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Digital Darks without noise


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#1 Brandon Arandt

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 12:35 AM

Hey all,

I have some confusion about setting up general lighting scenarios. If I am shooting on Red for example: When exposing a general daylight scene inside, what point do I bring up the exposure in the darks so that I will have my shadows free from a lot of noise? What I have been doing is setting the ambient exposure to properly expose the light coming in from outside so they are not blown out and then adding light on the interior for my subject. I love the moody look it gives, but do I need to add more light to the whole scene so the shadows reach a certain point and then crush them back in post? What is the proper way to do this? Thanks for helping me in advance.
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 05:48 AM

If you like the look you are getting now, why change it?
There really isn't any "right" way-- just the way you like it based on your tastes. Now of course, if you're stuff looks like crap your tastes could be crap, but that doesn't make them wrong. Howver, in terms of mitigating noise in footage, yes, your best bet is to light up the shadow areas so as they read on your camera-- whatever what camera is-- and then crush them back down in post where you have more control. But again, if you like what you're getting now based on how you're chosen to treat the Red; why change things?
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#3 Brandon Arandt

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 12:42 PM

If you like the look you are getting now, why change it?
There really isn't any "right" way-- just the way you like it based on your tastes. Now of course, if you're stuff looks like crap your tastes could be crap, but that doesn't make them wrong. Howver, in terms of mitigating noise in footage, yes, your best bet is to light up the shadow areas so as they read on your camera-- whatever what camera is-- and then crush them back down in post where you have more control. But again, if you like what you're getting now based on how you're chosen to treat the Red; why change things?


I guess what I was trying to say was I like the look of the contrast ratios as it creates a moody look, but I dislike the noise Im picking up in the darker parts of the image.
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#4 Gabriel de Bourg

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 06:45 AM

This might sound counterproductive, but you could drop the shadows in post a lot. While it's not good to "fix" in post, I do that on my GH2. It looks best if you keep it within a 5-stop range (two over, two under), as then it is basically noise free. But I want even deeper blacks, I will adjust accordingly. So say I have a place in the shot where I would just want a smaller 4:1 ratio, then I would light it with a 2:1 ratio, then knowing it will be darker in post. It's a way of avoiding noise, but still getting deeper blacks. While you want as much on set, if you plan on doing something in post and shoot with that on set, it's a different beast, as it isn't "fixing" it in post, as just knowing how to do it in post.
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#5 Bruce Greene

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 12:12 PM

on a Red camera try this idea:

Lower the ISO setting in the camera. It will limit your highlight detail, while providing more image information in the dark areas. I usually shoot the camera at 500 ISO and the darks are very, very clean. You can go as low as ISO 320 before it becomes too difficult to control your highlights.

What ISO have you been using?

One last thing. There might be far less noise in the darks than you think. You'll need to render out the .r3d files and check on a good display to really see the situation. Sometimes monitors show noisy darks when they're not really there.
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#6 Kevin Horn

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 02:40 AM

Brandon,

I'm not sure which RED body you're shooting with but here are some tips that I use when shooting with RED Epic:

-When shooting day exteriors, I set ISO at 320 and will ND from there. My compression ratio is always 6:1
-When shooting night exteriors, day/nite interiors, my ISO is always 800. Compression ratio stays at 6:1
-I ALWAYS light for the RAW image, never RED Color. I like to light for my look in RED Color and then crush it a little further in post. I find that the RED Color picture settings tend to be noisier and lighting for RAW gives me my maximum exposure and cleanest image.

I like shooting dramatic contrast ratios too and don't find it all that hard to get that while lighting for the RAW image. You can always double check your ratio by using a light meter, don't always go off of the RAW look on the monitor.
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