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Old May 26th, 2006, 11:54 AM   #1
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Low light/cam light/auto gain questions.

I shot a wedding last week which had all the extremes of hideous lighting conditions.
During the dance/celebration section (first dance, speeches,garter toss,etc.), I was shooting in a room with basically no light.In addition, the genius who hired me kept telling me to turn off my Frezzi light, and move further away from the dance floor.
In those situtions I use a combination of the Frezzi with softbox and extra gain. Here are some questions:
1- If I set the gain to auto, and then turn the frezzi (has a dimmer) up or down as needed, will the auto gain react correctly?
2-Or should I just set the gain at a particular setting and then add my light? (I've ended up with some wierdly over exposed footage by doing it this way).
3- I didn't have time to white balance before doing some interviews in an equally dark reception area,so I used auto wb. The footge was exposed ok and in focus, but had too much of brown/gold tone.why is this?
P.S.
The room where the dancing was held had complete glass walls, west and south,with blinding late afternoon sun backlighting everything. And when the sun went down, it turned from blinding to almost black.
Not a fun night.
Bruce S. yarock
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Old May 26th, 2006, 12:46 PM   #2
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Bruce,

Sounds like a real bummer. I don't know about the auto gain, I never use that function.

Here are a few things that you can do to help ensure you get what you need. I used to shoot weddings, stills, not video.

The most important thing to do is to talk to the client, the church and the reception location people. Let them know what you need and find out if there are any restrictions, etc.

I would scout the locations before, or find out as much as possible via internet, or brochures, interviews, etc. I made it clear that I was going to be using lighting (flash) throughout the whole thing. I might shoot some available light, but I told them that if I don't have any light, they won't have pictures.

I have brought in my own hot lights, when the church prohibited flash. I turned them on before the start of the ceremony, so that when people walked in, the church was already lit. I don't know if it's worth it to do so every time, but it wasn't too big a deal to do it once or twice a year.

Sometimes when the lights get turned all the way down, during the reception, I will ask the manger/liaison to bring the lights up a bit, so I can see.

I know that wedding video is very different from wedding still photography, but the more info you have about your locations, the better. The better your communication with your client and the locations, the better better prepared you will be and they will know what to expect.

If you are going to be doing a lot of weddings, you will probably be going to the same churches and temples, so it's worth it for you to check them out beforehand and maybe shoot some sample video.
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Old May 26th, 2006, 01:18 PM   #3
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Hey Mark,
Good to hear from you. Your ideas are right on. The problem is that these jobs I've done recently are for a Photgrapher/salesman who has been getting the clients. he's pretty chaotic, always rushed, and hasn't yet given me the opportunity to talk with anyone...clients or facility. if I do any more work with him, I'll have to try to do some preliminaryscouting on my own.
tahnks for the feedback
Bruce S. Yarock
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Old May 26th, 2006, 01:24 PM   #4
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Sounds like he doesn't really have a handle on things. You may be better off going out on your own, if weddings are what you want to do. Or maybe find a better studio that has their sh*t together.
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Old May 26th, 2006, 07:56 PM   #5
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Mark,
I hadn't planned to do weddings, but I met this guy who has given me the jobs. He's a slick marketer and sales man, but runs around like a chicken with his head cut off. and NO planning.
I'm getting paid to shoot, and my girfriend just finished editing the first one.
I don't know if I want to do this stuff long term, but if I do, I'll have to get my own gigs. I would do the pre planning that you reccomended, and also make more money. I'm too old to work in a chaotic type of situation.
Weddings are the ultimate run and gun pressure. I'm sure that with more experience and a sane system, they could be more enjoyable and successfull.Time will tell.
How are you doing? what's new up in the big apple? We're own here in the big mango.
Bruce Yarock
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Old May 26th, 2006, 11:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce S. Yarock
During the dance/celebration section (first dance, speeches,garter toss,etc.), I was shooting in a room with basically no light.In addition, the genius who hired me kept telling me to turn off my Frezzi light, and move further away from the dance floor.
Are you saying that the still photographer you're working with was making you turn off your light? You need to explain that you have to have 'flash' also, and at a rate of 60 flashes per second to boot so, it's just easier to run a steady light. (grin)

Ok a bit of sarcastic humor there, but if the guy is a photographer, surely he understands exposure needs. Ask what kind of exposure levels he thinks he would get in this situation with available light.

To answer your question, you should develop a low light custom preset which you will use with 6db maximum. Don't run the gain on auto. You can clean up what little noise the XL2 produces at 6db gain level by using the noise reduction and coring then storing them in a preset.

-gb-
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Old May 27th, 2006, 12:44 AM   #7
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Greg is on the right track... dont use auto gain and try to keep it at +6db or less. I always have one of my 3 presets set up for low light. For best low light performance you will want video gamma and color as well as 60i...



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Old May 27th, 2006, 05:44 AM   #8
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Ash,
Can you post a full low light set up? greg also mentiones noise reduction and coring...where do I set these? I have another wedding Sunday night, and it will probably be the same situation.
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Old May 27th, 2006, 05:55 AM   #9
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"Are you saying that the still photographer you're working with was making you turn off your light? You need to explain that you have to have 'flash' also, and at a rate of 60 flashes per second to boot so, it's just easier to run a steady light. (grin)

Ok a bit of sarcastic humor there, but if the guy is a photographer, surely he understands exposure needs. Ask what kind of exposure levels he thinks he would get in this situation with available light."

Greg,
The guy also has an XL1S which he lets an assistant use.But he's basically ignorant about what kind of light that video needs.. The low light footage I shot last week (after he forced me to turn off the light and get farther from the couple on the dance floor) is pathetic.If we end up doing the editing, we'll do our best to lighten it.
I'm working with these people for three reasons;more experience,to get some wedding demos for potential future jobs,and money.But I know that I won't be able to continue if I have to follw his idiotic rules, and end up shooting garbage. I have no troible taking direction as long as the advice is sound,and I learn something usefull, but that's not the case here. So sunday night (tommorrow) may be my last day with this guy.
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Old May 27th, 2006, 10:59 AM   #10
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"For best low light performance you will want video gamma and color as well as 60i..."

Ash,
What setting are you talking about when you say "color"?
What about the three items they talk about on the xl2 tour (dvcreators.net)?
If I understood them, they're saying to;
1-Stretch the black
2-raise the set up
3-raise the master pedestal.

You mention video gamma, and Greg suggest noise reduction and coring.
Should I try all of the above?
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Old May 27th, 2006, 02:50 PM   #11
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My low light pre set.In a fairly dark room, With this set up, and 6db gain, I was able to keep the frezz1 at a minimum level. The picture looks pretty decent.

gamma-normal
knee-middle
black -stretch
color matrix- normal
color gain-+1
color phase-0
v detail-normal
coring-+1
set up level-max
nr-middle
If anyone has any other comments or suggestions.....
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Old May 27th, 2006, 02:59 PM   #12
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Forgot master pedestal-+4
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Old May 30th, 2006, 01:55 AM   #13
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That setting will work but you will likely have to do a contrast adjustment in post. If you can live with a 1/24th or 1/30th shutter that can really help as well, you will get some motion decay though. You can also turn your coring up more and your sharpness down to cover noise. With the blacks stretched and the setup and MP bumped you are going to have some pretty milky darks... might try to boost the color another notch.


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Old May 30th, 2006, 02:37 AM   #14
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Ash,
You mean boost the color gain?
How high up on the coring, and how low on the sharpness?
The first night I worked for this wedding photographer, he told me to slow the shutter speed, because he didn't want me to us the frezzi.It was during the dancing section, and the strobing effetc looks good, especially during a fast tecno tune (think first the rave scene in "Blade"). The next two weddings, I used this fx for about ten minutes each.The only place in these weddings that I have to deal with the low light issue is during the whole dinner and dancing section.I used 1/15 to get a pronounced effect. I noticed that 1/30 didn't produce much motion blur. I'll try a test at 1/30.(After seeing some way under exposed dance footage, he doesn't bother me about the light any more)
The stuff I shot Sunday night with the preset I mentioned looks real good.I'll have to check it again to see if the darks looked milky.It didn't look bright enough, or maybe contrasty enough, in my monochrome viewfinder. On the hour ride home I was sure that I had screwed up, and shot dark footage.But I watched it and it looks good.
thanks again
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Old May 30th, 2006, 08:59 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ash Greyson
For best low light performance you will want video gamma and color as well as 60i
Hey Ash,

I could have sworn that I saw my exposure meter edge towards the middle when I went from 60i->30p->24p. I reasoned that it was due to the slower CCD sampling rate and corresponding slower frame rate that allowed the ccds to 'suck up' more light between motion updates. I settled on 30p for low light as a compromise.

I may be missing something though so I am interested in how you feel 60i is a benefit in this scenario.

regards,

-gb-
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