filming with pro cameras

Capture hardware, software and techniques

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kene555
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filming with pro cameras

Post by kene555 » Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:44 am

This Monday I am lucky enough to finish off my film by using the school's Canon GL2 and XL2(or XL H1, not sure which one we have).

i have never before used these, any tips on getting the best out of them? Will be filming inside.
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RE: filming with pro cameras

Post by Kentertainment » Thu Mar 29, 2007 2:31 am

If at all possible, you may want to mess with the camera functions for a day before you film anything. If you are uncomfortable with the manual functions, such as exposure and white balance, I'd suggest just using the automatic settings.

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RE: filming with pro cameras

Post by kene555 » Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:43 am

Yeah, today I'm gonna spend study hall in the art room with the digital arts teacher learning this camera
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RE: filming with pro cameras

Post by Epsilon » Sat Mar 31, 2007 6:36 am

Big cameras are fun to play with. I have some experience operating a Ikegami HL-45 digital camera for our school's broadcasted show, which is recorded live to tape. Once you get used to the basic functions, which involves some practice, then your mind is free to focus on more important things like framing and keeping your manual focus in check. Shooting in a studio setting is really fun. Especially when you have the producer and VTR operator yelling at each other back and forth over the intercom throughout the session. :lol:

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RE: filming with pro cameras

Post by kene555 » Sat Mar 31, 2007 12:58 pm

One thing I noticed was that the depth of field is really shallow, so I have to get really close or zoom in alot to use the focus well. how can i get around this, and use the focus noticeably at distances of 6 feet or so?
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RE: filming with pro cameras

Post by Gyro » Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:25 pm

The XL and GL series do not have that shallow of a depth of field. Sure, with a little bit of zoom, the DOF is considerably more shallow than your regular 1CCD Handi-Cam. But, by stepping a few feet back than what you regularly would be shooting at, and by zooming in, with the GL, or the XL, you can get a nice close up-DOF-shot.

DOF is also achieved more efficiently through a variation in lighting. Meaning, the better sense of "fill" you have on your character, or object, the more notice-able the focus is going to be. If something is poorly lit, and has the exact amount of F-Stops as the rest of the room, you're hardly going to notice any depth between them and their surroundings. Something to consider.

Just a finaly suggestion--as Kentertainment already said, if you're headed to your shoot without feeling completely comfortable with your camera, go ahead and keep it on it's Automatic settings, otherwise you're going to end up with extremely contrasted shots, and, like 12Db for some reason.

Hope all goes well for ya! I remember my first time using a higher end camera, was sweeeeeet!
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RE: filming with pro cameras

Post by ProdigyFilmsinc. » Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:31 pm

Tip for the XL and Depth of Field, even if you have it set on manual focus while filming if you are panning at all it will try and focus on the closest object. You need to constantly keep it in focus. It gets annoying but it is well worth it if you want a constant depth.
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RE: filming with pro cameras

Post by Gyro » Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:35 pm

The XL has got a manual enough lens, you might even consider a focus puller.

Have a tape measurer, and mark specifically at what point, and at what time you're character or subject is in focus where. So, you know specifically when the focus needs to change--have someone aside from the initial camera operator to simply move the focus when and where it needs to be. A simple, but ever so essential job.
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RE: filming with pro cameras

Post by angusware » Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:23 pm

I would be careful that you don't make a huge leap in quality halfway through your film, make it consistent.

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RE: filming with pro cameras

Post by kene555 » Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:53 pm

Yeah, the last half of our film was filmed with a Panasonic PV-GS39 I picked up last fall for $160 - last one. It's done a pretty good job, and I'm pleased with the quality, since before I only had a Hi-8. And the beginning of the film is done with the panasonic and the XL2. The only real difference I could see on the computer was in the focus, all the other quality seemed consistent. If need be, I guess I can always take the XL2 footage and dirty it up. But on Youtube, will anyone be able to tell the difference in quality?
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RE: filming with pro cameras

Post by kene555 » Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:59 pm

Also next Thursday I will be taking the XL2 over to Erie, PA to do some filming for the historical documentary club I belong to at school. Any tips for filming outdoors with the XL2?
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RE: filming with pro cameras

Post by Gyro » Fri Apr 13, 2007 2:04 am

Well, the XL2 has got a series of white balance functions, or color temperature adaptations to it. Meaning, if you're shooting outdoors with a lot of blue skylight, make sure you change that function on the white balance to 7200 color temperature, or the little sun logo. Ontop of that, you need to make sure your N/D filter (neutral density) is set to your liking, if you don't have it high, likely chance is everything will come out extremely over exposed, so you probably want to set it to a certain fraction. Whichever one looks best.

Just some tips.
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RE: filming with pro cameras

Post by Lawriejaffa » Fri Apr 13, 2007 2:16 am

Yeah well to be more technically precise,

The video camera cannot 'see' white - now sure there are 2 presets on the white balance which is 'daylight' and 'tungsten' basically. (daylight if ur outdoors and tungsten if ur using video lights.) However these presets are dummy guides - really you should be using the third 'universal white balance option'. To do this, zoom the camera in onto where your surbject will roughly be and hold out a white sheet (let it fill the entire frame and make it thick) then press this button (or slide it to it) the universal white balance has a funny wee logo distinct from the tungsten or daylight. It will then tell the camera what 'white' is and it will be perfect. The reason its important to do this is because the 'presets' for daylight and tungsten can be off.

Also be aware if you mix daylight and artifical lights you will get some ugly crazy things going on too. (sunlight is blue and tungsten is yellow.)

The Neutral Density can be set to reduce over-exposure - but use it as a last resort - try first increasing the shutter speed and or closing the iris. I mean experiment with this BUT whatever you do don't slow your shutter speed under 60 or you will get some tripped out LSD effects hehe.

To achieve a narrow depth of field (only really good for close ups) you will want to keep the iris open (the f-stop number being low/open) and try bringing the camera back and zooming in on ur subject. While it may seem weird to do this it will produce a nice result for certain close ups.

Of course you achieve increidble depths of fields with the XL-1 if you have the lenses for it but the above technique can help with the stock. (just to clarify on a point - the DoF is not to do with 1 or 3 chips being in camera - but primarily the lens.)

Good luck mate

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RE: filming with pro cameras

Post by Gyro » Fri Apr 13, 2007 2:48 am

To sort of clarify a point, on the XL series, you primarily don't want to shoot anything under 2.4 stops, otherwise the over exposure level has a tendency to affect the interlace aspects.
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RE: filming with pro cameras

Post by Gyro » Fri Apr 13, 2007 2:49 am

But keep in mind everything we're telling you is simply techniques and methods are generally subjective.

So, feel free to play around and test each function to achieve exactly what you want.
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Post by kene555 » Fri Apr 13, 2007 2:09 pm

Thanks for the tips. I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Post by kene555 » Tue Apr 17, 2007 7:57 pm

Does anyone know if the XL2 can use wireless mics?
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Post by Gyro » Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:22 pm

You can get wireless mics that hook up via XLR port, so yes.
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Post by kene555 » Sat Apr 21, 2007 12:16 am

OK. Yesterday, we traveled to PA, and we used the XL2 for the first time out in the field. For the majority, I set it on automatic mode, with the white balance on the sun logo. Indoors I went ahead and put in on manual. Here's the results.

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Post by Gyro » Sat Apr 21, 2007 12:48 am

Not bad, dude.
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Post by Gyro » Sat Apr 21, 2007 12:57 am

Just for clarification, I thought I'd look into it a little bit and it turns out that CCD's do have an affect on Depth of Field.

"The TRV900 and all cameras in more or less the same range have very small CCDs, typically 1/4 inch or 1/3 inch nominally. with actual image dimensions even smaller than that implies.

Other things being equal, smaller chips have more depth of field than larger ones -- a lot more. If you like deep-focus photography this is good. But if you want to use selective focus, you have to resort to very wide lens openings (compensated for with a neutral density filter if needed) and longer focal lengths.

Smaller chips are also more prone to loss of resolution caused by diffraction (light's tendency to spread out when it goes through a narrow opening). It's a good idea to avoid apertures smaller than f/11 with 1/3-inch chips (as in the Canon XL1 and the Sony VX2000 and PD150). With 1/4-inch CCDs (Sony TRV900 and PD100, Canon GL1/XM1), diffraction can start becoming objectionable with lens openings as large as f/8."

http://www.bealecorner.com/trv900/dof.html
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Post by kene555 » Sat Apr 21, 2007 1:13 am

So I would have a better depth of field effect with the XL2's 3 1/3" CCDs than with my Panasonic PV-GS39's 1 1/6" CCD?
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Post by Gyro » Sat Apr 21, 2007 1:15 am

Better, as in smaller. Yes.
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Post by kene555 » Sat Apr 21, 2007 1:20 am

Huh. Interesting. With my Panasonic, to get the effect I have to get really, really close, or really zoom in to achieve the effect. With the XL2, I just have to go to aperture mode and zoom in a little to get the effect. Interesting indeed.
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Post by Gyro » Sat Apr 21, 2007 1:21 am

Well, that's because of your lens mostly. But, the chips do affect it to an extent.
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