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Using zebra stripes

From: Pro Video Tips

Video: Using zebra stripes

So there are a number of different tools, that I'm not as big a fan.

Using zebra stripes

So there are a number of different tools, that can help you judge exposure, from histograms to wave forms. But the one that I use most often, is zebra stripes. Zebra stripes are a tool. In your camera, to help you judge exactly which part of your image, is overexposed. So, first thing we gotta do if we want to use zebra stripes is actually make sure that we have them turned on, and setup properly in the menu. So i'm going to go into the camera Menu. And on your menu you will usually find this, not under the camera set, but you're going to find it under the LCD or viewfinder set.

So, anything that controls your display, is usually where you're going to find zebra stripes because, these stripes, to be clear, are never recorded to tape. So, you're going to see them on your monitor. But they're not being recorded to tape. So, in this case, I'm going to go in here and find my zebras, which are right down here, and I have Zebra select, where I can select the brightness, I want to set my zebra level to 100%. So go ahead and set your zebra level to 100%, and I have my zebra two set there, so I'm going to turn that on, and now I can get exit out of the menu, and then the next thing you have to do, is actually turn your zebra stripes on in the camera.

So, you might have a little button on the side here that says zebra, just like I do. So I'm going to go ahead and hit that button. And if I blow out a shot, and I don't see him, I'm going to hit it again, until I do see the zebra stripe. So, what these stripes are telling you right there, is that these parts of your image are overexposed. So zebra stripes, like Anthony artists, are your friend. They're there to tell you that you're doing something wrong, and to help you correct it, before it's too late. So, I'm going to go ahead and dial down my exposure. And now, I know that my image is properly exposed with no blown out areas.

So I'm going to go ahead and bring that up a little bit, because I want to explain why I like this particular tool, for judging exposure for the type of work that I do. I'm not as big a fan. Of the certainly not a fan of the histogram, and even though wave form monitors are very accurate and a lot of pros like to use them, I use those as well, but I don't always like having something superimposed over part of my screen. Especially if I'm only shooting off of the LCD screen, but what zebra stripes tell me. Is exactly where, in my image, I have the overexposure. And that's what I really care about most.

I don't care as much, that maybe, 10% or, or 5% of my image is overexposed, but I care very much, if that, 5% or 10% is on my subject's face. So the big question about zebra stripes, is where don't we want to see zebra stripes? You're usually going to have some zebra stripes in your image. And that's going to be in the natural highlights of the image. So, if I'm shooting, say a large scene, and I got a bunch people having a banquet or something like that, and there are some windows in the background, I might have everybody in the foreground perfectly exposed, but I might have some of those windows blown out a little bit in the background, and that's not a big deal because the windows aren't my subject.

And in this case, if the white rabbit were my main subject, these zebra stripes right here would be a problem. So I'm going to go ahead and just dial those back down. So, the main thing with zebra stripes that we're worried about, is that we don't want to see any significant amount of zebra stripes on our subject's face, or on their clothing. Anything that might be a natural highlight. Like I imagine right now there's probably a little reflection coming off of my glasses. If I were wearing, you know, some shiny jewelry, something like that, might also be reflective. So you're naturally going to have some zebra stripes, on natural highlights of the image.

But you don't want them over anything that's really important. And certainly don't want them. On your subject's face. So, zebra stripes are a really easy tool to use. And you're going to adjust them the same way, you adjust the wave forms, which is just to go ahead and blow 'em out, until I see zebra stripes all over my subject's face, or on parts of my subject's face. And then I'm just going to dial 'em down, until they just disappear, and that's going to give me a great exposure. So, I hope that explanation of zebra stripes helps you, when you get out there in the field.

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This video is part of

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Pro Video Tips

67 video lessons · 10019 viewers

Anthony Q. Artis

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  1. 9m 49s
    1. Tips for lighting an interview subject
      9m 49s
  2. 2m 8s
    1. Intro to Pro Video Tips
      2m 8s
  3. 17m 27s
    1. Controlling reflections in glass
      4m 7s
    2. Managing color with polarizers
      2m 32s
    3. Using a polarizer to adjust skin tones
      2m 0s
    4. Using polarizers when shooting landscapes
      4m 42s
    5. Ten polarizer tips
      4m 6s
  4. 14m 34s
    1. Supplies to get to hide lav mics
      2m 13s
    2. Hiding lavs in collars
      5m 16s
    3. Hiding mics in hair
      2m 17s
    4. Hiding mics in sheer tops
      2m 40s
    5. Hiding transmitter packs on talent
      2m 8s
  5. 34m 25s
    1. Canon C100 overview
      11m 33s
    2. Looking at the Atomos Ninja
      12m 20s
    3. Checking out the C100 menu options
      10m 32s
  6. 10m 28s
    1. Ten tips for set safety
      10m 28s
  7. 9m 18s
    1. Packing a truck
      9m 18s
  8. 19m 24s
    1. Putting together your lens kit
      1m 0s
    2. Normal lenses
      1m 54s
    3. Wide lenses
      3m 5s
    4. Ultra-wide and fish-eye lenses
      2m 53s
    5. Telephoto lenses
      4m 53s
    6. Super zooms
      2m 54s
    7. Macro lenses
      2m 45s
  9. 17m 22s
    1. The importance of exposure
      1m 31s
    2. Using waveforms
      5m 3s
    3. Using histograms
      6m 53s
    4. Using zebra stripes
      3m 55s
  10. 10m 20s
    1. Shutter speed overview
      3m 18s
    2. Different ways to use shutter speed
      7m 2s
  11. 10m 29s
    1. Tips for keeping your budget down
      10m 29s
  12. 10m 11s
    1. Working with batteries
      10m 11s
  13. 24m 39s
    1. External audio settings
      4m 2s
    2. Audio input menus
      9m 31s
    3. Audio output menus
      4m 6s
    4. Setting and monitoring your levels
      7m 0s
  14. 16m 33s
    1. Introduction to backlight
      1m 18s
    2. Types of backlight
      3m 51s
    3. Exposing for backlit shots
      5m 31s
    4. Backlighting translucent object
      1m 39s
    5. Avoiding lens flare and wash out
      4m 14s
  15. 13m 28s
    1. Booming techniques
      13m 28s
  16. 5m 42s
    1. Feeding your crew
      5m 42s
  17. 8m 36s
    1. Choosing between prime, servo, and manual zoom lenses
      5m 19s
    2. Running and gunning with prime lenses
      3m 17s
  18. 10m 55s
    1. Green screen lights and materials
      3m 47s
    2. Mounting the green screen
      1m 39s
    3. Lighting the green screen
      3m 8s
    4. Lighting your subject
      2m 21s
  19. 9m 28s
    1. What to look for when buying a tripod
      6m 13s
    2. Working with monopods
      3m 15s
  20. 23m 19s
    1. Choosing a camera
      3m 2s
    2. Preparation and supplies for a surf shoot
      2m 13s
    3. Dealing with lens fog
      1m 44s
    4. Mounting your POV camera
      3m 20s
    5. Tracking and shooting your surfer from the shore
      6m 56s
    6. Interview with Tony Cruz
      6m 4s
  21. 8m 37s
    1. Introduction to lens mounts
      1m 24s
    2. Canon mounts
      2m 0s
    3. PL mounts
      1m 59s
    4. Nikon mounts
      1m 24s
    5. Micro 4/3 mounts
      1m 50s
  22. 7m 30s
    1. Introduction to lighting ratios
      1m 19s
    2. Comparing ratios
      2m 52s
    3. Measuring light ratios
      3m 19s
  23. 10m 25s
    1. Ten Looks in Ten Minutes
      10m 25s
  24. 5m 36s
    1. Using camera height and POV to better tell your story
      5m 36s

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