Camcorder Controls: Understanding Zebra Patterns

Mastering your camcorder controls will make it much easier to take high quality, professional looking videos. There are many different controls that you need to master including zebra patterns. This is a special mode of your camera which few amateurs use. However, it's very useful and almost all professionals use it to gauge how much light will affect their videos.

By using the zebra patterns mode on your camera, it will be possible to expose your shots properly. This will make it much easier to record videos which are of a high quality and nothing is burnt out. The zebra pattern will only be displayed on your cameras viewfinder and will not be recorded with the photograph.

Step 1: Reading the Instructions

Not all consumer level digital video cameras support zebra patterns. This option is normally only offered on prosumer and professional equipment. It is, however, very useful and worth looking at. If your camcorder does support it, then you will need to find out how to turn it on and adjust the settings. If you can't find the option in the instructions, then it's probably not possible to use it on your video camera.

Step 2: Turning on Zebra Patterns

If your video camera has a zebra patterns mode, then you will need to turn it on. Turning the setting on will normally be as simple as setting an option in the settings menu of your camera. As every camera works differently, you will need to read the manual if you're not sure.

Step 3: Setting the Threshold

Now you need to set the threshold of the zebra patterns. This can normally be adjusted in the same section where you enabled zebra stripes. If you set the threshold level to 100%, then the patterns will only be displayed when aspects of the image are already burnt out because of the bright light. It's a good idea to adjust this to give you a safety margin. For example, adjusting it to 80% will give you a 20% safety margin before problems arise.

Step 4: Using the Zebra Stripes

When you record a video, you will be able to see zebra stripes on any light sources if they are too bright to be recorded properly. If you ever see the zebra stripes, then you will need to take measures to stop the excess light from being such a problem. This could include reducing the light or adjusting the exposure settings of your camcorder.

Step 5: Adjustments

You can now make adjustments to the zebra patterns as required. You can adjust the threshold percentage levels to change when the zebra patterns kick in.

By mastering how to use these zebra stripes, you will find it much easier to understand exactly what you're filming and record high quality professional looking videos. If your current camera doesn't support the option, then it's worth bearing this in mind next time you choose a replacement camcorder. This will make it much easier to make videos by benefiting from advanced features.

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