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Using the Panasonic HDX900 Camera


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#1 Bwana George

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 04:34 PM

I've been shooting film all my adult life, but now I have a project to shoot with a Panasonic HDX900 camera. To someone new to digital HD video, this is one complicated camera. I have the manual, but it's not much help.
I have many questions that need answering, so if anyone is knowledgeable about this camera and is willing to help me, I'd be most grateful.

1. When shooting with this camera, what setting do I put on my incident and reflective meters so I can balance lights, etc (ISO ???)?
2. Where can I have custom made adapters for my specialty lenses to fit on this camera?
3. When the scene is underexposed, the viewfinder says "low light". Why doesn't it say "too dark" when it's overexposed?
4. Red indicator light in viewfinder says SAVE after I've done a shot. What do I do about that?

There are many others, but this is a start.
Thanks,
Bwana
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#2 Billy Velten

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 08:32 AM

George
I would recommend that you take a HD Expo workshop if you have a ton of questions. They will get you up to speed quickly.

Edited by Billy Velten, 10 September 2008 - 08:37 AM.

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#3 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 08:47 AM

First off, hello!

I would really recommend getting this book: http://catalog2.pana...del=HDX900-BOOK

It will explain almost all you want to know.

1. I think it rates in the 320 range but I usually shoot off the monitor with a scope and waveform.

2. I don't know what sort of lenses you have, but if they are for 35mm you will need to use an adaptor like the Pro 35. You can rent one here: http://www.abelcine....ome.php?cat=615 It will present its own challenges.

3. "low light" and "too dark" would mean the same thing.

4. Not sure about the save light.

Good luck!
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#4 Bob Hayes

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 09:46 PM

http://www.goodmansg.../theseries.html

Goodman's guides can't be beat! Don't be fooled it says the guide is free. Right! If you buy the camera. The guide is over $100 and well worth it.
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#5 Mitch Gross

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 12:40 PM

Abel has the Goodman's Guide available for purchase.
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#6 Daniel Smith

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 01:34 PM

Why flash 'too bright' when it's got zebra.
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 10:38 PM

The save light on the viewfinder is just on because you are in VTR power save mode. This just means that the head isn't always spinning on the tape and it will take a bit longer to get rolling. Usually this is the mode you'll want for scripted-type shooting.

Standby means that the head is always spinning on the tape. When you start the camera it will be up to speed faster.

The switch for this is by your right cheek if you're handholding the camera. It's just in front of the camera/bars/autoknee selector switch.
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#8 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 01:56 AM

The Goodman guide is very good and in-depth, as the HDX900 has menu after menu after menu, and it will make anyone's head spin after a while.

As Chris said, the Standby mode will keep the head spinning for split second record, when engaged -mostly designed for ENG purposes and the like. The flip side is that by keeping the camera in Standby one will put more wear on the head and potentially dirty it up with metallic particles picked up from the constant tape friction. So it's got to be used sparingly.

320 ASA is what I have set my meter for when using the 900, with good results. Though that depends on the internal camera settings as well. I learned to light for video more based on what a monitor and/or vectorscope, waveform monitor than by using the light meter. I mostly use the light meter with video to get contrast ratios.

The zebra mode is useful, but there are a couple of settings: 80% and 100% brightness (at least those two, if not more), so one's gotta be aware of the current zebra setting when judging exposure.
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#9 Chris Keth

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 10:28 PM

The zebra mode is useful, but there are a couple of settings: 80% and 100% brightness (at least those two, if not more), so one's gotta be aware of the current zebra setting when judging exposure.


You can set the zebras to whatever you want. I'm personally partial to setting one to 70 (approx. caucasian skintone) and the other to 90 (for highlights).
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