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Old August 17th, 2003, 02:53 PM   #1
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What's Behind AE Settings?

I may have read over it in VX2000 manual (talk about your inscrutable Sony manuals!!), but could not find explanation of what the various AE settings affect. Aperature and Shutter Priority are clear; but what does "Sunset and Moon" do to various pre-sets in VX2000 when you select it? Also, does "Sports Lesson" just select highest available shutter speed or does it change something else also- for instance, it locks focus at "distant" or whatever also I think. And does "Low Lux" AE select some super slow shutter speed besides max gain and lense opening?? Did a search on Sunset and Moon in forum and did not see it. Question stimulated by fireworks last night where it was clear the dynamic range of light did not give best results when I was on full auto settings and seems hard to dial in the right manual exposure in midst of fireworks going off--Sony manual recommends Sunset and Moon for fireworks.
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Old August 19th, 2003, 06:45 AM   #2
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So how well will my camcorder record fireworks?

Very well indeed. I use the side screen for convenience, manual focus to stop the camera’s focus wandering in the dark and manual exposure to avoid over-exposure of the fireworks against the dark sky. I use it as an audio recorder too, to collect the noise. I find the AGC/auto limiter to be very useful in such circumstances.

Rockets at a public firework event are a wow because of their power. The sync loss between flash and bang brings home their height and the force of the explosions can be felt on your chest. Recreating this on the TV screen indoors is near impossible so I take it as a golden opportunity to go wild - not only out there in the field, but also indoors on the timeline.

Shoot fireworks wildly out of focus - they have a beauty of their own especially when superimposed over sharp footage. Use manual exposure to retain the different colours. There's no "correct" exposure and experimentation will show that practically anything looks good. Shoot at very slow shutter speeds and spin the camera about the lens axis as you crash zoom out from an explosion. Use a 6 point cross screen and spin the filter on its thread. Use the "ghost" filter in Premiere to add trails, the colour correction to enhance and the slow-motion option to expand the unseen. Set the wrong colour balance. Some cutaways of sky-gazing crowds oohing and ahring are most useful, and you’ll find there’s lots of light to film them by when big rockets explode. There’s the bonfire’s roar and the kids on shoulders. Add stirring music (try Mozart's Mass in C Minor) to the audio to make the hair bristle on your neck.

Remember this rule: there are no rules. Shoot now while you have the chance. The politically correct amongst us will first of all insist on silent fireworks, just before they ban the whole celebration on safety grounds.

tom.
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Old August 19th, 2003, 07:23 PM   #3
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Responsive Chord in C Minor

Tom, looks like I struck a responsive chord regarding fireworks and thanks for all the suggestions. I am still curious what "settings' VX2000 selects with Sunset and Moon AE--does it underexpose or what??
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Old August 20th, 2003, 02:07 AM   #4
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The wonderful thing about video Dennis is the way it's such a good, reliable, responsive, accurate, repeatable, faithful and free teacher. Now the lack of response to your questions about the pictograms has more to do with the fact that such silly settings have been ignored by people who've progressed to the VX/150 stage, but...

Go forth and set your camera uo on a tripod in some sort of neutral lighting. Shoot a few seconds in 'auto'. Now select the 'moon' and shoot some more. Then select any other pictogram you care to check out (spotlight, sun/snow, backlight - whatever) and shoot a few seconds at each setting.

Then rewind and click on the 'display' button behind the side-screen and the camera will tell you what all the aperture, shutter speeds, white bal settings were for that shot. The audio will tell you what setting was being used at the time because you'll have told the microphones that as you filmed, won't you? :-)

tom.
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Old August 20th, 2003, 09:15 PM   #5
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Sally Forth

Right you are, Tom, experience is a powerful teacher and I guess of the five info bits displayed all the camera can change is iris, shutter speed and gain (white balance I assume will be fixed as will mode). However, as David Reuther said in one of his reviews of the VX2000.."the performance level of the automatic controls (with the bias controls used when appropriate) has reached the point where one can use them with confidence that the results on tape will about equal, or even surpass, the results using manual controls under most conditions." So, I wondered if there was hope that the Moon and Sunset AE was set up somehow to better follow dynamic range of fireworks lighting with the nanosecond precision response rate of the electronics than could be anticipated and followed with manual adjustments.
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