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AF100 over exposed?

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Steve Martin
AF100 over exposed?
on Feb 11, 2011 at 2:07:09 am

Hi everyone,

I also posted this on the panasonic forum, but I'm not sure if my problem is in FCP....

I just got a new AF100 and am starting to do some test shoots. While i admit I haven't gone through the manual in any detail, it's doing something odd and I thought I'd post to see if anyone else has seen it.

We shot 2 different scenes - one outside on a partly cloudy day and the other in our studio with a green screen cyc. Both test shots came back pretty over exposed.

On the outdoor shoot, we set the zebras to 100 and exposed so that the zebra's were just starting to show up in the white clouds.

For the indoor shoot, we set the zebras to 70 and exposed so that the zebras were just starting to show up on the talent's cheek bones and nose.

Everything looked great in both the eye piece and LCD as well down converted to a Sony 8" NTSC field monitor.

However, when we imported the footage into FCP (trans coded to ProRes HQ) everything looked hot - no detail in the sky and the talent was blown out on the green screen shot.

I'll be doing more detailed testing (and reading the the manual) tomorrow to make sure I understand all the camera settings, but it seems odd that I really like the image in the viewfinder but it doesn't translate into the edit suite.

Doing something wrong in the Log and transfer process? Any thoughts or insights would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Steve

Production is fun - but lets not forget: Nobody ever died on the video table!


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Steve Eisen
Re: AF100 over exposed?
on Feb 11, 2011 at 4:52:18 am

How are you viewing your FCP timeline? Please don't tell me your computer monitor.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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Steve Martin
Re: AF100 over exposed?
on Feb 11, 2011 at 1:25:33 pm

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the reply. I think I know what you're refering to and the difference I'm seeing between field and edit suite is pretty dramatic. I'm clearly doing something wrong. I have to determine if it's a camera setting or something I'm doing when I bring it in to FCP or something else all together.

In fact, the green screen shoot was an actual project for a client that we shot with our HPX300. We just brought in the AF100 right next to the P2 cam so we could do a side by side test with a few minutes of footage.


In the edit suite we're monitoring through Panasonic 26" HD monitor via HD-SDI from FCP with Kona 3. The P2 footage looks perfect in the same set-up.

Production is fun - but lets not forget: Nobody ever died on the video table!


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Rafael Amador
Re: AF100 over exposed?
on Feb 11, 2011 at 6:42:49 am

[Steve Martin] "On the outdoor shoot, we set the zebras to 100 and exposed so that the zebra's were just starting to show up in the white clouds.

For the indoor shoot, we set the zebras to 70 and exposed so that the zebras were just starting to show up on the talent's cheek bones and nose."

Not sure about the PANA (I guess too) but similar cameras has two sets of Zebra patters. You sure you haven't been misleaded by this?
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Steve Martin
Re: AF100 over exposed?
on Feb 11, 2011 at 1:28:48 pm

Thanks Rafael,

I'll double check that. I think there are 2 patterns - one set to 70 and the other to 100. But in my test, I close the iris and slowly opened until I thought I had the right exposure.

The camera even has a vector & wave scope built in and I remember thinking how cool that was.

Thanks for the thought - I will be looking at those setting today!

Production is fun - but lets not forget: Nobody ever died on the video table!


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walter biscardi
Re: AF100 over exposed?
on Feb 11, 2011 at 12:09:23 pm

[Steve Martin] "On the outdoor shoot, we set the zebras to 100 and exposed so that the zebra's were just starting to show up in the white clouds."

Most DP's I work with will set Zebras to 75 to 80% for outdoor shooting. 100% zebras on clouds is definitely too hot.

Also keep in mind that color applications like Color and Resolve can bring back detail that appears to be lost if it's in the information. Did you try any simple color grade using the FCP 3 Way to dial back the highlights and see if the cloud information is still there?



[Steve Martin] "However, when we imported the footage into FCP (trans coded to ProRes HQ) everything looked hot - no detail in the sky and the talent was blown out on the green screen shot."

No need for HQ, just ProRes for all frame sizes 1080 and smaller.

Sounds like you have a zebra issue with the camera if your talent was blown out with 70% zebras. Also you need to get an HD reference monitor on set. Downconverting to SD can lead to false impressions on set. FSI has a sweet 7" HD monitor that would make a nice compliment to your camera, includes scopes too so you don't need to rely on zebras.

http://www.flandersscientific.com/index/pg89713

Lastly, how are you monitoring this footage on your FCP system? HD monitor via a Kona card? If you're looking at this in the FCP Viewer / Canvas, well you're not viewing the footage correctly.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

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Steve Martin
Re: AF100 over exposed?
on Feb 11, 2011 at 2:18:11 pm

Thanks for the reply Walter.

I realize that my next purchase really needs to be a good HD screen for on-set monitoring. My old Sony was good in her day, but she needs to find a new home via eBay!

Nonetheless, I really think there's something else at play. Because the difference is just so dramatic. I'll fiddle with filters to check highlights, but the difference (between field and post) is so striking, I really think the problem lies elsewhere.

As for edit suite monitoring, we run a Bob Zelin built FCP suite with a Kona (LHi?) feeding a 26" Panasonic HD monitor via HD-SDI. As I indicated in a reply above, the HPX300 green screen footage that we sot side by side looks perfect.

I'm leaning toward the possibility that we could have a few issues at play at the same time. Poor field monitoring that isn't revealing a problem with with camera settings or even the camera itself.

More testing today!

Production is fun - but lets not forget: Nobody ever died on the video table!


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Scott Sheriff
Re: AF100 over exposed?
on Feb 11, 2011 at 6:08:19 pm

I would roll off some camera bars and see what they look like. If you don't have a test chart, you might want to roll off some black, and both 70% and 100% by the zebra (shoot a white wall) for some comparison. It's good to know where your camera starts blowing out detail.
Along those lines most cameras have the exposure values set pretty conservative from the factory. You can (usually) open these up to get a couple more stops of dynamic range. This will make the camera more forgiving on exposure. Doing this will influence how you set and use the zebra.

IMHO good field monitoring is great for judging the frame, and color (assuming the operator knows how to calibrate it). But the amount of over-exposure you are describing should be quite visible in the VF.

I have to agree with whoever said clouds shouldn't be shot at 100%, unless it's a backlight situation and your deliberately trying to blow them out. Sometimes portions of a cloud will be true white. You have to use your eye IRL to decide what is the whitest part, and only have zebra on that if your using 100%.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...


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Steve Martin
Re: AF100 over exposed?
on Feb 11, 2011 at 9:47:51 pm

Thanks Scott (and all) for your replies. We spent all day today testing (and reading through the manual) and I think we've got a good handle on the camera now. It appears that we had several issues going on.

One was that the stock settings on the camera really aren't too flattering. Reading and watching some of the hands-on reviews suggested that changing the gamma setting scene files make a real difference - they were right.

The lack of good monitoring also played a role in the issue I was having.

But the main problem was really operator error. But in all fairness, the camera did throw me a curve ball. It turns out that the zebra settings on this camera operate differently than any camera I've ever used.

Like many cams, it has two zebra settings. Unlike other cams, it doesn't display both at the same time (with a different pattern for example). Instead, the zebra button on the camera toggles between 3 settings: Zebra 1, Zebra 2 and off. You can set each of the Zebra settings to anything you'd like from about 50 - 105.

What I think was happening is that I opened the iris until I saw Zebras on the talent's face - thinking that I was looking at 70. Well, I must have been looking at 100 bt didn't realize it.

In my head, I figured that the first pattern that came up would be the 70. However, the camera was likely set at 100.

The display only indicates the zebra pattern for a moment after you press the toggle switch and if you're not looking, you don't notice it.

How I didn't see that it was overblown on the monitor is beyond me. In my excitement, I probably just wasn't paying close enough attention - letting the zebras do the work instead of using my judgment. But after a full day of testing and playing, I can say that this camera is really nice and there are no issues to report.

Thanks for all the input!

Steve

Production is fun - but lets not forget: Nobody ever died on the video table!


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: AF100 over exposed?
on Feb 13, 2011 at 12:47:45 am

[Steve Martin] "nstead, the zebra button on the camera toggles between 3 settings: Zebra 1, Zebra 2 and off. You can set each of the Zebra settings to anything you'd like from about 50 - 105. "

Yes, Panasonic's cameras in this class have always worked like that. It is only on the higher end Panasonic cameras where you can get the two sets of cross hatched zebras at the same time or spot mode.

Use those waveforms! it's nice they are included with the camera.

Jeremy


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Rafael Amador
Re: AF100 over exposed?
on Feb 13, 2011 at 3:21:11 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "Yes, Panasonic's cameras in this class have always worked like that. It is only on the higher end Panasonic cameras where you can get the two sets of cross hatched zebras at the same time or spot mode."
When you are shooting people outdoor, you need both.
This camera should allow both sets at the same time.
All the SONY EX series does.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: AF100 over exposed?
on Feb 13, 2011 at 3:28:22 am

[Rafael Amador] "This camera should allow both sets at the same time."

Panasonic's in this price range simply don't have it and haven't had it for years.

You just have to be aware of what setting you're on.


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