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White BG - no waveform monitor

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Bob Cole
White BG - no waveform monitor
on Sep 28, 2006 at 10:57:59 am

I have to shoot a local TV spot of actors in front of a white BG (think "I'm a Mac"), tomorrow.

I'm writing for advice on how to get to maximum white on the BG without causing clipping problems for the broadcast. I'll be using the client's Sony HDV Z1 camera; I suspect they'll be editing in FCP.

The last time I shot somebody in front of a white BG, my waveform monitor was working... not anymore. But when I did have the waveform monitor, the white looked too gray until I lit the BG just past the 100-IRE mark. I shot it with the BG over 100 IRE, and it worked out fine. (I had very carefully calibrated the waveform monitor with color bars, on location, so I am still puzzled about this.)

The Sony Z1 has an adjustable zebra setting in 5-IRE increments. I was thinking of setting it to 95 or 100, and aiming for just-barely zebras on the BG.

Is that a reasonable plan? If the BG looks too gray at that point, can I push past 100 IRE? Like I said, the shoot's tomorrow, so if you have some career-saving advice, I'd appreciate it, sooner rather than later.

Thanks.

-- Bob C



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Frank Otto
Re: White BG - no waveform monitor
on Sep 28, 2006 at 11:24:11 pm

In those cases without a scope, I've lit the bg right to the clip (in this case 102ire) then lit the talent all while viewing on a calibrated crt until it was a balanced look between white and skin tone.

I've also done the bg to 98ire - or the top of the zebra and matched talent levels, then slightly boosted chroma in post to push the talent when I couldnt increase lumanace or alter black level.

I just used the HDV to shoot a overly lit, overly bright Vegas stage show for DVD release - the camera seems to handle a much wider brightness lattitude for a DVcam considering the size of the sensor/imager. I also like the color monitor/lcd on the camera...the ones we used were pretty true for colorometry.

Cheers,

Frank Otto



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Bob Cole
Re: White BG - no waveform monitor
on Oct 2, 2006 at 10:29:04 pm

Thanks Frank. After all that, the client decided on a gray background.

More generally, with the Sony Z1 HDV camera, how does it handle blown-out areas? I've been amazed by the amount of light this camera wants, and wonder whether that has something to do with the latitude you've observed.

-- B



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Frank Otto
Re: White BG - no waveform monitor
on Oct 3, 2006 at 7:22:55 am

Could be the light requirement for the sensors are huge, dunno...we were seeing 48 1200w and 575w moving light units mixed with 100 1K and 2K Source Four pars plus four xenon followspots, xenon color washers.

Heavy backlight and at times I thought I'd need welders goggles it was so bright - easilly 500fc if not more, occasionally. Many white and metalic costumes to boot against dark skin, dark set and drape with brilliant and over saturated cycs. I saw a good bit of detail in the white areas in the vf where I expected total blow out and the director was monitoring via a 24" crt in the back of the house - and he commented on the detail in the gold headresses.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see the footage - I'll have to wait until its release...

Cheers,

Frank Otto



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