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Recording a 2 hour long musical: Cam recomendation

Xavier Plagaro Mussard

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I own an FS5 and the auto variable ND is *mint* - I love it. It's probably the best auto setting of any camera, because of how smoothly it can change values, without changing the aesthetics like shutter speed or aperture would.

The lowest it goes is 1/4 (2 stops light loss) though, so it may not be useful for a musical if there's not enough light. The key to getting a great picture from the FS5 is making sure it gets enough light! If you have experience with log curves or cinegammas, I'd use one of those to give you some extra room in the highlights and aim to overexpose as much as you can without blowing the highlights (In the case of using the auto ND, you'll set the exposure compensation to something like +1EV, for instance). I'm guessing the stage lights will make for some dramatic differences between the lit and unlit parts of the stage, so the extra dynamic range will be very useful. If you have a quick turnaround, I'd definitely recommend using one of @Andrew Reid's new Pro Color settings.

In short, if you plan on using auto ND you're going to need to make sure you have at least an f/2.8 lens because in effect the lens will be a 5.6 with ND on lowest setting. Perhaps paring it with one of the Sigma f/1.8 zooms would be a great combo, cause then wide open you'd still be at f/3.5.

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