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Under Water, Over Land
Tools & Techniques for Nature, Outdoors, Wildlife & Underwater Videography.


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Old July 11th, 2007, 10:16 AM   #16
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Brendan,

Kevin's comment is what I would exactly put it as.

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WeeHan
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Old July 12th, 2007, 05:59 PM   #17
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Brendan

The one picture is what i would call burnt!!! Just to bright causing more of a silloutteing effect which reduces detail. When I shoot I do everything I can to avoid those kinds of shots. As yee mentioned, position of the sun is deadly important. No filter is going to salvage a picture that is that burnt, though you might find use for a silloutte at some other point in you video. Of course, the problem is that the birds do not always select perches that are conducive to the best picture!!! Hearing how different people deal with these problems is always enlightening. So far no revolutionary advice, standard photography principles.
Do not discount what John has proposed!! There are circumstances where the use of the filters is valuable and will give you better results. learning the parameters is just practice and more practice.

Oh yea, the smaller the aperature (say f 22 or 32) the more contrast you will get in your pictures. By using the filters you are allowed to open up your aperature and this will have a some effect on that contrast, and of course a silloutte is the ultimate in contrast and you are wanting to go the other direction.
I rekon that is why so many people say that 5.6 seems to be a majic aperature.
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Old July 13th, 2007, 11:16 AM   #18
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Two more filters I forgot to mention is a center spot polarizer and also a graduated polarizer. Fantastic for brightly backlit subjects.
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Old July 13th, 2007, 11:55 AM   #19
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Gentlemen, thank you, one and all,

Before I bury myself in catalogues about filters and polarizers ...

Would you happen to know, John, what effect would either of those polarizers have on bird flight that climbed above the horizon for half a minute and then dropped below the horizon for a minute ? (Please assume that above the horizon means a bright background and below means a dull background.)

... when I read "fantastic for brightly backlit subjects" you may be assured that I am wound up and giving you my undivided attention ... speak to me, in your own good time.
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Old July 13th, 2007, 12:52 PM   #20
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If it goes from backlit to unbacklit, change your iris and in post cut out the spot where you changed your iris and fill that in with a shot of the bottom of the canyon to show what the bird is looking at. In other words, show your good backlit shot then add a shot of the canyon bottom then a shot of your unbacklit bird shot at the right exposure. Simple use a cutaway dont even need a disolve.
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Old July 13th, 2007, 01:00 PM   #21
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Anybody think that John's is a reasonable suggestion?

I think it's brilliant ... just the sort of thing that's never covered in my manuals.
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Old July 13th, 2007, 04:09 PM   #22
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Cutaways are your friend. :)
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Old July 13th, 2007, 07:08 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John M. McCloskey View Post
Two more filters I forgot to mention is a center spot polarizer and also a graduated polarizer. Fantastic for brightly backlit subjects.

John,

Do you have any info of these 2 filters you are talking about? I have never heard of them and a search yielded nothing. There are only graduated neutral density filters and for center spots, there are the soft focus ones.

Then again, if the center spot polarizer does exist, the bird or subject will need to be the size of the "center spot". If it isn't there will be a good darkened halo around the subject due to the differences in exposure.

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Old July 16th, 2007, 10:42 AM   #24
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I understand your concern, but as with videoing nature/wildlife you have 2 choices, go video your subjects and shoot as much of them as you can with the tools you have and hope you get what you need. The other option is go to a Zoo or a animal trainer that can setup shots with an animal in a confined area. Pre-Production on a wildlife shoot doesnot include a script for the animals to follow, so you get what you can get and hope it works for you. If you are worried about small exposure issues, get you some different filters and shoot your subject at different exposures and I bet you will get some video you can use. I sure wish I could tell the bird flying over to circle back around out of the horizon and stay in the shadows but thats not going to happen, you get what you get and its up to the videographer to get the extra shots to make the piece work as a whole in Post. THX
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Old July 17th, 2007, 02:33 AM   #25
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I know what you mean John but that was not my concern at all. My main point was there will be times when filters do not help anything and Brendan's case of a very high contrast range with a moving subject is not the situation where any filter can help. Shooting in better light is the only solution.

If Brendan was shooting landscapes then alot of filters can come into aid.

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Old July 17th, 2007, 08:13 AM   #26
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Sometimes when you go to video wildlife or anything outside the light (natural light) is not going to be exactly perfect, so would you just not video the moving birds because your lights not perfect or would you try to dig in your box of tricks to make the best out of a not so perfect lighting situation? If you are going to video outside, you must be able to come up with solutions for, rain, light, wind, noise, bugs, its true ENG.
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Old July 17th, 2007, 09:16 AM   #27
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John,

Of course I would be rolling. As a matter of fact, I was shooting a praying mantis at pretty extreme mag rates despite the 12 noon sun. Better to have something than nothing.

Then again, Brendan's issue was how to deal with the extreme contrast range and not whether to record it at all or not.

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Old July 17th, 2007, 09:24 AM   #28
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After sorting 6 tapes of clips (95% bird flight) shot in Spain in Spring and deleting at least 70% of the content I find 17 clips I call "Griffon (vulture) lands" or Griffon landing". Partly edited they add up to 300 seconds. As the 2 cliff locations are comparable (approx.south-facing oxidised limestone with little vegetation on cliffs) it is possible
1.to observe and distinguish the better clips from the others, and
2.to guess why the plumage detail on some clips is better than others, and
3.to spot some patterns causing the differences

As you have all been suggesting in one way or another, success in this tricky area of videography is, in the first place, a matter of searching for the better lighting ... two likely answers are now obvious; One you all seem to know; evening light/side light can really show off under-wing and over-wing patterns, but also, against pale/bright limestone midday sun can reflect light upwards too and reveal good underwing detail.

In second place, the pattern that stands out is a matter of getting as much of the bird as possible to occupy the screen throughout the landing sequence ... this is a framing+timing+zooming issue and as I get more handheld practice at it I find XM2 (GL2) is fast to respond in autofocus. There are some things I've learned not to do that help autofocus ... the main one is, when waiting for the action, keep the cam pointing in the mid-distance of where the action is likely to happen (pointing it lazily at the ground or crazily at the sky are exactly how to have already confused the autofocus response before the bird arrives).

My education continues, with all your help ...
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Old July 17th, 2007, 12:40 PM   #29
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Brendan,

""when waiting for the action, keep the cam pointing in the mid-distance of where the action is likely to happen (pointing it lazily at the ground or crazily at the sky are exactly how to have already confused the autofocus response before the bird arrives)."


This is so true!! I had trouble with my gl2 using auto focus for the longest time and that was the issue!!

One trick I now do is to focus on an object the approximate distance I will shoot at. I leave it in manual. When the shot starts I grab it and hit auto focus and it sharpens while I concentrate on other issues.
On other occassions I leave it in manual and adjust as I follow, this has taken some practice to be sure!!

Learning never stops!!!
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Old July 17th, 2007, 12:45 PM   #30
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Picture 1 would have benefited from a ND Grad and a Pola. I would have positioned the "edge" just to the top of the ridge line; opened up the iris to expose the rock face; rotated the pola for BEST colour definition for the rest. I'm fortunate in as much I could also slap on a further ND Grad to close down the sky some more too!

This all on an XM2.

Mixed natural light scenarios are ACHING for a matt box and a range of NDs ND grads and a pola. I have now had added another static slot for my Matte box.

Grazie
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