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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old July 3rd, 2004, 06:53 AM   #1
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High contrast shots - what do you do?

Having had the PD170 for a few weeks now, must say that the pictures coming out are simply beautiful!

However, this problem has me stumped - how to shoot high contrast shots: say, a dark skinned person speaking in front of a bright wall, or out in the sun; or

I suppose that one way out is to get some additional light on the speakers' face, with a camera mounted light, or zooming in such that his face occupies more of the frame.

But what can one do without spending more money, and yet still have more of the subject, because he is, for example, holding something in his hand which must be recorded?

Is there some on camera setting that could help? Would you simply accept a blown out background?

Is the auto exposure mode on the camera sophisticated enough? speaking of which, is the camera exposure meter set on spot, or centered-weighted matrix?

How effective are on camera lights, and has anyone tried out the HVL-20 DW2 light that takes the NP batteries? How much life does one get with a fully charged NP-F960? This light does not have record button light activation, right?

Thanks in advance!
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Old July 3rd, 2004, 07:18 AM   #2
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You're new here Michael, right? Welcome aboard.
We've discussed the 20w Sony light many times and most agree it the biz, being cheap, small, light, self contained, uses all the NPF series batteries and will run for 75 mins with a fully charged 960 using both lamps. Wonderful. I road tested it for a magazine.

Next - the VX/PD's light meter is not centre weighted, it's much more an overall averaging meter, but it's easily switched between spot, backlight and various custom preset level modes, so there's huge versatility there. In answer to your question, it's usually OK to burn out (or under-expose) the parts of the frame that are not of interest, so lock down the exposure so that it's right for the talent, then recompose with the zoom, then pull the trigger.

To get more light on the speaker's face is sometimes not possible, though lights and reflectors can be used if you have set-up time. In a run 'n' gun situation always use locked exposure, that way subject (and /or camera) movement won't be highlighted by exposure changes as well.

tom.
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Old July 6th, 2004, 09:47 AM   #3
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<<<-- Originally posted by Tom Hardwick : You're new here Michael, right? Welcome aboard.
We've discussed the 20w Sony light many times and most agree it the biz, being cheap, small, light, self contained, uses all the NPF series batteries and will run for 75 mins with a fully charged 960 using both lamps. Wonderful. I road tested it for a magazine.

>> Ok. I checked out my local dealer and found that it's quite affordable. certainly cheaper than an Anton-Bauer Ultralight and associated goldmount battery, charger, and stasis kit i was considering. As another question, how does camera mounted lighting compare to handheld by an assistant?

Hmmm. i think i will allow some parts of the shot to blow out, and for the static interview scenes that i am doing, i will try the luma keying suggested by Mike Rehmus in another thread.

Thanks!
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Old July 6th, 2004, 09:49 AM   #4
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Have you tried an ultra contrast filter - they can help a bit. Other than that, you need to get some balancing light onto your dark subject to balance the light in the background. Try a reflector?

Graeme
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Old July 6th, 2004, 10:19 AM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Graeme Nattress : Have you tried an ultra contrast filter - they can help a bit. Other than that, you need to get some balancing light onto your dark subject to balance the light in the background. Try a reflector?

Graeme -->>>

This is interesting. I went to the tiffen website and saw the (poor quality) pics showing the effect of the ultra contrast filters that you mention.

How do these filters work? If they work like ND filters, then wouldn't all light intensities be uniformly lowered, and you're back to square one?

I think i will invest in a reflector kit for outdoor use and a small camera mounted light for indoor use.
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Old July 6th, 2004, 10:25 AM   #6
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Try searching the archives for "ultracon", they've been discussed extensively in the past.
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Old July 6th, 2004, 05:49 PM   #7
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Ultracons are not what you want. Lighting technique is. Having a dark skinned person against a white background is asking you to have the widest range of light but "fix it in post". It's ridiculous.

Move the guy to a different background or cover the background up. Your only alternative, that probably won't work well, is use big reflectors or lights to bounce of his face. But if the product he's holding is also light colored, jeez, it's becoming insane.

Not that I couldn't do it, though.
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