challenging lighting!

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harrier
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Joined: Sep 6 2008

Hi guys thought I would share this short clip with you it was filmed in HD with canon xh-1 and i was filming my favourite sport, the shows organiser wanted the lights out for the solo and used a 1k spotlight which wasnt really upto the job IMHO but considering all that i dont think it turned out too bad, shows what the xh-a1 can do in near total darkness gain -3db.
http://exposureroom.com/magnum

branny
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Joined: Nov 6 2001

Very nice work John, great tracking skills too.
If something is dark, I prefer to show it and not pump up the gain or open the iris too far to brighten the scene.
A pity the spot operator kept dozing off. :D

Do not follow, I may not lead. Do not lead . . . I may not follow.

harrier
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Joined: Sep 6 2008

During the rehersal I told them that the lighting they had just wasnt up to what they were trying to achieve but the girls parents loved the effect. so we filmed one with the lights up (well two lights!) and one with them all off.
The gain was kept at -3db on the camera and it was manual focus. I think the grain looks worse on the web due to compression, it certainly came out better than i first thought when put onto dvd.
Thanks for comments about tracking, I use a Lanc controller on a goood tripod with fluid head and I film Ice skating competitions all the time so that helps.
I also filmed a male solo in the same lighting but he wore mainly dark clothing and its just hopeless but i said i would add it on at the end of the dvd if they really wanted it.

branny
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Joined: Nov 6 2001

Would have been more attractive with 2 cam coverage. One up high looking down and one on the close ups. Could have cut out the irritating momentary zoom at the beginning too.
Guess you already do that though. :)

Do not follow, I may not lead. Do not lead . . . I may not follow.

harrier
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Joined: Sep 6 2008

hi, yes it was two camera shoot just havnt had time to do the edit, camera 2 was on a balcony will update the footage when i get the time.
In fact i filmed the show twice to use close ups from show 2 as cutaways in the final dvd.
I moved the cameras to different positions for the shows to look as if it was a four camera shoot.:D

Arthur.S
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Joined: Jun 2 1999

Nice work John. As an XH-A1 user myself, I find it interesting (Not to say brave!) that you stuck to -3db. Did you do much work in post?

Mike Pulcinella
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Joined: Jan 30 2007

Beautiful! Great tracking! You are able to anticipate the skater's moves.

I don't mind the lighting. It's dramatic, especially when she's backlit. You need to grab that moment early in the routine, when she's backlit for the first time and does the jump-spin (or whatever it's called) and slo-mo it!

paulears
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Joined: Jul 8 2008

I tend to think that when people initiate these kind of daft ideas, it shows no understanding of the nature of video and a very poor understanding of the art of lighting design. Follow spots in darkness are universally understood by those that know, to be capable of producing light. Horrible, flat, unattractive light that can help pick out important areas on a lit stage. When used in isolation they always produce this nasty hard kind of light. Under the circumstances, I think what you got is pretty good. At the end of the clip, with the lights on, the results would have been much better. I also think (from my own experience with skating) that close in, as you were, is one of the most difficult camera positions to shoot from due to the wide arc you have to pan through, and the difficulties of maintaining focus - a nice job.

harrier
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Joined: Sep 6 2008

Hi sorry for not replying sooner, been away over xmas.
The footage was colour corrected using Magic bullet looks in sony vegas 8 and ive just watched it back on the big plasma, the noise is definately due to the compression on the web so i will look at that shortly. Ive also done the two camera edit and that gets rid of the sudden zoom at the start(your right Branny :D ).
Paulears, you are right about the lighting and we discussed it over several days with me starting with all lights on and then working our way down from there.:rolleyes:
It was the parents who liked the atmospheric look of the single spot light so it was filmed twice once with lights on and once without.(the DVDs for them not me I suppose)
I showed the clip because I was suprised how well the canon did, i think it was due to the skaters dress reflecting the light soo much.
I also filmed a second solo skater with the same single spot and that is even darker but i think thats due to his outfit being black largely.
Still I think overall they came out better than i thought.
Being close in is my favourite position for filming skaters and I have a wee trick using manual focus on the xh-a1 to solve the problems of maintaining focus.
With my old vx2100 i used auto but the canon xh-a1 cannot zoom and focus at the same time so you have to allow for that. thats why manual focus. in fact the focus was set before the routine and was never adjusted. Thats how I film skaters and get constant focus.
P.S happy new year to everyone.

JMCP
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Joined: Nov 21 2000

Hi,

can you explain further regarding your explanation using manual focus as I don't understand how you can set manual focus up before the dance and then maintain it throughout the dance without adjusting it.

Cheers John

DAVE M
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Joined: May 17 1999

I thiunk what he may mean is that he uses a zoom demand with a push autofocus button. (or you can do it with the camera - it's a little harder)

Keeping the camera on "manual-focus", you regularly press the "auto " button - say every few seconds or as the skater moves around, and the camera will use auto-focus once, focusing for you before returning to manual - thus avoiding the hunting you cometimes get.

I do this a fair bit in live theatre and it's handy

JMCP
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Joined: Nov 21 2000

Hi Dave,

thanks for the explanation. I have never used that technique before, might have to give it a bash.

Cheers John

harrier
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Joined: Sep 6 2008

Hi John, due to the lens design of the canon xh-a1 your depth of field changes as you move from telephoto to wide.
So if you zoom in on a point across the far end of the rink then focus on that, as you then follow the skater closer to you, you have to zoom out to keep them in frame. as you zoom out your depth of field increases to a point where you are fully wide and everything is in focus anyway.
As the skater moves to the far end of the rink you have to zoom in but thats you focus point anyway.
It helps to have lots of light because a smaller aperature gives you massive depth of field with these 1/3 ccd cameras but when you have very low light it becomes much harder, but it still seemed to work with the spotlight.The only change would be if you went for an extreem close up when they were closer than your original focus point then you would need to re focus again.
cheers john

JMCP
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Joined: Nov 21 2000

Hi John,

thanks for the detailed explanation, most helpfull.

Cheers John

harrier
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Joined: Sep 6 2008

Hi dave, no i dont press auto, the camera focus is set at the furthest object i will need to focus on then as i zoom out the depth of field increases keeping skaters in focus as they move closer.
the camera stays in manual all the time. never pressing instant auto.
try it with someone walking towards you starting on telephoto moving to wide. you will see what i mean.