ex1 colour fluctuation
I recently bought a Sony Ex1r and I used it to film a few Weddings without any problems. However I did come across one worrying thing when editing the last shoot. It was a long eventful Wedding with lots of run and gun work, a traditional ceremony in a Gazebo out of doors followed by a bahai ceremony a boat trip and a photoshoot in a wooded glade. All the footage looked great except for the speeches which had colour fluctuations happening for no apparent reason. Behind the top table were tall French windows and to get over the back-lighting problem I put up two spots about fifteen feet away. The walls either side were white ( or pale cream ) The other lighting in the room was tungsten -( downlights and a chandelier)
In the captured footage the neutral tones of the footage would occasionally go quite pink and then sometimes bluish or slightly green looking. This gave me two days of extra work trying to smooth out the fluctuations in post as this part of the proceedings was one continuous shoot of people making speeches with no opportunity to disguise the fact that the light was varying wildly when it shouldn't have been.
Can anyone suggest a reason for this happening as I have another wedding to shoot in a few days time.
Are sure the white balance is not in auto?
When I first started using my EX1r I noticed the Auto White Balance was extremely reactive in that it did actually change color temperature every time it sensed a new light source...which is what it is supposed to do. I solved the problem by picking a White Balance and sticking with it.
Hi and Thanks for the replies
I remember setting the camera up with two white balances for the days event. One was cinegamma 1 and the other was cinegamma 3 - One for outdoors and one for indoors. As far as I know I did not use automatic white balance - ( unless by accident it got switched over.)
I guess from the two replies so far it seems logical that this may have been the case. Presumeably there is no other explanation. Is this correct. ? ? ?
Is there any way to check this in the original footage as there is with metadata in stills photography ?
[brian paterson] "Is there any way to check this in the original footage as there is with metadata in stills photography ?"
Yes. Activate the Acqusition tab in Sony's Clip Browser and the metadata will show the colour balance on a thermometer scale and below that will be the numerical w/b setting along with which w/b mode you were using.
Thanks for the advice. I don't use clip browser and have just opened it for the first time. It is V 2.6. I have tried for two hours to find a way to import a clip from my files into clip browser but with no success. I can get to the captured and rendered files etc. from within clip browser but they are all greyed out and I have even tried exporting from FCP to sony clip browser but nothing happens.
You say activate the aquisition tab. I cannot find anything which says aquisition.
Is this only possible if I am importing files by using the Sony software.?? Usually I just import straight from the EX1 directly into FCP
The clips I need to examine have all been wiped from the card and only exist in my capture scratch folder.
I have tried everyhing I can think of but with no luck.
Can you explain further
If you've imported straight into FCP and erased your source clips, you've erased your camera masters and the metadata that comes with it. I do not understand why anyone would ever erase the camera masters. I don't know what professional would teach this. The BPAV is your camera master and should be archived.
Hi Craig, Not Sure I follow what you mean. If I import the original footage directly into final cut pro then surely those files are my masters. What else is there. - I am no techie, I am more creative so excuse my ignorance.
What are BPAV files anyway and appart from them containing information about how the camera was set up on the shoot are they any less of a master than importing them directly into FCP and archiving those files.
I just want the simplest method without going through a whole load of different applications.
The one thing I would like to be able to change is the annoying way fcp brings everything in from the EX1 as individual clips. Before I got this camera all footage used to come in as one long clip. I could then scrub through and select the bits I want. Now I have to keep opening clip after clip after clip to search for material. Would this sony import software you speak of help me overcome this.
[brian paterson] "Hi Craig, Not Sure I follow what you mean. If I import the original footage directly into final cut pro then surely those files are my masters."
Nope. Not Masters. They have been re-wraped to .mov and most of the original metadata is gone. The .mov is primarily for FCP. They are not easily portable to other NLEs or other computers at all since the EX .mov player codec resides as a resources to FCP.
[brian paterson] "What are BPAV files anyway and appart from them containing information about how the camera was set up on the shoot are they any less of a master than importing them directly into FCP and archiving those files."
BPAV can be the source of .mov, .mxf, mp4 that can be used directly in some programs. And you now have a problem in which you can not check the original camera setup which can diagnose the issue.
[brian paterson] "I am no techie, I am more creative so excuse my ignorance."
But your clients will not excuse this. If you make life difficult, time consuming, expensive for them, you will lose them. You have files that are difficult to move to other systems. You've lost information you can use to diagnose the settings. You have colour fluctuation issue you're trying to resolve. Is this "creative?" You must either be a techie or the "creative" will not happen to your clients or even your satisfaction. The tell a "story" you must KNOW THE TOOLS. Even the oldest oral tradition story teller knows language and vocabulary and grammar, even if only intuitive, to tell that story. You use video cameras. You MUST know how to use them. You know have a problem. There was something you did not know. You've tossed the dictionary, the metadata, that would allow you to look up the vocabulary to diagnose the problem. You've tossed the BPAV away, the dictionary that would allow clients, peers, co-creators to work with you. While not all techies are creative story tellers, there is no creative separate from techie.
[brian paterson] "I just want the simplest method without going through a whole load of different applications. "
How is what you are facing "simple?" You may have made things difficult. The "load of applications" are there to assets you. One must FIRST plan a viable workflow or you dig yourself into a whole. ClipBrower with CRC to copy BPAV. BPAV backed of to archival media of choice. XDCAM Transfer or Log & Transfer to import the media into FCP.
[brian paterson] "The one thing I would like to be able to change is the annoying way fcp brings everything in from the EX1 as individual clips. Before I got this camera all footage used to come in as one long clip. I could then scrub through and select the bits I want. Now I have to keep opening clip after clip after clip to search for material. Would this sony import software you speak of help me overcome this."
The horseman bemoans the coming of the automobile, the locomotive, the airplane. Selecting bits was sub-clipping and now each clip stands on its own. Time code breaks are now known. Control track brakes are no longer an issue. The need for pre-roll is gone. Beginning and endings of shots are now known so dissolves or FX don't pick up errant frames. Even camera settings changed from shot to shot are now known. In an instant you can throw everything in a timeline and put that in the viewer if you choose.
Are you a teacher, you certainly write like one and you really made me smile. I will consider myself well and truly ticked off. You took me back 50 years and made me feel like a schoolboy again.
But enough of the frivolity. I reall appreciate what you say and you are probably right. I should know more. In this day and age though there are just not enough hours in a day to constantly learn and re-learn everything, as well as get out the work, do the advertising do the promotion do the filming do the editing, make the DVD's design the cases and the disc do the invoicing etc etc and that is just the video work alone never mind all the other stuff from my other work as a stills photographer and so on and so on. As it is I work sixteen hours a day seven days a week trying to do it all and learn it all so excuse me if I missed something.
I don't make life difficult for my clients by the way or any more expensive. I film weddings and provide them with an excellent product for a set fee. End of story. If things go wrong it is at my own expense and this is the first time I have had colour fluctuations, but with new equipment there are always going to be teething troubles. If I were sending out files for others to use it would be different but I don't. I work completely alone and independantly and have never had a need for anything other than a quicktime file to work with.
I know how to tell a story. I have had over thirty children's books published with a series currently being broadcast on television around the world in 16 countries. On that front technical knowledge is not going make anyone a story teller. I know the language grammer and vocabulary of film and it's that creative process I spend most of my time trying to refine. When I paint I do not analyse the colours or know anything about them, they just get thrown together to make beautiful pictures. It's an emotional, creative thing.
Cameras and computers on the other hand are complicate sophisticated machines which have badly written handbooks, and never use plain english to explain themselves.
So we do our best to muddle through and learn as much as we can for the needs we have. If time allows more we might do more, if we can make more money we might buy tuition (expensive). If we have to learn by trawling the internet it's very confusing and that is why it's nice to have people like yourself to help on those issues we can't find the answer to in other places.
Thank you for your advice. I will put all my clients on hold to learn about the Sony importing software and do some tests to see how it works.
[brian paterson] "Are you a teacher, you certainly write like one and you really made me smile. I will consider myself well and truly ticked off. You took me back 50 years and made me feel like a schoolboy again."
At one point I went from senior editor to facility engineer as part of a job change. My first task was to train the producers to become Avid editors. They ranged from young guns to people 60ish who had decades being creative producers but had NEVER touched a computer, let alone a computer base linear or even non linear edit system. Within weeks after I was done with them (although it was ongoing) these producers had edited segments (for the first time) airing on national network television.
[brian paterson] " In this day and age though there are just not enough hours in a day to constantly learn and re-learn everything, as well as . . ."
I absolutely agree. I suffer that pain regularly and you'll see that in the posts of other veterans. My business plan allows me some time to attempt in inch forward in the tsunami of knowledge headed straight for us at a relentless pace.
It also means acknowledging what one doesn't know at a given moment and getting an assistant (and NOT an "intern" either). An assistant is NOT necessarily a failed DP or a failed Editor. They are talented at setting up things on the tech side and they are to be treasured as the usung hero who may save the "creative's" hienie. Granted we now live in an era where we must do it all . . . but that means you must be a techie.
[brian paterson] "I film weddings and provide them with an excellent product for a set fee."
Lots of experienced wedding photographers have assistants that are their "Tanto" as "Lone Rangers." They are hard to come by. Clients don't understand why those "teams" charge more these days.
[brian paterson] "If things go wrong it is at my own expense and this is the first time I have had colour fluctuations, but with new equipment there are always going to be teething troubles. If I were sending out files for others to use it would be different but I don't. I work completely alone and independantly and have never had a need for anything other than a quicktime file to work with."
New drivers must learn to drive defensively. That means having a workflow you can retrace back in case trouble arrises. Whether new or experienced, one doesn't drive without a seat belt. Everyone says they never get into an accident . . . until they do. Those with seat belts live. ClipBrowser with CRC to copy the BPAV and archive is your seatbelt. Even when learning to drive, the instructor will tell you to fasten the seatbelt. Whether one knows how to drive or is just learning, the seat belt is fastened.
What should happen years from now if FCP is gone or has changed hands or . . . and you will have EX .mov files that you need to use. Never depend on a proprietary combination as an archival master. BPAV can travel anywhere whether it be to MXF, MOV or MP4 native. Should your Mac blow up one day and you need to borrow a friend's Windows box with Adobe Premiere, you'd be set to go with the BPAV. Seat belts aren't there because one expects the accident. They're there for the unanticipated occurrence.
You don't work alone. You're working with us here long distance trying to help you analyze a problem and the master, with the metadata is gone.
We can speculate that auto white balance was on even accidentally, maybe there was fluorescent lighting near the area of the shoot (even outside the window). Seeing that info in ClipBrowser and jogging frame by frame might have given you more clues.
[brian paterson] " On that front technical knowledge is not going make anyone a story teller."
See above about assistants. Somebody, whether it's you or another person, has to have the technical knowledge.
[brian paterson] "Cameras and computers on the other hand are complicate sophisticated machines which have badly written handbooks, and never use plain english to explain themselves. "
And the person who can translate the Rosetta Stone may not be capable of writing a story but they are highly valued.
On the other hand if the stone is gone (the metadata lost) there is nothing to translate. The translators are here to offer you help but you lost a key bit of info.
[brian paterson] "If we have to learn by trawling the internet it's very confusing and that is why it's nice to have people like yourself to help on those issues we can't find the answer to in other places."
Just a very very simple lesson. Fasten the seatbelt.
A very simple workflow:
ClipBrowser with CRC On to copy
Backup BPAV to medium of choice
Import into FCP
You have the Quicktime files you need and the BPAV with metadata preserved for any unanticipated event. Certainly we ALL stumble along the way. Heck that's the reason for the seatbelt after all.
Even against the overwhelming information onslaught the very first thing to learn . . . safety first.
I was In the back seat of a '61 Comet when my mother had a car accident. The '63 Comet that followed had seat belts long before they became law. The only technology I knew was Lincoln Logs. I grew up knowing "Buckle Your Seatbelt." Safety First. It's not a technology vs creative thing for me.
Brian, stay safe please.
Thanks a lot Craig. I have a Wedding to shoot on Friday and will adopt the workflow you suggest as the correct way to proceed.
You sound like the sort of guy I could have a good chat with down the pub. If you are ever coming to England (I assume you are in America) send me an email. I'm only fifty miles from London.
With Kind Regards
Brian. I can't resist butting in on your epic with Craig. First of all I should say (Craig didn't) that he is the man on this forum when it comes to workflow for the EX cameras, as he is on many other matters too.
I too am more 'artistic' than techie but you can't just rely on your art with all this new kit. Presumably you chose to go with the EX tapeless acquisition as indeed did I, and it was obvious that we have to learn the new game. The very first thing any EX owner must do (IMHO) is view, learn and inwardly digest,the workshop on the cameras by Doug Jensen and published on DVD by Vortex Media. Everything is covered from camera set ups, Picture Profiles, etc to post shooting workflows and it helped me hugely to understand what I was getting in to. Even now, on my third production with this camera I revert to the DVD on various points.
I too am based in London and would be happy to chat to you over a beer or coffee sometime, shared experience is the secret of The Cow's success. I'm not sure what the approved method of contact is if one doesn't want to divulge details in public, maybe the Cow bosses could give you my E Mail.
Tried to find some way of contacting the creative cow bosses but couldn't see any way of doing it and can't spend any more time searching.
I don't actually live in London. I am fifty miles West but I do visit once in a while. Give me a ring if you want. 01189 402213
No lecture here. Just some very sound advice: Buy yourself the Vortex "How to" DVDs and Field Guide on the EX1. I cannot recommend them highly enough!
Doug Jensen does an excellent job of explaining the camera and gives all sorts of insight into getting the best from your investment. I bought both and keep the Field Guide in my camera case at all times for location reference. http://www.vortexmedia.com/DVD_EX1.html
He recommends VERY strongly that almost all "auto" settings should be disabled - especially the auto white balance - which, by the sound of your description, appears to be precisely your problem. If the wedding was as hectic as you suggest, you might easily have knocked something by mistake. If you were accidentally in ATW, any flash photography occuring during your shot would be enough to set it wandering - hence your fluctuations in colour.
NB: If you pushed the "Full Auto" button by mistake, it completely overrides any white balance you might have set using your preset white balance memory switch!!
The BBC also have some excellent reference info for settings for the EX1r: http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/pubs/whp/whp034-add30.shtml
Also: PLEASE use the Clip Browser software to transfer your clips. This seems the only way you can ensure that a duplicate copy of your original material gets onto whatever archival device you might have. I copy all my material to two duplicate external hard drives. Each then is stored in completely different locations.
I have great empathy for your situation what with the masses of technical advances being made in this field on a minute-by-minute basis. I started my career at the BBC in London back in 1975 - the days of 2" tape...when the term "quad" referred to the spinning heads of the VTR, not processors in a computer! After I sold my film company, I decided to get back into the creative realm and shoot and edit my own documentary work. Ouch! What a learning curve! But I have to say that I have enjoyed it all, and a guy like Jensen really does simplify the technical aspects to the acquisition process.
On another matter you may find useful...I have been using the Hoodman RAW HDSC 32GB cards with great success. It allows me to have more cards available on my shoots while not breaking the bank. And they have been fine for overcranking too.
Good luck with your upcoming shoot. Just make sure those "auto" buttons are off!
[brian paterson] " remember setting the camera up with two white balances for the days event. One was cinegamma 1 and the other was cinegamma 3 - One for outdoors and one for indoors. As far as I know I did not use automatic white balance - ( unless by accident it got switched over.) "
Great conversation guys. Am I the only one who picked up on that these are not WB settings but PP settings?? Sorry, got to the party late.
Higher Ground Media
A PP can have a preset white balance. It's still possible to bump the switch and go into ATW though. It's possible for the latter to happen and miss it at first since the impact isn't immediately obvious.
For example, PP is set to 5600 and you bump the switch to ATW. It settles to a similar white balance because that just happens to be the environment you're shooting in. The color temp/lighting changes and, at that point, you notice the shift.
I believe brian mentions that there were windows in the background if indoor is about 3200 and out is 5600 and ATW is on, things can shift. He mentions setting up spots but I'm not sure if they were gelled to 5600. Even if they were, there could be 3200 sources in the room as well. Heck even if white balance was locked, the mixed color temperature could be nightmarish especially if the camera changes position, changing the mix.
Either way it may have been a tough lighting situation.
Gotcha, been there done that. I used to shoot regularly in a room with incandescent chandeliers and down lights, florescent coffers, and lots of large windows. Pretty abysmal.
Higher Ground Media
Mick your comment about regularly shooting in an abysmally lit room reminded me so much about the way we used to encounter bad accoustics at some venues when I played in a band and how we would invent methods of overcoming it. Only now i'm rating the lighting in rooms for filming and trying to solve those problems. All good fun though.
It's been great having all your comments and some very sound advice. Thank you all so much for joining in. It has enlightened me a lot.
Best wishes and good luck to you all.