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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.
Male 1: Okay, Rich. So, we've talked about clean lenses, obviously an important thing you need to do. Rich: Yep. Male 1: And on a scale of one to ten of safety, if you follow a few smart rules, hey, easy to do, right? Rich: Yeah. Male 1: But sometimes, as you mentioned, cameras can get dirty on the inside. And what we're going to talk about now is this idea of sensor cleaning or cleaning the inside part of the camera. The part around the lens mount in the inside closer to your sensor. And again, just want to put a disclaimer out there, that if this is not something that you're comfortable doing, and have good technique doing, bring it to a professional.
Have a camera store look at it. They do it all the time, and they can help you out. Because this is one area that you want to make sure that you're doing it right and being precise, because you could potentially damage your camera. Rich: Alright, so one of the first things you could do is try to determine if your sensor is dirty. A lot of times I'll just take a still camera. Male 1: Mm-hm. Rich: And frame up. And I'll shoot something that is pretty much white. You know? And that's going to give me, what I need. I could use a flash if that wants to help there. Male 1: Yep. Rich: And I'm just shooting some white paper. And, in this case I'm going to get out of auto-focus because it's just pure white so it's difficult for it to see.
Male 1: Yep. Rich: And I get a nice clean white image. Male 1: Yep. Rich: Now in this case here, pretty much fills the frame. And I could zoom that in and just pan around. And for those of you at home, don't panic. Nothing's wrong with your computer here. I am just looking for dust. And, you know, the good news is, is that this is pretty clean. Male 1: Now, I'll make one caveat though about that. Rich: Yeah. Male 1: Is that we've, we've said this before in in previous episodes. Rich: Yeah. Male 1: It's my mantra. Everything looks good on the camera LCD. Rich: Yeah. Male 1: Right? So, one of the things, obviously, first pass, take a look at the back of the camera LCD and see if that's a problem.
And second pass is I'll bring that that image onto my computer. Into Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, whatever it may be, and blow it up and really sort of pixel peep if you will. Rich: Yes. Male 1: To see, to see if there are. Rich: It's like a scavenger hunt. Male 1: Exactly. Where in the world is Waldo? Rich: Yes, he's looking around for those. Now that's fine. That's going to help you sort of assess the problem. The good news is, is that most cameras have sensor cleaning built in in some way. Male 1: Yep. Rich: So clean image sensor, I could choose that, and I could say, oh, first off, I've got it set up to clean up at start-up and shutdown.
Male 1: Yeah, and my Canons do the exact same thing. I turn it on, and it's going to clean the sensor, and what's really happening here, is that it's literally just doing some very micro vibrations or adjusting that sensor ever so slightly, in the hopes of shaking loose any loose particles on it. Rich: Yeah. Now that works fine, and then I can go back up a level, and if I'm having an issue, I could always say, well, clean the sensor now. Male 1: Yep. Rich: And it goes through and it thinks and it's says it's cleaning the image sensor. And then it's going to come back out and say, okay I'm done. And it may or may not get rid of the problem.
That, very safe to do, right? Male 1: Totally. Rich: The manufacturer's built it in. Your warranties not going to be invalid. Male 1: I'm totally co, I'm total. Rich: Did, did you run the image sensor cleaner? Oh, I'm sorry we can't honor your warranty. Male 1: I'm totally comfortable pushing buttons but the next step. Rich: Yeah. Male 1: Is one that's a little bit more involved and, the first thing that we do on this, is to simply obviously turn the camera off, right? You don't want to have any, I, I even go as far as taking the battery out. Rich: Yeah. Male 1: Because I'm a little worried that any electrical charge potentially going to the sensor could be bad. Rich: Okay, well but, what about putting the mirror up? Or you just wanted, you just want to blow the mirror off right? Male 1: Oh, no, this is a great, I, I do both, and Rich makes a very good point, obviously in a DSLR, you're going to have a mirror in front of the sensor, on most DSRs anyway, right? Rich: Right.
Male 1: And, so, if you were to take the lens off right now, just turning the camera off, you'd see the mirror in front of the sensor. So that's something that I, I definitely do. Rich: And sometimes the dust is on the mirror. And you see it through the view-finder, you take the picture and it goes away. You're like, what? It was because the dust was on the mirror, not on the sensor. Male 1: So I'll often, I'll still turn the camera off. Rich: Yep. Male 1: And I'll take the lens off, and I will do sort of the same kind of procedure that I did for cleaning the lens with one big exception I do not touch that mirror.
Rich: Yeah. Male 1: Right? Because the thing about the mirrors is that they have special coatings on them. And that if you touch them you can flake them off and actually, actually make the prob, the problem, ten times worse than it was. So I'm again, a big fan of using the blowers. Rich: Yeah. Male 1: And that kind of stuff. To just kind of squirt some of that dust off. Rich: So I'll open that up. Male 1: Mm-hm. Rich: And now you have to just basically hold the camera sort of upside down though. Wouldn't you? Male 1: Exactly. Rich: So it doesn't just fall back in. Male 1: I was just going to say, you're making me nervous Rich. You definitely have to hold the camera at a little angle. So hopefully, the dust goes out of the camera.
Rather than further deep into the camera. Rich: Yeah, that's fine. And I'm getting that out. Male 1: Yep. Rich: And, that's one way of blowing the dust out. Male 1: Well, that, that's mainly for the, the front, for the, for the mirror. Rich: Yeah. Now the thing is, is that, that works well, and you can absolutely do that. Some people will take a brush and, and dust. Male 1: Hold on, I'm not as bold as that, but that's fine. Rich: That's fine. If we want to put the mirror up, a lot of times, you may have to adjust the actual dial. I'm just going to go to M-up. Mirror up is one way, or in the Menu itself, I could actually choose that.
Now, you do need generally a fully-charged battery, otherwise that will be grayed out. Male 1: ' Kay. Rich: So, I'll just choose that. And it says, okay, Start. And when I push the shutter release, it's going to open. To close it, I just turn the camera off. So, let's flip this around here. Male 1: Mm-hm. Rich: And I push it, and it opens up, and I can actually see the sensor. Male 1: Hello sensor. Rich: Hi. Now, you can go ahead and gently. Male 1: Mm-hm. Rich: Blow that out, is another way. And try to get some of that dust off. Male 1: Mm-hm. Rich: And that'll help. Male 1: Yep. Rich: They also make highly specialized brushes.
Now, one of the things that I do to tell what's going on is, this is an actual light designed to go right over the top there. And if I turn that on, I'll let you have a look. Tell me if there's any dust in there. You're younger. You have better eyes. Male 1: I'm seeing a couple pieces of dust. Rich: Okay. So, as I look at that there, this helps me find it. And yeah, there's definitely some in there. And so, one of the things I could do is, this is from a system called Visible Dust. This is a gentle, never touched the brush tip, it's covered. Male 1: Yep. Rich: A vibrating brush that's designed to blow that out.
Male 1: And it's very similar to sort of the vibrations of the auto sensor cleaning that the camera does. Rich: Yeah, so I've got that there. Let me just make sure the battery's in. I can remove this and I'm just taking that gently across the surface. Male 1: Mm-hm. Rich: I can angle that again. Male 1: Yeah, and the key here is not to press, push or scrape. It's a very deft sort of gentle touch on the sensor. You don't want to push too hard or do anything that could potentially damage the sensor. Rich: So, I'll just go ahead and check that again. And I got one of the two gone that I saw, it's looking a lot better.
Male 1: Let's take a look. Oh yeah, much better. Rich: Yeah. Now, very specialized brush, not cheap, absolutely positively as soon as you're done. You see that there? It's vibrating, and that works really well, but when you turn it off, you immediately want to get that back in the cover there. And it can be a little tricky as you sort of feed that in, but just a gentle push, it's in there. Male 1: Mm-hm. Rich: And then it actually locks into place. Don't let that get touched into anything. That's very sensitive brush. Male 1: Okay. Rich: Keep that covered, and that works.
And this light, and this brush, will stop you from really going nuts. Now, when I turn the camera back off, the mirror is covered. I think these two things, pretty safe. Male 1: Yeah, pretty safe. I mean, the one thing I would add too is that any time you're doing any sort of work inside the camera, sensor cleaning, that kind of stuff. Rich: Make sure you're in the dirtiest, dustiest, nastiest environment possible. Male 1: Right, you know, sneeze a lot towards the camera, that kind of stuff. No, you're absolutely right. You want to be in a very clean environment think lint-free non-oily, nothing's blowing around.
This is not work that you want to do sitting on your back porch, on a, you know, a breezy day with a lot of pollen flying around, let's put it that way. So, it's always good to do this in a, sort of a clean environment. And Rich you know, this is a good way, simple way of cleaning the sensor. Rich: Yeah. Male 1: But when we come back, we're going to talk about sort of really kind of the ultimate way of cleaning your sensor. And that's with a wet brush. Rich: Yeah, and you can do it yourself if you're brave, or you've been trained. Or you could take it to your local camera shop and have them do it for you.
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