Camera Question

Hey all!

So I've got my camera a Canon Vizia HF10 and I'm going to start doing some testing with it. I've got a question about what settings I should use.

I've gone over and played around with the settings but I haven't found any combination that appears great. What would you all recommend to get that film kind of feeling?

I'm going to be using Cineform Neoscene when porting it to my computer if that has any bearing on what settings I should be using. (Like 24p and whatever)

Thanks for any help!
Hi, you gotta just go film something.. anything.. I know the temptation to "talk" about it, but just go do..

Try this ...
  • Set the video gain max to 0
  • Set manual focus to on
  • Set mode to AV (Aperture Priority)
  • Set quality to Max
  • Set Frame rate to 60i (let neoscene do the deinterlaceing)

Find an object in the foreground with a distant background, like a flower with a field behind it.. or a cup on the table with the room behind it.. you get the idea.

Getting close to the flower, zoom all the way wide (not zoomed in at all) have the flower fill 60% of the screen or so, adjust your focus till its sharp.

Set the Aperture to as low as you can without blowing out.. (old school this is an Fstop)
blowing out means that its too bright and you cant see anything..

Adjust the exposure to help with this..
Now film it..

Now for experiment 2...

Everything the same, but get back from the flower and zoom into, again filling the screen to about 60%...
Youll have fewer Fstop stops because your zoomed in, but try and lower the aperture as much as you can. Double and triple check that the flower is in focus.

Film that..

The different results from what should be essentially the same shot of a flower with a field in the backgound will show you all you need to know about DOF and consumer camcorders.

That is the secret of how you can get shallow Depth Of Field effects on camcorders without a 35mm adapter.. open up the aperture as much as you can, and zoom in to the subject.. If you like this look, you'll want to ebay for some ND filters.. They just reduce he light coming into the lens, letting you open up the aperture more, further reducing the DOF.

24p doesn't mean much to me, I prefer the smoother action of 60i (even deinterlaced the action looks smoother than recording 30p, or 24p)

The Bokeh on our cam is pretty nice.. (google it if you need to.. , Im learning something from this forum everyday!)
Cinema mode is actually pretty flat and low contrast looking.. but it Post processes real nice.. Im avoiding it until I can reproduce the look with manual settings.. then Ill KNOW what its doing..

Thanks wheatgrinder, I'll try that out tomorrow when I get a chance and some decent light.

I have a ND Filter, but it makes everything really dark (using auto everything), so I assume that using all these manual settings will give a more usable image with the ND filter on?

Thanks again for the help wheatgrinder. I have been out playing around with the camera, but after getting lackluster results I wanted to see if anyone had some starting points for me.
The short answer to your ND question is "no" using and ND filter doesn't give you a more useful image in all conditions, only in very specific ones.. an ND filter regardless of settings may or may not be a good idea...

If your doing my experiment inside, don't use any filters.. and you can stay automatic, the effect will still work.. you can make it even MORE pronounced by playing with the manual settings.. auto focus might not work easily depending on the subject.. but it should figure it out if you center the subject and hold steady..

ND filters just cut the light coming in to your camera, so that means that image WILL be darker. For indoor stuff under normal lighting ND filter will not be useful as the light level is already too low..

To get shallow Depth Of Field (DOF) you need an "open" aperture and shallow focal plane..

Think of the aperture like this.

Its like the pupil in your eye... when its bright outside your pupils closes down, when it gets dark it opens up.. Taking that analogy further, imagine your outside in the bright sunshine, everything is TOO bright and sharp... So you put on some sun glasses.. now, less LIGHT is entering your eye, your pupil opens up a bit and you can see better... an ND filter is like sunglasses for your camera. And just like sunglasses they come in many "darkness" levels.. so an ND 9 is "darker" than an ND 1.

For shallow focal plane on camcorders we achieve that my zooming in on the subject...

Setting max gain to 0 is VERY noticeable indoors.. a typical lit room at night will be almost black without any gain.. which is good and ACCURATE from a control point of view, but might be disappointing from a purely "wow thats pretty" one :)

But I think all that is just academic, this camera takes amazing images even in full auto mode.

How are you viewing your footage? Have you hooked it up to a big screen 1080 TV directly?
Or are you using the include software to make DVD's?

One thing I did note when I first turned on the HFS100 is the default quality is NOT set to the max..
For basic point and shoot, set White Balance to either indoor\outdoor as appropriate.. Quality to MAX and go for it..

Thanks for all the info on the filters, that was helpful. Unfortunately I don't think my camera has all the manual options that yours does. I haven't had a chance to look at it to deeply (pesky work keeps getting in the way) but I don't think it does just from my casual observances.

I'll have to look at it more deeply when time allows.

Thanks for everything!