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Old October 22nd, 2007, 09:20 PM   #1
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Location: New Hampshire
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My annual low light nightmare!

Every year I shoot video for a local haunted attraction in NH. Every year I'm confrunted with the same problem. Lighting! There is simply not much lighting. The lighting that I do have to work with is typically colored lights projected onto props. I have to shoot outside in the dark.

I have tried to use "on-camera" lighting in the past. However, it really takes away from the colored lighting. Also - when I crank up the gain... I get grain. I went out to the site tonight to try a few experimental pre-sets. The site was only lit by a few white lights here and there (it's still under construciton). The light was actually a little worse than normal.

I made three pre-sets.

LowLT1.bbp = Least grain (at +6 dB)

LowLT2.bbp = Slightly more grain - more overal detail in the shadows (at +6 dB)

LowLT3.bbp = A lot more grain - a lot more overal detail in the shadows (at +6 dB

I've attached three screen grabs for each setting. My goal is to have three presets that will give me options depending on the amount of light avaiable. Option-1 (best lighting conditions), Option-3 (worst lighting conditions), Option-2 (somewhere in between 1 & 3. Here are my current settings. Any help would be appreciated!


[Presets]
Preset Name = LowLT1
Gamma = 1
Knee = 1
Black = 2
NR = 3
VDetail = 1
Color Matrix = 1
Color Gain = 4
Color Phase = 6
Red = 2
Green = 3
Blue = 3
SetupLevel = 4
Sharpness = 4
Coring = 5
MasterPed = 1
Description = Low Light - Least Grain (Set Gain +6) By Tim Bickford


[Presets]
Preset Name = LowLT2
Gamma = 0
Knee = 1
Black = 0
NR = 3
VDetail = 1
Color Matrix = 1
Color Gain = 5
Color Phase = 5
Red = 5
Green = 4
Blue = 3
SetupLevel = 5
Sharpness = 2
Coring = 6
MasterPed = 4
Description = Low Light - Med Grain (Set Gain +6) By: Tim Bickford


[Presets]
Preset Name = LowLT3
Gamma = 0
Knee = 0
Black = 0
NR = 3
VDetail = 1
Color Matrix = 1
Color Gain = 5
Color Phase = 5
Red = 6
Green = 4
Blue = 4
SetupLevel = 5
Sharpness = -5
Coring = 6
MasterPed = 6
Description = Low Light - High Grain (Set Gain +6) - By Tim Bickford


Thanks........
Attached Thumbnails
My annual low light nightmare!-lowlt1.bmp   My annual low light nightmare!-lowlt2.bmp  

My annual low light nightmare!-lowlt3.bmp  
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 05:19 PM   #2
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I must admit. I really can't tell the difference between these screen grabs. There is a big difference when viewed on an NTSC.
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Old October 24th, 2007, 10:36 AM   #3
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I viewed them as a little slide show in the order you posted them. At first, I thought there was no difference between #1 and #2, but after clicking back and forth several times, I could see and improvement in #2. There is a good jump between the first two and the third.

The amusing thing is, that when I clicked all three quickly in order, I could watch the moon rising.
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Old October 24th, 2007, 06:52 PM   #4
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Jack-

Thanks for taking the time to look over the stills.

Yeah... I did notice that the moon was moving. It's funny. There was only 3 to 4 minutes total between all three shots. Fast moving moon.


I have a hard time telling the difference between the stills. It's easier to tell the difference on my NTSC video monitor.

Thanks again!
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Old October 24th, 2007, 06:56 PM   #5
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An off the wall suggestion, but have you tried using a really slow shutter speed? If the camera is on a tripod and nothing else is moving, you might be able to increase the brightness of the image this way?
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Old October 24th, 2007, 07:32 PM   #6
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Paul-

I agree. Good idea! When I shoot the props I can use a slower shutter speed. However, shooting action is another ball game. Worst case... I'll take the blur of slow shutter vs. black video.

Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old October 24th, 2007, 07:50 PM   #7
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Inquiring minds must know (f-stop & shutter...)

Hi Tim,

Please let us know your basic settings:

1. f-stop? (hopefully 1.8)

2. Frames/second?

3. Shutter speed? Have you tried 1/30th?

BTW, have you tried cranking down the SETUP LEVEL and MASTER PEDESTAL all the way? And how about setting BLACK = PRESS ?

Also see: http://dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=49870

Regards, Michael
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Old October 24th, 2007, 08:21 PM   #8
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Michael-

Good point.

F-Stop 1.8

Fames Per Second = 24P (advanced)

Shutter 1/48th

I have a low light preset (Ash Greyson) that presses the blacks. I'm going to load that preset and give it a try.

Thanks.....
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Old October 24th, 2007, 09:40 PM   #9
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Rehi Tim,

Cool - sounds like you're off and running. After the event, let us know if anything helped. And if you're interested in a somewhat more affordable ($400) LED light, consider the Varizoom VZ-S2010C unit:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...wpricincomw-20

It's equivalent to 40 watts, so it certainly helps when the subject is under 20 feet and you don't want to play "bambie in the headlights". For us XL-2 types, the nice thing about this unit is that it runs on our XL-2 batteries.

Happy Trails, Michael
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