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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old January 21st, 2009, 07:24 AM   #16
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Hi guys
Perhaps this is an appropriate place to ask a question I had about time lapse. I was experimenting with my new EX1 over the Christmas break trying to take some shots of flowers opening, etc. and I discovered that the length of my shots appears to be dictated by the battery - ie even if I am shooting one frame every 5 minutes the camera does not automatically power itself off and then power back on again to take the frame... Is that right? Do you have to be connected to a DC out source to use this feature over long periods of time?
Or is the camera saving battery in some way I didn't notice?
This just makes it difficult to take day long exposures like the ones described by Bill if you are out in the wilds far from a DC power source. I live in Zimbabwe, Africa, so it is tempting to do quite a lot of nature type stuff which would be many miles from the nearest electrical wall socket.
Anyone got any ideas on this? Change batteries, start a new clip with the same settings, making sure you don't bump the camera and combine the clips in post?
Simon
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Old January 21st, 2009, 07:43 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Bill Heslip View Post
My tests today, while lacking somewhat in the character that lighting changes would have added, looked fine in auto.
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Originally Posted by Simon de Swardt View Post
This just makes it difficult to take day long exposures like the ones described by Bill if you are out in the wilds far from a DC power source.
At some point, one has to consider doing timelapse the old fashioned way - with a DSLR. Plenty of little magic boxes to run them off car batteries, take images when something happens, be out in the open for weeks or months in locked down enclosures and so on.

A couple of things to note: DSLRs can work in raw mode, which means exposure variation and white balance can be sorted out in post, and that most shoot at a high enough resolution that - with a good wide - you can do some pan & scan work even at 1080p with resolution to spare.

The EX's timelapse and over/undercrank are great 'tricks' but it's not exactly industrial strength. Even a little Pentax Optio had a 99 frame 'all day' timelapse function that got me some great 4 second shots.

BTW, I had a great 'cloudscape' shot ruined recently when a robin decided to sit on the lens shade for a while. Big c/u of birdie bottom. I can only be thankful he was 'empty'.
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Old January 21st, 2009, 09:49 AM   #18
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Funny how stuff somehow decides to plant itself right in front of the camera while doing timelapse huh? Happened two or three times while I was doing the Dumont timelapse. Once while filming the moon sinking below a dune a friggen sandrail parks right in front of the moon. That is VERY hard to do it was very steep... they had to go to alot of trouble. Then as I pulled the camera back another rail did the same thing. Neither of those shots made it in the video. But later while I was filming us around the campfire you can see the big truck that parked in front of us... that was not planned... They NEVER park there.. but since I had the camera running of course they did.

I still used that shot..

How do you guys film the sun all day without damaging the camera? Wouldn't it cook an ND filter or something?
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Old January 21st, 2009, 10:10 AM   #19
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How do you guys film the sun all day without damaging the camera? Wouldn't it cook an ND filter or something?
I've not done very long timelapse, but long enough to cook the videographer! In Morocco and Spain, I've fashioned little camera hats out of hotel face flannels (usually white) and tin foil - not wrapping the camera, just bouncing off the direct sunlight and letting lots of air circulate round it.

As for cooking NDs, you'd have to point it at the sun I think...

BTW, heard stories about the viewfinder being damaged by extremely hot sunlight, though IIRC a loupe style magnifier may have been involved, in which case, hardly surprising. To bear in mind if you use a Hood Pro.
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Old January 21st, 2009, 10:21 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Matt Daviss View Post
At some point, one has to consider doing timelapse the old fashioned way - with a DSLR. Plenty of little magic boxes to run them off car batteries, take images when something happens, be out in the open for weeks or months in locked down enclosures and so on.

A couple of things to note: DSLRs can work in raw mode, which means exposure variation and white balance can be sorted out in post, and that most shoot at a high enough resolution that - with a good wide - you can do some pan & scan work even at 1080p with resolution to spare.

The EX's timelapse and over/undercrank are great 'tricks' but it's not exactly industrial strength. Even a little Pentax Optio had a 99 frame 'all day' timelapse function that got me some great 4 second shots.

BTW, I had a great 'cloudscape' shot ruined recently when a robin decided to sit on the lens shade for a while. Big c/u of birdie bottom. I can only be thankful he was 'empty'.

LOL about the robin! Better a ruined shot than a crappy camera, usually...

Of course you are right about DSLR. For any serious, extended-duration timelapse job (ie, a large enough budget), there are far better options than an EX. But I've got this hammer that can drive a screw, the workflow down pat and it will definitely wow my barter client (as his craftmanship wows me).

Speaking of timelapse, I offer more observations regarding manual vs auto iris. A 3 hour test from mid-afternoon to almost dusk while in manual iris was gorgeous in full sun with lots of shadow play. That is, until it neared dusk and levels sank in the mud. So I'm thinking of setting a fixed iris until I lose direct sun, then change to auto for the duration.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 08:34 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Erik Phairas View Post
Funny how stuff somehow decides to plant itself right in front of the camera while doing timelapse huh? Happened two or three times while I was doing the Dumont timelapse. Once while filming the moon sinking below a dune a friggen sandrail parks right in front of the moon. That is VERY hard to do it was very steep... they had to go to alot of trouble. Then as I pulled the camera back another rail did the same thing. Neither of those shots made it in the video. But later while I was filming us around the campfire you can see the big truck that parked in front of us... that was not planned... They NEVER park there.. but since I had the camera running of course they did.

I still used that shot..

How do you guys film the sun all day without damaging the camera? Wouldn't it cook an ND filter or something?
I was thinking how annoyed you must have been when the car parked in the shot. It always happens that way. The dune scenes with the lights are amazing. looks like science fiction.

I have never shot anything long enough to have cooked the sensor. Its a scary thought though. Maybe soemone else could answer that one.

a.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 09:00 AM   #22
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unny how stuff somehow decides to plant itself right in front of the camera while doing timelapse huh?
The biggest problem I find is with birds. Quite how some people manage to shoot great cloud timelapses without them darting throughout the shot is beyond me.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 09:05 AM   #23
 
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The biggest problem I find is with birds. Quite how some people manage to shoot great cloud timelapses without them darting throughout the shot is beyond me.
Simon, can you spell... s-h-o-t-g-u-n?

;o)
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 09:07 AM   #24
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A couple of things to note: DSLRs can work in raw mode, which means exposure variation and white balance can be sorted out in post
Is this a realistic option? For a 30 clip, I just couldn't see manipulating 900 frames individually or is there a more automatic way to do it. (I have no experience working with raw--dunno what software capabilities are out there.)

Quote:
The EX's timelapse and over/undercrank are great 'tricks' but it's not exactly industrial strength.
Could you elaborate? I was thinking that either Sony EX or the Pany HPX-170 would be great solutions.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 11:29 AM   #25
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Simon, can you spell... s-h-o-t-g-u-n?
Wish it was that simple. They're a bit more controlling of weapons in this country! Besides wouldn't that just replace entire birds in the shot with lots of feathers? ;-)
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 07:59 PM   #26
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I was thinking how annoyed you must have been when the car parked in the shot. It always happens that way. The dune scenes with the lights are amazing. looks like science fiction.

I have never shot anything long enough to have cooked the sensor. Its a scary thought though. Maybe soemone else could answer that one.

a.

Thanks Alex. The truck worked out, kind of adds to the organic feel to the scene I guess. But I did want to see the moon disappear behind the dune which I was not able to film thanks to the sandrail.

I only asked about shooting the sun directly because it just seems like the prefect way to destroy a camera. Especially one with such a large aperture as ours. Gather sunlight from a relatively large area and focus it onto an area of 1/2 inch. I've seen what that does to ants... LOL
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Old January 24th, 2009, 08:36 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Simon Wyndham View Post
The biggest problem I find is with birds. Quite how some people manage to shoot great cloud timelapses without them darting throughout the shot is beyond me.
I debirdify my clips in AE. No choice. The birds are always messing things up...
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Old January 25th, 2009, 08:07 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Simon de Swardt View Post
Hi guys
Perhaps this is an appropriate place to ask a question I had about time lapse. I was experimenting with my new EX1 over the Christmas break trying to take some shots of flowers opening, etc. and I discovered that the length of my shots appears to be dictated by the battery - ie even if I am shooting one frame every 5 minutes the camera does not automatically power itself off and then power back on again to take the frame... Is that right? Do you have to be connected to a DC out source to use this feature over long periods of time?
Or is the camera saving battery in some way I didn't notice?
This just makes it difficult to take day long exposures like the ones described by Bill if you are out in the wilds far from a DC power source. I live in Zimbabwe, Africa, so it is tempting to do quite a lot of nature type stuff which would be many miles from the nearest electrical wall socket.
Anyone got any ideas on this? Change batteries, start a new clip with the same settings, making sure you don't bump the camera and combine the clips in post?
Simon
You can run the EX cameras from a car battery via the DC input connector. Probably having a fuse between the camera and the car battery would be adviseable. Other alternative is a large(ish) 12V SLA battery. A 17AH SLA should run the camera for around 12 hours and is relatively cheap if you don't mind the weight. Both these options allow for simple charging from a vehicle as it's being driven.

A more expensive, lighter and more complex to charge option is the Li-Ion brick batteries with a D-Tap. We've been using ones made in China with the Comer brand name. Cables to power the EX from these are available or you can roll your own.
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Old January 25th, 2009, 10:07 AM   #29
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buy a cheap 20 dollar inverter from autozone and just use the power supply that came with the EX camera. The inverter plugs into the cigarette light of the car.
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Old January 25th, 2009, 10:43 AM   #30
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buy a cheap 20 dollar inverter from autozone and just use the power supply that came with the EX camera. The inverter plugs into the cigarette light of the car.
That is a bad idea! Depending on how long your shooting, you won't be able to start the car and get home! Since the point of this exercise is to shoot in a remote location, getting home is an important priority!

I just bought one of these 'silent generators'. It has a 18aH battery with an inverter built in. My first attempt at a time lapse, using a still camera and laptop, was less than stellar but the battery wasn't fully charged.
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