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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old February 10th, 2013, 09:17 PM   #1
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Overexposed vs Underexposed (The Battle)

I went on a shoot the other day at 1pm, the sun was directly above me, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I found myself struggling to keep the sky and backgrounds not blown out, while keep my subject exposed correctly. The footage came out decent, but sometimes the background and sky are just bright white and sometime my subjects are a bit underexposed. I had the ND on the highest setting.

I know this problem isn't anything new, but I was wondering if anyone had any good tips in shooting in direct sunlight with the EX1R. I have no control of where my subjects go, so I have to keep my finger on the aperture ring constantly adjusting it. Sometimes the subject would move and the sun would be behind them and sometimes I would be filming directly into the sun.

Any tips are appreciated!
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Old February 11th, 2013, 08:53 AM   #2
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Re: Overexposed vs Underexposed (The Battle)

Try selecting one of the cinegamma settings in your picture profile. This will help bring more of the dynamic range that the sensor accepts into the recordable range of the camera. Do some tests to get an idea how they work for you.
Also, you might try using a polarizing filter to help bring down the brightness of the blue sky. (It cam also be helpful in removing glare from tree leaves, roads, etc...)
In terms of exposure -- remember, once you are completely overexposed and lose detail in your highlights, you'll probably never get that detail back -- so err slightly on the underexposure side to keep detail in your highlights -- and plan on adjusting in color correction in post.
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Old February 11th, 2013, 09:24 AM   #3
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Re: Overexposed vs Underexposed (The Battle)

What kind of shoots are you doing?

Do you have any crew that work with you? Someone holding a reflector or a piece of white foam board can do wonders to bring the subject up to balance against a hot background.

It is OK to underexpose skintones a little bit. Don't overdo it though. The EX cameras are a bit noisy down low even with low gain. You'll notice it when you bring the levels back up in post. Give CINE1 a try in the picture profiles. Work with your KNEE setting and see what looks best. KNEE can help you hold on to some highlight detail. If I'm working against a blue sky with clouds I'll set the KNEE to manual with the point to 87 and play with the slope to keep as much detail as I can. You will want to keep skin tones away from the KNEE point less your subjects will look like plastic. Use the ZEBRAS set to that range and make sure NOTHING shows up on skintones.

Also don't use -3db gain. That reduces the dynamic range the camera records and can make the issue worse.
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Old February 11th, 2013, 06:24 PM   #4
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Re: Overexposed vs Underexposed (The Battle)

Hey guys, thanks for the reply.

I do not have a crew, only me and the sound recordist. I'm filming in a observational style so I don't really have time to set up a reflector or foam board, and because it's a bit intimate, I like to keep the crew to a minimum. I just asks the subjects to ignore me and do what they do.

When I go into my PP settings all it says is STANDARD on each one, and then I have 2 profiles I made where I changed the preset white to 5600K and another profile at 3200K for run and gun white balance switching. Automatically, all of gamma settings on these STANDARD PP's are set to STD3 - is that OK for normal everyday shooting!?? I ask because I have never gone into the gamma settings before until just now, and I'm worried because this entire time I've been shooting with these 5600 and 3200 PP's I made with the gamma automatically set to STD3, and I don't know what STD3 means!

Last edited by Oliver Darden; February 11th, 2013 at 07:28 PM.
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Old February 11th, 2013, 08:25 PM   #5
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Re: Overexposed vs Underexposed (The Battle)

This video will give you a intro to the settings in the picture profiles:

http://www.freshdv.com/2008/01/xdcam...-settings.html

Once you see how you change the settings you can see some settings for the picture profiles here on Alister Chapmans blog:

EX1 and EX3 Picture Profiles. |
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Old February 12th, 2013, 07:58 PM   #6
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Re: Overexposed vs Underexposed (The Battle)

Very common problem without a complete solution. I think most viewers prefer to see too dark shadows instead of blown out whites, so I tend to shoot a little dark most of the time. As Dave suggested, the Cinegamma settings really help, especially Cinegamma 4 (on EX3, I suppose EX1r has the same options) when your subject is backlit. It raises the light levels in shadows and lets you shut the iris down a bit. A polarizing filter will work if the angle between the sun, you (at the vertex) and the subject is near 90 degrees, but not if you are shooting into the sun.

What editing software do you use? Adobe Premiere has a helpful solution to your problem. It's "color corrector" filters includes a couple of slide controls that let you raise and lower black and white gammas.
The slide in the lower right hand corner (if you are familiar with the layout) is very powerful. It cools white hotspots. I have even seen it reveal details from areas that just looked white. Other softwares probably have similar features.
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