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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old September 1st, 2008, 06:17 PM   #1
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Shooting football under metal halide lights

I'm taking the XDCAM plunge this week... finally upgrading to HD. I shoot a lot of football at night, which is challenging. I wonder if any of you have shot with the PMW EX1 or EX3 under similar circumstances. I am planning to shoot 720P60. I usually shoot with the aperture wide open, and a slow shutter speed... but my experience so far is with a DCR-VX2000.

Also, I've never been fast enough at finding focus during a football game to use manual focus (plus, I'm too busy following the action and avoiding getting run over on the sideline). Do you think the autofocus in the PMW EX1 will be as fast as my VX2000?

Any and all advice for shooting action scenes at night would be welcomed.

Thanks
Tom
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 09:15 AM   #2
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If you shoot in 720/60p be prepared for audio problems. There is a bug in the Clip browser software that, when exported as an mxf will give you audio clicks and pops.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 03:02 PM   #3
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One someone makes a generalization like "Clip Browser" one should include which version. Version 2 is out. I know on the Mac side I haven't experienced such issue though.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 10:04 PM   #4
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If you shoot in 720/60p be prepared for audio problems.
It records audio at 720/60p? I was under the impression that it doesn't.
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Old September 3rd, 2008, 01:17 AM   #5
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Thanks guys. I'll be sure to use the newer version of Clip Browser.

I'm more concerned with the video setup that I should use. I'll get my camera on Friday, and I have a game to shoot that night. This is personal work... not paid work... so it's not super critical. But I'd like to get the video setup right (color balance, gamma curve, etc.). It can be especially challenging at this time of year, as the game starts while it is still light outside, and you slowly transition to artificial lights.

Does anyone have experience shooting sports under the lights at night?

Can anyone provide any feedback on the auto focus for action sports?

Thanks
Tom
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Old September 3rd, 2008, 08:09 AM   #6
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Can anyone provide any feedback on the auto focus for action sports?
It's far too slow and tends to hunt a bit even with stationary subjects. You will have to use manual focus but that is quite do-able on this camera.

M
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Old September 3rd, 2008, 08:42 AM   #7
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One someone makes a generalization like "Clip Browser" one should include which version. Version 2 is out. I know on the Mac side I haven't experienced such issue though.
It's happened to me with all versions of the clip browser. I have stopped shooting in 720/60p if I want to use any audio the camera records.

Tom,
Sorry to de-rail the thread. In my experience the auto-focus is slow and typically targets things in the background of the subject. If you leave it zoomed out you should be fine, but once you start getting tighter shots that's when you start to have trouble.
The manual focus is very easy to use. Be sure to pull the ring back so that you are actually moving the glass. You'd be surprised at some shots you'll be able to get. Maybe get on the ground level and nab some nice depth of field shots.

If you don't want to deal with all of that, just zoom all the way in, focus...zoom out. Voila!
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Old September 3rd, 2008, 08:45 AM   #8
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Tom I agree with Martin you should use manual focus. With the peaking function you will find it easy to lock in a focus. As for transition into lights at night you can set up different white balance and just switch once the lights has changed.

I would recommend that you search the threads and have a picture profile that works for you. You could even have a few for the lighting transition. It will take a few games to dial in the setting and camera but I am sure you will be happy with the results.
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Old September 3rd, 2008, 12:37 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone... this is very helpful. I'm sure it will take me a few games to figure out what works best, and to learn to manually focus on the fly. I'm hoping to at least get close to decent footage at the first game. It will be a learning process, for sure.

I was a little surprised to see that the shutter has an on/off setting, rather than just a range of shutter speeds. I'm assuming I should keep the electronic shutter turned off. Will this give me an effective shutter speed of 1/60th of a second (shooting 720P60)?

There is no getting around the white balance issue when you are shooting a game at dusk... especially when you get a nice warm, red sunset. The field lights are turned on early, but the daylight is dominant at first, going from white to yellow to red, and then fading away. Perhaps I'll just white balance between every play!

Thanks
Tom
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Old September 3rd, 2008, 12:42 PM   #10
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Haven't jumped up to an EX1 or EX3 yet but this is my handy work with a Sony HVR-V1U

You'll notice in the video the different colors as I move up and down the sidelines...I've kept it on auto white balance...but I may start doing it as the day shifts to night.

Enjoy

Garner Football 2008 vs. Middle Creek By Jason Boyette On ExposureRoom

Let me know how your experience with the EX3 goes...I hope to have one by next year's season!
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Old September 3rd, 2008, 11:08 PM   #11
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Great stuff Jason. I'm getting the EX1... I'll let you know how it performs.

Tom
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Old September 4th, 2008, 02:56 PM   #12
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[QUOTE=Roger Akers;928640]It's happened to me with all versions of the clip browser. I have stopped shooting in 720/60p if I want to use any audio the camera records.
QUOTE]

Roger,

This is only an MXF out export issue, right? I don't have this issue with 720/60p recordings and I recorded parts of a music studio documentary in that mode. No audio issues at all.

As far as shooting football yes definitely use the manual focus ring...not auto. The EX1 handles metal halides very well...awesome whites. Shoot 1080/60i for best low light exposure.
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Old September 5th, 2008, 12:55 AM   #13
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Thanks Adam. Correct me if I'm wrong, but would expect that 720P60 would provide better motion, and much better slow motion quality than 1080i.

Have any of you experimented with both (particularly with a XDCAM EX camcorder) for action sports?

I've seen a variety of sample footage from the PMW-EX1, and I understand that the video compression is relatively free from artifacts even with 1080i shooting action... but I expect that 720P60 will be much better when I want to show slow motion highlights, as the footage won't have to be deinterlaced to do time remapping.

Also... can anyone answer my question about the shutter control? Should I leave it off under low light?

Thanks
Tom
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Old September 5th, 2008, 10:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Vaughan View Post
Thanks Adam. Correct me if I'm wrong, but would expect that 720P60 would provide better motion, and much better slow motion quality than 1080i.

Have any of you experimented with both (particularly with a XDCAM EX camcorder) for action sports?

I've seen a variety of sample footage from the PMW-EX1, and I understand that the video compression is relatively free from artifacts even with 1080i shooting action... but I expect that 720P60 will be much better when I want to show slow motion highlights, as the footage won't have to be deinterlaced to do time remapping.

Also... can anyone answer my question about the shutter control? Should I leave it off under low light?

Thanks
Tom
You're welcome, Tom.

Yes 720/60p is better for motion/slow motion. If the lights are bright enough then I'd go for it, even if you need to add a little gain. And indeed the EX1 does an awesome job with compression. I think I only saw macroblocking a tiny bit with lots of moving water when I was shooting ducks but even then it was for a second and barely perceptible. 720/60p theorectically should yield even better compression results (progressive compresses better than interlaced and it's a smaller resolution). 720p isn't so bad...after all ESPN and FOX uses it and football on those channels looks great.
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Old September 5th, 2008, 11:52 PM   #15
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Fortunately, tonight's game was only a scrimmage... so I got a chance to learn and experiment. It took me a while to find all the buttons on this camera... the white balance is hidden under the lens, facing the front.

I didn't really have a chance to learn to manually focus tonight. I was pretty busy learning all the basic settings. I love the manual iris control, and manual zoom allows for nearly instant zooming in or out when you need it. I could definitely see the auto focus hunting, but all in all the picture quality was still pretty good.

I tried both 720P and 1080i tonight. 720P definitely looks better when viewed on a 24" LCD monitor (component). I'll have to check it out on my HDTV CRT also. Slow motion is definitely better with 720P clips. The spatial resolution difference isn't really noticeable. It was still light out through the whole game tonight, so I'm not sure what things will be like under stadium lights with 720P... but wouldn't the effective shutter speed be the same for 1080i60 and 720P60 (... 1/60th of a second)?
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