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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.


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Old December 26th, 2007, 03:04 PM   #1
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Taping in low light conditions

Hi Guys this is my first post.

I have had my XL-H1 for about 6 months now. I normally do community theater and run into low light conditions with the lights fading to black and other low light scenes. I have run the camera at "Auto" and have seen my video too dark. I have also played with the iris and gain and have had over exposed and grainy results. Is there a rule of thumb when doing these types of recording?

Thanks,

Dennis
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Old December 27th, 2007, 05:11 AM   #2
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Thanks for the question...

Hi Dennis
Welcome to the forum and thanks for raising the question. I too have had some horrible experioences with the camera under low light conditions so I will be watching for answers.
I did raise the question once of training with the camera but never received an answer...
Lets hope this time..

Dave
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Old December 27th, 2007, 05:40 AM   #3
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you are working out of the specs for this camera, so there are no magical settings than can make your camera more sensitive than it is.
try a VX2100 or PD170 this is the most sensitive camera on the market since long time, so if it can not do the trick, no camera will.
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Old December 27th, 2007, 06:07 AM   #4
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Dennis,
first of all no camcorders can deliver good footage without decent lightning. So the quick answer to this is: provide more lights and you're done!

In practice this isn't always the case and you have to experiment with different settings to wrench out the best any given camcorder can give. My advise is to download a night preset here: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showpost....47&postcount=2, called - PRESET07.CPF: LOWLT12 -- for shooting in low light with 12db gain. Then experiment with different settings, I found that +12 gain is a bit too high, causing too much grain in the footage. +6 and below is adequate IMHO.
I was taking part in a challenge run at this forum called uwol-challenge. The last theme was night forcing me to go out in the night and shoot something. I've used this preset in my film, result can be viewed here:
http://www.video-film.no/snutter/uwol6.html

As said, the best thing for video-filming is good light, when that not possible you have to compromise!
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Old December 27th, 2007, 10:10 AM   #5
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Thank you for your replies...I will do my homework and report back!
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Old December 28th, 2007, 03:48 PM   #6
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Thank you... a million times over

Hi Per

Having tried my XLH1 in low light conditions without changing anything I gave up after seeing my results. I watched your video and found it so inspiring I will try again.
I have downloaded the night preset you advised which now sits on my laptop. Ashamed to say I haven't got a clue what to do with it now...Lol.

Your film shown is absolutely superb. I hope one day I may make something somewhere near.

Dave



Quote:
Originally Posted by Per Johan Naesje View Post
Dennis,
first of all no camcorders can deliver good footage without decent lightning. So the quick answer to this is: provide more lights and you're done!

In practice this isn't always the case and you have to experiment with different settings to wrench out the best any given camcorder can give. My advise is to download a night preset here: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showpost....47&postcount=2, called - PRESET07.CPF: LOWLT12 -- for shooting in low light with 12db gain. Then experiment with different settings, I found that +12 gain is a bit too high, causing too much grain in the footage. +6 and below is adequate IMHO.
I was taking part in a challenge run at this forum called uwol-challenge. The last theme was night forcing me to go out in the night and shoot something. I've used this preset in my film, result can be viewed here:
http://www.video-film.no/snutter/uwol6.html

As said, the best thing for video-filming is good light, when that not possible you have to compromise!
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Old December 29th, 2007, 01:13 PM   #7
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How can anyone assess the low-light capability of a camera without an objective reference?
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Old December 29th, 2007, 09:51 PM   #8
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Dennis,
Welcome to the forum. You will get tons of great information here !

First of all...seems no one has suggested NOT to run the camera in Auto.

When running in Auto...the gain in the camera automatically will be raised when the light is low. Hence...when stage lights are one...it could be a +3db for electronic "light sensitivity"....then...say red gels are used in a scene...or dim lighting happens...the camera will automatically raise the gain to +9 or even higher !

Shooting stage scenes is always difficult. Try to run in the M (manual mode) and set your iris properly. (there are threads in this forum about setting iris...but bottom line...you have to experiment if you're new to this)

Set your gain switch to "0". Normally for the best settings -3 is the best place...but since you're in a low light environment....0 will work a bit better.

Good luck.
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Old January 5th, 2008, 01:15 AM   #9
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Hey guys, sorry for changing the subject but does anyone know what program to use to open the .CPF files on a Macintosh? Also, how do you get the preset files onto your camera, or do you just put them in manually?

Last edited by Anthony Schneider; January 5th, 2008 at 09:00 PM.
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Old January 5th, 2008, 08:46 AM   #10
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Might add that using the Noise Reduction 2 (NR2) in the Menu helps with reducing the grain added by increased Gain settings.

(Avoid NR1 as it introduces ghosting trails to any movement in your video - but NR1 is useful for low light/boosted Gain shots that are static such as a wide shot of a city skyline at night).
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