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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
Topics also include Sony's TRV950, VX2000, PD150 & DSR250 family.


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Old May 4th, 2005, 06:23 PM   #1
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More learning by doing: the LCD screen.

This was another beating I took until I found a way to go about it.

The first camera I was using (PD150) was not mine, so had limited access to it after shooting. Things seemed to look well on the LCD screen and on the B&W viewfinder, so I went along.

But two weeks ago, when I rented the PD170 I am now using, I did took some time to look at some scenes on my PC screen. Many of them looked a bit dark and underexposed.

What I found out is that you should adjust down the LCD brightness screen quite a bit to get a more real idea of what you are getting.

What worked for me is to try adjusting the camera screen so it would look as "dark" as the PC monitor screen when capturing the scenes. It's interesting to see how we get to know when something looks "right" on a computer monitor after so many years of looking at quite a few of them.

That is as long as you do not prefer bright looking screens on your monitor or TV, and go more for a natural look as I do. But bright screens on a camera can be deceiving.

In any case this adjustment worked for me. It's interesting to note that I couldn't find any reference to how you could adjust a camera LCD screen, so it doesn't make everything look great... when it is not.

Some interior scenes I shot will need some enhancement in post production.

Another unexpected thing: the PD170's CCDs seem to be much better than the PD150's. You can boost gain up to 6dB with no apparent noise or problem.


Carlos
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Old May 4th, 2005, 06:29 PM   #2
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Actually we've discussed adjusting viewfinders and LCD screens in various forums before. I think you have the general idea, but I like to plug my camera into my Mac via firewire and send it NTSC color bars. Then I adjust them so the PLUGE bars look right, which gets me in the right ballpark for brightness. Do a search on color bars for more info. But the very important step in this process is that you approximate the amount of ambient light for the shooting location when you adjust the LCD. A dark theatre is very different from outdoors where you'll want to punch the brightness all the way up.

But be careful with the idea of adjusting the LCD to match your computer monitor - unless you've properly calibrated the computer monitor. Both PC and Mac monitors have different gamma settings from NTSC video, and it's normal for things to look too dark on them. If you brighten your video up for this then it may be brighter than you want on an NTSC monitor.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 08:47 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
Actually we've discussed adjusting viewfinders and LCD screens in various forums before. I think you have the general idea, but I like to plug my camera into my Mac via firewire and send it NTSC color bars. Then I adjust them so the PLUGE bars look right, which gets me in the right ballpark for brightness. Do a search on color bars for more info. But the very important step in this process is that you approximate the amount of ambient light for the shooting location when you adjust the LCD. A dark theatre is very different from outdoors where you'll want to punch the brightness all the way up.
I think I have read most references on LCD screens, but most concern external monitors and how to adjust them. Camera LCD screens accept little adjustment but brightness.

Bars can be deceiving too, and an actual image that is contrasty can help there too.

Ambient light is certainly a problem and when shooting in very bright conditions a shade is essential.

Brightness should never be punched up when it's set.


Quote:
But be careful with the idea of adjusting the LCD to match your computer monitor - unless you've properly calibrated the computer monitor. Both PC and Mac monitors have different gamma settings from NTSC video, and it's normal for things to look too dark on them. If you brighten your video up for this then it may be brighter than you want on an NTSC monitor.
What I said is that some of us, at least those that have been around video a long bit, can't be easily fooled by a misadjusted computer monitor. I think that still goes for me. In my case I had trusted the LCD screen was correctly set and got my beating from that. Should never do that same mistake over that again. Others mistakes maybe...


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Old May 9th, 2005, 09:08 PM   #4
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NTSC Monitor a Must For Me

Although my computer monitor has very good adjustment options, I always feed my signal to a good, 24-inch NTSC monitor for additional reference during editing. I use the S-Video output on my playback VCR for this large monitor, which has the additional advantage of allowing both timecode and datacode to be shown onscreen. The smaller picture on the computer monitor never reveals the fine details or the exposure level as well as the NTSC monitor does. Despite adjusting both monitors as much as possible, the one with the computer shows more overscan than the video does on any other NTSC screen. Junk on the edges that I never saw when shooting or that shows on any TV screen, often appears on the computer.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 09:43 PM   #5
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1 LCD screens are not good devices for relating exposure. Exposure indication is the province of the Zebra stripes. You have to get comfortable using them before you will be able to set good exposure in a wide range of conditions.

2 If your NTSC monitor has an underscan mode, you will see the identical garbage around the top and bottom of the screen. This is normal and usually only causes a problem when you use something that doesn't overscan like a LCD projector or screen. Frequently you have to mask the frame to a slightly smaller size to cover up the bits top and bottom.
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