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This weekly course covers the most common questions videographers encounter when shooting and editing with DSLR cameras, from choosing a frame size and frame rate to understanding moiré. Authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman will also help you understand the impacts of compression and the difference between cropped (or micro 4/3rds) and full-sized sensors in cameras, and much more. This continual FAQ guide is a handy way to find the answers to the questions that plague you the most.
Richard: Okay, so we've made a pretty good case of what moire is. Let's talk about the next step, the logical next step which is how do we avoid it? Robbie: Exactly. Well, the easiest and the most straightforward method of avoiding it is avoiding things that will give you moire patterns, right? Richard: Right. Robbie: So, if you're shooting say an interview you might want to put that talent in you know a non tight pattern, pinstripe kind of shirt and then want to put them in the solid shirt. You might also want to just say you're shooting say brick or some carpet or whatever, you might want to do things like shoot it at selectively different angles, because again the position of the camera to that pattern is going to influence how obvious that moire pattern is.
Richard: Well, and to that end I think preproduction can solve both of these. Robbie: Yep. Richard: Yeah, we'll send out a sheet, a call sheet to our talent with instructions on wardrobe. And we'll also emphasize even if we're working with non-professional corporate talent, please bring an alternate set of clothes with you. Robbie: Absolutely. Richard: It's clearly spell out, avoid these sorts of things. And if we're doing a corporate shoot we'll actually have a couple of ties in the bag just to swap out with the guys, or you know it's not just ties, we might way to the women could you please remove that complicated fancy necklace? It's giving us a problem.
Robbie: Yeah, absolutely. Richard: And so you want to give people some warning, and you can do this. And then for those tight patterns like on exteriors with the brick and things, going there ahead of time and giving a test shoot. I know that, for example, a lot of shows and music videos are starting to use DSLR but as a fallback there people may have a secondary camera, maybe it's an AVCHD or an HDV or a typical CCD type camera, and for that one shot they might have to switch to older technology. Robbie: That's true. Richard: Or some of the things that I've done is just shoot a still with it and then do an effect later, like composite in a moving sky on that still photo, and it looks like it is moving video. Robbie: Well, right? But you know even with that said there is a lot of fancy things you can do, but you can also go little old school with it and one of the things that we can do is filter the lens a little bit right. Richard: Yeah.
Robbie: So one of the ways that you can avoid moire is by sort of slightly softening or diffusing the image just a little bit. Things like pro mist filters work pretty well to get to rid of some of that. Richard: Yeah. Robbie: You know, some of that type patterns that you might get. There's companies like Zeiss even that are making specific anti-moire filters now. That go on--they don't really make the entire image soft, they just sort of focus on diffusing those tight patterns and they work pretty well. Richard: Well, one of the things I also found, too, is that the patterns will show up at different points, especially with the zoom lens. Robbie: Yeah.
Richard: So we're doing some work where we had to shoot a lot of iPads and electronic screens, and that's another thing where you'll see the moire because you're dealing with a screen that's a lots of-- Robbie: Tiny pixels, yeah. Richard: Yeah, and they're like oh, I guess that really is a bunch of little dots with a repeating pattern that in vibrates. Robbie: Sure. Richard: We found by simply adjusting the distance of the camera from the screen that sometimes different zoom levels would clear it up, or just going like--and I mean a hint-- like from tack sharp to sharp. Robbie: Yeah, absolutely. Richard: You know just roll that focus enough, it's like oh it's gone.
You know this typically shows up in things that you don't need that distance. And remember, if you are dealing with things like brick or maybe it's a screen window behind the person sometimes you could move them off angle, you can pull them further away and then change your lens to change the compression, of you know how far away they are and just adjust your zoom. There are lots of strategies for changing how you shoot this to get rid of it. And if that doesn't work, then it's either switch the camera or take advantage of one of these hardware filters and either go on the front of the lens or between the lens in the camera body.
Robbie: Well, one more thing about switching the camera that I think it is interesting is that as these cameras mature and the censor development gets more mature in itself, we're seeing less problems with moire, right? Richard: Yeah. Robbie: You know, the very first generation of DSLRs maybe this was a little more pronounced. You know the second, now third or fourth generations it's getting less and less, as issues like line skipping and some other artifacts, and this is sort of the--what is really going on with the sensors get sort of you know, fixed or limited it all together those problems. We're seeing this is less of an issue. I will say having owned, you know, a 5D Mark II and 7D and having played with the 1D Mark IV on the Canon side and same thing on the Nikon side.
As the cameras are maturing, and they--you know, each successful generation we're seeing better moire performance. Richard: Well, we're also seeing a rise in popularity of Crop sensors for people that are deciding shoot video. And, for example, if you look at like the Panasonic AF100, it's not a full frame sensor, it's a Crop sensor. It's like a Micro Four Thirds. And we're seeing this with others, like people are going oh you know what that giant full frame photo sensor might be too big. Robbie: Right, sure, sure, sure. So I mean I get I think at the end of the day the thing to understand about moire is that you can avoid it in a couple of different ways.
You know avoiding those tight patterns, adjusting your angle, zoom to patterns if you have to shoot them, right? I think that you can think about diffusing methods. You know you go through something like a Pro mist or something special. Special filters are out there. Then also I'm going to hate to say this. You might to need to upgrade your equipment. If your equipment is 4-5 years old and exhibits these problems greatly, you might think about the newest and latest generation of cameras that are much better at handling strong moire patterns.
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