Well friends, we promised to catalog the journey of our adventures with the now venerable beauty that was the Canon HV20, the little HD camcorder that arguably started a revolution.
Now we would like to share with you some of the fruit of our labors as we make available to you the full version of our first official short film “A Killer App” shot exclusively with one HV20 and one Canon HV20 Wide Angle lens.
The film, a parable about the effects of social media on our relationships, (and a zombie short to others), went on to screen at festivals around the world and even win some awards.
Today I ran an experiment to push the HV20 to give me optimal film settings with the narrowest depth of field without a lens adapter. In other words, I wanted to see what I could get using just the camera itself.
After reading an excellent post by the author (handle: Aramis) of the Canon Elura guide (elurauser.com) over at the hv20 boards I decided to forego Barry Green’s “cell phone trick” (with all respect intact) and thus CineMode, and instead lock the shutter speed at 1/48th using TVMode instead.
Here is the reasoning Aramis provides:
“I find Barry’s article unnecessary complex and convoluted. I believe that there is no reason of pointing to light source. What for? Need to read current aperture? Press the photo button. Need to set aperture? Select Tv mode, choose shutter speed, then lock exposure and adjust to your liking, checking current aperture with photo button. Not enough EV range? Well, in this case you can point to a dark area or, conversely, to a bright light source just to set a different baseline for built-in light meter, then lock exposure. Then you can adjust exposure and the range will be different, but what is the point of shifting the range, say, to smaller apertures if you shoot in low light? You won’t see anything.”
I locked the exposure to give me as open an iris as possible without adding electronic gain – in this case – 2.4 (-8 EXP). Anything above that setting showed a redundant 2.4 on the display and thus I assumed I was moving into digital gain territory (ie. -9 gave me 2.6, -8 gave me 2.4, -7 and above also showed 2.4). I based this on a diagram which displays that the largest aperture at full zoom for HV20 is is f/3.0. (Fig. 1.1)
Taking this into consideration, I decided to attempt an optical zoom that was at neither extreme. Most discussions thus far have concerning locking the exposure and shutter involve the camera being zoom all the way in or all the way out. A little restrictive by any definition.
Copyright © 2007 elurauser.com
By playing with the optical zoom to compress the foreground and background I was able to blur the background more while keeping the foreground in sharp focus and vice versa; using nothing more than the fidgety little focus ring, I got some excellent rack focus going between the distant foreground and background. The results are terrific. I got a very narrow depth of field, 1/48th shutter, a nice wide open iris at 2.4 and no electronic gain (ie.as little noise as possible).
The scene is lit with various “practicals”; (an upright halogen light from K-Mart, 40-watt energy saver bulb in a glass brick from IKEA, and, most importantly, a 500W Lowel V Light bouncing off the ceiling. I also used a gold reflector to balance out the dark side of my face. Without enough light this shot would have been impossible.
The experiment proved that I can control my shutter, exposure and focus, achieving a very narrow depth of field with just a few simple steps and nothing more than the Canon HV20 and in this case the Canon wide angle lens attached (and lots of light!)
Shutter 1/48th (TVMode 48)
Exp: 2.4 (-9 gain, exp lock)
Pics and vi(m)deo coming soon!
As readers familiar with this blog may know by now, I have been using Sony / Sonic Foundry products since their version 1 releases. I have always extolled the virtues of Vegas – their NLE/multitrack but sometimes there are hiccups along the way. I heard from several people (and this has been widely echoed across the web) that the latest updates to version 10 (namely build b and c) are creating mysterious problems that fail to launch the software or even uninstall/reinstall it.
Well I tested out some solutions and finally found one that works. It ain’t pretty. But it works and so I had to share it, with an easy to find title, so as to spare my peers from lots of hair-pulling and wasted valuable time.
Clean Uninstall and Reinstall Instructions for Windows 7 users (32 Bit Editions)
Before doing a Clean Reinstall, it is important to do the following:
•All audio and video effects chains and presets will be erased, so if you need to make a back up of your presets please download our Preset Manager program. For more information about backing up presets: Backup and Restore Audio Presets | Backup and Restore Video Presets
•Safely disconnect any external USB or Firewire devices like hard-drives or dongles.
•Temporarily turn off ALL anti-virus programs, as well as disabling any Registry Blockers, Spy Ware, Firewalls, etc. These applications have been known to interfere with software installation and registration.
Start the process of removing programs go to Start > Control Panel > Programs and Features (in Windows XP, open Add or Remove Programs) – find and remove your Sony Creative Software applications (ACID, Sound Forge, Vegas, DVD Architect, Cinescore, CD Architect or Media Manager, as well as any other Sony Media Software or Sony Creative Software programs).
Also, remove the Microsoft SQL Server Desktop Engine (SONY_MEDIAMGR), any and all Microsoft .NET Framework versions, and the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable software if it is listed.
Once un-installed, delete the following folders:
(Do not delete this entire folder if you have other Sony applications installed such as Sonic Stage, Everquest, Star Wars Galaxies, etc. If that is the case then only delete the folder for the Sony Media Software application you are using as well as the Shared Plug-Ins folder.)
•C:\Program Files\Sony Setup
WARNING: The next step will require you to delete Windows Registry Keys. The Registry is a very sensitive area to work in. If you are not comfortable with advanced configuration and system changes, ask an administrator to help you with this. (Related Topics: How to back up and restore the registry in Windows: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322756/en-us)
Next, open the Registry Editor. Select Start and type REGEDIT in the ‘Start Search’ box. (For Windows XP users, go to Start > Run … type REGEDIT and press ‘OK’)
In the Registry Editor, locate and delete the following registry entries:
(Depending on which versions you have installed you may see one or more of these entries. If you do not see all of these, that is normal. Delete those which you do find.)
If you locate a folder labelled “Sonic” please DO NOT confuse this with Sonic Foundry. Leave it alone.
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Sony Media Software
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Sony Creative Software
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Sony Media Software
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Sony Creative Software
Close the Registry Editor.
After removing all of the previous items, you may download and re-install from this link -
When finished with all reinstallation, please restart your computer. When your computer has restarted, you will have a complete clean installation.
I have always loved Sony Vegas, and for that reason always been treated like the underdog: “Vegas isn’t a truly pro platform, noone uses it, get a Mac” etc. Well I have my reasons for liking it, reasons that include real-time fades, effects, compositing, advanced audio mixing and routing, using virtually any video format on the same timeline without the need for transcoding, among other things. But when I moved into HD video a couple of years ago, starting with my then beloved Canon Vixia camcorder, the rendering woes started to kill me.
At first I thought it was the processor in my computer, or the amount of RAM, or how my background services were optimized. Sure these were all important factors, but as I searched online for solutions, I found that people with computers far more powerful were facing similar problems and even abandoning the platform altogether.
I have been using Vegas since version one and am currently running Pro v9.0e. Some say that version 9.0d is more stable. I call “superstition.”
Lately I have been using a Canon 7D, transcoding to an intermediate codec with Cineform’s NeoScene and cutting away happily, but the render woes continued – I would get a quarter of the way through a six minute timeline and the session would crash or the render would freeze up.
In three different forums, after much scrolling, I read about the tip that if you go to the Options->Preferences-Video tab, and change the default setting for the Dynamic RAM Preview from 300 to 0, close the video preview window, restart the computer and Vegas and then start the render – things should go more smoothly. And they have!
Last night, I was able to flawlessy render a 6.5 minute uncompressed HD render that included 4 video tracks (one for a PSD 1.85 mask, two overlay dissolves tracks and the master edit) plus a time code burn plugin on the master video insert and a stereo audio track in little over 15 minutes. This on a humble Core 2 Duo computer with 3.4 Gigs of RAM.
So give it a try next time, and maybe it will save you much hair-pulling and distress.
Let me know how it goes!