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Light up dark steadycam scenes


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#1 Carl Hed

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 03:45 AM

Hello all, maybe I should have chosen the lightning forum to post in but since its the camera I have questions about I post here.

I will film a short feature using the Sony (HDV) hdr-HC1E camera and the end result will be in black and white.
The problem is the Sony HC1E requires a huge amount of light otherwise the compression will make the footage blocky/blurry and grainy as hell.
I found out that filming in a even quite well lit up room with two big electric lights wont do better than a small diode flashlight in a totally dark room. In fact the small diode flashlight give me better and even acceptable footage, though it really wont light up as many or big parts of the room. The flashlight has a bluish/violet tint and I think this kind of light actually fools the compression somehow making it less blocky.
I will use a steadycam to walk around in a house full of rooms and I need to keep the lights invisible as much as possible for the camera not to show any redhats and so in the footage. It will not matter what colour the lights have since the Film will be in black and white.
I did some tests with 300 Watt working lights with and without blue tinted plastic sheets on but it did not help. The flashlight still gives a better picture but I need to spread the light more all over the rooms. Oddly enough if I shoot in an ordinary room with about four 40 watt lights in the ceiling plus the diode flashlight the footage is worse than with the flashlight alone.

Anyone experienced this behaviour and how to solve this?
Thank you in advance!
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#2 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 04:04 AM

Perhaps the artifacts show up more in the midtones of the image, and by adding the fill light of the 40w light, you have more midtones in the image, and thus perceive the noise more.

With just a flashlight, you have far more contrast, and thus it hides a lot of the artifacts.
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#3 Carl Hed

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 08:15 AM

Perhaps the artifacts show up more in the midtones of the image, and by adding the fill light of the 40w light, you have more midtones in the image, and thus perceive the noise more.

With just a flashlight, you have far more contrast, and thus it hides a lot of the artifacts.


Thank you for your quick reply!
I have thought about it too but the image is blocky/grainy in the whole image everywhere. Comparing the pictures the flashlight only has totally no artifacts whatsoever and will get me satisfied result. The flashlight - 40 watts combination gives me a total unwatchable sludge.
I can show you a comparison if you like.
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#4 MZolomij

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 08:35 AM

Perhaps the artifacts show up more in the midtones of the image, and by adding the fill light of the 40w light, you have more midtones in the image, and thus perceive the noise more.

With just a flashlight, you have far more contrast, and thus it hides a lot of the artifacts.


Could it be in the compression? Lighting up a scene will create more information to be compressed; where a scene lit with just a flashlight will not have as much information - less to compress. The blurring and blocky images you described really sound like a bad or poor quality compression tool. How does your image look played back from the camera or a deck? If there is the image issues that you describe then it could be a dirty head in your camera. If the image is fine on play back then I would think your problem would be in the compression.

Good luck.
z
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#5 Michael Nash

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 01:50 PM

This is sounding more like the classic auto-iris, auto-gain problems of low-priced consumer cameras. To really tell what's going on with noise and compression in low light, you need to make sure that the exposure is manually set ("locked") and that all gain is turned off or to "zero." Some lower priced cameras only have full-auto control over these features, though. If the exposure and gain adjust automatically, the noise and exposure (and hence compression artifacts) will always vary with the scene content.
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