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Old January 31st, 2014, 03:35 PM   #1
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Shallow DOF in PMW-200

Hello guys. I'll need your help once again please.

I've recently been shooting some interviews but i'm not happy with the DOF, i would like to have a more shallow DOF to isolate more the subject from the background.

I know that for that i should use the minimum aperture number, but if the image gets to overexposed, will using a faster shutter speed correct it and be fine?

Also, to create that shallow look, it's better to zoom in the subject instead of being close to him?

Thanks a lot.
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Old January 31st, 2014, 03:57 PM   #2
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Re: Shallow DOF in PMW-200

In short what you need is distance and ND filters.

One good way is to put the camera as far as possible from the subject and the subject as far as possible in front of anything that might be behind them (that is in shot).

Then make sure you use a low F stop, as you know. Good lighting is needed so that you can use the darkest ND (Neutral Density) filter. You are using the ND filters, right?

This kind of scenario will give you the best results.

Sorry if this is obvious...hope it helps.
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Old January 31st, 2014, 04:04 PM   #3
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Re: Shallow DOF in PMW-200

Tiago Cristovao...yes, you can increase the Shutter-Speed, but I'm not sure that's the best way. Are you using artificial light or natural light?

If, you're outdoors, under natural light, I'd use one of the ND filters built into the PMW-200 and then see if I could use a smaller f/Stop number.

The Fujinon 14X lens has a widest effective aperture of f/1.9 when the lens is at it's widest position. However, when you 'zoom-in' to your subject, the f/Stop is effectively smaller (a larger number, like f/8, 11, etc.).

If, you're using artificial lighting (a light kit), I'd set my f/Stop to what I wanted to use and then adjust the intensity of the various light sources in order to meet my f/Stop requirement.

I'm sure smarter people will chime-in.

I hope this helps.

Kindest regards,

J.
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Old January 31st, 2014, 04:10 PM   #4
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Re: Shallow DOF in PMW-200

Hello Andy.

Thanks a lot for your reply. You dont have to be sorry for the obvious answer, i should be sorry for the noob question hehe.

To be honest i didn't try those things yet (lower F and ND filters) in the interviews because i thought the only important thing would be focus, but then i've read it and it's definately not.

So, lower f stop and ND filters to control the light from the aperture. Subject as far as possible from the camera and background, right? This last one can be complicated sometimes, as the space can be limited and/or many people around that will probably pass in fronth of the camera

Thanks.

Last edited by Tiago Cristovao; January 31st, 2014 at 05:29 PM.
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Old January 31st, 2014, 04:16 PM   #5
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Re: Shallow DOF in PMW-200

Hi James.

Well the light it's the one from the places we go to shoot. I work for a company and almost every day of the week i have to go shoot conferences and that kind of stuff.

Then some people is interviewd by my partner (sometimes is indoor, sometimes outdoor). Normally that people are in a little rush and i can't take too much time preparing the shot and i confess sometimes i get a little nervous because some of them are in a real rush and i have to look for a place to shoot the interview, mount the tripod, white balance, audio.

But i will have to try it because i'm not happy with the DOF i've been shooting, the background is too distracting for my liking.
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Old February 1st, 2014, 10:58 AM   #6
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Re: Shallow DOF in PMW-200

Tiago:

Think of it in this order:

1. Pick an area with as much depth behind the interview subject as possible.
2. Place the subject well to the front with lots of room behind him/her.
3. Back up, and zoom in as far as possible while still getting the framing that you want. You will see the biggest DoF bang for the buck with a longer zoom length than almost any other factor.
4. Open your iris all the way, and then add just enough lighting for proper exposure. If ambient or lighting distances keep you from having the iris open all the way without over exposure, engage a level of ND on the camera and try setting your exposure again.

Long zoom, wide open iris. In a small sensor camera, those are your two best bets for shallow(er) DoF.
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Old February 1st, 2014, 05:30 PM   #7
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Re: Shallow DOF in PMW-200

Hello Bill.

Thanks for your reply.

Today i used some of the tips you posted there. I've placed the subject in front of an area with depth but it wasn´t possible to back up from the subject, because i didn't have much room for me. But it worked nice.

The problem is that sometimes i wont be able to open the iris all the way if it's already too much light (mainly outdoors), it can get over exposed even with ND filters.

The opposite can also happen and the image can get dark (when the light it's weak) even with iris all open , but it's always easy to correct it in post, with some brightness. Over exposed, on the other hand, it's too complicated and maybe even impossible to correct it in post.
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Old February 2nd, 2014, 10:39 AM   #8
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Re: Shallow DOF in PMW-200

Some other things you can use to adjust the exposure are your gain settings (having a gain setting of -3 can be helpful in dropping exposure a bit) and also your gamma settings. While I probably wouldn't want to try to adjust them on the fly, you might want to set up a couple of picture profiles to your liking with different hyper-gammas for different conditions. Just make sure to label your profiles so you know which does what.

If you have time to do a real setup, another trick is to stretch a thin black net (such as an 8x8 single net, or even some bobbinet) a few feet behind your subject. It will darken the background slightly and soften any extreme highlights. It's like using a black promist filter on the background without altering the foreground! While it doesn't actually change the DOF, it does soften the contrast of the background slightly.
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Old February 2nd, 2014, 11:18 AM   #9
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Re: Shallow DOF in PMW-200

Hi Dave, thanks for your reply.

Maybe i'll create some picture profiles and use them depending on light.

What about shutter speed? Can be a good ideia to change it, depending if the image is under or overexposed? (I'm asking this but i dont know how to change the shutter speed in a PMW-200)
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Old February 3rd, 2014, 10:40 AM   #10
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Re: Shallow DOF in PMW-200

Tiago: I would avoid using shutter speed. That introduces some effects to the video that you may or may not want. (Stuttery video, for example)

If you are still overexposing outdoors, even with all the ND on the camera kicked in, (and this seems like it would be rare, unless you are on a snow field or on the water) rather than upping your shutter speed, add a variable ND filter screwed in to the front of the camera. But you should get a good, expensive one to avoid degrading the image.

A better bet is to add a matte box to the front of the camera, and then get a couple of levels of ND filters to drop into the unit as needed. One word of caution, though...some of the very high levels of ND glass can really screw up your color balance, so keep the ND at a medium or less level and always test before you use it for real.
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Old February 3rd, 2014, 01:06 PM   #11
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Re: Shallow DOF in PMW-200

Tiago...you asked a question in the 'Picture Profile Sticky' about how important are Picture Profiles. The short answer - is very important! You should ask this question in the 'Sony XDCAM EX CineAlta sub-forum.

The 'Picture Profiles' allow you to modify the quality of the colors, shade, intensity and range of the camera's image output. If, you read through the 'Picture Profiles Sticky' you will see there are even regional and cultural color saturation preferences, e.g., Alister Chapman has provided an example of a Picture Profile he uses in the Pacific Rim/Asia.

This ability to customize your 'look' is one of the most important features of a professional camera.

My final recommendation to you would be to invest in Doug Jensen's training video "Mastering Sony's PMW-200, -160, -150, -100 XDCAM Cameras". This training DVD will show you how to navigate through the menu system and give you a couple of Doug's personal 'Picture Profiles' to get you started. It's well worth the money.

I hope this helps.

Kindest regards,

J.
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Old February 4th, 2014, 02:45 PM   #12
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Re: Shallow DOF in PMW-200

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Ward View Post
Tiago: I would avoid using shutter speed. That introduces some effects to the video that you may or may not want. (Stuttery video, for example)

If you are still overexposing outdoors, even with all the ND on the camera kicked in, (and this seems like it would be rare, unless you are on a snow field or on the water) rather than upping your shutter speed, add a variable ND filter screwed in to the front of the camera. But you should get a good, expensive one to avoid degrading the image.

A better bet is to add a matte box to the front of the camera, and then get a couple of levels of ND filters to drop into the unit as needed. One word of caution, though...some of the very high levels of ND glass can really screw up your color balance, so keep the ND at a medium or less level and always test before you use it for real.
Hi Bill, thanks for your reply.

Do you think that variable ND filter in front of camera can work well? I'm noticing some overexposure in certain areas when outdoor with some intense sun.

And could you recommend me some from an online store? I really dont understand much of this.

Thank you.
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Old February 4th, 2014, 02:46 PM   #13
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Re: Shallow DOF in PMW-200

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Kuhn View Post
Tiago...you asked a question in the 'Picture Profile Sticky' about how important are Picture Profiles. The short answer - is very important! You should ask this question in the 'Sony XDCAM EX CineAlta sub-forum.

The 'Picture Profiles' allow you to modify the quality of the colors, shade, intensity and range of the camera's image output. If, you read through the 'Picture Profiles Sticky' you will see there are even regional and cultural color saturation preferences, e.g., Alister Chapman has provided an example of a Picture Profile he uses in the Pacific Rim/Asia.

This ability to customize your 'look' is one of the most important features of a professional camera.

My final recommendation to you would be to invest in Doug Jensen's training video "Mastering Sony's PMW-200, -160, -150, -100 XDCAM Cameras". This training DVD will show you how to navigate through the menu system and give you a couple of Doug's personal 'Picture Profiles' to get you started. It's well worth the money.

I hope this helps.

Kindest regards,

J.
Hi James, thanks for your reply.

I'll certainly invest some time in the future with picture profile settings.

Thanks!
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Old February 5th, 2014, 09:58 AM   #14
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Re: Shallow DOF in PMW-200

Tiago:

Sent you an email with some recommendations on where to find a variable ND filter.

Two thoughts:

1. Just wanted to make sure that when you are seeing the overexposure problem, you have been engaging the ND filter switch on the side of the camera--which has two levels of ND. With most of the Sony cameras, the highest level of ND is generally more than enough for anything other than trying to shoot directly into a sunset, or maybe on a glacier or ski slope in bright sunlight.

2. If cost is no object, (ha) in most cases you will be better served by buying a two-stage matte box and some filters to go in it. You get light spill protection, lens protection and a lot more available effects than just added ND. For instance, a graduated ND filter in a matte box may solve some of your exposure issues and also make the sky look a lot more attractive. It also lets you double up, with effects like a polarizer coupled with a half grad or other ND reduction.
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