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Best settings for BMCC night scenes?

blackmagic indie student film cinematography

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#1 Daniel Arriola

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Posted 31 March 2016 - 12:01 AM

Good night guys,

we're shooting a short film in about a month, and I'm planning to use a BMCC 2.5K. It's a low budget film so we'll be using some LED panels and Rokinon lenses. However, there's a night scene, so I'd like to know if there's any recommended exposure settings that you suggest. I haven't visited the location at night yet, but I know it's not pitch black, and that there are some practicals. Also, we're not looking for a high contrast/ very dramatic look, mostly soft light.

 

The only time I've shot night scenes with the BM I used ISO 800 and played with wide apertures (T/1.5 the widest) and I found it delivered a decent image. However, even after the color grading there was some noticeable noise. Is there something specific that you suggest so I can improve the image quality or is that about the best I can get?

 

Thanks in advance guys.

Daniel


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#2 Jay Young

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Posted 31 March 2016 - 07:39 AM

The BMCC can be, with a really expert colorist, underexposed almost 4 stops and sill have decent information retrievable. 

 

I would stick with 800iso, but check it with a light meter, making sure your exposure on the subject is spot on and not worrying about falloff on unimportant background things.

Even if you use the Rokinon's, I think you should go with lighting to f2.8 as the Rokinons get a little wonky wide open, in my opinion - not the best that could be.

 

It would be helpful to know exactly where the noise occurred (in the deep shadows? Only after raising the underexposed image 3 stops?) then a more sound guideline might be given.


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#3 Daniel Arriola

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Posted 31 March 2016 - 08:07 AM

The BMCC can be, with a really expert colorist, underexposed almost 4 stops and sill have decent information retrievable. 

 

I would stick with 800iso, but check it with a light meter, making sure your exposure on the subject is spot on and not worrying about falloff on unimportant background things.

Even if you use the Rokinon's, I think you should go with lighting to f2.8 as the Rokinons get a little wonky wide open, in my opinion - not the best that could be.

 

It would be helpful to know exactly where the noise occurred (in the deep shadows? Only after raising the underexposed image 3 stops?) then a more sound guideline might be given.

 

Thanks, great to know that about the Rokinon's aperture. And yeah, the noise occurred mostly on the deep shadows, but there was also some on the midtones, after raising it a bit in post (to be honest I don't know how many stops, because I don't know much about coloring, so I can't get into much detail there). However, the colorist we've got is very good, so I reckon he'll know what to do with the info you suggested. 

I know the BMCC can recover lots of info in post, I was only insecure about the settings for that day, because I want to get the best info I can straight out of the camera. Last time I got some decent footage, but if it can be improved, all suggestions are welcome.

Thank you very much for your answer.

Daniel


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