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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 Harrington: In the video world, there is a very common saying, that is, better to be a little bit underexposed than overexposed. And I find that if I'm outdoor shooting, it is so tough to judge exposure on these cameras. Robbie Carman: Absolutely! Because when you're outside or even actually under studio lights like we are now, the camera LCD when you're in live view tends to look a little washed out. And so if you're judging your exposure based on this with all this ambient light coming in from the studio lights here or outside, you tend to compensate usually in the wrong direction. Rich Harrington: It's a nice little mirror that you have there.
It's a highly reflective glass surface that's perfectly angled to pick up all the light. Robbie Carman: It's true. So when you're outside under bright lights, you might make the mistake of sort of stepping down too much, where you end up with sort of a underexposed footage, or if you're in sort of medium lit scenes or darker scenes, you might overcompensate. And that's solely because of the ambient light that's hitting the back of this LCD screen. So that's actually a really useful way to use a loupe. By using a loupe, such as this one from Zacuto, which I can just pop on here to the back of the camera, what I'm actually doing is I'm covering up the LCD screen with the loupe itself.
What this does is it blocks ambient light from coming into the LCD. So when I go ahead and take a look here, I'm actually looking directly at the LCD screen in a magnified view, but I'm not being impacted by the ambient light. Now I will say that there are better ways to judge exposure with videoscopes and some of the monitoring options that we've talked about in previous episodes and we will in future episodes, but this is a good place to start, because instead of being impacted by the ambient light, you have a fighting chance at least of what's going on without being sort of affected one way or the other by what's going on in your environment.
Rich Harrington: What's happening here is exactly what you said there. I could have a good idea of what it is that I'm seeing. I don't have to be fearful that the environment is messing with. The other nice thing too is that this does provide another point of contact. Robbie Carman: Yup! Rich Harrington: So when I put this up here to my body, I'm getting the point of contact of hand on it, and on the lens if needed another point of contact on the face as opposed to try to hold this out there and it's shaking, and it's vibrating. So it does benefit you there. But there is a little gotcha. You'll notice here on this particular one, I have this little clip-on cap, and I even have a little 16x9 mask.
If you've ever heard that phrase or you've ever, you've seen it, not encouraging that you actually try this, but where people would take a magnifying glass and fry an ant, this is a giant magnifying glass pointed right at the back of your camera. Robbie Carman: You've got to be really careful about this, especially if you're in an outdoor scene, and shooting and you just put the camera down, all of a sudden, that sunlight is coming in to the back of the loupe here. Guess what? It's focusing the sunlight directly through the loupe onto the LCD. And if you leave it there long enough, guess what's going to happen? You're going to get sort of spots and sort of discolored areas on the camera LCD because you've essentially burned the LCD out by the magnifying glass effect.
And instead of ants, well, you're burning the LCD. Rich Harrington: Yeah. So if you happen to get lost while in the woods shooting with your DSLR video, you probably could start a fire with one of these for safety sakes purposes. But just remember, keep it covered and that's why you actually have that little cap that goes on there, keep the camera so the sun is hitting the top, don't tilt it so that the sun is just pouring into the back there. You want to be careful that you don't get extra sunlight. All right! So that is that benefits of the loupe. In summary, critical focus, another point of contact as well as accurate exposure.
And I like to say that this is one of those top three. When I talk to a new person, and what's the gear they should get, I say look, a tripod, so you have a stable shot, a microphone, so you can hear your shot, and a loupe, so you know that the shot is properly exposed and in focus. This is the lens for the back of the camera, and without it, you're really just sort of guessing with what you're getting. Robbie Carman: Yeah. And Rich, you know, for the price of them, I think they're a very good investment. You can keep them around for a long time, and they are really going to benefit your shoots when you're going out there and shooting in all sort of different lighting situations and you need to get critical focus and critical exposure set.
Rich Harrington: Just make sure you take that lanyard and attach it to the device; there are different ways. You've got a clip one there. I've got a metal clip. But, you can have this either around your neck or tether this somehow to the camera body or your tripod because what's going to happen is you're going to have this attached to the camera and something is going to happen on set, you turn quickly or someone bumps your camera; while this is sturdy, you don't want it dropping and bouncing on the ground. Having it on a string is going to prevent that unwanted damage. Now lots of manufacturers out there, I've personally used the Zacuto model, we have a periscope model here.
I also like the ones that come from Hoodman, and I've used their products, but there are tons of these out there. Just find the one that's a good match for you and your budget. These are going to start in the low $100-150, peak up to about $300-400 dollars depending on the feature set that you want. But, just like a good lens, this is a great investment that will carry across all of your DSLR shooting and allow you to use this as you step up to new camera bodies in the future.
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