Ryan Navazio aka The Navi Arm may be one of the most prolific BMX videographers of all time. Whether he is shooting with a DSLR on a gimbal for Nike or just a good ‘ol VX1000 with the homies, you know he’s going to come through with something bangin’. Although in 2015 we are fully into the HD era, the classic look of the VX1000 is still revered and holds a remarkably strong following for a camera released in 1995. If you peeped the Animal / Chocolate Truck video above, or Cult “Talk is Cheap” DVD below, you already know that Navaz has this camera figured out better than almost anyone. Luckily for us the VX guru himself wrote out a quick guide for VX1000 users, peep it and learn how to make your footage look extra crispy.
How To Set Up A VX1000 with Ryan Navazio
1. One thing that I noticed in nearly all of the VX1000's I've owned is that the EVF is typically pretty inaccurate. The vx1000's EVF tends to display brighter and more vibrant color then what the camera actually records. So to combat this, the first thing I always set on the VX1000 is the EVF MODE function found within the menu. I bump the COLOR down 1 notch and the BRIGHT down 1 notch. This makes my EVF display much more accurate color and exposure.
2. In the custom presets menu I always set the GAINSHIFT function to -3db. And I turn off digital zoom.
3. If it's getting dark and I have to use a lower shutter speed (90-250), I will bump up the camera's sharpness 2-4 notches. But if I have good light and I'm able to shoot with a higher shutter speed (250-1000) then I leave the sharpness right where it stands or bump it up 1.
4. Sometimes if I'm manually white balancing the camera I will turn the WHITE BALANCE shift to the left (cold) and then set the white balance. After the white balance is set I will then go back and shift the WHITE BALANCE to the right in order to warm up the picture. Typically I shoot with my picture much warmer in camera and then add color correction in post to cool it down. It seems to be much easier to get good color out of the VX1000 by shooting a warm picture and adjusting it in post rather than shooting a cooler picture and trying to adjust that.
5. Depending on the days conditions and the time of day I will sometimes use the sun white balance setting. I typically go by eye and if the sun white balance looks accurate or more vibrant I will use that rather then setting the white balance manually.
6. Another thing I have always done with the VX1000 is set my exposure using the cameras auto exposure function first. Then, (depending on how it looks by eye) I will over exposure the footage by a half to full stop. (Just make sure your AE SHIFT is set in the middle) So if the camera gives me an auto exposure reading of f6.8, I would shoot at either F5.6 or f4. In my opinion, slightly overexposing vx1000 footage makes the colors pop and gives the overall picture more life. Since vx1000 footage seems to have a little bit of latitude (believe it or not) you can bring back some detail in post. I think this technique is probably the key to getting some of the best looking footage out of the vx1000.
7. 95% of the time I color correct my vx1000 footage. My out of the camera footage often tends to look too orange and over exposed. With some slight color correction I get the look I want.
8. I never shoot using the neutral density filter on the VX1000. The ND filter seems to make the colors dull and flat. In bright light I use a higher shutter to compensate.
9. I always try and shoot between f4-f5.6. Especially with the fisheye. I will go lower than F4 if the light is unavailable, but I will rarely ever shoot above 5.6-6.8. VX1000 footage f8-f11 seems to make for a softer image.
10. I usually set my audio levels manually. For some reason the vx1000 mic makes grinds sound so much better than any other camera and it helps to set the audio manually for better results.