I am trying to figure out a workaround for the following problem:
I have an XH A1. When I am shooting subjects outside on a sunny day, I want to expose for their faces. No matter what I do, the sky is always lost in zebra (100). I have tried tweaking all of the image settings and cannot figure out how to keep the signal legal all around.
Steve Gainer shot 'Wassup Rockers' on a GL2 with waveform monitors and it honestly looks like it was done on 35. He told me that he was able to keep the signal legal even on sunny CA summer days. He didn't specify as to how though.
I am looking for total control over my image for color correction manipulation in post. Any suggestions on how to go about doing this?
[Zach Marion]"I have tried tweaking all of the image settings and cannot figure out how to keep the signal legal all around. "
Since your camera doesn't seem to have any picture profile adjustments you'll have to control the luminance values before you press the record button. Some cameras have the provision to compress the highlights by adjusting the "knee" setting. So, you either expose for the highlights and let the darker values fall where they may or buy a matte box and start using neutral density grad filters.
These issues are a fact of life when shooting with cameras that have relatively narrow exposure latitudes.
Exposing to protect highlights will allow you to bring up the mids somewhat in post. Using an ND grad filter will bring the luminance values of the sky down below 100 IRE but the rest of your picture will still retain the camera's exposure because the bottom 2/3 or 3/4 of the ND grad filter is just clear glass depending on what kind of filter you buy. Check with your local broadcast supplier regarding these filters. There are ND grad filters made for just about every shooting situation.
I do blieve, however, that 'Wassup Rockers' was shot on XL2, not GL2... at least that's what all the industry press said about it when it came out. Not being familiar with the GL2 I don't know if it is lacking some of the controls of the XL2. Not sure.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc. fantasticplastic.com
The XH A1 does in fact have controls for compressing or expanding both highlights and blacks. You can use these controls to somewhat compress (or expand) the dynamic range of the captured image.
A graduated neutral density filter can help, but I prefer them for landscapes without people or buildings. I can (usually) tell when one is used, but sometimes it's all you can do.
If the subject's head is in front of the sky (in the dark side of the filter) and the body is below the horizon (in the clear side of the filter), you will see the gradation in exposure accross the subject, which is annoying as heck.