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How do you set exposure for video?


Vesku
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I was shooting nature videos. The sun was setting quickly and I used difficult angles for close up videos. I can not think that I could use full manual in those situations. The auto exposure worked very well and the results were perfect.

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One helpful feature would be a semi-auto exposure like the single focus. When pressing shutter exposure adjusts automatically with proper mode and then stays the same during a clip. It would be auto exposure+AE-lock but easier.

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On 12/5/2016 at 1:05 AM, Vesku said:

I was shooting nature videos. The sun was setting quickly and I used difficult angles for close up videos. I can not think that I could use full manual in those situations. The auto exposure worked very well and the results were perfect.

Hi Vesku, I'm not saying you shouldn't use auto exposure for your nature videos, and you could probably teach a lot of people the finer points of auto exposure. But Mark Williams shots some great nature videos on the GH4 and never uses auto exposure.

https://vimeo.com/channels/3523

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37 minutes ago, Stanley said:

Hi Vesku, I'm not saying you shouldn't use auto exposure for your nature videos, and you could probably teach a lot of people the finer points of auto exposure. But Mark Williams shots some great nature videos on the GH4 and never uses auto exposure.

https://vimeo.com/channels/3523

I am sure Mark Williams is very talented. He proves that is is possible to achieve good result also with manual exposure. :grin:

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4 hours ago, fuzzynormal said:

Manual exposure only. To do otherwise is ridiculous. You're at the mercy of an algorithm. 

If a shooter is adept at manual control, they can easily anticipate proper exposure.  The human brain is far more capable at situational context than any lines of code will ever be. 

I would challenge that. Lets think a holiday snapper takes 500 photos during a day in rapid and challenging situations using different camera angles and concentrating on composition, focusing and peoples best moments. One snapper uses full manual exposure and the other uses auto exposure. Which one gets more right exposed photos?

If just talking about right exposure brightness the situation is the same with video. The EVF or monitor is not very reliable in sun light and there are also situations when we cant even see either.

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39 minutes ago, Vesku said:

I would challenge that. Lets think a holiday snapper takes 500 photos during a day in rapid and challenging situations using different camera angles and concentrating on composition, focusing and peoples best moments. One snapper uses full manual exposure and the other uses auto exposure. Which one gets more right exposed photos?

If just talking about right exposure brightness the situation is the same with video. The EVF or monitor is not very reliable in sun light and there are also situations when we cant even see either.

I'm talking about motion pictures. Judging exposure while rolling. 

I'm also assuming the operator has some skill and can compensate with wisdom for various scenarios. 

If a shooter is bad at using a camera, well...

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Many are shooting video just like snapping photos me included. Holiday videos, memories, documentation.. If the user is not 100% concentrated on exposure the camera will over or underexpose very easily at least if the camera has poor dynamic range. I know this is a film makers forum but many hear are also amateurs or casual video users.

I am quite experienced on video but in my shooting style I cant use manual exposure so carefully that the exposure would be always spot on. This is true with my photos too.

Of course I use EV compensation if I see in EVF or monitor that the image brightness is not what i want.

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On 11/30/2016 at 7:39 PM, wolf33d said:

The best videos I have ever seen on Vimeo, that made millions of views, were all done with no ND, in semi auto mode, with little grading. 

I think here we always try to over complicate things, with all these settings and heavy gradings and so on. At the end we focus less on the image.

 

Yeah but obviously the best movies you've seen throughout your life were all shot manually.  If you don't know what your are doing it is foolish to miss shots simply because someone on the internet said full auto is crap.  When I teach people I always make sure they understand the full auto bail out (not the GM type).

I think the problem with the internet is people try and make things mutually exclusive.  You don't need full manual to get a nice shot and full manual is not destined to screw up your shooting experience.

On 11/30/2016 at 7:39 PM, wolf33d said:

btw, the last  video I have  done I tried once to just shoot. Forget about settings and concentrate on what I am capturing. Guess what, it's the best video I have ever done. 

I shot multiple stuff with ND and shooting manual outside with the 180 rule is a pure nightmare. Completely impacts creativity and spontaneity of the shoot. 

My 2 cents. 

That indicates to me you just need more practice.  Also what camera and lens are you shooting with?  Do you use variable ND?  Some manual cameras/lenses/ND suck.  Some are excellent.  If you look at discussions of cinema lenses you will notice even if a lens isn't the sharpest it might be 100-500+% more than the full auto DSLR lens equivalent.  The reason for this is they have various features that make full manual usage a lot more convenient.  There are other reasons but being parfocal, with a nice throw, clear markings, etc costs money.

It also depends on the project.  If you are shooting a documentary run and gun style as a one man band then you need all the help you can get.  But if you are doing an interview on a closed set it makes no sense to go full auto.  I've made some instructional videos and once I get my lighting and camera settings correct I don't touch the camera again until I stop filming.  I don't want the exposure and focus jumping around just because of what comes in and out of the frame.  There are times my lighting isn't ideal and I use shallow depth of field because of aperture but I know my marks and I stay on them.  I don't want the camera jumping the plane of focus around while I'm filming.  That hunting, jumping, and focus breathing reeks of amateurism.  I see that all the time on youtube.  Focus is jumping everywhere, camera is shaking, exposure is all over the place depending on whether a white sheet of paper comes in the scene or whatever.  Really it is something even a complete novice could fix with a few seconds of thought and a dirt cheap tripod.

Another major offense I see a lot in stills photography and video is blown highlights.  With raw I expose to the right till highlights are almost clipping.  I then recover the highlights in photoshop.  I don't know how you do that in full auto.  If I go out and shoot on a high contrast sunny day clipped highlights are guaranteed with full auto.  To be honest with you if I am shooting something like the beach where it is wide open and everyone and everything is illuminated by the same intensity of sun I meter once and set my camera up for expose to the right and then lock everything off for an hour.  Meter again and adjust as the sun gets brighter or darker.  I don't meter and adjust every shot.  That's unnecessary.  I meter and get an exposure that keeps the white clouds from blowing out.  Then I lock the exposure.  Not hard.  And in fact if there is going to be an action shot like kids running around, I get a decent depth of field and lock my focus in place.  Then I keep the children at a set distance from me.  It requires me to do some running around myself which is healthy.  The camera works faster because it is not doing anything but firing.  No focusing or adjusting exposure.  Full manual is actually a great way to NOT miss shots.

Bottom line, practice, practice, practice.  Also sometimes full manual is the only way to go and sometimes some kind of auto mode is the only way to go.  In the end they are all just tools.  YOU have to make the decision what is appropriate to use when, depending on your skill level.  I am not good at highly stylized grading.  I have pulled way back on that stuff.  Nothing wrong with grading but for my skill level less is more.

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6 hours ago, Vesku said:

I am quite experienced on video but in my shooting style I cant use manual exposure so carefully that the exposure would be always spot on. This is true with my photos too.

 

If you are experienced with still photography shooting full manual for exposure should not be a problem in most situations.  I learned how to shoot stills on a full manual FILM camera.  High quality full auto stills cameras for the masses are a relatively new phenomenon.  Autofocus is definitely a time saver particularly on modern lenses which are terrible for manual focusing.  But exposure?  Heck when I shoot film nowadays I actually use a hand meter almost 100% of the time!  I use an incident hand meter and it gets me where I need to be most of the time.  My dream is to be able to use a spot meter like Ansel Adams and really dial in my exposure but again I don't have the skill level.

My film cameras have built in filters but with black and white film you use yellow, orange, red, and green filters and of course polarizers so who knows what the meter is reading.  I have to use a handheld meter and then take the number the meter gives me in stops and do a mental adjustment for the whatever filters are on the lens and then translate that result into a aperture and shutter speed.  If someone really knows what they are doing with a DSLR and says using it in full manual exposure is a pain I submit to you they don't know what they are doing.

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8 hours ago, Vesku said:

Many are shooting video just like snapping photos me included. Holiday videos, memories, documentation.. If the user is not 100% concentrated on exposure the camera will over or underexpose very easily at least if the camera has poor dynamic range. I know this is a film makers forum but many hear are also amateurs or casual video users.

Be that as it may, manual exposure for motion pictures ain't all that complicated.  If a person can't grasp the three variables that need to be controlled, then they're hopeless and, yes, they should stick to the code to do it for them.  They will suffer from the limitations of that.  Yes, it will get them a decent shot "most of the time," but when they need to get a great shot and it's not a situation that is "most of the time," then what?    

Moreover, knowing what the heck your camera actually does and why is going to make the user better at shooting.   If it's not one's profession, let's call it a hobby.  Even amateurs should have a clue what they can do with their gear.

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7 minutes ago, Nathanael McKinley Myton said:

Why does everyone have to get all holier than thou about stuff like using manual exposure.

Use it automatic you want to.  

I do from time to time.  People that rely on it however are missing opportunities.  A wise shooter can make decisions better than that their camera.  That's all I'm saying.  The only way to be wise is to learn how to do it.  You'll just be ignorant if you don't.  Doesn't mean you can't get good shots, just means that you're going to lose good shots along the way.

Also, if auto is your default made, you're lazy.  Okay, that's holier-than-thou.

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On 28.11.2016. at 1:38 PM, Vesku said:

5. Depends on scene and subject...

... & camera. But usually I consult my Sekonic 308DC (not that I copy its measures, but I take them avarage values, which I modify here and there according to the task).

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I went for a walk today, took 10 shots just for the sake of it. Flowers and a stream and a field. it was on auto and failed for half the shots. Either shutter speed too slow or wrong focus or it exposed for the sky instead of subject.

Manual is essential. Half the photos would of been useless without me manually setting things, same the other day when a third of my photos needed manual on a quick walk. Video it is even more important because of the noise and jitters that comes with high shutter speeds.

Christmas day nobody is going full manual, but you will have to set the shutter speed or something for a couple of shots. and some aperture for shots to treasure. Essential.

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3 hours ago, fuzzynormal said:

Moreover, knowing what the heck your camera actually does and why is going to make the user better at shooting.   If it's not one's profession, let's call it a hobby.  Even amateurs should have a clue what they can do with their gear.

My biggest issue is that my camera (GH4) is not showing what it is doing when using shutter priority, aperture priority or auto iso. I know what I want for different situations, I know the dangers but the camera is not showing that information needed.

33 minutes ago, Mat Mayer said:

I went for a walk today, took 10 shots just for the sake of it. Flowers and a stream and a field. it was on auto and failed for half the shots. Either shutter speed too slow or wrong focus or it exposed for the sky instead of subject.

It is not forbidden to monitor what exposure values the camera uses with auto modes. You can monitor the screen brightness too.

Have you ever heard about EV comp?

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5 hours ago, Damphousse said:

D: Another major offense I see a lot in stills photography and video is blown highlights.  With raw I expose to the right till highlights are almost clipping.  I then recover the highlights in photoshop.  I don't know how you do that in full auto.

V: Auto exposure prevents highlight clipping. That is the idea of auto exposure. It is not wise always expose ETTR. How do you expose if the scene has no highlights or no faces? Auto exposure usually knows very well.

If I go out and shoot on a high contrast sunny day clipped highlights are guaranteed with full auto.  To be honest with you if I am shooting something like the beach where it is wide open and everyone and everything is illuminated by the same intensity of sun I meter once and set my camera up for expose to the right and then lock everything off for an hour.  Meter again and adjust as the sun gets brighter or darker.  I don't meter and adjust every shot.  That's unnecessary.  I meter and get an exposure that keeps the white clouds from blowing out.  Then I lock the exposure.  Not hard. 

V: What if the light changes very much because of clouds?

D: Bottom line, practice, practice, practice.  Also sometimes full manual is the only way to go and sometimes some kind of auto mode is the only way to go.  In the end they are all just tools.  YOU have to make the decision what is appropriate to use when, depending on your skill level. 

V: They are just tools. What if a user gets the same exposure using auto / EV comp / AE-lock than using full manual but easier and more accurate. Is that a bad thing?

How can I reply for many parts of someones story?

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Ok I'm not understanding something here and I don't have aGH4, but if I was recording in shutter priority for say 5 min and aperture, ISO, and maybe white balance values are changing, what do I do with this information whilst I'm recording ? Do I try a remember what the changing values are ? Do I take my eye away from the viewfinder and write down what happened at what moment? Do I fiddle with buttons to try and overide one of the values ? I can fully understand it for stils, but I can't get my head around it for video. 

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5 minutes ago, Stanley said:

Ok I'm not understanding something here and I don't have aGH4, but if I was recording in shutter priority for say 5 min and aperture, ISO, and maybe white balance values are changing, what do I do with this information whilst I'm recording ? Do I try a remember what the changing values are ? Do I take my eye away from the viewfinder and write down what happened at what moment? Do I fiddle with buttons to try and overide one of the values ? I can fully understand it for stils, but I can't get my head around it for video. 

Seeing the aperture, shutter speed and iso is important when starting recording. If using aperture priority I can select the aperture which gives the most wanted shutter speed. If using auto iso I could select the bigger aperture for lower auto iso etc. just like when taking photos. If I could see all the parameters I could dial exposure also during a clip if the light changes dramatically like when the sun goes behind the clouds and my shutter speed goes too low for tele shots or too low for post stabilization in the woods.

When using auto iso or auto shutter speed with GH4 the exposure transition is much smoother compared to full manual if I need to dial brighter or darker during a clip.

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