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Canon XA20 - Low light filming with 3rd party photographer shooting using flash

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Troy Adams
Canon XA20 - Low light filming with 3rd party photographer shooting using flash
on Mar 25, 2015 at 8:53:25 am

Not 100% sure how to word this or if its even in the correct area, but i was filming a wedding a few weeks ago and had a Canon XA20 set up as a 2nd angle wide shot of the first dance (50fps at 120 shutter)

Going thru the footage the other day doing the edit and i noticed that each time the photographer fired his flash i would get a strobe effect (just like the one you get if your shutter speed is set the same as a fluoro light) But this would only happen just after the flash was fired and then it would disappear until the next photo with flash

Wondering if anyone has come across this before


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Todd Terry
Re: Canon XA20 - Low light filming with 3rd party photographer shooting using flash
on Mar 25, 2015 at 2:25:03 pm

Are you absolutely sure you were in a full manual mode and that your shutter speed was locked? That sounds to me like the flash was tricking the camera into momentarily cranking up the shutter speed.

By the way, just chiming in with an unsolicited opinion here, but your shutter speed is quite fast. If you are actually shooting at 50fps (was this for slow mo?), then a "normal" shutter speed would be 1/100th of a second. Anything higher than that and you are going to start getting that strobby choppy staccato look that is indicative of narrow-shutter shooting (i.e., the movies "Gladiator" or "Saving Private Ryan").

A "normal" shutter (one that is equivalent to a 180° shutter in a real film camera) is "one over twice the frame rate." For example, if you are shooting 24p then a normal shutter speed would be 1/48th. If you are shooting 30fps, then it is 1/60th, etc. That little equation gives the proper amount of motion blur to footage for your brain to interpret the action as smooth motion. Higher shutter speeds obviously give less blur (a 1/120th speed would pretty much freeze the action perfectly still unless you had really fast motion going on), and give you that choppy look.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Troy Adams
Re: Canon XA20 - Low light filming with 3rd party photographer shooting using flash
on Mar 25, 2015 at 7:35:46 pm

Hi Todd

Appreciate the response. And yes im absolutely sure the shutter speed was locked - i always shoot in full manual mode

Re the 180 rule - i always follow this rule, but unfortunately for this camera it only has a shutter of 1/50 or then 1/120 - I shoot the first dance from this angle at 50fps to be able to slow down some of it for effect. Also i use a Sony NEX EA50 and i shoot at 50fps as well but it has a shutter of 1/100.

Just thought it may of been something someone on here has come across before. Next time ill try dropping the frame rate to 25fps and shooting at 1/50 and see how that works out....


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Todd Terry
Re: Canon XA20 - Low light filming with 3rd party photographer shooting using flash
on Mar 25, 2015 at 8:05:33 pm

Give that a try and see how it works... hopefully it will help.

You said you shoot at 50fps so you can slow down some of it...

One mistake you see all the time is people shooting at a higher frame rate than they need. They seem to think "Well, I know most of this project will be at 24p, but some of it might need to be slow-mo'd so I'll shoot everything at 60fps for good slow-mo, and I can always show it at normal speed if needed."

On the surface that makes sense, but it's not a good way to get good images. Re-interpreting fast-frame-rate footage to the slower frame rate of your project (in order to get "normal" speed motion) can look ok, but it will never look as good as if you had shot the footage at the "normal" speed. For one thing, you'll need to do a speed change that is still exactly frame-for-frame accurate, in order for the pictures to not get mushy. I.e., if you shoot 60fps but are working in a 24p project, the footage will really only look perfect if the slow-mo is 40% (40% of 60 = 24, and you get a perfect frame-for-frame edit). For the second thing, overcranked footage that is presented at "normal" speed will be the same as footage shot with a much-too-high shutter speed, and might look staccato... because it was shot at a higher shutter speed.

In a perfect world you'd shoot all your "normal" speed footage at a normal frame rate (24, 25, 30... whatever your project and area of the world is)... and you'd overcrank only the footage you intend to slow-mo by the exact amount you want to slow it. I know that's not always practical, but that's why I said that was a "perfect world" scenario.

I know those are things you weren't asking about... but when you mentioned shooting at a higher framerate I felt need to mention them.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Troy Adams
Re: Canon XA20 - Low light filming with 3rd party photographer shooting using flash
on Mar 25, 2015 at 8:40:27 pm

I joined this forum for advice and to maybe even give some and help others if possible. So I appreciate any notes or advice by other professionals that have more experience than I do.

So thanks todd. I'll take it on board. Weddings are run and gun and rarely you can pre plan anything at all. I try and cover as many angles and scenarios but also not overdo it so I make mistakes. I have found the XD and Sony both set at 50fps and pulled into premier pro on a 25th time line does give me really smooth footage. But in the future I will only shoot at 25 and crank it up where I think I should. I have actually slowed 25 fps footage in after effects very effectively for the right situation. Let's face it I only shoot weddings, people generally don't move very fast like in sports video.


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Todd Terry
Re: Canon XA20 - Low light filming with 3rd party photographer shooting using flash
on Mar 25, 2015 at 8:51:31 pm

[Troy Adams] " I only shoot weddings, people generally don't move very fast like in sports video."

Yes, that's a good thing and it is what is saving you. You're probably able to get away with higher shutter speeds than I would be in my day-to-day shooting.

Ceremonies, for sure, are going to be slow and lethargic... so higher-than-normal shutter speeds might not make a bit of difference most of the time. However, receptions (especially dances) very well might have some fast motion that will look strobby and turn the party into the action-movie-look if shutters get too high.

Another thing to consider is lighting... I've never shot a wedding (and never want to... I hate even going to them), but my friends who do are constantly complaining at the low light levels. Keep in mind that shooting at a shutter speed of 1/100th (irrespective of the frame rate) is going to require twice as much light for the same exposure compared to shooting at 1/50th. If your lens aperture is wide open, then the way to compensate for that light loss in camera is to jack up the ISO... which usually isn't a good idea and will make footage more grainy and noisy. Just food for thought.

Happy shooting!

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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