XM2/GL2 lighting conditions help at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon HDV and DV Camera Systems > Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders > Canon GL Series DV Camcorders

Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon GL2, GL1 and PAL versions XM2, XM1.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old October 9th, 2003, 07:41 AM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Southampton, UK
Posts: 47
XM2/GL2 lighting conditions help

Hello

New to these forums so please treat me gentle. I have just started a videography company in the UK filming weddings and I am experiencing a problem with my Canon XM2 when in low light conditions. For example, few weeks ago I was filming fireworks and I filmed the bride and groom stairing into the sky. The problem is, because it was quite dark, the quality of the footage was very bitty and looked like horrible low res images.

I had a further problem when I filmed the reception and as the evening got darker, the quality degraded overtime.

Can anybody give me any possitive advise on how I can improve the quality of the footage in low light conditions. Any help would be very much appreciated.

Many thanks

Steven
Steven Salmon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 9th, 2003, 08:01 AM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Naperville, IL
Posts: 219
Buy a light. No matter what camera you use you should use a light at the reception.
Rob Easler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 9th, 2003, 08:10 AM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Southampton, UK
Posts: 47
Hi Rob

Hmm. Lights I am sure are ok in come cases but filming a first dance for example would require a beam of light in the customers faces and I feel this might not be ideal. I have seen examples of other camera's which appear to function pretty well in low light but I just cannot seem to get it right naturally. Am I missing something regarding camera settings?

Regards

Steven
Steven Salmon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 9th, 2003, 08:54 AM   #4
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Nijmegen, Netherlands
Posts: 29
low light settings

Well Steven,
as far as I know it is normal to experience problems in low light situations. Only solution is to light up the place. In order to keep the "grain" of your images acceptable, set the camera to manual settings, try to keep the gain at 12 dB or less since 18 dB give in my eyes a too big distortion. Furthermore, zoom out as much as possible to make advantage of the lens light sensitivity(I do not know how to explain this well in english, sorry). So the exposure value must be as low as possible for the best result.
Furthermore you could try to slow the shutter speed to 1/25 when you shoot very static shots, else keep it at 1/50.
This would be the best you can get without lightning I guess.

2 weeks ago I was at a wedding party and I was happy I did not have to shoot there, all was so dark. It looked cosy but too dark to shoot in. I felt sorry for the videographer. But I guess you cannot put on some light and destroy the ambiance on a wedding.

hmmm long reply, but I hope there is some information in it that you are looking for.
Joris Beverloo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 9th, 2003, 09:48 AM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Naperville, IL
Posts: 219
Yes...that will require a beam of light but this is video, you can't film in the dark man. I have never had a complaint using a light, although you get the occasional squint. You'll have to get over the feeling of intruding on the special moment. Thats what they hired you to do, of course discretly. All good wedding videographers have some kind of lighting at the reception, that is if they want the shot. If you have any plans at all to even attempt to not use a light, which I would not recommend, your only hope is to sell the GL2 and buy a VX2000.
Rob Easler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 9th, 2003, 02:28 PM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: San Luis Obispo CA
Posts: 1,189
Steve,

Can you tell us a little about your camera settings? Like other's have said, you can't film in "no" light...and changing to a larger chip camera like the vx2000 or others will do little to fix things if your light levels are too low, but perhaps you can make some adjustments that will help...so give us a rundown on how you are shooting.

Also, canon makes a nifty 3 watt light that maybe a perfect compromise...it's cheap, runs off the camera batteries and puts out just enough light to overcome those no light situations, without blinding the talent.

Barry
Barry Goyette is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 9th, 2003, 02:50 PM   #7
Old Boot
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: London UK
Posts: 3,529
Got the 3 Watt light. Barry is correct, it's just enough to make a difference, but only over about 4 to 5.5 feet. This means you're in the faces of the new married dancers doing their first dance together.

There is another physcological advantage here. The newly weds might actually LIKE to be in the "llimelight" - as it were! ;-)

Anyways - I focus on the centre of the dance floor, or just beoyond, keep in Manual Focus, switch the light on MANUAL and just go for it. Usually there is enough ambient Disco lighting to get me through the night.

Grazie
Graham Bernard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 10th, 2003, 07:15 AM   #8
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Southampton, UK
Posts: 47
Chaps. You have all been very helpfull. Thank you. I am using the camera pretty well much in default setting mode. Off the top of my head I always use Auto Focus unless for any reason I need to a better shot for example fireworks in the night sky. I have not modified the shutter speed or adjusted the gain.

Tonight, I will upload a capture from the camera so I could invite your suggestions on my particular issue. Certainly some footage from the recent wedding I did was unacceptable so I need to improve on it or perhaps invest in other equipment to improve the situation.

As other wedding videographers appear to have similar problems, I can only learn from others to improve my techniques. But working in low light appears to be something I am going to have to deal with being that the UK's evenings are becoming darker this time of the year. Thank you.

Steven
Steven Salmon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 10th, 2003, 09:56 AM   #9
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: San Luis Obispo CA
Posts: 1,189
steve

Regarding your exposure...do you have the camera on auto, or are you using a manual setting...or, god help us...do you have the camera mode set to the green box.

Here's why I ask. The gl-2, on auto will add a substantial amount of gain and thus the grain, noise or the bitty look as you call it (can I use this!) to the image, especially when you are in green box or AV mode. It is better in low light situations to use TV or Manual when shooting in lower light. In TV you will be able to select 1/25 shutter which will give you a substantial boost in low light. Using manual will allow you to control the gain as well.

One important trick. The gl2, due to its high resolution, small chip, and slightly oversharpened default, produces a visible noise at even modest amounts of gain. (although, this image is substantially more detailed than many higher priced camera's in the same low light). The presence of this noise is dramatically reduced by making a custom preset with sharpness turned down 1 or 2 notches. You can also try raising the "setup" a notch or two to lighten the image slightly. If you haven't used the custom preset feature yet, remember that once you set the parameters in the menu's, you still need to turn the preset on using the button on the side of the camera...you will see a cp appear in the viewfinder when it's on.

And remember, there simply isn't a camera on the market that will produce a quality image in "no" light situations...despite the enthusiastic claims by owners of sony vx2000's and dvx100's, these camera's are only marginally more sensitive, if at all. It is better to be in communication with the client prior to the event to let them know of the issues...ie that they have a choice between raising the light level to accomodate your equipment, or you can use an on camera light source. Most of the time, a moderate increase in the amount of light is enough to get what you need...I use the gl2 all the time in moderate lighting at night and the image looks great.. you'll probably find that at most wedding venues the lighting is on dimmers and can be adjusted if the client agrees.

Barry
Barry Goyette is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 10th, 2003, 11:23 AM   #10
Old Boot
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: London UK
Posts: 3,529
*** Barry you're a Star ***

Barry! Best simple explanation I've found yet . . there has been many many valuable posts on this subject. But maybe it's because I've been trying to fathom out things as I need them AND I'm at the point where I too understand what is being said! - This may have a lot to do with it too . . .

Okay, and on the same subject, I've just been approached to cover a Diwali - a Hindu festival - on the local streets. This will be at night and I'm being asked to film the actual parade and other bits and pieces. Light levels will fluctuate and there will be "switching-on" of lights/illuminations. I'm to follow and cover the Parade to several pints. the whole Parade could take anything up to an hour . .The client wants to end up with a 5 to 6 minute vid. Definitely not 20 minutes.

Taking on board what you've said, do you have any super tips for this? I'll be passing well lit colour shops and there will be "pools" of darkness. There will be a lot of colour and very noisy drummers . . . .

Thanks in advance,

Grazie
Graham Bernard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 10th, 2003, 12:14 PM   #11
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: San Luis Obispo CA
Posts: 1,189
Graham,

Well, I'm always a big fan of pre-planning...so if you can find out the route, I would scout it for areas that have usable light levels, and and then hope that you will be able to move between them. If it's anything like some of the wedding parades I saw in Varanasi, most of the bands have lights built into their costumes, as they are always performing on un-lit streets at night. This would be great luck.

I've found that as long as I have a good street light near by I can usually get something. Seriously I've found if there is any light at all I can usually get an image. If you just don't have enough in some cases to light up the performers, then try to frame their sillhouettes against lit windows or buildings... then use that 3 watt light to get in the face of some of the performers and cut that into the shadowy-er stuff.

Awhile back I found a battery powered spotlite at a local Costco (american style warehouse discount store). they were about $20 and I bought a few of them. They last about 20 minutes and can be powered from a car cigarette lighter as well. If you can find one like it, add a light diffuser over it. You could have someone carry one or two around, and have them stand off-axis to the camera, to add some accent lite to a dim area. You could even have them get into the action by throwing a light colored gel onto the light and pretending the lights are part of the parade.....I know where this idea came from...I just saw "Seven" the other night and noticed in a particularly dark apartment scene that they had the kinoflo's in view on almost every shot..masquerading as the crime scene investigator's lighting.

Good luck...wish I was there...

Barry
Barry Goyette is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 11th, 2003, 01:18 AM   #12
Old Boot
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: London UK
Posts: 3,529
Barry thanks! . . . Subsequent questions . . .

Barry . . . .

"Well, I'm always a big fan of pre-planning..." - Guess where I was last night? - My partner and I walked some of the route. I tried out the various "recipes" you gave out to friend here - viz wedding lighting. Not wholly convinced I'm doing the correct thing . . Apart from anything else I've the dreaded Sodium Yellow street lighting - argghhh! - Okay, now I show my ignorance. I did try the Red to Green shift and Set-up, made a Preset and clicked that on and off, for testing purposes - yeah? Not too good, but some fall back if needed.

" . . so if you can find out the route, I would scout it for areas that have usable light levels, and and then hope that you will be able to move between them. " Oh yes! I know the route quite intimately! Yes there are areas where people will congregate. This will create a problem of "access". We would most likely expect to something in the order of 5 to 8 thousand people along the route. It is big , very congested but very friendly. In terms of ergonomics - where I'll be and where my partner will be in relation to each other . .and finding each other and a way through . . I most likely will get an official "Stewards" yellow warning jacket/waistcoat. Apart from each of us being able to spot each other, it will give us both to "move" within and in front/to the side of the body of the parade.

"If it's anything like some of the wedding parades I saw in Varanasi, most of the bands have lights built into their costumes, as they are always performing on un-lit streets at night. This would be great luck" - I can check this out. And yes, there will be Drummers and floats. The floats are normally lit - in times gone by I've been know for cornering the market in generators for this event! - But yes, that's going on my check list to the organiser as a question .

"I've found that as long as I have a good street light near by I can usually get something." - Yes, my tests last night confirmed an amount of images can be got. The client wants the crowd and Parade. The multi-cultural side will figure highly in this. I know where the client is coming from in this respect!

"Seriously I've found if there is any light at all I can usually get an image." Well, I think I've got to a bit more than an "impression" of a crowd . . .

"If you just don't have enough in some cases to light up the performers, then try to frame their sillhouettes against lit windows or buildings... then use that 3 watt light to get in the face of some of the performers and cut that into the shadowy-er stuff. " - Excellent tip! - It's starting to sound like an option - yeah?

"Awhile back I found a battery powered spotlite at a local Costco . . . ." this whole paragraph of yours could be an option. Presumably having a few of them will mean little need for on-the-spot recharging. I won't have this opportunity in terms of ergonomics or time. Having a few cheapos will/could save the day.

My partner has already offered to carry a tripod bag. Easily slung lamps - even 3 would get me towards an hour. Then again the would be only for specific amounts of time . . . The off-axis thing I really do understand. Good tip! Didn't/wouldn't have thought of it myself! It's gonna be all action and lots of waiting around - traffic and, if anything like I've experienced with this project over the years! - the way this Parade operates will be stop and start AND at a fairly leisurely pace - oh yes . . . Yup, saw "7", and yes disguise is good. What's a "kinoflo"? Action with lighting rigs on this will/could "add" to the overall action. But yes, Less Is More!

A vidpro chum of mine, after I told him of my testing last night, said and implore with me that the cammie needs to be Whitebalanced for the Sodium light issue. Yes?

"Good luck...wish I was there..." - I wish you were gonna be there too!

Okay, this will be my first night time excursion. I want to do right by the client, of course. My approach maybe that I lay out the severe light issues that MAY ensue. Barry, I have some off-topic questions to ask. Would it be possible to contact you by email? If so could you leave me an email address here, something like your: yournameatbigbucksfilmingdotcom ?

Barry, excellent advise.

If you could get back on the white balance thing I'd be very thankful - really!

" . . oooooer, what have done this time Grazie?!"

Thanks,

Grazie
Graham Bernard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 11th, 2003, 11:13 AM   #13
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: San Luis Obispo CA
Posts: 1,189
Graham,

Got your email, but I might as well give it a go here, in case someone wants to rebut my assertions.

White balancing Sodium Vapor...technically this is not possible, but I've found that the gl2 can do a pretty good job of neutralizing extremely yellow sources. The problem with sodium vapor is it is a narrow band light source...ie it outputs all of it's energy in the very narrow yellow wavelength that you see, so if you try to filter..or white balance it you end up with very little color, as there simply isn't anything there. I shot some of my lady x stuff under the dreaded yellow glow...and while I was able to neutralize it somewhat, I ended up with a pretty unbelievable grainy mess...something like a sony night shot look, with very little color left in the image..best to try to avoid this source where possible, or you would want to overwhelm it with some other light...on camera or off as I mentioned in the last post.

One thing you could try would be to white balance under a slightly dimmed incandescent source..the gl2 does this well...and see if that looks like a good compromise under the sodium vapor...still yellow reddish..but not so bad.

Kinoflo- its a flourescent light source that was popularized in the Alien movies as well as se7en...you'll see them popping out of every crevice in John Doe's apartment in Se7en.

Regarding communicating with your client... I think you have to be honest with them about the potential results, and offer up a few ways to improve things... such as them lighting up a few key intersections with theatrical lighting, or assisting you with hand held lighting. It's in their best interest to have a dynamic colorful video, so my guess is they will offer to help where possible to make it work.

Barry
Barry Goyette is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 12th, 2003, 01:10 AM   #14
Old Boot
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: London UK
Posts: 3,529
Barry, very clear and supportative - thank you. I'm gonna do some more real world tests before I settle on a particular recipe. And yes, honesty is the best policy,

Grazie
Graham Bernard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 12th, 2003, 04:43 PM   #15
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Southampton, UK
Posts: 47
Barry you have been a great help. As promised and a little late, I have posted a couple of sample stills which identify my problems. From what I understand, I do not have the camera set to green box mode. Maybe you could be a little clearer in your description because I have gone through the manual and not seen any clear references to it or like it.

Anyhow, the links to the pictures are as follows:

http://www.webgamer.co.uk/badstill.jpg

Here I was trying to obtain a shot of the couple facing fireworks but obviously the camera was having trouble because of the lighting outside.

http://www.webgamer.co.uk/badstill2.jpg

This shot, a little better, but the quality is still not great. It was almost 7:00pm and I was quite far away from the subject and only natural light was around me. Is there any advice on how I could improve this shot. The bride was doing a speech and then hugged her best lady. The footage for atleast 20 minutes looks a little dull a grainy although it did not look too bad on the DVD.

Many thanks for your help and advice in advance.

Regards

Steven
Steven Salmon is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon HDV and DV Camera Systems > Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders > Canon GL Series DV Camcorders

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:06 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network