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Sony VDW790 first time help


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#1 purplegrain

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 07:40 AM

Hello everyone,

I need some advice for my first time DigiBeta DVW790 shoot.

Although I am quite experienced shooting video with semiprofessional MiniDV cameras as PD170 or DVX100, I have not had experience with DigiBeta so far. Tomorrow I am supposed to shoot on the Sony DVW790, but will thankfullyl have half day to get used to it first.

I usually use manual controls, so that should be more or less the same, when I learn where the buttons are.
But could anyone give me basic suggestions and a checklist of what I should be wary of and some recommended settings? Here more specific:

Shooting will be for documentary and will involve natural light, mostly conversation between two people who will be travelling the whole day to different meetings. Aspect ratio is 16:9. Shooting will be mostly in the taxi during the travels and also conversations outside, but not the actual meetings. So there should be perhaps low light situations, but also fast changing situations.

I will be the only camera person on the shoot and will not have an assistant.


ZEBRA:
- Which zebra settings should I use? 80%? and how do I expose the best way? Maybe, just very little zebra on the face, in such way, that when I close with one stop, the zebra would disappear...? Is this a good rule of thumb?

WB:
- Also what do I do for quick white balance changes? I will not have time to perform manual WB every time, so maybe just use outdoor and indoor settings? Any suggestions?

16:9
- Shooting will be in 16:9 Full Height Anamorphic (FHA). Excuse my missing knowledge, but how do I set this up on the DVW790 and how do I view the picture undistorted in the viewfinder? Do I need an adapter? What should I be careful about? I have never shot 16:9 FHA.

AUDIO:
- I will record both people using two radio-mics attached to them, to go into both channels of the DigiBeta. How should I set the levels for the audio in best way? Does DigiBeta have only two channels? Is there a possibility to also record the environment noise with another mic on top of the camera, without using another audio recorder.



Many-many thanks


Mets
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 10:56 AM

I'm not familiar with that camera's menu, just the Sony F900, but I'm sure there are similarities.

First of all, I would make sure everything is set for 16x9, like the SMPTE color bars, the viewfinder lines, everything.

Check the back-focus and check it now & then when on the road.

Bring a tape to the check-out and make sure sound and picture records correctly.

Get a copy of the user's manual!

I usually just use the preset color balance / filter wheel for outdoor versus tungsten. The only time I white balance is when I need to, like under green fluorescents, or when I want to change the balance creatively. But it's easy to white balance and you can save what you did under the A or B switch next to the Preset switch.

Zebras are a personal thing. I usually set them to 70 IRE and expose caucasian faces so the zebras only appear now & then on the hottest parts of the face, otherwise I stop down until most of them disappear. 70 IRE is the equivalent of a light grey tone, so if you see them appearing on things like concrete sidewalks or light sand, you're probably exposing correctly.

To get good sound, you really should bring a sound person with a portable mixer who can deal with the lavs and any booming.

I mean, you can put the sound directly into the two mic inputs, have the person talk a little for you, and make sure that most of the sound is in the low-to-middle of the VU levels and not peaking too much near the top, but once you start shooting, it's hard to operate and look at the levels, although I think you can get them to be displayed in the viewfinder (as a DP, it's never an issue with me.) But it's hard to ADJUST the levels live while operating unless it's a lock-down shot.

Lav mics are rather fragile so I'd take some back-ups if I were you. But even more importantly, I'd take a sound person / assistant with you because that's a lot of gear to be lugging around, plus you want help on the sound issues.
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#3 Tim J Durham

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 11:07 AM

Hello everyone,

I need some advice for my first time DigiBeta DVW790 shoot.

Although I am quite experienced shooting video with semiprofessional MiniDV cameras as PD170 or DVX100, I have not had experience with DigiBeta so far. Tomorrow I am supposed to shoot on the Sony DVW790, but will thankfullyl have half day to get used to it first.

Many-many thanks
Mets

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Call around to bookstores and see if you can get your hands on Paul Wheeler's book, "Digital Cinematography". It is a real-world guide to the DVW-700 and the DVW-790 and an easy, informative read. You can read the whole thing in one evening and he gives you his personal menu set-ups at the end (he's won many British Cinematography awards).

http://tinyurl.com/9lths

It is similar to "The Goodman Guide" which deals with the Pana SDX-900.
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#4 Tim J Durham

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 12:59 PM

I'm not familiar with that camera's menu, just the Sony F900, but I'm sure there are similarities.

First of all, I would make sure everything is set for 16x9, like the SMPTE color bars, the viewfinder lines, everything.

Check the back-focus and check it now & then when on the road.

Bring a tape to the check-out and make sure sound and picture records correctly.

Get a copy of the user's manual!

I usually just use the preset color balance / filter wheel for outdoor versus tungsten. The only time I white balance is when I need to, like under green fluorescents, or when I want to change the balance creatively. But it's easy to white balance and you can save what you did under the A or B switch next to the Preset switch.

Zebras are a personal thing. I usually set them to 70 IRE and expose caucasian faces so the zebras only appear now & then on the hottest parts of the face, otherwise I stop down until most of them disappear.  70 IRE is the equivalent of a light grey tone, so if you see them appearing on things like concrete sidewalks or light sand, you're probably exposing correctly.

To get good sound, you really should bring a sound person with a portable mixer who can deal with the lavs and any booming.

Lav mics are rather fragile so I'd take some back-ups if I were you. But even more importantly, I'd take a sound person / assistant with you because that's a lot of gear to be lugging around, plus you want help on the sound issues.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Couldn't agree more with bringing a sound person. You've got more than enough on your plate. The BVW-790 is a very-high-end SD camera and can be (is) complicated, so having to deal with sound is biting off more than you should be chewing.

As for the zebras and format, the engineer at the rental house can set up all of that stuff for you.
There are two sets of zebras for that camera, If I recall correctly, I set the diagonals on 70ire and the cross-hatches on 100ire so you know when you are blowing out. For the first time, you may want to only have them set the diagonals and I would set them at 70ire as well.

The engineer will also set the back focus for you and this is where I would disagree with DM. In my experience, if you are not familiar with doing this on a regular basis, the back focus RARELY goes out midshoot unless you are changing lenses frequently, and playing with it is fraught with peril. Once it is set, leave it alone. You can master it before your next shoot.

99 times out of 100, when it appears as though the back-focus is out, you have most likely upset the macro-ring from its detente position. If you don't know youve done it, it looks the same as a back-focus problem. The macro-ring is made to be easily operated, so it is easily engaged unknowingly.

The other thing is to make sure you know how to find the tail of the timecode. When the producer asks to review a shot on the monitor (and they always do), you MUST know how to get the tape back to the end of the recorded time-code so there are no TC breaks. ASK THE ENGINEER HOW TO DO THIS! Time code breaks will get the editor talking smack about you as quickly as shooting out of focus or in the wrong filter.

If you can get a copy of Wheelers book, the engineer can also set the camera menus for you. Otherwise, stick to the factory positions.

Two last things, the stuff you're going to be carrying is much heavier than what you're used to.
An all day shoot can eat up 3-4 batteries easily and they are heavy and you'll have to bring them. Your shoulder is going to hurt so don't let them rush you. That's when you lose things, very expensive things. Sound people are used to carrying the camera batteries, so try to get a sound person.

And when shooting in the taxi, engage the dynamic contrast control. This will keep the cab windows from totally blowing out on you. Ask the engineer about it and how to engage it.

Good luck, you're going to need it.
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#5 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 08:22 PM

Just a 2 cents if you come from these formats, the viewfinder is so much better that you easily go overexposed if you don't watch out, considering the camera is high sensitive... Properly set you vf on the bars and mind not to overexpose, you know how video dislikes overexposition...
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#6 Stephen Press

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Posted 21 May 2005 - 09:48 PM

So how did it go?... no realy.
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#7 Tim J Durham

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 03:50 PM

So how did it go?... no realy.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I'd like to hear how it went for you, as well. The difference between a PD-170 and DVW-790
is akin to that of a piper cub and a jumbo jet. They both have a Sony nameplate but that's where the similarities end. Half a day is not much time to school yourself in those differences, still, I was pulling for you if that helped.

So how'd it go?
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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

The Slider

Rig Wheels Passport

Visual Products

Aerial Filmworks