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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.
Rich: Rob, we've got a couple shots open from our backlit scene, and we're going to take a look at those in the scopes, but you often remind me that what we're going to show here is close to reality, but without the broadcast monitor hooked up, this isn't completely accurate. Robbie: Well, the scopes are. I mean, the thing is, when you're looking at the video signal on your computer monitor, you know, if you have the brightness jacked all the way up, things are obviously going to look a little brighter. When you're doing color-critical or contrast-critical tasks, yeah, you know, your computer monitor is not the best bet. I mean, that's what we refer to in the color world as having a reference monitor, that's an external monitor that you can hook up to your system via some type of video IO.
That's going to be calibrated to standards to allow you to, you know, better evaluate what's going on in terms of brightness, contrast, color and all that kind of stuff. So. Rich: But the reality is a lot of you will not have that option. Or you'll be in the field, like if I'm on the road for a client I am using my laptop or Maybe I'm going out the HDMI port to the hotel room TV, which is not great by any means, but it's not totally out there. Robbie: Well, and it brings up two points. Yeah, I know those situations are going to happen and they're not ideal but the thing is, first of all, your eyes, these two things in your head, lie to you All the time, depending on the environment you're in, how much rest you've had you know, all that kind of stuff.
Rich: Never enough. Robbie: Never enough. The other thing is that yeah, if you don't have a monitor that is suitable and calibrated to these various standards, that's also lying to you. But the one thing that's never lying to you. Is the video scopes. And later on Rich, in, in another episode. We'll probably dive into the scopes in more detail. But I just wanted to show you a couple of quick things about these few shots that recorded this back light situation. That will help you better understand what's going on with the shot. Regardless of your monitoring and all that kind of stuff. Rich: And we'll keep this simple. We're just going to use the, the Waveform monitor. Robbie: Right, and the Waveform monitor is See or the YC Wave forum here in, in Premier Pro.
Is the principle way that you're going to measure writing this information in your shot. And it's basically on a scale from 0 to 100. Where 0's black and 100's white. All this green stuff is all the pixels that make up the actual image. Rich: And so what I'm seeing here is actually I could recognize the three windows. And the Robbie: Yep, 1, 2, 3 Rich: And the hard line here, where there's, it's everything pushing on the block is actually The cross section on the window, right? Robbie: Absolutely, the cause the thing about the wave form is that it actually mimics the picture from left to right. Here's the left hand side of the picture. Here's the left hand side of the picture, and there are your windows.
And so yeah, exactly, what we're noticing in the situation, the reason that it's back lit, is because we have all of this stuff right here which is the window that's pretty bright. And then all this other bunch of trace, guess what that is? That's the artist, that's the background over here. And the thing I can tell about looking at this. Is that the exposure on the foreground. Even if I wasn't actually looking at the subject at all. Right? Did something the like that. I can tell that this is really under exposed. Because I have a large portion of trace that's down there from about zero up to maybe about fifteen twenty percent at most.
Which is pretty dark. Rich: Yeah the, the brightest highlight on our subject looks like it hits twenty percent. So. I could pretty much rule that that shot's unusable. So this is the one where we sort of, we opened it up a little bit in the field, and that looked better. The outdoors is a bit bright, but not clipped, right? Robbie: No, I mean, it's just, just starting to. Most of the majority of the window is in a pretty good exposure. We can see, see some detail back drop there. But the thing I want you to notice about this is the subject himself. Now if I look onscreen, the subject is right in this area right here. And now we're getting an exposure peak brightness on the subject up to the 35, 40 maybe even 50 IRU view range, which is a much, much healthier exposure.
I think looking at this, you can tell that he's still kind of dark, especially in his hair. In on here on the guitar and his shirt. But this is totally visible. And this is a much better, if you're looking at a waveform say on a field monitor, or out there, this is a waveform that you want to see, versus something like this, where you're going, oh boy. Everything is kind of crushed. Rich: Now, that's fine, and here we added more light. And I think the big difference that I'm seeing here between the two. Is that we've evened things out. Robbie: Yeah, totally. Rich: That the windows are still brighter but the bulk of the window is hanging out around 80% and our subject is getting into the 50 and 60's, right? Robbie: Absolutely.
Instead of having this kind of balance, we now have more of this kind of a balance. And that's giving sort of the over all appearance of an even lighting situation. On the scene, so yeah this is much better overall. Rich: Okay. I'm looking for two things here. One, is there a big difference between the highs and the lows within the frame? And we see that here, right. This is more balanced versus this one where there's definitely a spike in between them and you know, even if that's getting closer there's still a gap. Robbie: Yep. Rich: And then what are sort of the low points here? Are the mid-tones getting up there so there's enough information to work with? So.
Robbie: Yeah, no, that's true. And I mean, I think, you know, the thing about this too, just keep in mind that even though the scripts are telling you what you want, you know, to see analyitcally, I think the point that everybody always misses about analyzing images like this, is it really depends on what you're trying to make it look like, too. You know, if you were trying to go for like, a dark, you know, moody kind of thing, You might not expose it like this. So, it's good to know what you're going after in terms of look, but also how to analyze that look by taking a quick glance at the waveform monitor. Rich: Alright, well now that we understand how that works, let's explore working in an NLE with a plugin and a dedicated color app, to give you some ideas on how to really deal with difficult exposure.
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