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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old November 22nd, 2004, 02:25 PM   #1
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Difficult lighting and manual iris - tips?

I recently shot a concert for a friends band.

I had the IRIS set to manual, and found my finger on the Iris dial most of the time during the shoot constantly adjusting.

The problem was that the singer was constantly under a bright white spotlight, and the rest of the band was under dimmer red & blue lighting.

I found that when I was shooting the singer I had to close down the iris in order to avoid bad over exposure (his shirt was white, so that didn't help) on his shirt & sometimes his face. If I had to shoot the guitarist or bass player I had to open up the iris to get more light in to get them looking good. Basically when I was shooting someone other than the singer I had the IRIS wide open, and for the singer I had to close it up a couple of stops.

Now sometimes you don't really notice, but sometimes (esp if I needed to adjust it quickly and my finger didn't find the iris dial immediately) you can see steps in the exposure where things got slightly darker or lighter.

Now, other than finding the iris dial quicker with my finger (which can be hard if you are shooting a low angle and holding the camera with the top handle), is there any kind of a trick or something to avoid this, or at least make it look smoother? I did not want the Iris on auto cause this is one of the first things that I filmed with the camera, and was weary to trust the auto iris.

Perhaps switching it back & forth between auto & manual a lot? I don't know.

If it makes a difference, I had the shutter set to 1/60 and kept it there 100% of the time.

What do you guys do in such a difficult lighting situation where you basically have no control over the lighting?

Thanks,

Alex F
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Old November 22nd, 2004, 02:48 PM   #2
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Just as you would perform a very thorough sound check at your board from the various feeds you are using when capturing the band, this is also mandatory when you are lighting the scene. I stress that you are in charge of the lighting set, otherwise it will be lit for the performance and not for video.

You cannot get a good image with one camera when shooting a band. The audio track is more important. Have your friends help with camera 2 and 3. The best scenario is 4 cameras.

Sound impossible? It's not. Your finished reel of 8 to 12 songs isn't that long so you can run most of the other cams on one battery and one tape.

If you are shooting this just for the fun of it with a single cam and the onboard mic, then the auto iris will not be noticed. Audio is 80 percent of this kind of production.
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Old November 22nd, 2004, 03:22 PM   #3
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This was basically something that I did for practice for some friends. They were talking about putting some snippets up on their web page if they liked it. They understood that I am just a novice at this. I also explained I don't have the mics & stuff that I want yet, so the sound is not going to be that great, which was fine w/ them again because they would put it on their web page.

At this point multiple cameras is not an option because I don't have them. I have a couple of friends w/ XL1s's but this was practice so I didn't bother asking them to come or anything.

Thanks,

Alex F
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Old November 23rd, 2004, 06:41 AM   #4
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I fully understand. My first venture was a bar promo that ended up on a multimedia cd and I shot that with a handheld XL1. Auto everything. Surprisingly, the scenes turned out quite well with the handheld cinema verité look, making just the right impression.

Best of luck!

Jimmy.
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Old November 23rd, 2004, 07:20 AM   #5
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The VX2100 has a very annoying habit of broadcasting the fact that you've locked the exposure and decided to alter it by half a stop. The visual exposure bump is unacceptable and often unavoidable, and although I've sometimes been able to do cover-up corrections in post the fact remains that the PD170 is very much better in this respect. As locking the exposure is the first of the automations you should lock I really feel this fault should have been addressed when the VX2000 changed into the VX2100.

In order of locking importance, I'd rate (for my work) exposure (meaning shutter speed, aperture and ND filters), focus, white balance and audio - in that order.

If you can't change the lighting you're presented with Alex, always remember to expose for the (important) highlights. Any person standing beside you and looking at the lead singer with his (lit) white shirt will have their pupils contract so that the exposure is correct but then under-exposes the rest of the band. If your camera replicates this then all is well.

tom.
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