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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon XL2 / XL1S / XL1 and GL2 / XM2 / GL1 / XM1.


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Old November 5th, 2005, 12:14 PM   #1
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The CSI Look

Got a question, Ash you might be the first to answer on this so I'll direct it at you.

CSI the TV series has a habbit of showing scenes in very low light for dramatic effect, the blacks are pure, somtimes too dark especially when a face is half in the shadows and half not, but again it's the effect. So my question is this, would they be shooting on a well lit set and correcting in post, or are the shooting in minimal light and again correcting in post.

There is a huge difference in both approaches and what needs to be done in the front vs. backend of the production, but this is the "look" that I'm striving for with my XL2 and I'd really like to see what it takes to setup for this.

If they are shooting dark and re-contrasting in post, then the HIGH contrast low-light preset that we've discussed here in the last few weeks is ideal. If its' the opposite then again there is another preset to shoot with.

Just looking for opinions and ideas.

Miguel
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Old November 8th, 2005, 03:26 PM   #2
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Light and crush... becoming a popular technique. I shot an interview last night where I did the same thing. Best thing is to light the things you want to see directly with no general flood lighting, then crush the light with camera controls, most notable the setup level and master pedestal. You will also want to set the blacks to PRESS. Also make sure your gain is zero or -3. These settings will keep the light from spilling over. This will look MUCH better than shooting in low light which will introduce lots of video noise....


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Old November 8th, 2005, 07:46 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Ash Greyson
Light and crush... becoming a popular technique. I shot an interview last night where I did the same thing. Best thing is to light the things you want to see directly with no general flood lighting, then crush the light with camera controls, most notable the setup level and master pedestal. You will also want to set the blacks to PRESS. Also make sure your gain is zero or -3. These settings will keep the light from spilling over. This will look MUCH better than shooting in low light which will introduce lots of video noise....


ash =o)
Ash, thanks you are the answer man for look and feel questions. I'll be shooting in Orlando this weekend and will report back on what I get when the event is done. FYI, I've been leaning towards this preset as of late, really a great look so I just need to select the preset.

MIGUEL
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Old November 8th, 2005, 08:12 PM   #4
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If the camera's gain isn't boosted and the initial exposure to tape is accurate (i.e. doesn't require pumping up in color correction), there shouldn't theoretically be an issue with shooting at the light level required to create the effect desired. One of the great aspects of video is that the monitor will tell you if you have the image you want. "Low light" is a relative term. If you were to visit many film sets you might be surprised at the light levels present. On "The West Wing" I used to look around to try and figure out where the hell the key light was, and more often than not there wasn't one, the exposure resulted from the ambient levels on the set.

Contrast can certainly be a result of manipulation in the camera or in color correction, but it has to be lit into the scene to begin with (which in some cases is the result of REMOVING light from areas rather than adding it into others). Contrast and exposure have a slight amount of crossover, but in general they are two different functions.
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Old November 8th, 2005, 09:20 PM   #5
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If the camera's gain isn't boosted and the initial exposure to tape is accurate
Thank you Sir Charles, your input is huge in my book.
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Old November 8th, 2005, 11:14 PM   #6
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Correct Charles... controlled light and low light are not the same thing. Make sure the gain is not on auto and make sure you have a monitor to check the way it looks, I do not trust the XL2 viewfinder which IMHO is the achilles heal of the camera.



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Old November 9th, 2005, 12:16 AM   #7
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Yeah, I have yet to use an LCD viewfinder that I trust like a B&W CRT viewfinder, I used to be able to light to those. I've gotten used to my DVX100a viewfinder so that I know what the results will be even though it itself is not accurate.
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Old November 9th, 2005, 01:12 PM   #8
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Hey Charles, I just got the DVX-100b... even nicer LCD and much less noise.



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Old November 9th, 2005, 07:58 PM   #9
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Good to know, glad they've worked on the noise issue (what I considered the Dark Unmentionable about the DVX that was rarely brought up)
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