This package arrived earlier today. So far i’ve had the chance to unbox the CAME-MINI 3-Axis Gimbal and balance a Panasonic GH4 + 12-35mm F/2.8 OIS Lens. I’m still working on a video about my first initial impressions, but if you have any questions, now is the time to ask.

I can tell you that it works great and the system has an excellent build quality. If you plan on using a GH4 with a small Lumix Lens it will work perfectly. On the flip-side it requires a hex tool to do almost every adjustment, and the small frame means this will not work with heavier camera setups. Example: If you’re thinking speedbooster and a Canon EF lens with a Sony A7s, this is not going to be the gimbal for you.

Hopefully i’ll have a video up after the weekend, but for more information take a look at the CAME-TV.com website (click here).

CAME-Mini Mini Gimbal 3 Axis StabilizerCAME-TV CAME-Mini Mini gimbal sony a7s
find-price-button CAME-TV CAME-MINI 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer

All credit is given to author CheesyCamEmm

Canon4K_6

Rumors are swirling after images of a new Canon 4K Camera were leaked online.

The photos show Canon China President & CEO Hideki Ozawa holding the camera at a presentation. At some point he is joined on stage by… Jackie Chan?

The images first appeared at PhotoRumors.com, along with some leaked details.

Rumored Specs

  • 1″ CMOS Sensor
  • 58mm filter
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Similar shape to the Canon EOS 70D
  • External viewfinder
  • Canon 10X optical zoom 8.9-89mm f/2.8-5.6 4k video fixed lens (35mm Equi. 24-240mm)

Perhaps we will see this announced at the 2015 NAB Show? One can only speculate at this point, but we will be at the show bringing you all the latest news as it happens.

Canon4K_1 Canon4K_2 Canon4K_3

Canon4K_11Canon4K_10Canon4K_9Canon4K_12

Canon4K_7 Canon4K_8 Canon4K_5 Canon4K_4

Source: PhotoRumors

The post Images Released of a New Canon 4K Camera appeared first on cinema5D.

All credit is given to author cinema5D » NewsKevin Alexander

If you haven’t heard about the Kingjoy VT-3510 Video Head, it’s a damn close version of Manfrotto’s popular 701HDV (now discontinued). So much that the pan handles are interchangeable between the two heads, but of course the best part is that the Kingjoy is VT-3510 is compatible with Manfrotto’s 501PL QR plate. Here’s a closer look at this video head in the video below.

I’ve also included a gallery of images comparing the Manfrotto 701HDV next to the Kingjoy VT-3510 Video head so you can see the close resemblance.

While this head may not be as smooth as the original 701HDV, the build is sturdy and perfect for tripods that are often set aside for a static angle, mounted to the end of a jib, used on a skater dolly, or even placed on a slider. All while still offering the compatibility of a Manfrotto 501PL plate.

You’ll typically find the Kingjoy VT-315 for over $100 dollars or sometimes listed as a Kenro Video Head (as seen here). The big news here is that the one I received was from a listing for JUST $55 Dollars + FREE Shipping. There’s only just a couple left, and I think it’s safe to say that after this blog post it will sell out quick. Most likely they won’t be available for this $55 Dollar Price again (find it here).

kingjoy neewer video tripod headkingjoy video monopod like manfrotto 701hdv 701
kingjoy video head manfrotto 701manfrotto 701hdv video head china kingjoy neewer
find-price-button KingJoy VT3510 Pro Video Fluid Head w Manfrotto 501PL Compatible Plate

All credit is given to author CheesyCamEmm

Wrangling a large digital image archive is difficult, especially as it grows. Managing your images in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom can help you keep things under control. In The Living Archive in Lightroom, you'll learn expert photo library management skills to keep tens of thousands of images organized, instantly searchable, and safe.

What You'll Learn

Tuts+ instructor Andrew Childress will teach you everything you need to know to get the most out of Lightroom, including:

  • understanding the Library Module
  • the power of keeping your images in a single catalog
  • the "catalog in the cloud" approach
  • how to use Collections and Smart Collections
  • mastering metadata
  • power filtering and sequencing

Watch the Introduction

Start Learning for Just $15

You can take our new course straight away by subscribing to Tuts+. For just $15 a month, you get access to this course and hundreds of others, with new ones added every week.

All credit is given to author Tuts+ Photo & VideoAndrew Blackman

SmallHD has announced a new 5″ monitor, the 502 has a compact FullHD screen and loaded with features such as SDI/HDMI cross conversion, advanced scopes and 3D-LUTs.

SmallHD 502 2

The SmallHD 502 comes in at the smaller end-of-the-scale for on-camera monitors, with a 5″ screen and weighing less than a 1 lbs you’d be forgiven for mistaking it as a smartphone.

What the 502 lacks in size it makes up for in resolution, with a 1920X1080 LCD display and pixel density greater than the iPhone 6 (441 pixels per inch); most monitors of this size (including the flagship SmallHD DP7 line) will be around 720p.

“As far as color and contrast are concerned, the 5-inch display is again, best-in-class. The 502’s LCD display is able to produce 85% NTSC Color Gamut (greater than the REC. 709 color standard), rivalling the color capabilities of OLED technology.”

SmallHD 502 3

HDMI and SDI are compatible both in and out, cross converting either signal also (nice!). Dual LP-E6 slots on the back take care of power and an SD slot on top presumably for firmware and 3D-LUT support; yep the 502 has 3D-LUT integration.

“Building upon the 3D LUT functionality of the DP7-PRO Series, the 502 will allow shooters to apply an even higher resolution, more accurate 3D LUT, in real-time. The value of a tool with this much processing power is amplified when you consider its extremely low profile and compact size.”

SmallHD 502 1

Two top buttons, a front facing button and a handy joystick help navigate through the 502s functions and features; no touch screens here. I’m pleased with this choice, touch screens can be a pain with creating shake on your camera setup when adjusting settings, and keeping the screen clean is a nightmare.

A Bluetooth remote will also be released that mirrors the front button and joystick.

SmallHD 502 4

Some may consider a 5″ screen too small, but putting in in context of an operators device, it makes sense. It’s very compact and at 6oz is incredibly light, it adds very little bulk to your setup. On a Gimbal, small DSLR or mirrorless camera this will slot right in to your workflow.

Check out the SmallHD website for videos on the features of the 502. I’ll update this page with a purchase link as soon as one surfaces.

My colleague Nino Leitner had a chance to check out the new 502 monitor at a recent event before launch and was impressed saying, “It’s a brilliant little monitor that should work perfectly on something like a MoVi or Ronin – and it’s very crisp. The interface design is something that SmallHD did get right in the past, and they did again this time. People should also keep their eyes peeled on this product as SmallHD are going to extend its functionality very soon.”

The post SmallHD 502 Compact 5″ FullHD Monitor appeared first on cinema5D.

All credit is given to author cinema5D » NewsTim Fok

SmallHD has announced a new 5″ monitor, the 502 has a compact FullHD screen and loaded with features such as SDI/HDMI cross conversion, advanced scopes and 3D-LUTs.

SmallHD 502 2

The SmallHD 502 comes in at the smaller end-of-the-scale for on-camera monitors, with a 5″ screen and weighing less than a 1 lbs you’d be forgiven for mistaking it as a smartphone.

What the 502 lacks in size it makes up for in resolution, with a 1920X1080 LCD display and pixel density greater than the iPhone 6 (441 pixels per inch); most monitors of this size (including the flagship SmallHD DP7 line) will be around 720p.

“As far as color and contrast are concerned, the 5-inch display is again, best-in-class. The 502’s LCD display is able to produce 85% NTSC Color Gamut (greater than the REC. 709 color standard), rivalling the color capabilities of OLED technology.”

SmallHD 502 3

HDMI and SDI are compatible both in and out, cross converting either signal also (nice!). Dual LP-E6 slots on the back take care of power and an SD slot on top presumably for firmware and 3D-LUT support; yep the 502 has 3D-LUT integration.

“Building upon the 3D LUT functionality of the DP7-PRO Series, the 502 will allow shooters to apply an even higher resolution, more accurate 3D LUT, in real-time. The value of a tool with this much processing power is amplified when you consider its extremely low profile and compact size.”

SmallHD 502 1

Two top buttons, a front facing button and a handy joystick help navigate through the 502s functions and features; no touch screens here. I’m pleased with this choice, touch screens can be a pain with creating shake on your camera setup when adjusting settings, and keeping the screen clean is a nightmare.

A Bluetooth remote will also be released that mirrors the front button and joystick.

SmallHD 502 4

Some may consider a 5″ screen too small, but putting in in context of an operators device, it makes sense. It’s very compact and at 6oz is incredibly light, it adds very little bulk to your setup. On a Gimbal, small DSLR or mirrorless camera this will slot right in to your workflow.

Check out the SmallHD website for videos on the features of the 502. I’ll update this page with a purchase link as soon as one surfaces.

My colleague Nino Leitner had a chance to check out the new 502 monitor at a recent event before launch and was impressed saying, “It’s a brilliant little monitor that should work perfectly on something like a MoVi or Ronin – and it’s very crisp. The interface design is something that SmallHD did get right in the past, and they did again this time. People should also keep their eyes peeled on this product as SmallHD are going to extend its functionality very soon.”

The post SmallHD 502 Compact 5″ FullHD Monitor appeared first on cinema5D.

All credit is given to author cinema5D » NewsTim Fok

As photographers or videographers, we can often be asked to give our time and expertise for free. This might be by a charity, an individual, a company or even an educational body. Knowing the right decision for you can be much harder than it seems. You might not be sure that it’s right for you, or you may feel uncomfortable saying no, or anything in between. 

In this article we’ll look at some of the most common occurrences of being asked to volunteer our services. Ultimately, of course, the decision is yours, but hopefully this will help you make that decision in an informed, confident way.

The Charity Angle

Charities often fish for freebies because they’re trying to keep every penny within the trust to use for their cause—totally understandable. Often they’ll approach a photographer/videographer to document an event for free. It can be really hard to say no when you know it’s for a good cause, and charity workers can be particularly pushy. 

Don’t be afraid to say no if it’s a cause you don’t really feel strongly about. You might prefer to do something for a charity that’s close to your heart, and that’s okay—you can’t give to everyone. It might also not fit with your schedule, and that’s okay too. Better to say no than either push yourself too hard or do a not so good job because you’re tired and maybe a little resentful that it’s a freebie.

Money
Better to say no if the situation isn't right for you [Image: CCO Public Domain via Pixabay]

On the flip side, if you have the time and the inclination, there’s no harm in saying yes at all. Giving your time for a charity can be a great way for someone to give back who doesn’t have the time to, say, train for a sponsored marathon. And let’s face it, it’s good for the soul. If you’re quite new to the game, it can also be a good way for you to build up your portfolio. Depending on the event, you may be around potential clients or even get introduced to them—don’t bank on this of course, but it could be a happy bonus.

Also, you don’t have to give your time for free. If it’s going to cost you to get there/back or you’ll need feeding during the event if it’s a long day, then you could always ask for your travel/expenses to be reimbursed, or give a quote for a lower rate than you would normally charge. 

Mission Creep

One of the risks of working for free is mission creep: the tendency of jobs to grow in scope little by little as they progress. Mission creep is normal; it's what happens when circumstances change. Charities are notoriously understaffed, so it's very common to be asked to do more than you though you'd originally signed up for. They aren't bad people, they're just stretched to the limit, especially when they're putting on an event: the very moment they need your services. Be ready for this going in and you can keep things happy and healthy.

When mission creep happens on a regular job you can negotiate a bit of extra money, but it's tough to ask for more money when you've started by volunteering your time for free. For this reason, some photographers and videographers like to charge a "charity rate." A charity, or non-profit, rate is a discounted rate, often just enough to cover your costs. This arrangement keeps the relationship with the charity operating on the understanding that there are limits to what you can reasonably do. Ultimately, that's a plus for both parties because you'll both get exactly what you need.

When Charity Isn't Charity

Remember, a charity event isn’t necessarily being paid for by a charity. I did an event last year (and I’m doing it again this year) which was for a charity but the costs were paid for by quite a large company—so I don’t feel as guilty for being paid!

charity shoot
A charity shoot I did last year which was paid for by a large company [Image: Marie Gardiner]

Co-Promotes

There may be a time when you and another business can help each other out. Say, for example, you're a wedding photographer and want some nice bride and groom pictures. You could team up with a wedding dress and suit supplier who's looking for some great new product shots—you both get something out of working together. 

There are plenty of examples like this, and if you're approached, it’s up to you to decide whether it’s the right thing to do.

‘It’ll Be Good for Your Business’

This is my least favourite way of being asked to work for free. It often happens when someone is holding an event, for example, and doesn’t want to pay for a photographer. So they’ll approach you and ask you to shoot for free because ‘you can sell prints and will make quite a bit of money’ or ‘it will be great publicity for you’

My partner was recently asked to do some free filming because he’d get lots of great ‘stock footage’. I know if you don’t ask you don’t get, but these kinds of requests particularly jar with me. If someone is telling you what’s good for your own business, chances are, it’s not. I often feel terrible saying no, but really there is rarely anything in this kind of thing for me, and I’ve not met any other photographer who has gained massively from this sort of thing.

printer
Events often want a free photographer thinking you'll make a fortune from selling prints [Image: CCO Public Domain via Pixabay]

A particularly bad example of what we’re talking about here happened when I emailed a few PR companies to make them aware of my commercial offerings. One asked if I would do a ‘test shoot’ for them so they could trial my work—a new one for me, but I said if it was my local area and a quick shoot (less than an hour) then sure; I was thinking of potential repeat business. They contacted me the same week, asking for my ‘test shoot’ to be a three-hour event ten miles up the road. 

Needless to say, I sent them a quote and didn’t get the business. It was pretty obvious to me that they were going through a big list of photographers, using their services for free under the guise of testing them out. Beware of companies like this—they are out there. I bet if I’d asked them to do a month of free marketing for my business to test them out, they’d have laughed me out of the building!

'It'll Be Good for Your Portfolio'

Similar to the above point, some people claim working for free will be good for your portfolio. But only you or a professional portfolio reviewer can decide what's good for your portfolio. Much like our scenarios above, if someone is telling you that you should work for free as it will benefit your portfolio, it probably won't. 

I see this all the time, but a recent example was a company in Canada advertising for a student photographer to work for free in order to photograph a conference because it would benefit their portfolio. 

In my personal experience, I was asked (during start-up, so my first year of trading) to do something 'as cheap as I could' for a company that supports business start-ups. It's absolutely baffling that places designed to help people get started in business or get work try to use their students/start-ups to get freebies or cheap deals.

If you're struggling for images to use and show then sure, these events could help you, but remember that by using you (or others) for free, they're saving hundreds of pounds. Don't feel cheeky asking them to pay for your travel or feed you while you're there!

Friends and Family

Ah, the dreaded moment when a friend or family member asks if you can just ‘get a few photographs’ of something because it’ll ‘take five minutes’. People can drastically underestimate what goes into digital work. Most have easy access to cameras these days, and they can think what we do is as easy as pointing and shooting. Many people don’t realise the huge investment in our kit and time, both when shooting and in editing and post-production afterwards.

camera set up
One of our 'simpler' set ups for filming [Image: Marie Gardiner]

If it really isn’t a problem for you then do it. You’ll clock up some great brownie points, and you’ll have a favour to call in at a later date! But if it’s something you’re really not comfortable doing or you don’t have the time, then just be honest. Maybe take the time to walk that person through a bit of what it is you do, and they might come out with a better understanding of your job. 

Remember, if you do something way out of your comfort zone—say, for example, you’re a landscape photographer and you get asked to shoot a friend's wedding—messing it up could be detrimental for your relationship. Even if you’re doing someone a favour, it should always be your best work. Never do something you don’t feel right about or aren’t insured for.

Conclusion

If you have a skill or, to quote Liam Neeson, a particular set of skills, then it’s inevitable you will be asked to use them. When and where you choose to give these skills and your time, is completely up to you. 

Think about whether it’s right for you: Do you have the time? Can you afford to do this? Is the reason for asking genuine?

If no, then don’t be worried about saying so. It's perfectly OK to say no. Having the flexibility, self-awareness, and confidence to say no to bad opportunities makes  saying yes good ones a whole lot more meaningful and rewarding. Working for free should build you up, not sap your resources.

Nobody should make you feel bad or greedy for saying no to something that isn’t right for you. Remember: if you weren't half-decent at what you do, they wouldn't want you, so never undervalue yourself. Be aware of companies who may try to trick you into freebies, but also remember that there are genuine people out there who either don’t have the money (like charities) or who you can benefit from working with.

If you've asked yourself the questions above—good fit, enough time, affordable—and the answer is yes to each of them, great, do it! Also, if it's something where you get a unique opportunity to be somewhere you wouldn't normally be and you think you'll have a great time, then why not?

All credit is given to author Tuts+ Photo & VideoMarie Gardiner

4k-Canon-video-camera-550x367

Canon must have NAB confused with CES if they plan on releasing a 1″ sensor fixed lens 4K camcorder next month. The good folks over at Photo Rumors posted these photos of a possible new Canon 4K camera. The specifications are unimpressive to say the least. Here is a rip from the Photo Rumors post.

“A reader sent me those pictures of what appears to be a new 4k Canon video camera concept that will most likely be announced at the 2015 NAB show (April 11-16th). The funny part is that somebody from the audience (Jackie Chan?) jumped on stage and grabbed the camera from the Canon China President & CEO Hideki Ozawa:”

Click here to check it out.

Specifications.

 

  • 1″ CMOS Sensor
  • 58mm filter
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Similar shape to the Canon EOS 70D
  • External viewfinder
  • Canon 10X optical zoom 8.9-89mm f/2.8-5.6 4k video fixed lens (35mm Equi. 24-240mm)

Canon-4k-video-camera-21

Canon-4k-video-camera1

 

 

All credit is given to author Wide Open CameraJared Abrams

4k-Canon-video-camera-550x367

Canon must have NAB confused with CES if they plan on releasing a 1″ sensor fixed lens 4K camcorder next month. The good folks over at Photo Rumors posted these photos of a possible new Canon 4K camera. The specifications are unimpressive to say the least. Here is a rip from the Photo Rumors post.

“A reader sent me those pictures of what appears to be a new 4k Canon video camera concept that will most likely be announced at the 2015 NAB show (April 11-16th). The funny part is that somebody from the audience (Jackie Chan?) jumped on stage and grabbed the camera from the Canon China President & CEO Hideki Ozawa:”

Click here to check it out.

Specifications.

 

  • 1″ CMOS Sensor
  • 58mm filter
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Similar shape to the Canon EOS 70D
  • External viewfinder
  • Canon 10X optical zoom 8.9-89mm f/2.8-5.6 4k video fixed lens (35mm Equi. 24-240mm)

Canon-4k-video-camera-21

Canon-4k-video-camera1

 

 

All credit is given to author Wide Open CameraJared Abrams

keep-calm-and-fix-it-in-post

We all love to joke that we’ll fix it in post, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It does require a coherent thread of understanding from set lighting and perfect exposure, all the way through to color correction. In this article we will take a close look at each step to remind us how to create a perfect picture and lease less to worry to afterwards.

We will have to nerd it up a bit, but just think – you won’t have to fix it in post anymore. The science will help set your creativity free. Just because you mostly work with the creative side of your brain does not mean you can leave the science and math alone. One cannot exist without the other.

It’s about taking control of each step, but before you can have any kind of control – you need to understand what’s going on.

1. Light

What is light?

Well, of course we know light in terms of luminance and color information and that’s where all this will end up in digital files in a color-grading suite. However, we need to start at the very beginning.

We first need to capture an image with a camera. So I want to start with light in its fundamental form. Visible light is energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation.

Electromagnetic radiation is a fundamental phenomenon of electromagnetism, behaving as waves and also as particles called photons, which travel through space (at the speed of light) in straight lines carrying radiant energy.

What is a photon?

A photon is an elementary particle, currently best explained by quantum mechanics and exhibits strange behavior known as wave-particle duality. Is it a wave or is it a particle? A photon is both at the same time depending on how you look at it.

A photon is massless and has no electrical charge. However, it exhibits what is called a photoelectric effect. For example, a photon travelling from a light source at the speed of light and landing on an electric plate will eject an electron.

sensor

An electron does have a charge, and is therefore measurable. This is exactly what our beloved image sensor does. It is effectively a high-resolution photon counter. The sensor is a vast array of microscopic photosites, and each photosite can be thought of as a well with depth and surface area. The deeper the well and the larger the surface area, the more photons a single photosite can capture.

Lets imagine a 4K Bayer image sensor has 4096 x 2160 resolution, that means it has 8,847,360 active photosites. It actually has more, but let’s simplify.

2. The Inverse Square Law

At this point I want to introduce a critical concept to know and understand as it affects everything downstream from set lighting and exposure all the way into post-production – the Inverse Square Law.

Our image sensor is effectively measuring light intensity. All of the light in a given scene has a source and light intensity follows the inverse square law. This means light intensity is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source of light.

Light intensity does not fall off in a linear fashion. An object at twice the distance from a light source will receive only a quarter the intensity of light.

3. The Stop

The word stop has a number of meanings and can be confusing. An aperture stop is a measure of input pupil or iris size in a lens limiting the amount of light passing through the lens and exposing our sensor. This is a ratio of lens focal length to iris diameter. For example, if a lens focal length is 50 mm and its entrance pupil diameter is 25 mm, the f-number is 2 and the aperture diameter is f/2.

Lenses use a standard f-stop scale, which is a sequence of numbers corresponding to the sequence of the powers of the square root of 2: f/1, f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22 etc. These result in a logarithmic scale of light intensity.

Zeiss_Aperture

A stop is also used to quantify ratios of light, with every incremental stop meaning an increase by a factor of two, and every subtracted stop meaning a decrease by a factor of one-half. A stop is also known as one unit in exposure value or EV.

In the sense of ratios of light intensity or exposure an increase or decrease by a stop has the same effect whether it is the iris of a lens or measurements of light intensity with a light meter.

4. Dynamic Range

If you understand everything so far then you’ll be able to grasp the concept of dynamic range. Every camera manufacturer quotes the dynamic range of its sensor. This is because it’s a hugely important indicator of imaging performance.

Dynamic range is simply the maximum possible range of exposure (in stops or EV) that an image sensor is capable of capturing. Remember that a one stop increase represents a doubling of light intensity.

So a sensor capable of capturing a 12 stop dynamic range means that it will resolve pure white in highlights that are 4096 times as bright or intense as the light intensity at its black level. That is a maximum contrast ratio of 4096:1. A 13 stop dynamic range doubles this to 8192:1, and 14 stop range doubles it again to capture pure white at light levels 16,384 times as intense as it’s black point.

7 stops DR – 128:1
8 stops DR – 256:1
9 stops DR – 512:1
10 stops DR – 1024:1
11 stops DR – 2048:1
12 stops DR – 4096:1
13 stops DR – 8192:1
14 stops DR – 16,384:1

Anything less than the minimum light level will always be recorded as black (and as we know there’s also a certain amount of noise down there too) and any light that is more intense than the maximum level the sensor is capable of reading will just become pure white in terms of recorded image data. No image detail can be recorded beyond this maximum level even if it does exist in our scene.

5. Log Gamma

Human vision perceives more detail and contrast with differences of luminance at the low and mid end of the scale than in extreme highlights. Our perception of brightness is not linear. We want to make sure we record more useable luminance information toward the low and mid tones without sacrificing highlight detail.

An image sensor has a linear response to changes in brightness. Therefore a function must exist between input luminance and the values we record. This function is a curve.

A gamma curve is simply a function between linear changes in input luminance from the camera sensor, and corresponding levels of output luminance that are actually recorded.

A roughly logarithmic gamma curve allows us to record increased or expanded luminance information in lows and mids where they are important, and less information in the highlights where we don’t perceive so much difference. Below are some example frames comparing log cameras files before and after correction.

Below are some shots from the Blackmagic URSA in Film mode, RAW CinemaDNG.

RAK-Sailing-Log-Compare-01-Small

RAK-Sailing-Log-Compare-03-Small

Below are some Alexa shots, these were captured in Prores.

Inside-Log-Compare-03-Small

Inside-Log-Compare-04-Small

Finally some Red R3D is below.

Inside-Log-Compare-05-Small

Inside-Log-Compare-06-Small

An uncorrected image captured with a log gamma curve looks flat and washed out. Each camera has a slightly different look, naturally as each sensor is different. It won’t look natural before color correction, but your colorist will be able to work magic with all the extra information contained in the lows and mid tones.

6. Exposure

Each frame of video we capture and record is a still image created by counting how many photons hit each photosite on the sensor in a fixed period of time. This is our exposure, and as far as the sensor is concerned it’s measured in eV or electron volts as an electrical charge at each photosite. eV (electron volts) is not to be confused with EV (exposure value).

Image sensors respond to light linearly, so as light intensity increases, eV (electron volt) charge at the photosite increases linearly. EV (exposure value) however is logarithmic representing a doubling of light intensity for every increase in EV unit.

Exposure time of course is determined by frame rate and shutter angle (or shutter speed).

For example, if our frame rate is set to 24 frames per second, we have a maximum of 1/24th sec exposure possible for each frame. Furthermore, lets take a typical shutter angle of 180 degrees; this is exactly half of a full 360 degrees, meaning our exposure time is actually half of 1/24th sec, or 1/48th sec.

Now, something incredibly important here needs to be said about ISO. An imaging sensor has what is known as a “native” or “base” ISO. This is its natural un-amplified level of sensitivity.

It’s actually its only level of sensitivity.

When you increase ISO setting in camera, all you are doing is under-exposing the sensor and amplifying its output signal. This increases noise substantially.

A correct exposure is of course somewhat subjective and dependent on what you are shooting. Generally it can be considered that the brightest highlights of your scene do not over-saturate the photosites on the image sensor (unless the sun, or other bright light source is in frame), and the darkest areas of your scene (the lowest light level that you still want perceivable detail) is sufficiently above the noise floor of the sensor.

But those are the limits at the extreme. Normally your range is somewhere in between. For instance if you are shooting outside on a overcast day, your total range may be far less than the maximum dynamic range of your sensor. So what about the middle? This is where having a middle grey card and white card on set with you becomes very useful. If you can pin down a middle grey and a white card correctly, the rest of your exposure should be in a good place.

Basic RGB

Every camera’s log color space has a slightly different gamma curve so I am going to give the average values here. A middle grey card has 18% reflectance, and on a waveform monitor should sit at about 40% IRE. If you don’t have a waveform monitor you can use the zebras. Just set zebras to 40% and your grey card will be at 40% when it starts to show the zebras. A white card has 90% reflectance and should be at about 60% IRE. A waveform or light meter are the best ways to set these values but zebra can be used if that’s all you’ve got at your disposal.

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 5.22.08 PM

In the shot above, I was clearly struggling with exposure. This was shot at night in the shell of an abandoned stone house in the woods (very cool location). The only light I had was from a fire in a fireplace nearby and an oil lamp which was meant to just be a practical light. Skin tones want to be exposed similarly to a middle grey card, and you can see from the histogram in Resolve I was way under. If I had just gone ahead thinking it could be pushed sufficiently in the grade I’d be dealing with all kinds of nasty noise resulting in unusable shots.

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 5.24.18 PM

The lens aperture was already opened up pretty much all the way and I didn’t want to push up ISO. So there was only one thing for it, and that was to increase ambient light to a level where my skin tones were pushed to between 40-50% IRE. Looking at the histogram these levels are much better. Because the total luminance range in this shot is quite limited, there actually isn’t much that is brighter than the skin tones.

If you don’t like noisy images it’s always better to give your sensor more light so I recommend slightly overexposing. If you are working with any high dynamic range sensor you’ll have more or less 6 stops above middle grey, so you can bring down exposure in post to bring back highlights and you’ll have less noise in the blacks too. This is sometimes referred to as ETTR (Expose to the Right) and looking at a histogram you are shifting everything slightly toward to right side. Just how slight depends on your sensor so it’s important to know how many stops you have above and below middle grey at your sensor’s base ISO.

You don’t have any control over the maximum limit of dynamic range for your camera sensor, but ideally you have control over the overall level of light illuminating your scene, and you can then also control the ratio of light between shadows and highlights. This is contrast.

If you really want to take your lighting and cinematography to the next level, I would highly recommend you look at adding a light meter to your toolset and learning to use it.

Controlled lighting is the key that unlocks the most beautiful cinematography.

This is something, I fear, that is being lost and forgotten with the widespread trend of shooting under only existing light, which is all too often too little to get the best possible performance from our sensors.

The desire and demand for ultra high ISO is killing the power and magic of purposeful and creative lighting.

7. Lighting Ratio

MATM-Reflector-FillLighting ratio is most often considered the ratio between key light (creating your highlights) and fill light (filling in the shadows). This ratio is important when lighting subjects within your scene, however there is also an overall ratio in your scene that exists between extremes of shadow and highlight.

What is important is an understanding of the concept that a ratio exists between shadow and highlight, and that this ratio (which can be calculated manually from incident light meter readings) ideally should not exceed the maximum contrast ratio dictated by the dynamic range of your camera sensor.

MATM-FrameAs for lighting subjects within your scene, the style you are aiming to achieve plays an important role. This is where low-key and high-key lighting comes in; this is contrast within your image. Do you want extreme contrast between objects that are lit and shadows or should it be more naturally balanced?

Often the ratio of fill to key on a subject can be controlled with a simple reflector as is the case pictured here from one of my short films.

It’s also important to take into consideration what you plan to do with the captured image in post. A colorist can only work with the image they are given, and that is all decided by what happens on location or on set.

8. Lift Gamma Gain

Finally we come to the end, as I promised where all of this ends with digital files full of luminance and color information.

What you will have captured if you’ve lit with your lighting ratios and sensor dynamic range in mind, and exposed properly is all the right information from your scene at the right levels in your image files. This means zero to fix in post.

You will be able to easily balance, color correct and make tweaks to your image if your shadow details, mid tones and highlights all sit where they should be.

But where exactly should they be?

One reference that I always use is the tried and true 10 zone Ansel Adams exposure system that has existed in the world of print photography for a long time. It’s not rocket science to use either. Based on the sensitometry research of Ferdinand Hurter and Vero Charles Driffield the system provides a reference for achieving a correctly visualized film print from a correctly exposed film negative. The system has been applied to all forms of photography including digital.

The system divides exposure into 10 zones from black to white and is used as a reference for what image elements at their respective levels of luminance should fall into each of these zones. The below frame grab (from Into The Wild) has been marked up to illustrate the zones. Color information is not needed so we’re looking at luminance only.

Into_The_Wild_AA_Luma

0 – Pure black
1 – Near black, slight tonality, no detail
2 – Dark black, slight detail in shadows
3 – Very dark grey, distinct shadow texture is visible
4 – Medium dark grey, slightly darker black skin, dark foliage, landscape shadows
5 – Middle grey, 18% grey, darker tan white skin, lighter black skin, light foliage, dark blue sky
6 – Middle light grey, average white skin, light stone, shadow areas on snow
7 – Light grey, pale white skin, concrete or grey asphalt in sunlight
8 – Grey white, pale detail in highlights, white wall in sunlight, bright surfaces
9 – Bright white, slight detail in highlights, white paper, snow, white water
10 – Pure white, no detail, light sources, specular highlights

Bottom line. Color correction and grading is the last part of the thread that I hope I have tied through all of this. Your goal is a beautiful, rich, styled and clean color graded picture. In order to achieve this, the required image information must be in your files, and therefore must have been captured with a properly exposed camera sensor and a properly lit scene.

Light is your best friend. When it comes to crafting beautiful images less is not more.

The post 8 Essential Steps to Perfect Exposure – The Knowledge Any Cameraman Should Have appeared first on cinema5D.

All credit is given to author cinema5D » NewsRichard Lackey