Few new GL1 questions
I'm just getting into shooting with this camcorder and instead of posting 5 individual threads, please bear with me on these question. I really appreciate it! thanks!
How important is setting date and time? Personally, I don't really need it for myself, does it affect anything else? i.e. timecode...
How do you all set your shutter/f stop. With still photography I use a handheld meter. Not sure how to go about it here.
What is db? manual says it is 5 gain values from 3-12. what is this? thanks.
MOvie mode: I have read in past this give a more film-like look, but the manual just says it creates still frames better and mentions nothing about a film look. It even says to avoid if playback if don't need to look at individual frames.
Sharpness level. Do you adjust this? Why would you want anything less than max sharp.
[Kevin C.] "How important is setting date and time? Personally, I don't really need it for myself, does it affect anything else? i.e. timecode..."
Not important. But personally, I would set the camera to the correct date and time. Who wants to look at the wrong setting every time you turn on the camera, plus if you use another one to do a two camera shoot it might be easier to sync up the different shots in post, or at least get you close, timewise.
[Kevin C.] "How do you all set your shutter/f stop. With still photography I use a handheld meter. Not sure how to go about it here.
The GL1 (if it's like the GL2) has a built in light meter. They're called zebra bars. Get used to shooting with zebra bars activated and you won't be overexposing anything. And don't forget that if you use full manual setting you also get an exposure meter appearing in the top left of the viewfinder. Keep the square in the middle of the line, or slightly to the left of centre. If you're unsure of how to access the above just look in your owner's manual.
[Kevin C.] "What is db? manual says it is 5 gain values from 3-12. what is this? thanks.
If you're referring to picture gain, db is decibels..........like in audio. Increasing picture gain is like turing up the volume on a radio, only it's to record a brighter picture in low light situations. Use spareingly. Any setting past +6 or 12 and you'll start to see picture noise in the underexposed areas of your frame. Ugly. Better to use extra lighting instead.
[Kevin C.] "MOvie mode: I have read in past this give a more film-like look, but the manual just says it creates still frames better and mentions nothing about a film look. It even says to avoid if playback if don't need to look at individual frames."
Frame mode is Canon's earlier version of progressive scanning as opposed to normal interlaced video. Frame mode is better if you want to grab pictures from video footage, but the picture resolution is less than shooting 60i (interlaced video). I heard somewhere that Canon's frame mode res. is around 360 lines and normal 60i is 480. Something like that. If you don't need to pull clean stills from the video stay with interlaced shooting with this camera.
[Kevin C.] "Sharpness level. Do you adjust this? Why would you want anything less than max sharp.
Adjust sharpness to your personal preference. Depends on the subject matter, among other things. This is a big topic. Generally, if you want to get a nice soft look to your video you would turn down the sharpness a bit so it doesn't look so edgy, e.g. closeups of faces or artwork, etc. Depends totally on what you're shooting. Reducing sharpness will also help to get rid of the "jaggies" - ragged edges between differences in contrast areas. Like the edge of a white object with a dark background.
Excellent help Don, thanks.
I'm shooting people, short scenes, what would you recommend for sharpness? minimum setting/mid level?
For exposure, essentially, you are saying let the camera to it, don't worry about it too much, and adjust to taste?
(checking the lcd). what do you use, manual, aperature or shutter priority?
the db, then keep to minimum I take it 3.?
You have the zebra on all time? I though it would be annoying to see that. let me know.
On my first test, it did seem grainy on the computer, not even enlarged that much. why? I'm thinking maybe the more light you throw on subject, less grain? of course if you want low light moody feel, maybe grain is the cost?
and did the GL1 come with power adapter? I see a dc coupler but not adapter, unless I lost it.
[Kevin C.] "'m shooting people, short scenes, what would you recommend for sharpness? minimum setting/mid level?
Personally, I leave the sharpness at the default setting. Seems to work for me and I shoot mostly faces. Take it out and play with it. Experiment with the different settings and go with what looks good to you, and more imortantly, what looks good to your clients.
[Kevin C.] "sure, essentially, you are saying let the camera to it, don't worry about it too much, and adjust to taste?
(checking the lcd). what do you use, manual, aperature or shutter priority?
I don't recall saying to let the camera do the exposre settings. I use the full manual setting for access to the exposure meter and zebra bars. Remember that the exposure meter will be displaying info about the total amount of light coming in. If you're shooting people, for example, they may be underexposed even when the meter is telling you the picture is overexposed because of a lot of light coming in from a window, etc. So this is when you want to use zebra bars to get the right amount of exposure on the faces. For caucasian skin set the bars to 80% and increase exposure (lower F stop) until you start to see the bars being painted on facial highlights such as foreheads and cheekbones. For darker skin you need to set zebra bars higher, closer to 85-90%. The exposure meter will get you into the ballpark; the zebra bars will get you spot on. Looking at zebra bars all the time may be annoying at first because you're not used to them, but they're your absolute best friend.
[Kevin C.] "the db, then keep to minimum I take it 3.?
If you don't want to see picture noise you need to shoot straight up with no gain dialed in at all. Gain is for those situations where you don't have control over your lighting. In low light situations adjust the iris first until it's fully open, then shutter speed (don't go below 60) then as a last resort you start cranking up the picture gain. In perfect world the lighting is controlled by you and then adjust the camera to take advantage of that. If you get it right people will look at your GL1 footage and ask if you shot the footage on film!
[Kevin C.] "and did the GL1 come with power adapter? I see a dc coupler but not adapter, unless I lost it.
My GL2 came with a battery charger that doubles as a connection to house power. You should have a power cord that plugs into the wall and the other end plugs into the battery charger. the DC coupler should plug into the charger and then you'll have power to the GL1.
Hope this has all made sense for you.
Do you use a lightmeter, or are you just winging it by eye?
I did not know you set the zebra bars, I thought they are either on or off.
I don't use a lightmeter, probably because my GL2 has a good one built right in. With my camera it's possible to set the zebra bars anywhere from 80% to 100% in 5% increments. Some cameras like the Sony DSR-PD170 start their zebras at 70%, but there's only two settings: 70 or 100% and nothing in between. I use the GL2's zebra 80% setting all the time to shoot caucasian faces. I'm sure........okay I'm not sure since I've never used a GL1, but there must be a setting in your GL1's menu to vary the zebra setting amount.
Remember that if you're recording with zebras set to 100% and you've got them anywhere in your picture, that portion of the frame is lost due to overexposure, because 100% zebras is equal to 100 IRE which equals totally blown out highlights. Some pro video cameras have two separate zebra setups, one for exposing at whatever you set it for and the other to show where the picture is approaching 100 IRE. Suffice it to say that having the option to use zebra bars on your camera is important.