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Getting rich blacks in video...?


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#1 Derek Leverette

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 01:06 AM

A very basic question because I'm still learning: how do I get rich blacks in miniDV? I've only begun to experiment with video, and for now I have no access to 24p or HD. I would like to shoot low-light scenes where much of the frame falls to black, or at least near to black. What I'm getting is visual "noise" in the black areas, no doubt a symptom of what the camera sees as underexposure. Is it possible to get true blackness on a prosumer, miniDV-only camera?
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#2 Paul Bruening

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 08:57 AM

Hey,

The cam determines much of what you will get. Some units like the XL2 can adjust pedestal and gamma in-camera. If your's can't, then you'll have to light the scene to get the blacks up to what the cam can capture. You can also grab a little detail in post by adjusting the gamma. My experience is that while software can do wonders, you often sacrifice some other aspect of the image to improve another. Some folks call this process of fixing the image in post as- turd polishing.

For the most part, you're dominated by the cam you use and have to work around it or live with its limitations.
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#3 Michael Nash

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 03:57 PM

Less expensive cameras often turn up the gain automatically when the exposure level gets too low, giving you noise in the darker areas. If you can't adjust the camera's gain manually, then you're pretty much screwed for getting clean blacks since the camera will always try to lift the blacks. Sometimes you can "fake out" the camera by including something brighter in frame, but that quickly becomes limiting.

If that's the situation you're stuck in, then your next best bet is to crush the blacks back down in post.
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Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

Visual Products

Technodolly

Rig Wheels Passport

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Paralinx LLC

CineLab

Tai Audio

CineTape

Ritter Battery

Wooden Camera

Abel Cine

Willys Widgets