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Old June 16th, 2009, 01:49 PM   #1
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EX1 Gain Setting and ND.

Hi there oh wise ones! I come to you again with questions!!

At what gain settings, for normal light conditions, (indoors, outside, outside sunny) are you guys using? I have read that some people have the low gain setting down to -3. Just wondered what the general consensus is?

Also I shot some stuff in bright sunlight and found it very hard to focus properly resulting in soft looking rushes. I used ND 1 but will ND 2 solve this focussing issue? Should ND 2 be used in full sunlight? I dare say it should!!!

One more thing. How have people got their LCD screens calibrated to help with exposure?

Again many thanks for your help!
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Old June 16th, 2009, 03:57 PM   #2
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For exterior shooting I use -3db and a permanent Tiffin ND9 in a Format matte box that for sunny days means adding the EX1 ND1 to give an exposure of f5.6. For lower light conditions I take out the EX1 ND1. I always try to shoot at around f4 - 5.6. The rest of the set up is as per the suggestions of the Vortex DVD. The results cut in well with HDCam footage when a colourist has done his work on a completed project.
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Old June 16th, 2009, 04:12 PM   #3
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Like Bruce, I use -3db for most outdoor shooting and then use ND1 or ND2 to keep the aperture in the f5.6 to f4 range. If your aperture is stopped down more than f8 you will start to get picture softening due to diffraction. Stopped down past f11 and the pictures will be noticeably soft.

Take a look at my video on aperture and diffraction:
YouTube - Aperture, Depth of Field and Diffraction. How to Guide.
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Old June 16th, 2009, 09:09 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Darren Ruddock View Post
How have people got their LCD screens calibrated to help with exposure?
As mentioned by Bruce and Alister, you MUST use the built-in ND filters (or lens filters) to keep the iris larger than f/5.6 and preferably f/4 to lf/2.8. The picture will look soft if you don't.

However, to answer your other question, there is no way to calibrate the LCD to allow you to set exposure accurately. There are just too many variables.

For more than 30 years Zebra has been the proper way to set exposure on video cameras, and the EX cameras don't change that. Learn to use the Zebra control and you'll hit the right exposure nearly 100% of the time with very little effort. Just like setting white balance, some shooting techniques never change.

As I explain on my training DVDs and filed guides, I only use Zebra 1 (set at 95%) but that is only effective if you have simliar PP settings and know what to look for when setting the exposure. The best zebra setting for YOU might be different.

However, one of my pet peeves is the factory-default zebras set at 70%. In my opinion, that is a totally useless value unless you assume that everyone has the same flesh tones and all you ever shoot is head shots.
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Old June 17th, 2009, 01:32 AM   #5
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one of my pet peeves is the factory-default zebras set at 70%. In my opinion, that is a totally useless value unless you assume that everyone has the same flesh tones and all you ever shoot is head shots.
Agreed! While I do use a zebra at 60 when working with cinegammas and interviews, you do still have to judge for yourself whether the person has a lighter or darker skin tone and adjust accordingly. A 95% zebra is a good one to use as it tells you when you are getting close to peak white. If you are using Cinegamma's 1,3 or 4 at 0db you might want to use the zebra a little higher at 98% as the cinegammas can go up to 109% before clipping.
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Old June 17th, 2009, 02:04 AM   #6
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While your soft focus probably resulted from a pin hole aperture it may have been because you were focusing using the bare LCD. You didn't say how you were testing focus (such as using expanded focus and peaking) but the bare LCD isn't big enough for visual focusing. You need a hood and loupe to magnify the image.
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Old June 18th, 2009, 10:13 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
If you are using Cinegamma's 1,3 or 4 at 0db you might want to use the zebra a little higher at 98% as the cinegammas can go up to 109% before clipping.

does that mean Cine Gamma 2 clips at 100%. FYI: to those who might be unaware, -3db gain looses a 1/2 stop of dynamic range/latitude.

btw, Alister, I enjoyed your presentation at NAB this year. those are some amazing/extreme conditions you work in. you must not be married or your wife has serious ulcers. i just watched it on-line along with Jeff Cree and Juan Martinez's videos. Sony Business Solutions & Systems - Featured
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Old June 18th, 2009, 12:57 PM   #8
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At 0db cinegamma 1,3 and 4 reach 109% while cinegamma 2 stays legal at 100%. However it should be noted that at -3db all the cinegammas get reduced in level, so 1,3 and 4 reach 104% while cinegamma 2 only gets to 94%.

I am married with a very understanding wife and daughter. We were hoping to go on a family storm chasing trip to chase the Arizona monsoon storms, but at the moment that's on hold due to the financial situation.
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Old June 18th, 2009, 01:59 PM   #9
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Thanks Alister. i appreciate your input.
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Old June 19th, 2009, 02:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Ruddock View Post
One more thing. How have people got their LCD screens calibrated to help with exposure?

Again many thanks for your help!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
...there is no way to calibrate the LCD to allow you to set exposure accurately. There are just too many variables.

For more than 30 years Zebra has been the proper way to set exposure on video cameras, and the EX cameras don't change that. Learn to use the Zebra control and you'll hit the right exposure nearly 100% of the time with very little effort. Just like setting white balance, some shooting techniques never change.
I'm curious what the many variables are that prevent it.

Depends what you're shooting. Zebra is fine for run and gun to avoid clipping or to have an element hit a certain IRE level rather than a clip warning. Aside from that, Zebra is limited because it doesn't indicate latitude. Your eye will, albeit bound by the limits of the display. In reference to your question I don't know what others are or are not doing but the EX LCD like any other monitor or viewfinder, color or black and white, LCD or CRT... doesn't matter, can be calibrated and should be when practical. Bars generators in all cameras are not just for the editors and preroll. Now, run and gun with constantly varying ambient light conditions -- you can't calibrate it accurately unless you eliminate ambient light with that sock loupe thingamajig on there. Otherwise try to hit a ball park in that situation. Generally, that is 0/0/0 with EX. I'm going to say this setting is not ideal. Absolutely the EX LCD can be adjusted to be off calibration, which is more reason to check it in your shooting environment.

Her's a nice disclaimer -- for good and proper exposure you want to use a larger external monitor! That said, if working under non-varying conditions, flick on the EX bars.... set contrast at 0 (I assume 0 to be factory 50%), set brightness until you can hardly see middle and right grey chips in bottom row in that 3 chip cluster or as I am fond of calling it plugeness goodness. With EX LCD, by "hardly" I mean you're borderline questioning the reliability of the information being interpreted by your visual cortex. Your blacks are set. Note viewing angle will change brightness, it's an LCD.

Now increase contrast until the pretty bottom white chip in the middle stops becoming brighter, then bring down contrast slowly till that white just begins to turn grey, now nudge it upwards again till this white it is not getting whiter. Now stop the fun! This is your sweet spot in contrast. This is as scientific as this setting gets before you go overboard and take out a monitor analyzer, which won't fit on a small LCD anyhow. Black & white mode will help you here because our eyes see contrast much easier without color.

If you want to set chroma you'll need a blue viewing filter, like one used by DPs when we do blue screen chroma key lighting. Looking through it, increase chroma until cyan, magenta and blue blend with the grey bar (that's your 75% white running across) which they sit on.

Your EX1 LCD is now calibrated.

A little ditty -- NTSC TVs deliver color to the eye a bit differently, not much, than HD TV sets. Most of our colleagues do not care. But if you want to get into it find out about your final output and adjust calibration accordingly if you wish... now I am tired... long day... going to sleep. Sorry for the all the wackiness.
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Old June 24th, 2009, 09:17 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Max Allen View Post

Her's a nice disclaimer -- for good and proper exposure you want to use a larger external monitor! That said, if working under non-varying conditions, flick on the EX bars.... set contrast at 0 (I assume 0 to be factory 50%), set brightness until you can hardly see middle and right grey chips in bottom row in that 3 chip cluster or as I am fond of calling it plugeness goodness. With EX LCD, by "hardly" I mean you're borderline questioning the reliability of the information being interpreted by your visual cortex. Your blacks are set. Note viewing angle will change brightness, it's an LCD.

Now increase contrast until the pretty bottom white chip in the middle stops becoming brighter, then bring down contrast slowly till that white just begins to turn grey, now nudge it upwards again till this white it is not getting whiter. Now stop the fun! This is your sweet spot in contrast. This is as scientific as this setting gets before you go overboard and take out a monitor analyzer, which won't fit on a small LCD anyhow. Black & white mode will help you here because our eyes see contrast much easier without color.
i'm unsure of what you're considering as the 3 chip cluster. the pluge on my EX1 has 5 thin vertical strips unlike 3 on most cameras that i've used. by middle and right grey, are you referring to the very far right grey square chip on the bottom row? and for contrast, "the pretty bottom white chip" is A) the squarish chip just to the left of the pluge on the bottom row or B) the thin white horizontal chip found just below the color bars in the lower middle part of the screen?

thanks.
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Old June 24th, 2009, 10:01 PM   #12
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As an old film guy, I can attest to the importance of getting your exposure correctly in the video world.

The film was MUCH MORE forgiving, and the latitude much wider.

With video, both analogue and digital, shooting your original footage with the correct exposure is absolutely essential. Take Doug Jensen's advice is my suggestion.
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Old June 24th, 2009, 10:07 PM   #13
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As an old film guy, I can attest to the importance of getting your exposure correctly in the video world.

The film was MUCH MORE forgiving, and the latitude much wider.
...and to think they pay film guys(ASC members for example) more money then video guys. what a shame.
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Old June 25th, 2009, 01:34 AM   #14
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The difference in latitude between a properly set up EX and modern film stock isn't that great, maybe a couple of stops at the most. The bigger difference is in the way they handle overexposure and the fact that 8 bit video is restricted to 256 shades of grey while film has in effect unlimited levels.
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Old June 25th, 2009, 06:21 AM   #15
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I'm curious what the many variables are that prevent it.
Hi Max,

Besides all the limitations of the camera's LCD that you list in your own post, the camera's LCD brightness/contrast controls are just not good enough for precisely judging color or exposure.

In fact, I would NEVER use ANY monitor to set exposure, let alone a 3" LCD on the camera.

That is what Zebras are for, and I disagree with your comment that Zebra is only good for run and gun shooting. Nothing could be further from the truth. Unless you're going to drag around a waveform monitor with you, Zebra is the next best thing - and have been for decades.

You're right, Zebra doesn't show latitude, but so what? My latitude is already set with my PP settings. All I need to do when I'm out in the field is make sure the exposure is correct and the rest of the picture will fall into place. If you want to see latitude then use Zebra in combination with the histogram, but I'd never judge exposure by the picture on the LCD.

FYI, in my opinion, playing with the PP settings out in the field to affect latitude would be kind of like EQ'ing your audio out in the field. Would you do that? Nope. You just make sure the levels are correct and usually that will be good enough. You can always fine-tune things in post when necessary. Same thing with exposure. Choose the right PP settings, and then all you have do is hit the right exposure - which is very easy to do with zebra.

That's just my opinion, but other people have their own way of doing things.
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