside of the range.
Make sense?
__________________
Douglas Spotted Eagle/Spot
Author, producer, composer
Certified Sony Vegas Trainer
http://www.vasst.com
Douglas Spotted Eagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 12th, 2007, 09:18 PM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Zlamany View Post
I think an iris setting that low makes for less DOF. In other words, f11 has a more shallow DOF than f1.6.

That is why at low light receptions focusing is easy.
Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're saying, but the higher the number, the tighter the iris, and the DEEPER the depth of field (not shallow). You need to open it up in order to shorten the depth.
Brandon Freeman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 12th, 2007, 09:22 PM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Hamden CT
Posts: 470
I must have got it backwards.

Funny, I find it easy to use manual focus at low light receptions and I thought it was for that reason. I was totally wrong. Thanks for correcting me.
Richard Zlamany is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony HDV and DV Camera Systems > Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:26 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network