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Old October 1st, 2009, 03:43 AM   #16
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Hi,

Liked the clip, but as the others have pointed out a bit shakey. Filming with a tripod is as much of art as getting the camera settings right when useing a long lens. Its all down to practice and as Ofer has pointed out a little bit of inspiration. Use the heaviest you can afford, then practice as much as possible adapting your handling use etc. As Ofer has indicated a blind to protect him from the wind has been of great use in his case as well as a couple of ballons. Another important point is to ensure the camera and head are properly balanced so the camera can move to any angle without creeping back when pressure is taken of the handle.

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Old October 1st, 2009, 09:02 AM   #17
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I agree with the tripod comments and the rubber band trick is a god send.
The video appears to me to suffer from improper exposure for the conditions you were shooting in. I am not big on doing much PP'ing I would rather get it the best I can in camera. What conditions were you shooting in? What time of day?
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Old October 1st, 2009, 09:46 AM   #18
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I am not big on doing much PP'ing I would rather get it the best I can in camera. What conditions were you shooting in? What time of day?
The way the cameras work, you'd be losing a lot if you just tried to "get it right in camera". The way to ultimately get the best image is to shoot really flat which can extend the dynamic range by at least 2 stops, then grade to pull out the full potential of the camera. Otherwise you're going to end up with shots that have burnt out highlights and/or crushed blacks and that scream "amateur video" at you.
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Old October 1st, 2009, 12:38 PM   #19
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... What conditions were you shooting in? What time of day?
Clip was captured last week before 9 am (sunrise was 07:18) with the sun directly behind me. I used histogram + zebras @ 100% to set exposure.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 08:37 AM   #20
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The way the cameras work, you'd be losing a lot if you just tried to "get it right in camera". The way to ultimately get the best image is to shoot really flat which can extend the dynamic range by at least 2 stops, then grade to pull out the full potential of the camera. Otherwise you're going to end up with shots that have burnt out highlights and/or crushed blacks and that scream "amateur video" at you.
Steve
Yes, cameras can and will work that way however proper expoure allows you to capture whites and blacks properly. The balance of detail in both is the reason for proper exposure. To claim as you did above saying you will blow out the whites is ludicrous, proper exposure will not blow out highlights nor will it lose detail in blacks. Shooting flat is something I do not practice for the sole reason that to me the term amateur is defined as a computer animator who chooses to create video via pp rather than get it right in camera as best they can then rely on as little pp as possible. I realize there are two very different schools of thought on this much the same as in DSLR photography. I make no claim as to which is better, I can only choose which works best for me.
I think there is a fine line between a videographer or photgrapher and a an animator. Post processing is a nesessary part of it but to not understand and practice proper exposure seems careless.
I have captured footage of subjects like Bald Eagles, Terns and Penguins, all having black and white distinct and contrasting features and have yet to blow the whites or lose details in the blacks by using proper expousre so I am unsure of how you can possibly convince me as to your advice being sound Steve.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 09:36 AM   #21
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Tim,

First let me say that I really appreciate your comments. I am learning a lot from this thread and want to develop a work flow that produces the best possible images.

You are implying I do not understand proper exposure. I do understand exposure and of course agree that this is critical to getting a good image. Here is a sample of my still photography:

Immature Little Blue Heron Feeding Behavior - Birds Photo By: Jerry Merrell

Fulvous Whistling Duck - Birds Photo By: Jerry Merrell

Purple Gallinule - Birds Photo By: Jerry Merrell

My goal is to be able to capture video images as good as my best digital slr images. I agree with you that this requires excellent lighting and proper exposure. I have a hard time seeing how Steve's point is not right on. The two stops of extra information in the flat images is worth the hassle of color grading if the goal is to have the best final image possible. Assuming they are properly graded, it is illogical to think that these settings might produce images that are in any way inferior to those captured with standard settings.

Based on the incomplete knowledge I have of my camera, it appears to me that outdoors in daylight, the cine1 settings will provide the most raw data with which to work. I now need to learn how to color grade (and to get a better tripod).

Thanks.

Jerry
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 11:01 AM   #22
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Yes, cameras can and will work that way however proper expoure allows you to capture whites and blacks properly. The balance of detail in both is the reason for proper exposure. To claim as you did above saying you will blow out the whites is ludicrous, proper exposure will not blow out highlights nor will it lose detail in blacks. Shooting flat is something I do not practice for the sole reason that to me the term amateur is defined as a computer animator who chooses to create video via pp rather than get it right in camera as best they can then rely on as little pp as possible. I realize there are two very different schools of thought on this much the same as in DSLR photography. I make no claim as to which is better, I can only choose which works best for me.
I think there is a fine line between a videographer or photgrapher and a an animator. Post processing is a nesessary part of it but to not understand and practice proper exposure seems careless.
I have captured footage of subjects like Bald Eagles, Terns and Penguins, all having black and white distinct and contrasting features and have yet to blow the whites or lose details in the blacks by using proper expousre so I am unsure of how you can possibly convince me as to your advice being sound Steve.
You are so, so wrong!
When you shoot say a Varicam with factory settings it might have a dynamic range of about 8-9 stops, whereas you put in BBC Wildlife settings (designed for Planet Earth) and you get 10-11 stops - the difference is HUGE. You can see it by eye in the viewfinder, on the zebras, and on scopes in post production. You can get the "correct" exposure as much as you like, but you're always limited by the dynamic range of the camera, and if the blacks or whites are beyond that then one or the other needs to be sacrificed.
Sorry, but it's not debatable, it's pure scientific fact.
The only reason not to shoot with settings like these is you are not able to do post properly, don't have time to (ie news gathering) or don't want to - all of which are valid reasons.
Steve
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 08:44 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Merrell View Post
Tim,

First let me say that I really appreciate your comments. I am learning a lot from this thread and want to develop a work flow that produces the best possible images.

You are implying I do not understand proper exposure. I do understand exposure and of course agree that this is critical to getting a good image. Here is a sample of my still photography:

Immature Little Blue Heron Feeding Behavior - Birds Photo By: Jerry Merrell

Fulvous Whistling Duck - Birds Photo By: Jerry Merrell

Purple Gallinule - Birds Photo By: Jerry Merrell

My goal is to be able to capture video images as good as my best digital slr images. I agree with you that this requires excellent lighting and proper exposure. I have a hard time seeing how Steve's point is not right on. The two stops of extra information in the flat images is worth the hassle of color grading if the goal is to have the best final image possible. Assuming they are properly graded, it is illogical to think that these settings might produce images that are in any way inferior to those captured with standard settings.

Based on the incomplete knowledge I have of my camera, it appears to me that outdoors in daylight, the cine1 settings will provide the most raw data with which to work. I now need to learn how to color grade (and to get a better tripod).

Thanks.

Jerry
Jerry,

No I was not and can not imply you lack understanding of proper exposure, I have no clue what you know and would never make a comment such as that. I was however saying that understanding proper exposure is essential and your Curlew video appeared to me to suffer from improper exposure. I did not see any significant improvement on the re-edited version as well. I am sorry I can only call it as my eyes see it.

As for Dynamic Range and so fourth Steve? I shoot nothing but outdoors using only natural lighting and have no dissapointments in my finished video color, quality, or any other aspect of it as it truly represents what was captured without a bunch of post proccessing trickery. As mentioned I have great detail in the whites without blowing them and I capture great details in the blacks without losing detail or muddying it.
While making the leap from still imaging and self admittedly having under a year in the HD arena, I will not contest your claim of what you refer to as scientific fact however I will say that how I shoot and the advice I gave works very well for me and many many others. I am not into having to so severely massage my footage or images in PP that it no longer is what I originally was after in camera. I would rather spend my time afield instead of behind a computer altering the footage I am able to accurately capture in camera via proper exposure based on the conditions I am shooting in and the desired effect I am after.
I feel that what I see and want to capture in nature is possible with proper exposure. it is not my intention to argue or stir up a debate. What works for you is fine but one size never fits all.

Regards,
Tim
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 02:55 AM   #24
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Would a program like Smoothcam be capable of removing the unfortunate unsteadiness of this sequence?
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 04:32 AM   #25
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Jerry,

No I was not and can not imply you lack understanding of proper exposure, I have no clue what you know and would never make a comment such as that. I was however saying that understanding proper exposure is essential and your Curlew video appeared to me to suffer from improper exposure. I did not see any significant improvement on the re-edited version as well. I am sorry I can only call it as my eyes see it.

As for Dynamic Range and so fourth Steve? I shoot nothing but outdoors using only natural lighting and have no dissapointments in my finished video color, quality, or any other aspect of it as it truly represents what was captured without a bunch of post proccessing trickery. As mentioned I have great detail in the whites without blowing them and I capture great details in the blacks without losing detail or muddying it.
While making the leap from still imaging and self admittedly having under a year in the HD arena, I will not contest your claim of what you refer to as scientific fact however I will say that how I shoot and the advice I gave works very well for me and many many others. I am not into having to so severely massage my footage or images in PP that it no longer is what I originally was after in camera. I would rather spend my time afield instead of behind a computer altering the footage I am able to accurately capture in camera via proper exposure based on the conditions I am shooting in and the desired effect I am after.
I feel that what I see and want to capture in nature is possible with proper exposure. it is not my intention to argue or stir up a debate. What works for you is fine but one size never fits all.

Regards,
Tim
One of the big problems we faced when going from Super 16 to HD was dynamic range. Even the most modern video cameras have a lot less DR than film, and when filming birds in forest against the sky for example no matter what you do you'll be way beyond video's capabilities. This is why we use these settings. Whatever results you are getting, you'd more more info in the image with these settings, though as I said, if you don't want to post-process then you're right to stick with wht you have. It doesn't affect me as I don't edit, so the problem is someone else's! The producers would rather have that time spent in exchange for the best possible image.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 05:48 AM   #26
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Interesting discussion!

First - Jerry, second what others have commented to your clip. Shooting with huge focal lengths require a very sturdy tripod and some practise and patients to optain good footage!
I have never tried the EX3, so I have no tips/advise how to get the best look for wildlife filming.

My setup today is the Canon XL H1 and Im curious how to get the best DR (dynamic range). Steve, do you know if BBC have any white papers on this camcorder for best setup?
I have done my own custom setup, but could be interesting to compare what pros at BBC have come up with!

Another question is how good is the HDV format compared to eg. the EX3 XDCAM format regarding post processing (color grading and so on) I believe that XDCAM is of much higher bit rate which could benefit when adjusting levels and color correcting in post?

Jerry, sorry if you feel Im hijacking your post. Maybe we could start a new thread on this subject?
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 07:23 AM   #27
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Per, this is the BBC site BBC - R&D - Publications - WHP034 but as far as I know they don't have settings for the XL-H1. This is because they don't like it much I think! Largely down to the HDV compression, as yous ay the one on the EX3 is much better, but when combined with tht Nanoflash you've got an amazing bit of kit.
Always been VERY impressed with your work Per, do you feel you lose out not having slow motion? I know I'd never want to use a camera for wildlife without at least 60 fps. This is the other flaw with the XL-H1 I feel. If you do consider the EX3 though I'd look very carefully at the effects of skew from the rolling shutter. I tried one a few times and didn't like it one bit, but other seem to feel it's OK.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 08:00 AM   #28
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Always been VERY impressed with your work Per, do you feel you lose out not having slow motion? I know I'd never want to use a camera for wildlife without at least 60 fps. This is the other flaw with the XL-H1 I feel.
Thanks Steve! I feel that the XL-H1 is quite outdated compared to the new range of camcorders who got tapeless system, better codec, over/undercrank etc... So Im sitting on the fence looking for whats coming up. As I was reading in other threads on this forum, I was hoping for a major update from Canon regarding their semi-pro camcorders.
In fact Im tempted to try out the Canon 7D DSLR, who got 720p50/60, even if its lacking something, like proper viewfinder, audio etc. Its price (body only) is quite reasonable and I have eos lenses to start with even though I will miss those huge focal lengths the H1 provided (7.2x when using 35mm lenses)!
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 08:04 AM   #29
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Look VERY carefully at skew on these, from what I've seen it's atrocious! There are some threads on here about it.
What this means is that you film a bird flying against a hill and the hill will seem very jittery as the rolling shutter tries to keep up with the move. Most people don't notice it because they never do fast moves like that, but we encounter it all the time.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 08:10 AM   #30
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Yes, the rolling shutter is a big concern. I might rent one for a week just to check it out before any buying!
Would you say that this is of no concern with the EX3, regarding fast panning, much movement eg. leaves in the woods?
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