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tristan

zebra

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Hi everyone...

 

I am going to use DVX100 for my 1st time, and I am very confuse on the Zebra setting.

 

Zebra 1&2 what is the purpose to for it?

 

Any suggestion on the setting? 100% on both?

 

Thanks in advance.....

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Zebra is a quick way to tell if your exposure is above the level you're wanting. The lines produced that you see in the finder are indicators if your IREs are exceeding that level that you've set your zebra at.

I believe the factory setting was 80% and 100%, I guess I've always assumed the % was always IRE level, but I could be wrong. Naturally, the best way to figure out what works best for you is to shoot and monitor, then shoot and test again.

I usually set one zebra to a low setting 80-90, then the other to a bit higher than 100%. Of course, it always depends on what look you're going for. And remember, it's always best to be a little underexposed than a little over exposed. You can push up the brightness and get some extra detail in your editor, but if something's all white, it's all white and there's nothing you can do about it.

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The standard broadcast approach is to use the zebras at 70%. That way Caucasian skin tones will show zebras on the key side when at or slightly above normal exposure. Aim to keep only the brightest highlights of the skin with zebras, and you'll be fine under "normal" conditions.

 

I've been shooting broadcast video for over a decade, and I'd be cautious about putting the two zebras so close together as 90 & 100. It simply gets confusing and clutters up detail in the highlights that you otherwise need to see, to know if you're clipping anything. I've said it before that 100% zebras are kind of overrated, as you can SEE in the VF if anything is "whited out"; and even misleading as the knee circuitry can restore color to 100 IRE areas. 100% zebras would be even less necessary on the color LCD of the DVX-100.

 

I can see a use for 80% though, as Caucasian skintones shouldn't get that hot under normal exposure conditions (in other words if you see zebras on a Caucasian face at 80%, you know you need to close down a little).

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The best function on the DVX100A's Zebra menu is the "Marker," which comes up after the Zebra 1 and Zebra 2. Marker is actually a spotmeter that reads in IRE. It puts a box up in the middle of the image and a percentage number reads out in the lower left corner. This is the IRE level of whatever is in the box. Incredibly useful. Panasonic has this in all of their pro cameras but it's impressive to include it in a $3500 camcorder.

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Thanks you all for the great infor.......

 

I would like to know if there is a basic guideline to set up the color LCD??? coz I am confuse on how I should judge it as a normal exposure.

 

Which one is more accurate, LCD or VF?

 

 

Thanks.....

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They are both technically LCD screens, and the flip out one is higher is resolution without that viewfinder to get in the way. Unfortunately that also means it lets in stray light and can be viewed off-angle for inaccurate color saturation, exposure and contrast. I would still look to the flip out screen before the viewfinder, but you need to learn how to "read" it to know what you're getting. The camera allows you to adjust the performance of both screens through menu controls. The best way to do this is using the color bars for proper callibration. For a good tutorial on how to adjust any monitor to SMPTE color bars, go to videouniversity.com.

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Hi,

 

Mine doesn't do that, grumble.

 

Phil

Sorry to hear that. I couldn't remember if the DVC200 was of the generation that included this feature. Panasonic is far more responsive than other manufacturers in listening to end users to improve their products and I recall that this was a feature that came out of a focus group or something similar. I think it may have first appeared on the Varicam, but perhaps it debuted on that odd model that shot 480/60p.

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I generally set my zebras at 100%. I turn zebra-2 OFF.

 

If I see the zebras in the viewfinder then I know that part of the images is blown out, or about to blow out. If it's a cloud, highlight, or light source that's blown out I can choose to ignore it, but if it's a Caucasion face then I can iris down, back off the key, or put some powder on the talent.

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I generally set my zebras at 100%. I turn zebra-2 OFF.

 

if it's a Caucasion face then I can iris down, back off the key, or put some powder on the talent.

 

If it's a Caucasian face hitting 100 IRE, it's WAY overexposed! ;)

 

Using zebras somewhere lower on the scale allow you to fine-tune the exposure a little better, especially on the skin tones. This is important because video cameras generally start to lose detail and oversaturate color somewhere about 70-80 IRE. So if my skin tones are above 70, I know there's a chance they can start to look pasty or artificial (like a hand-colored B&W photo).

 

But everybody does it a little differently. I had a discussion yesterday with a soundman/engineer about trying to expose midtones properly (like faces), and he tried to tell me, "all that matters in video is the whites. You shouldn't clip the whites. The rest doesn't really matter." Yeah, right -- try telling that to the producers and directors I'm shooting for, when I'm close on someone's face! I started to get into the discussion about how you can clip the whites if you want, and that in this day and age most systems can handle it or will clamp it anyway, yada yada -- but then I realized I was talking to an engineer...

Edited by Michael Nash

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Personally I don't like my skin tones to reach even 70 IRE unless it's supposed to be a very bright, poppy image. I usually stick them around 40-50 IRE. That's why I like the "marker" spotmeter function on the Panasonic cameras.

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Personally I don't like my skin tones to reach even 70 IRE unless it's supposed to be a very bright, poppy image.  I usually stick them around 40-50 IRE.  That's why I like the "marker" spotmeter function on the Panasonic cameras.

 

But you have to admit that 40-50 is pretty darned dark, unless you're intentionally leaving room for post color-correction. I mean, if Caucasian skin typically spot meters at 1 stop above an 18% gray card, then it should at least be above 50 IRE for a "normal" exposure. Why so dark?

 

I do understand that in the context of dramatic lighting skin tones aren't always in "normal" light. So I've been using "normal" exposure as a reference, like say in a talking head interview.

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I'm refering to talking head interviews. I just shot a bunch of them and consistently found that above 50IRE looked too "lit" to me. I make sure that my field monitor is calibrated correctly and that I'm not dropping everything into mud, but this is the look on skintone that I'm most comfortable with. Doesn't look dark to me, it looks rich. Horses for courses. I don't aim specifically for that exposure--I light and adjust the iris based on the monitor and then double check with the zebra before I roll. I've seen the results in a finished edit and double checked my work on other monitors and in the edit suite. I know that the post guys don't have to jump through hoops color correcting my stuff and usually leave it alone, so I'm satisfied with my approach. I hardly think I'm the only one out there exposing skin at 50 IRE.

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The standard broadcast approach is to use the zebras at 70%. That way Caucasian skin tones will show zebras on the key side when at or slightly above normal exposure. Aim to keep only the brightest highlights of the skin with zebras, and you'll be fine under "normal" conditions.

 

 

Yes, 70% has always been the magic IRE number for skin tones on Caucasian faces. So why doesn't the DVX100 let us set zebras below 80%? Is the technology that allows lower zebra percentages more expensive? 80% just seems like an awkward number. I think 70 and 100 would be ideal settings for zevras 1 and 2.

 

Thomas Burns

Director of Photography

Austin/LA

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