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Old October 24th, 2005, 07:35 AM   #1
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XL2 in lowlight tips!

Hi All

I wonder if anyone can help me. Been using the XL2 for the last 3 months filming wedding's and I am very much impressed by the camera's all round performance. One area I do struggle in slightly is lower light conditions. I am not talking total black out but just some lower indoor lighting senarios and other times when lighting is typically dimmer. I get around most problems with using a light but sometimes this is just not possible.

I am going to be filming a Go Karting event for a corporate customer in a few weeks time and I am a little concerned that the lighting conditions are a little dark in places. I am basically asking for some tips really on how I can get the camera to perform at a optimum without getting the dredded grainy looking images which I am suffered from in the past with first dances etc.

I know lights are always the solution in low light but at this event it will be difficult to use lights in certain area's.

I would love to hear from anyone who can give me some tips on setting's etc.

All the best

Steven
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Old October 24th, 2005, 09:26 AM   #2
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While not always desirable you can lower the shutter speed. I have found that in 30P or 60i you can go as low as 1/30th without too much blur in the image. I usually use 24P when shooting and I have found that 1/24th is a little too slow and I see much more blur than I'd like. Wish the "Clear Scan" feature went below 1/60th like on the DVX. You could dial in 1/36th if you wanted!

Also, I try not to up the gain past +6 but have found that even +12 can be acceptable in certain situations. Also...if you turn cinegamma off you gain back a stop or so. That helps too.

That's all I can think off now. If anything else pops in my head I'll post it.

Good Luck!
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Old October 24th, 2005, 03:04 PM   #3
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The XL2 is actually better in low light than it gets credit for. I have a low-light setting I will look up for you later but off the top of my head.... set the color settings to NORMAL, not CINE, set the blacks to stretch, turn UP the set-up level and the Master Pedestal. Also, bump up the coring and turn NR to medium.

This setting will need a contrast adjustment in post but will provide fairly clean images is fairly low light.



ash =o)
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Old October 24th, 2005, 03:09 PM   #4
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Hi Ash

That's of real great help thank you. I will grab my camera after work and give it a try. Would love to get details of the exact preset you have created. Thank you Marty also for the help. Will try your tips with the gain.

Thank you all in advance for, I trust, quite a tricky subject!

Many thanks

Steven
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Old October 25th, 2005, 12:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Salmon
Hi Ash

That's of real great help thank you. I will grab my camera after work and give it a try. Would love to get details of the exact preset you have created. Thank you Marty also for the help. Will try your tips with the gain.

Thank you all in advance for, I trust, quite a tricky subject!

Many thanks

Steven
You know you said a mouthful when you said this was going to be tricky! I picked up my XL2 after selling off one of my GL2's specifically because of the control of the camera, I didn't even know about custom presets until I found this thread and realized what I can control with the XL that I never had control over.

Lowlight to me is important since I shoot indoor events and yes weddings so I need the capability, now with that out of the way, here is my take on this. I watch a lot of HDTV, specifically shows like CSI and Law and Order which when viewed in HD, the blacks are really black and look fantastic.

I've been playing (a work in progress if you will) with a lowlight preset which was fashioned only after viewing the XL2 tutorial on dvcreators.net. The method that Ash is using by pushing up the levels and correcting in post yielded me the same results as dropping the levels and not having to run the extra contrast correction in Premier Pro in post.

Here is the outcome, I shot in my dark kitchen with the only illumination coming from the microwave light (very scientific huh). Below the light and off to the right (just beyond the lights real impact) was a bowl of my wifes ceramic and very colorful fruit. I shot with 3 custom presets, Ash's "Routine" preset, my lowlight work in progress shown below and Ash's suggestion to push up to contrast and correct in post. The results, they all came out about the same and any of them could have done the job just fine.

The issue with the pushing up to contrast was that in post I ended back at the same place that I was at when I used the routine or lowlight presets. Bottom line it's all subjective but if you play a little the camera won't dissappoint!

I tested in fully manual, f1.6, 1/30th and the CINE GAMMA was on in all preset tests with the white balance on Auto and the Gain at +6db. Steve in reality, the camera will do what you want, experiment a little and you'll see it shine! My distance to the objects about about 6ft and I alternated between a zoomed in picture and a full wide shot. The light meter was at about 1/3rd.

Here is the preset that I've been working on for lowlight, which BTW I may be totally wrong in doing it this way, but I've been really happy so far in the very short time that I've had my XL2.

Miguel

[Presets]
Preset Name = LOWLITE1
Gamma = 1
Knee = 2
Black = 2
NR = 2
VDetail = 0
Color Matrix = 1
Color Gain = 1
Color Phase = 0
Red = 0
Green = 0
Blue = 0
SetupLevel = -4
Sharpness = 1
Coring = 0
MasterPed = -3
Description = Low Light Work in progress: 30p/16:9 Standard Shooting
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Old October 25th, 2005, 07:53 PM   #6
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Miguel, I have yet to test out your low-light presets; haven't had time. I've also been trying to get a quality picture with little light. I have one question, though. Do stretch your blacks, put it on middle, or press them? I do know that by pressing the blacks, the result is pitch black and resembles the look of film. Any help here would be great.
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Old October 25th, 2005, 09:59 PM   #7
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The results will be similar to a post correction except for instances where there are shadows, in that case, the MP adjustment cannot be recreated in post.



ash =o)
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Old October 25th, 2005, 10:22 PM   #8
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Ash's point just reiterates the importance of capturing a flat image with as much detail as possible acroos the spectrum. You can crush the blacks in post. You can saturate the flat colors. But if you record it too dark you really can't pull that info back up at all. Same with the hilights clipping. Once they are gone in the original footage thay are gone for good.

Always do this stuff in post whenever possible. It leaves all of your options open. In the meantime you have to learn to live with the raw footage looking a little plain.

Peace!
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Old October 26th, 2005, 09:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty Hudzik
Ash's point just reiterates the importance of capturing a flat image with as much detail as possible acroos the spectrum. You can crush the blacks in post. You can saturate the flat colors. But if you record it too dark you really can't pull that info back up at all. Same with the hilights clipping. Once they are gone in the original footage thay are gone for good.

Always do this stuff in post whenever possible. It leaves all of your options open. In the meantime you have to learn to live with the raw footage looking a little plain.

Peace!
And to further add the most important point, experiment and learn your camera, shoot in manual, shoot in a lot of different situations and play with the footage in post, it will only make you better with the gear.

This group is great but it's not a one stop shop for getting your problems fixed and having someone else do it for you, if that was the case then no one will ever learn or get better with this type of gear.

ML
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Old October 28th, 2005, 03:01 AM   #10
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Thank you to everyone who has replied. I am planning to have a real crack this weekend and will post the results. Thanks to Miguel for his settings. Briefly tested with a complete black room with candle light and impressed with the results.

Many thanks

Steven
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