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The process of shooting video


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#1 Jerry Doran

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 01:56 PM

hello all, this is my first post here so go easy on me...

i am curious about the process of lighting and setting exposure for hd (or any video for that matter). with so many controls available to you - waveform, monitor, zebras, handheld light meters, etc - i am not sure how the process should work. obviously you could just turn on a bunch of lights and adjust them until they look good on the monitor, iris down/up until you've got proper exposure. but that seems very random to me, like skipping steps and you could end up with different aperture settings from one shot to the next. do you start by determining what stop you want to light to as in film? what is the function of a handheld meter in video...do you actually use it to determine iris setting or just contrast, output of lights, etc? do you rely on waveforms or zebras? or is it in fact common practice to just light to the monitor and ignore all the other tools? in short, can someone walk me through their typical process of lighting for video and determine aperture...

another unrelated question...i know 70% is where you set zebras for caucasian highlights. what about african american or other darker skin tones?
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#2 Stephen Williams

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 02:18 PM

hello all, this is my first post here so go easy on me...

i am curious about the process of lighting and setting exposure for hd (or any video for that matter). with so many controls available to you - waveform, monitor, zebras, handheld light meters, etc - i am not sure how the process should work. obviously you could just turn on a bunch of lights and adjust them until they look good on the monitor, iris down/up until you've got proper exposure. but that seems very random to me, like skipping steps and you could end up with different aperture settings from one shot to the next. do you start by determining what stop you want to light to as in film? what is the function of a handheld meter in video...do you actually use it to determine iris setting or just contrast, output of lights, etc? do you rely on waveforms or zebras? or is it in fact common practice to just light to the monitor and ignore all the other tools? in short, can someone walk me through their typical process of lighting for video and determine aperture...

another unrelated question...i know 70% is where you set zebras for caucasian highlights. what about african american or other darker skin tones?


Hi,

I use the zebra most of the time. In a studio a waveform is useful when setting up a camera with a chart. I use a lightmeter only for prelighting if I don't have a camera, but not for shooting. When testing a spotmeter is useful so you can see the usable range

I usually take little interest in the monitor on a location. I have seen people adjust the monitor to make the lighting look good, problem was the lighting needed tweeking not the monitor! There is an issue with tube monitors, as they are turned relative to magnetic north the image changes!

Stephen
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#3 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 06:05 PM

First of all, have your viewfinder well calibrated.

As to do that, output the bars and set the brightness so that the black bar is a little upper (very little) than the black frame around the bars, then the contrast so that the whites look white. Then the black should loook black, the white look white and all the grey scale bars should be displaying grey scales.

Apply the same logical setting to your monitor.

You have a built-in lightmeter in your camera. I'm not talking of working with auto iris. I'm talking about taking a momentary iris setting by pushing the button.

Then you have the zebras. On sony cameras, you can check the value it is set on. When you output the bars, you should see the zebras on the second bar from left, the yellow one.

If it's set to white (the first bar, 100 %), go in the menu and change that for the 70 % value (the second yellow bar).

They should be set, as you said, in the upper lights of a white skin. If you have black people in the frame, search for another place in the frame that should display the zebras (highlights in a window, clouds or something like that).

Then, if you have a well calibrated monitor, it should give you a good monitoring of your image..
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 06:13 PM

In terms of exposure consistency, well if you're lighting a scene, you adjust the key level until you get the f-stop you like in relation to the zebras, for the master.

Once you go in for coverage, using a lot of the same units, you should be able to maintain the same key level and therefore the same f-stop, but often I leave the f-stop set where I like it (like T/2.8) and adjust the levels until I get the zebras where I like them.
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#5 Michael Collier

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 07:38 PM

I set my lighting by eye. In general I know what 3stops over looks like (When I am out shooting news and I get bored, I use my camera and zebra to find the contrast ratio between a pool of light. No real use to doing that, but I think now after a few years of being bored I can tell by eye relativley accurately how bright something is)

Set your lights using films rationalization (IE you know what key, fill, hair and eyelight is, now apply that to video, but keep the contrast ratio much lower) And use your eyes to make sure everything looks ok (experience in video is required if you want to trust your eyes, otherwise use a monitor)

The last step is set your exposure by waveform if you can. A waveform will ensure you get the fattest possible signal everytime. The first time I saw one was when I became a news photographer. Then I saw DV-rack and got the demo version (It lasted 30 days, I had 20 days left of a feature shoot at the time) And I will not go back, any feature or shoot that I get, if at all possible I will use a waveform. The reason is simple, you are gathering numbers, nothing more as far as the record medium is concerned. If you peak out you loose detail and oportunity to color-correct. Hook it up to the waveform and a little practice should show you how to use it. Some areas need to peak out, but you can make sure the highlights land on 95IRE, not 100IRE or higher, causing those wonderful blooming looks
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#6 Lucita Jones

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Posted 08 April 2006 - 04:12 PM

When using the ZIU, do you set the zebra to 70, 90 or 100? With the PD150 I would expose with the zebra on 70IRE and then check for clipping highlights with zebra 100. I would quickly reach a balance between both. Now the Z1U does not have that option. With this camera, I would set the zebra on 100 so I will be "warned" upfront about overexposure and work on that. Instead, if I set it on 70, I will always have to switch it to 100 to check highlights. I'd just like to know how you do it...Thanks

LJ
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#7 Lucita Jones

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Posted 15 April 2006 - 11:15 PM

In terms of exposure consistency, well if you're lighting a scene, you adjust the key level until you get the f-stop you like in relation to the zebras, for the master.

Once you go in for coverage, using a lot of the same units, you should be able to maintain the same key level and therefore the same f-stop, but often I leave the f-stop set where I like it (like T/2.8) and adjust the levels until I get the zebras where I like them.



Hello David

I am very interested in knowing if you have established a relationship between a given level of reflected light and the zebra pattern that forms at 70IRE. (In other words, how much reflected light will produce the zebra pattern). I believe the unit for measuring reflected light is the foot lambert. If I am correct, then I think it could be possible to determine how many foot lamberts produce a certain amount of zebra pattern. With this information, you could be able to set your lights based on your light meter`s readings (set to indicate foot Lamberts) and free yourself from the camera┬┤s LCD for checking exposure. Would you agree with this way of setting the correct exposure with relation to the zebra pattern?


Thanks for your opinion

LJ
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