DV Overexposure

Discussion in 'Fan Films, Fan Audio & SciFi 3D' started by WolverineOfTheORS, Dec 29, 2011.

Moderators: AdamBertocci
  1. WolverineOfTheORS Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 11, 2006
    star 3
    I'm going to sound like a total n00b in this post but it's something that I've never really addressed and it's beginning to annoy me.

    I shoot on a Sony HDR FX1E Handycam and get quite a bit of overexposure in my footage. I have fiddled with the f/stop and shutter speed and can't seem to rectify it.

    I'm not interested in fixing it in post; I'd just like to know the proper in-camera techniques to prevent overexposure. I'm good at what I do but simple technical errors such as these are kind of hindering my progression as a filmmaker.

    Here are some examples:


    [image=http://i167.photobucket.com/albums/u131/darthvader1025/Screenshot2011-12-29at201933.png]

    The background is overexposed.

    [image=http://i167.photobucket.com/albums/u131/darthvader1025/Screenshot2011-12-29at202045.png]

    Obvious overexposure on his face.

    [image=http://i167.photobucket.com/albums/u131/darthvader1025/Screenshot2011-12-29at202138.png]

    The "Kill for cash" document is 100% white.

    As you can see, overexposure is present in all three shots. What should I have done to prevent that?
  2. Boter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2002
    star 4
    Each one's a bit different. I don't know technical specs on the camera but hopefully I can give you some general tips.

    You're going to need lighting to fix a shot like this on-location. The shot is actually exposed correctly... for his face. However, his face is darker than the rest of the scene. You need to either bring in your own light sources or use bounce cards to redirect the abundance of light that's there already; once you've done this, his face will be brighter and you can step down the in-camera exposure without losing detail on his face.

    I don't really have much to say here, aside form keep fiddling with your settings and make sure that auto exposure is off. Should be pretty simple; if you can't figure it out, find some forums for that particular camera and ask there.

    I don't think that overexposure on this shot is a problem. The document is completely readable, it's not overexposed enough that you can't read what's on the card. Everything else has good color range; aside from putting KILL FOR CASH on a light grey sheet of paper instead of a white sheet of paper, there's not a lot to be done. Remember that DV has a pretty low dynamic range that you're running into here.
  3. WolverineOfTheORS Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 11, 2006
    star 3
    Thanks, some interesting feedback there.

    I am very particular about everything I shoot and even the smallest of errors grate on me. Hence why the "kill for cash" sheet has annoyed me. It's readable but in an ideal world I'd prefer the white not to be 100% and would prefer a bit of detail on the paper. But like you said, maybe opting for grey coloured paper may have solved the problem.
  4. Boter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2002
    star 4
    An example of that is in the movie Rent. In the original Broadway production, one of the characters had a navy blue and white scarf; when it came to the silver screen, the white became grey so it didn't overexpose.
  5. JediPastor Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 15, 2005
    star 1
    Also check your soft exposure settings. Be sure you are on some sort of manual setting. This used to happen to me on my old XL1 and my Sony HDV camera. I would be adjusting the iris and the camera was on some sort of auto setting so it would adjust the gain to get what it thought was a proper exposer based on the overall brightness of the scene. If it was a dark scene with some face light on an actor wearing dark clothes, like your second example, I would close the iris to adjust to the face and the camera would automatically gain up to adjust to the background. If there is an auto gain on your camera it could be fighting you.
  6. bgii_2000 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2005
    star 4
    Biggest thing to keep in mind is you're shooting video that has a very narrow dynamic range. Lighting to your capture medium is your friend here.
  7. Psilaef_Zeias Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2006
    star 1
    Yeah, if you don't have manual exposure in camera you'll have to manually control your light. As it appears you're looking to cut contrast, you'll definitely benefit from the use of a diffusion/reflection screen such as this:

    [image=http://www.mldvideo.com/wms/api/image/product/300/166/600/600/image.jpg]

    Although it's always nice to have lots of coverage, something smaller and holdable is adequate for example shots #2 & 3. You can make something lightweight and serviceable in size with PVC pipe for the frame with fabric (black to block, white to reflect) and door/window screen mesh (to diffuse.)
  8. WormieSaber Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2000
    star 5
    Try using a filter that will bring the exposure down a couple stops.
  9. ElectroFilms Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2007
    star 3
    Well if the camera is compensating via gain, then it will just over compensate for filters. Maybe a polarizer?
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