STEP 1: Check white balance
Make sure the camera already has a good white balance.
STEP 2: Set proper exposure
Check the proper exposure for the starting angle and the finishing
angle and compare the number of steps to adjust the iris between the
STEP 3: Practice pans
Practice a few pans back and forth between the two angles until you get the desired timing and look for the scene.
STEP 4: Make iris adjustments
Practice the same pan, but now make the iris adjustments step by step,
spread out in the middle of the pan, so that the exposure changes are
hidden in the camera move, not on a static framing. You don’t
want the adjustments to be made as the camera is starting into the
sweep or slowing down out of the move. Get the adjustments evenly
spaced in mid-pan.
STEP 5: Get into action
Start recording, yell "action," and do the move. Do a few takes for safety.
STEP 6: Set shutter priority as your backup plan
For a backup, record the same scene with the camera mode set to Shutter
Priority, "TV," as this will let you specify a shutter speed; the
camera will automatically adjust exposure to the changing lighting.
I find Auto is not usually effective, since a lot of what I
record includes elements that have the potential to reflect too much
light, thus over-stopping down a camera set on Auto. That is
why I have been experimenting with methods to get around Canon’s
step-by-step iris adjustment. I have had some decent results with this.
I have also had great luck using the Exposure Lock button, above the
iris switch, to stop the iris from automatically adjusting when not
desired. This is useful when recording bright subjects that move in and
out of frame. You want to keep the overall picture exposed properly.
Give these tricks a try.
Will Holloway, President, Iron Horse America
Will Holloway has been writing for professional video- and
production-industry magazines for 10 years, specializing in testing and
reviewing field gear. He is president of Iron Horse America, a
production company in Seattle, Washington.
Getting Lighting Right:
"When shooting video or film outdoors lighting can change drastically
from one angle to another in a panning or tracking move," says
Holloway. "With the Canon XL2 you can choose to simply set the lens to Auto
or you can set the iris manually. In some instances, manual settings of
shutter speed and exposure are the only ways to achieve the desired
picture. On a standard ENG lens or film lens, adjustment is easy with
an iris ring, but on the XL2 there is a rocker-type switch on the
camera housing that adjusts the iris in progressive stop increments.
These changes are noticeable under most shooting situations. Here is
one way you can hide the stopping down or up of the iris."
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