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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old May 16th, 2009, 05:53 PM   #1
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All the fun of the fair

I want to shoot some stock footage at a fun fair at night, lots of light, movement and sounds! Can anyone advise on ideal settings
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Old May 21st, 2009, 06:16 PM   #2
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Aw! come on guys, 94 people viewed this thread and no one got any tips???? Surely someone has been to a fun fair with a camcorder at night..... :-)
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Old May 21st, 2009, 08:05 PM   #3
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I've not, actually, but I do shoot at night under relatively low light. The options are not pretty.

I shoot with the factory preset at 60i because I'm shooting motorsport. I'd recommend you go 25p. Don't use any filters save a clear glass lens protector. Set the gain to a max of +6dB. Any more than that add grain. You could also set the shutter to 1/25. All that will get the maximum light into the lens and onto your tape. Beyond that I don't know what else to do.
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 02:03 PM   #4
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Try the PFVISION preset. It does very well in low light and handles higher gain settings well.
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 04:43 AM   #5
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My secrets for filming in low light are these, and they work great.

1) Press blacks in camera. This masks a good deal of the video noise you will get from shooting in low light situations. If you don't press the blacks, you will get more video noise. I've tested this, believe me.

2) Shoot in 24F mode, at 1/48 shutter if shooting subjects in fast motion. If the subject is still or moving slowly, use 1/24 shutter speed to let more light in to the camera.

3) Turn up the coring in camera, to perhaps +6. This also masks some of the video noise. I've tested this, believe me.

4) I've found you can go up to +3db gain. Footage shot at +6db gain will look bad if you try to jack up the exposure in post. I won't go above +3db that is my rule. If you need to go above +3db then the conditions are too dark and you need to add light. It's that simple.

5) Set your NR2 in camera to low or medium. For fast moving subjects, I would suggest low. NR2 on high is risky and you could get ghosting. Don't use NR1, it's useless.

6) Try the TMTS (Too Much Too Soon) plugins that are free and available online. Included in that bundle of plugins is a diffusion filter. Apply it to your clips and set it to "shadows." This will apply smooth diffusion to the dark areas of the image and clean it up considerably. Don't set it too high, or your image will begin to look fake and goofy. Fool around with it, see what looks good to you and your project. Also in that bundle of plugins is a noise reduction filter that works pretty well I've found.

7) Stay at the wide angle of your lens so you can get your iris as open as possible. Remember, when you zoom in, your iris will begin to close. The XH A1 lens is not a fixed aperture lens - it's 1.6 at the wide end and 3.5 (I think) at the telephoto end.

But if you think there is some magic setting that eliminates all video noise, you are mistaken. That's a pipe dream. If you are shooting in low light, you are always going to have some level of video noise. You just have to determine how much you can live with and what you can't live with.

I have 4 presets that I use: 1) Indoor low light 2) Indoor lit 3) Outdoor overcast 4) Outdoor sunny. They work great and I haven't had a need to develop any other presets. If I apply the right preset to the situation, I find that there is not much I can't do in post.

The attached jpeg is a screen grab of some low light test footage I took recently. It's a fire with 2 duralogs and 1 battery powered lantern behind the subject. This was filmed in 24F, 1/48 shutter, and 0db gain, with color correction, diffusion and noise reduction filters applied. I think it looks pretty good and I'm close to getting dialed in for a horror film I am shooting in June and July.

Can't think of much else. I have been screwing around with low light filming for about 9 months now and this is the best advice I can give. Hope this helps.
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 07:28 AM   #6
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Hi Gabe,

Great info I also use the NR2 at low setting. If it's possible I like to get your 4 preset settings for low lights.


Thanks

Matthew
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 04:21 PM   #7
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get the neatvideo plugin - does amazing things for low light footage
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 06:49 PM   #8
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Hey thanks guys.....I knew you'd come thru :-)

I'll check it all out - much appreciated
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