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Why am I retarded? My GY-HD200u light issue

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Chris Schwartz
Why am I retarded? My GY-HD200u light issue
on Sep 21, 2010 at 3:24:18 am

So I’ve owned several “prosumer” DV cameras in my short lifetime of film, and I’ve never run into this issue before, nor have I had a camera with so many manual options. As I’m learning all of these new buttons and gizmos and such, I’m shooting my main projects in full auto mode, which is probably my first mistake, but all the other cameras I’ve used in full auto have never had a problem like this:

When I’m shooting with supplemental lighting from certain angles, it seems like when a subject moves, the camera tries to automatically adjust the gain or exposure for some reason, resulting in quite a noticeable shift in the brightness of the picture. It looks like someone just randomly bumps the contrast or gamma on the camera. It’s not always noticeable when you’re watching the movement, but if you focus on the background, you can see quite a noticeable shift.

I’m assuming that either a shadow is falling on the lens or their body is blocking some of the incoming light and it’s causing the camera to hunt for the correct exposure. I’m guessing the easy fix is to turn off full auto mode and shoot 100% manual, but I’m also wondering if perhaps I have some setting on auto that shouldn’t be. I haven’t tried shooting in full manual to see if I get the same effect. I also don’t know if it is a shutter issue or some advanced setting within the camera? Any info on this would be extremely helpful if you’ve seen it before. I have a zip file with some mp4’s if you want to see exactly what I’m talking about. You can see the exposure shift which also changes the color temp it seems:

1109_lightchanges.zip

This is the first major problem I’ve had with the camera besides some frozen pixels, so I’m hoping that I can get this fixed before my next major project that’s starting up in a few weeks. I'm hoping that there's some camera guru's out there on the forum!

Thanks in advance for your help!


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Mark Petereit
Re: Why am I retarded? My GY-HD200u light issue
on Sep 21, 2010 at 12:30:01 pm

In my experience with the JVC-GY110U and the JVC-GY250U, I learned very early that full auto is useful only as a quick setup shortcut on a stable shot, then you turn it off and tweak as necessary to achieve your desired look.

Once you get used to the camera and learn the basics of good lighting and shot composition, you'll never turn full-auto on again. I haven't touched that switch in probably 3 years.


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Chris Schwartz
Re: Why am I retarded? My GY-HD200u light issue
on Sep 21, 2010 at 5:01:11 pm

Thanks! What are the main things that I should learn to adjust when full auto is off?

The ones I know for sure are:

Focus
Shutter speed

The ones I don't know if I need to play with are:

Gain?
White balance (we usually adjust this in post)?
Anything else?

Obviously I don't know too much..haha.


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Mark Petereit
Re: Why am I retarded? My GY-HD200u light issue
on Sep 21, 2010 at 6:40:04 pm

I think the general rule for shutter speed is that is should be twice your frames per second. You need to white balance BEFORE you shoot, preferably with a white board subjected to the same lighting that will be present in your shoot. I use a 2'x4' piece of foam-core that I picked up at Hobby Lobby. It doubles as a nice bounce light for fill.

On the JVC's you generally don't want to boost gain -- it adds noise. Always better to get your lighting right.

Unless you're doing something "artistic", while you're shooting you should only have to adjust zoom/focus and only OCCASIONALLY iris, and then only subtle changes. Typically, if I find myself adjusting my iris, it usually means I'm about to shoot the whole scene over. The obvious exception to that is if you're shooting a continuous shot as you're moving into/out of a building into/out of daylight. And in those settings, you set up your shots separately, note each of your iris settings, then shoot.

How much camera experience do you have? What are you shooting?


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Chris Schwartz
Re: Why am I retarded? My GY-HD200u light issue
on Sep 21, 2010 at 7:08:49 pm

What is the setting to adjust the iris? I think that's what my problem is with the light gradations...but even when I turn off full auto, I can't move the spinner by the lens. I tried to look up aperture in the book, but didn't find anything. Do I not have to worry about ISO then?

I've never found the need to dabble with the technical aspects of a camera before as auto modes have always seemed to work for me or the camera was so crappy I had no real control...and anything that didn't work I could fix in post (I've gotten REAL good at color correction..haha).

But I've been around the low-end prosumer/consumer cameras a lot. I've shot 4 crappy indie features and over 30 short films. I'm currently part of a studio that's starting commercials and other high end productions as well as sticking to the indie film hobby, so it's about time I start to really learn about the things I'm doing to make sure it's done right...and with this camera having a good bit of manual controls, it's a good starting point.

Thanks for your help with this.


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Mark Petereit
Re: Why am I retarded? My GY-HD200u light issue
on Sep 21, 2010 at 7:20:11 pm

Wow, you really need to take an hour, read your camera manual and familiarize yourself with the controls. Seriously. I'm not saying that to be condescending -- it's what I did when I pulled my first JVC GY-HD110U out of the box.

Switch on the bottom of the lens controller, (M)anual or (A)uto.


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Chris Schwartz
Re: Why am I retarded? My GY-HD200u light issue
on Sep 22, 2010 at 12:48:22 pm

haha, I did read the manual. The problem I have with the operator's manual is that it only tells you HOW to perform a task, not when to, why to, and what the perfect setting is. Most of the settings I have adjusted via the manual, or similar. I searched for aperture in the user manual online, but couldn't find that part. I do remember switching that lens controller when the back-focus got screwed up. I never knew what it really did. heh. thanks for the tip! Maybe I'll go run back and re-read the manual...nightly...


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Mark Petereit
Re: Why am I retarded? My GY-HD200u light issue
on Sep 22, 2010 at 1:51:09 pm

They don't put that stuff in the user manual because they assume that people already know "why" -- the manual is only to direct the new user to the "how" that is particular to their piece of hardware.

I suggest you pick up an introductory book to digital videography. Even a beginners book to standard photography can help. Again, I don't want to sound condescending, I just really feel it would be helpful for you to understand the "why" and familiarize yourself with some basic terminology.

For example, an experienced cameraman would know when someone says "aperture" it means the same thing as "iris". They would know that it controls the amount of light allowed through the lens, and how adjusting it effects not only your exposure, but also your depth of field.

At this point in your experience, you really, REALLY want to get knowledgeable about all this stuff. It's what separates the professionals from the amateurs.


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Chris Schwartz
Re: Why am I retarded? My GY-HD200u light issue
on Sep 22, 2010 at 4:28:48 pm

Agreed. I'm still learning, as this is the first camera with manual controls I've gotten my hands on. I have been reading up on websites about the different photography terminology, so I'm getting there, just going slow. I'll have to find a good book for photography stuff. Is there anything that's video specific?


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Phil Balsdon
Re: Why am I retarded? My GY-HD200u light issue
on Sep 25, 2010 at 8:52:18 pm

When JVC designed this camera they asked a lot of professional cameramen all over the world what they required in a camera. It is therefore loaded with those features that give the control preferred by pros and devoid of consumer features that essentially produce an average but adequate result.

You therefore need a thorough understanding of video cinematography so you can tell it exactly what you want it to do.

You'll find an excellent DVD tutorial for the JVC camera here http://www.dvinfo.net/shop/prohd
but this is still more about using the camera as opposed to being a professional cinematographer.

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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Will Granzier
Re: Why am I retarded? My GY-HD200u light issue
on Sep 26, 2010 at 8:45:31 pm

Hi Chris

Well , I dont even have to read any further to tell you that you should never try and fix in POST what can be done right from the onset with the cam. I do sport shows for TX and take an average of 6 white balances as the day progresses. I like setting my presets to 5300 and 4300 respectively in the studio with a control chart. This ensures that I have two settings to switch especially on those cloudy days where the sun peeks out behind the clouds every now and then. I shoot lots of watersport which makes the whitebalance even more crtical. NEVER try to correct in post unless its ABSOLUTELY the only way.

The JVC has Excellent depth of field on the standard lens. I always try and shoot at 50 shutter and aim for a fstop of 11 - 8. If I need the depth I set the fstop to what I want and adjust the shutter to get it close to damm on the exposure.

If you can learn to stay away from auto as most cameramen rely on it with Z1 et all !!! You will become a better cameraman. Manual is the way to go. No serious lensman will EVER use auto. Its a quick setup gauge.. Thats It

Regards

Will Granzier


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Why am I retarded? My GY-HD200u light issue
on Sep 29, 2010 at 11:46:43 pm

Stuck pixels are super easy to fix on these cameras. I was going to post how to do it, but you have to get into a menu that can get you into trouble.
After reading how new you are, you should either hire someone to show you how to do it, or send it back to JVC.

As far as the rest of your post, I really think you should think about working as an assistant, or grip, or pay someone to give you some lessons on basic lighting and camera operation. Not trying to be a jerk, but I think it would get you up to speed a lot quicker, and would be a lot less frustrating.

Scott Sheriff
Director
SST Digital Media
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


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Chris Schwartz
Re: Why am I retarded? My GY-HD200u light issue
on Sep 30, 2010 at 10:41:11 pm

yeah, the lighting isn't the problem, it's the auto focus. I don't have any stuck pixels atm, but I have had to reset them before. It was pretty simple. I may be relatively new to the manual aspects of camera equipment, but I've been around cameras a long time, so I can pick things up pretty quickly. Thanks for the reply. I got a DVD to help me learn some new tricks!


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Why am I retarded? My GY-HD200u light issue
on Oct 3, 2010 at 5:56:34 am

That is good you have found a DVD with some good stuff on it. I would still recommend working with someone as an assistant when you get the chance.
Lighting, DoF, focus, focal length, are all inter-related, and understanding how/when/what to change to get the look, or result you want can be learned a lot quicker in an interactive environment, like on the job, with someone that has been around.

Scott Sheriff
Director
SST Digital Media
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


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