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Old May 15th, 2016, 04:36 AM   #1
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FS5 - new zebras after v2.0 question

On zebra 1 if you were to set the level to 70% and the Aperture range to 20%, does that mean the range is equally spread either side of 70%? Thus you see zebras at 60% and they disappear at 80% or does it mean the only occur after 70%, thus between 70% to 90%.

Also I've not had the option of apertured zebras before, so what are their main applications?
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Old May 16th, 2016, 01:53 AM   #2
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Re: FS5 - new zebras after v2.0 question

The first. But personally I would set a much tighter (narrower) aperture or it will be far to imprecise to be useful.
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Old June 14th, 2016, 07:34 AM   #3
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Re: FS5 - new zebras after v2.0 question

Agree with Andy, 10 over 10 under, also prefer to set skin tone Zebs at 65% on non log shoots. I find the stock 70% a bit high for Caucasians. Especially those white white skinned Irish lasses!

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Old June 14th, 2016, 07:16 PM   #4
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Re: FS5 - new zebras after v2.0 question

I wouldn't set exposure based on anybody's skin tone. Skin tone is a complete unknown value that varies greatly from face to face -- even if you do only shoot Caucasians. And here in the US, where we are just as likely to be shooting blacks, latinos, and asians, it is an especially poor practice to base exposure on skin. It really amounts to guessing. I prefer to be more precise.

And I'd never use Zebra1 on any camera that offers the much better Zebra2 alternative. No matter how small you make the aperture for Zebra1, that aperture will not provide precision I need, and worse, if the exposure exceeds the aperture, zebras disappear again and I might not even realize I have exceeded the targeted exposure. A recipe for disaster.
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Old June 15th, 2016, 01:41 AM   #5
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Re: FS5 - new zebras after v2.0 question

So in what scenarios will zebra 1 be useful?
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Old June 15th, 2016, 01:59 AM   #6
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Re: FS5 - new zebras after v2.0 question

Question then Doug. How do you set your exposures? I use Zebs as a guide to get me in the ball park. Given the opportunity I always use scopes and a known setup monitor for final adjustment.

If covering a fast moving basketball game or worse still outdoor football match you don't have that luxury though. Yesterday the stadium we were in was half in sun and half in deep shadow. Keeping the Zebs on the players legs is the only way we can keep 8-10 cameras, if not on CCUs, within a bulls rush of one another. Leave it up to the camera ops and there is too much inconsistency in exposures between the cameras. At least telling the ops to keep the Zebs consistently on the the skin tones gives us a pretty close exposure variance between cameras. Then again I know a few cameraman who never use any measurement means other than a well set up VF and consistently get get some of the best exposed footage I've seen. All comes down to the skill of the operator.

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Old June 15th, 2016, 06:31 AM   #7
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Re: FS5 - new zebras after v2.0 question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel Davey View Post
So in what scenarios will zebra 1 be useful?
None that I can think of. Not one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Young View Post
Question then Doug. How do you set your exposures?
I use zebra2 to set expsoure 100% of the time. It is never turned off and I live an die by what my zebras are telling me. I could not set exposure without them. But I judge exposure by zebras on white -- not skin. Skin is too variable and the levels required for zebra to appear on skin also also means zebras are going be cluttering up too much of the image. A mess. White is what you want to set exposure by. Bright reflected white is a very consistent and reliable consistent indicator of exposure that is found all around us. In your example of sports, I'm sure that one team is almost always wearing white in their uniform. Easy.

Quote:
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All comes down to the skill of the operator.
Not true. There are rules and right and wrong ways of doing things for exposure. Why do we have light meters, waveforms, histograms, zebras, false color, and zebras if we could just eyeball it and by the seat of our pants? The attitude that it "works for me and I get the results I want" is always the refuge of people who really don't want to learn and/or use the proper techniques. The camera has a great built-in exposure tool (several actually) that requires no effort to use and actually take all the guess work out of setting exposure, so why not use it?
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Old June 15th, 2016, 09:11 AM   #8
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Re: FS5 - new zebras after v2.0 question

"I'm sure that one team is almost always wearing white in their uniform."

If only that were the case Doug. if you are on the tight camera with only three to four players in the shot through out the whole game and there is nothing white in their game strips white is not an option. Take the new Zealand national team the "All Blacks" for example, dressed in total black strip. Occasionally you might get a white football post in the shot but that's of little use.

As can be seen a lot of shooters work with Zeb #1 so I don't think one can out of hand say "None that I can think of. Not one." You may find that the case but I can assure you there are many very good cameramen out there who produce great results and use Zebra #1 all or most of the time.

https://community.sony.com/t5/FS7/Ho...og/td-p/486569


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Old June 15th, 2016, 11:27 AM   #9
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Re: FS5 - new zebras after v2.0 question

We'll have to agree to disagree because after shooting for 38 years with nothing but zebra 2 as my exposure guide, in every l kind of situation you can imagine, has never failed me or left me guessing at my exposure.

BTW, there are things being said in the thread you linked to that are absolutely wrong. Absolutely wrong. Things that are are not open to interpretation and actually do a disservice to fellow professionals who may take it as gospel. If you want to listen to advice form people who's videos we have never seen (and therefore can't judge the results they claim are so fantastic), or an engineer pretending to be a cinematographer but has very little professional real-world shooting experience, then you are welcome to go down that path. But that doesn't make it right, or the best way of operating the camera. Can I drive a nail with a screwdriver? Yes. But there is a better tool in the tool box for that called a hammer. Can someone get results they like with Zebra1 or by just looking at the viewfinder and making a judgement call, yes. But is there a better tool in the tool box for such things -- a tool that makes life easier and produces consistently more accurate and more consistent results. YES!
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Last edited by Doug Jensen; June 15th, 2016 at 12:09 PM.
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Old June 15th, 2016, 05:07 PM   #10
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Re: FS5 - new zebras after v2.0 question

Are we really debating what is "proper" exposure and what is not?

It's an impossible question to answer. In the studio, where you control the lighting, things are allot easier. But when you are out in the field you need to make 1000 judgement calls that many times involves blowing out something to rescue something else that is more important.

Imagine a brown grizzly bear at the edge of a raging BRIGHT white waterfall catching salmon. The bear gets one and he's ripping the fish open and dark red blood is all over his teeth,....you have a snap judgement call, you gotta get into his dark face and capture that dark bloody drama even if it means clipping the hell out of that white water behind him. Shooting in uncontrolled situations many times means throwing away and sacrificing image to "save" other areas that are more important.

Then of course, there will always be 1 guy that says,..."ehh...you were 2 stops too much" and another will say: "Nah,...you were 2 stops under, there's not enough inside that bear for us to lift out" The colorist will always Monday morning quarterback. Hell if you are the colorist, you prolly will do that to yourself too!

In terms of "rules". I dont know. You see allot of commercials today and even Hollywood movies that are shot and graded with the "rules" completely thrown out the Window.

Look at "Mad Max: Fury Road"...it's great movie but look at how it was shot, look at how it was exposed? Look at how it was framed and the "rule of thirds" (or lack of it) My God,...look how that movie was color graded. Look at the "Revenant", an excellent movie. Notice how each of those scenes were exposed. These movies follow ZERO "rules". They burned the rule book for proper exposure.

I guess I'm just simply trying to say that there isn't any hard and fast "rule" in any video production that cant be broken. It really boils down to this:

DOES THE END RESULT LOOK GOOD?

If the answer is "no",..you screwed up. If the answer is "yes" than it's mission complete.

Everyone's opinion is different about what looks's "good" and what doesn't. So that's why this whole thing is an impossible question to answer.

I do find this funny: If you make something that looks great....some people are FAR more interested in the "steps" that you took to get there. Yes,..it's awesome...but did you take the "proper" road to get to awesome or did you take the "wrong" road to reach awesome.

CT ;-)
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Old June 15th, 2016, 06:31 PM   #11
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Re: FS5 - new zebras after v2.0 question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff Totten View Post
Are we really debating what is "proper" exposure and what is not?
It sounds like maybe you are, but I am not. Contrary to what some people say, "correct" exposure is not a debatable topic.

If you exclude theatrical or dramatic reasons for purposely choosing to underexpose or an overexpose a scene,exposure is either right or it is not. Obviously there's some shoulder area where it can still be close enough as to be acceptable, but there is only one point where video is correctly exposed. That is not up for debate. And I also contend that the fastest, easiest, and most consistent method of hitting that correct exposure by using zebra2 on a white target. Very simple and no guessing. The question shouldn't be "does it look good?" . .. it should be "does it look the best it could be?" THAT is mission complete.
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Old June 15th, 2016, 08:34 PM   #12
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Re: FS5 - new zebras after v2.0 question

What I'm trying to say, and maybe I'm not doing a good job at it, is that many times in nature, no camera captures all the dynamic range of a shot. Therefore, as the cameraman, you are stuck with the decision of what to get in your (let's say) rec709 6-7 stops of range. What "objects" you expose perfectly and what you throw away in the highlights or in the shadows is up to you.

Are you shooting a spectacular ultra bright cloud formation shaped like President Obama? Great!....protect every tiny sun lit detail even if it means sacrificing the puppy in the dark shade under a tree.

Now your friend might see your video and say "Oh man, why did you protect those stupid clouds like that?...I wanted to see more of that cool dog way down there in the shade!!" Who is right and who is wrong?

You pick what's important and balance it with the rest of the scene based on how critical it is. This is why cameras auto exposure is wrong many times. It might be overall very balanced on the histogram but it doesn't know that those clouds that look like the President.....are extremely special to the shot!!!!

I'm only trying to say there is a big judgement call based on the importance of various scene elements. Scopes, zebras and histograms are VITAL tools but there is still a little more to exposing some shots than just "metrics".

Hell,...I look at commercials all the time and I say, "ehh...+1ev....eh, -1ev....yeah, just right...etc" Sometimes these guys go over and under for artsy looks. Who am I to say they made their commercial or TV show wrong?

CT

We all know this, right?

Last edited by Cliff Totten; June 15th, 2016 at 10:27 PM.
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Old June 15th, 2016, 10:08 PM   #13
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Re: FS5 - new zebras after v2.0 question

Only slightly off topic - I use an exercise I have my students do to help understand exposure and what you can do with it. (It's an exercise I originally got from photographer Jerry Lake when I was taking his course at the Corcoran). Students need to take the 'same' shot at three different exposures -- but they need to find a shot where the exposure changes result in images that have different (and valid) meaning, depending on the exposure. Many of the students use windows (silhouette with detail outside vs different degrees of being 'blown out') - but I've been amazed by some of the other exposure-dependent images they've come up with! It's to help them understanding that exposure really is one of the creative choices placed in the hands of the cinematographer.
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Old June 15th, 2016, 10:21 PM   #14
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Re: FS5 - new zebras after v2.0 question

Right on Dave!

Numbers and measurements are important. I will never argue or put this down.

However, the aesthetic "look" of what "things" you are exposing and visually bringing attention to is where the "art" comes in. Exposure tools don't exactly make these decisions for you. They just give your more information to base your creative judgement on.

CT
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Old June 16th, 2016, 06:38 AM   #15
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Re: FS5 - new zebras after v2.0 question

You know, it's really easy to come up with all kinds of unique situations where standard exposure techniques won't work very well or where creative decisions or judgements about setting the exposure may be the only choice. Should I give you my examples too? What those situations come down to is exposing for the most important subject in the frame, and everything else is allowed to suffer as necessary. Fine. I do that too. Every pro does.

But those extreme examples aren't the norm and isn't really what this thread about. I'm addressing the other 99% of the time when there are rules that must be followed, there is one correct exposure, and there are fast, quick and easy techniques that can be used to ensure consistency and accuracy. That is what I am talking about. What happens the other 1% of the time is not the norm.
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