Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Technique › Miscellaneous Techniques › Automatic settings- which to use, and when? › Your question reminds me o
Your question reminds me of the story of the 5 year old in Chicago who asks his Mom “Where did I come from.” She’s caught off guard, but proceeds to go into all the details, complete with diagrams. When she’s through she asks her son why he wanted to know. “Well,” he replied, “I just wanted to know because Tommy said he’s from Burbank and I didn’t know if that was near where I came from.”
I wouldn’t over-analyze the camera at first. Put it in full auto, shoot some footage and see what looks good and what you’d like to change. Chances are with that camera the results will look pretty good. You may discover that you need to find the Neutral Density filters and how the iris control works, but I suspect the camera will do a pretty good job in auto mode.
You’ll probably need to adjust audio levels, too. I’d certainly turn off auto gain and go to manual. (Be sure to wear a headset.)
You don’t describe the environment of “here at work.” In many settings, full auto mode is all that’s ever necessary. In others, especially where there are continually changing lighting conditions, being able to flip to full manual mode is essential. To give you an example, I just finished a five month shoot in which most of the video was shot under artificial light in close quarters. I ran the camera, a Sony PD150, on full auto during almost all of the indoor shooting — no problems with exposure, no problems with focus. There was simply no need to go manual. However, as soon as we began shooting outside I went manual so I could control my iris and ND filters and focus.
I agree that “learning how to do manual controls is of the essence for any serious videographer,” but I guess my working philosophy is that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If it’s doing fine in auto mode, stay with it. As far as the 30p 60p overcrank is concerned and the edge monitor, I can’t be of help; zebra stripes and waveform monitor I use all the time; these tools are especially useful in combination with a good external monitor.