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Shooting in Low Light


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#1 tullochdave

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 02:37 PM

Hi,

I'm currently in pre-poduction for a student short film and one of the shots i need is in a darkened room with only a table at the far end of the room lit by a light hanging above (its supposed to be a kind of noirish interrogation scene) - however i'm a bit concerned that as much of the picture will be dark the overall shot may come out grainy as is usually the case in the dark.

any advice on how to avoid this would be greatly appreciated

thanks

dave
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#2 Jay Gladwell

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 04:05 PM

This is what "cinematography" is all about. Even in "the movies" things aren't as they appear!

The basic trick is to light the set to make it "look" like what you've described--it's a matter of ratios--light to dark. Light the table to get what you want it to look like, then add just enough light in the dark areas to bring the details up to the level you want. You will more than likely want to use a monitor while doing this so you can "see" the effect as you work on it.

With the flexibility of the XL2 this would be easier to do.

Edited by Jay Gladwell, 01 March 2006 - 04:07 PM.

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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 05:22 PM

Most people get noise in low light levels because their cameras are on auto-gain and is compensating once you hit the widest f-stop opening by continuing to raise the gain. So to control noise, make sure you stick to 0 db use manual gain. Otherwise, the noise should be normal for that camera unless you start lifting the blacks or adjusting the gamma for more shadow detail.
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#4 Julian Seeto

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 12:07 AM

fiddle with master pedestal? (i think that's the one...) set to press?

julz
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#5 Jonathan Nolan

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 01:19 AM

Most people get noise in low light levels because their cameras are on auto-gain and is compensating once you hit the widest f-stop opening by continuing to raise the gain. So to control noise, make sure you stick to 0 db use manual gain. Otherwise, the noise should be normal for that camera unless you start lifting the blacks or adjusting the gamma for more shadow detail.


I second this.

If you are in the quick and dirty school of point and shoot and don't want to adjust camera settings, buy yourself a 1,000,000 candle torch (bigass waterproof ones with a rubber seal around the light). Plug it in and point it at the people's feet. Light reflecting off of the floor and especially the lower walls will give you an interrogation room layered light effect and also throw upper shadows to match the extreme downward shadows so you get some nuances of light.

Basically you will be key lighting and front lighting.

And break a leg, sounds like fun!
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#6 AshG

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 02:01 AM

You can shot with the gain up to +6dB but you have to turn up the coring, lower the sharpness and crush the shadows, you may also need to boost the color. One thing I recommend in low light is to use the VIDEO matrix, not the CINE color matrix as it is inherently more noisy. If you are handheld try to avoid the NR but you can test it on LOW. The only way you want to turn it up to HIGH is in fairly static lock down situations.

In this situation, you most likely do not need gain, you need to control that one light. I have about a gajillion XL2 settings... shoot me a grab of what you want it to look like and I will send you a setting... off the cuff I would say, Knee-low, blacks-press, Setup- minus 3, Master pedestal- minus 6




ash =o)
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