White Balance, Focus, Exposure, Back Lighting and Audio

Posted: January 11, 2011 in media, video, video production
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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Panasonic DVX100b

White Balance

  • White balance tells the camera what each colour should look like, by giving it a “true white” reference.
  • If the camera knows what white looks like, then it will know what all other colours look like because all colours are contained in white.
  • Most cameras do this function automatically .
  • It actually works very well in most situations.
  • Incorrect white balance shows up as pictures with orange or blue tints.

How to do a manual white balance

  • Point the camera at something non-reflective white in the same light as the subject, and frame it so that most or all of the picture is white.
  • Set focus and exposure, then press the “white balance” button.
  • There should be some indicator(usually 2 triangles and a square blinking) in the viewfinder which tells you when the white balance has completed.
  • You should do white balances regularly, especially when lighting conditions change (eg. moving between indoors and outdoors).

Focus

  • Auto-focus is strictly for the birds!
  • The focal area is determined by the camera not the operator.
  • And it goes hunting for moving objects, sucking up battery power.
  • Also the internal mic will pick up the motor noise while “hunting”
  • The most common manual focus mechanism is a ring at the front of the lens housing.
  • To obtain the best focus, zoom in as close as you can on the subject you wish to focus on,
  • adjust the ring until the focus is sharp,
  • then zoom out to the required framing.
  • Maximum focus or depth-of-field will be achieved by using a wide angle lens (zoomed back out), a small aperture and lots of light.

Exposure

  • Auto-Exposure can be used as a guide.
  • If you’re not sure about your exposure, try flicking the Exposure to auto and see what the camera uses, then go back to manual.
  • Find a comparison of various camcorders regarding image quality

Back Lighting

  • When shooting a subject against a strong backlight such as a window or the sky, the camera adjusts the exposure for the strong backlight, which leaves the subject as a silhouette.
  • Some cameras have a “backlight” feature which helps with this problem.
  • To adjust the settings manually, open the iris until the subject is exposed correctly.
  • This will mean the background is too bright, but it’s better than the subject being too dark.

Audio

  • Getting good results with audio is actually quite difficult.
  • The internal microphone picks up the hum of the video tape, servo-zoom and autofocus.
  • This is very annoying in playback of the video.
  • To improve it , try plugging an external microphone into the “mic input” socket of your camera.
  • Be careful of wind noise. Even the slightest breeze can ruin your audio.
  • Many cameras have a “low-cut filter”, sometimes referred to as a “wind-noise filter” or something similar.
  • These do help, but a better solution is to block the wind.
  • You can use a purpose-designed wind sock, or try making one yourself.
  • Get a good set of headphones to monitor the audio as you are shooting

Microphones

  • Buy a microphone intended for camcorder use. It should have a mini jack plug.
  • A WILDTRACK of general ambient background noise(at least 10 seconds) should be taken on every shoot to hide any audio jump cuts during editing . A cardioid or omnidirectional mic will do the job admirably.
  • A BOOM is a powerful external mic placed at the end of a long pole that can record clearer dialogue from a distance.
  • A CARDIOID microphone has a heart-shaped pickup range. It is ideal for recording individual or group(2-4) conversations.
  • An OMNIDIRECTIONAL mic is what is built into your video camera. It has a 360 degree arc and is good at recoriding general audio but poor at picking out specific sounds.
  • A SHOTGUN , or unidirectional mic is best for recording sound straight ahead and at a distance. Good for recording subjects that are hard to get near.
  • A TIE CLIP MIC is a small mic that can be clipped on place to the clothing of a person being interviewed. There can be two types:
    1. Controlled through a cable
    2. Radio – controlled.
  • A CONDENSER is the device commonly found in most mics. It converts the ripples caused by sound into an electrical pulse, which is then recorded.
  • Exercise – Do a search to check out some available mics
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Comments
  1. SLK says:

    Hi, regards all 🙂
    Filmy

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