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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 April 25th, 2007, 06:38 AM   #1
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Weddings / Low Light

I did a wedding recently in a castle which was very low light indeed. The ceremony was at the top of a stairway, and i have to say i really struggled to get the best out of the camera. The only way to get a good light setting was to open up the apeture as much as possible, and have it set at 1/25 - but in doing so the whole ceremony would have had that 'staggered' look; all be it that there wasn't that much movement. I decided to go for 1/50 with the gain set to 8, and set the backup camera to the 1/25 with gain set at 6, just in case the footage was that bad. I have to say, I don't think my old VX2000 would have looked as bad under the conditions. I also had the preset LOWLITE setting on. (does the lowlight preset soften the look so that you can knock up the Gain?!)

For the evening I also had the LOWLITE setting on and again worred about the staggered look, I kept it at 1/50, 6db Gain, with the backup as 1/25. All in all i'm still messing around and still not entirely happy with my settings, although perhaps some of you out there are getting better results.

I noticed Alistair saying on an earlier post that he set his to 1/25 for an evening dance shot, but i'm just not convinced that you can get away with the staggered look, even if it is Low light.

Would like to hear your experiences so far, and any suggestions.
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Old April 25th, 2007, 07:53 AM   #2
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You need to play with this camera and get used to it before shooting a wedding or something big with it! I'm still working on a couple of low light presets, but with help of a couple other people, I think we're getting there.

The one in that thread is not any good (no offense whoever made it) but it is stated that those presests are not "cure alls".

Get in and play with them yourself. There will never be a "magical preset" to cover all low light capabilities and to cover all needs.
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Old April 25th, 2007, 08:43 AM   #3
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There is no substiture for adequate light. As with film, low light high speed images will be grainy or contain noise.

The posted lowlight preset provides significant improvement over the image obtained with "out of the box" defaults. You can use it as a starting point if you want to refine your low light image performance.

The VX2000/2100/PD150/170 was no doubt optimized for SD shooting in low light. As a mainly HDV camcorder the XH A1 will be have differently.

Key is to manage the client's expectations - dark ceremonies and receptiosn lead to dark video - just as with available light (no flash) photography.
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Old April 25th, 2007, 08:49 AM   #4
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I'm having to use more gain than 6db. I know the noise comes up but at least 12db is often needed. The good part is that lots of the grain is softened when encoded for DVD. I don't find the lowlite setting helpful.
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Old April 25th, 2007, 09:39 AM   #5
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How have you implemented the "lowlite" setting in your use? What CP values did you use for it?
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Old April 25th, 2007, 11:03 AM   #6
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I've never heard of anyone doing this, but I would like to someday offer 'lighting' to my packages, where I set up a light at the base of the isle or something. That would benefit the guests, and perhaps create a situation where the photog wouldn't need to use their flash. It would increase video quality dramatically and wouldn't be very expensive. Thoughts?
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Old April 26th, 2007, 02:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dana Salsbury View Post
I've never heard of anyone doing this, but I would like to someday offer 'lighting' to my packages, where I set up a light at the base of the isle or something. That would benefit the guests, and perhaps create a situation where the photog wouldn't need to use their flash. It would increase video quality dramatically and wouldn't be very expensive. Thoughts?
That might be a good idea. What about the reception, though? I just filmed a wedding where the church light was great but the reception awful.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 03:25 PM   #8
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Dana: work up a business case. Check with the wedding czars at the venues you work, see what their policies are for additional lighting. See what your clients think, maybe talk to past clients with whom you have a good relationship to see what they think adn would be wwilling to pay. If added lighting for receptions, how will it work with what ever lighting the DJ or band uses? Consider issues of gear setup, high ceilings, power cord routing and management, and that some folks like dim dance floors (for good reasons).

If it makes economic sense, you end up starting a trend
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Old April 26th, 2007, 03:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Nelson Cole View Post
That might be a good idea. What about the reception, though? I just filmed a wedding where the church light was great but the reception awful.
Reception....
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation

or this one (had a chance to use one last Sunday and I liked the dimmer on it)
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation
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Old April 26th, 2007, 03:44 PM   #10
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I've just finished editing another wedding. I agree with the comment above that 1/25 does introduce a good bit of grain but...encoding to SD helped a lot. I also put a levels filter on the grainy footage which helped as well.

Please don't take anything I'm saying as gospel, just read it for what it is, a new user finding his way with the camera.

For evening work I use a 50w Bescor light which helps a lot. I'm thinking of going for a lower rated bulb as from what I gather around about 30 is the recommended...or....a dimmable?
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