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Old April 6th, 2004, 10:51 AM   #1
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Nubie - quality of shot looks terrible - pls help!

Hi,

please forgive my lack of experience but I am relatively new to this field and have just bought an XL1S which I am having an issue with.

I have a client who has been sent a video by email that he likes and he has asked me if I can set up a similar shoot with similar results. An image exported from the video he was sent can be seen here: http://www.typeb.net/xl1/shot1.jpg.

I work next door to a photographer and she lit her studio for me and an image from the video I shot with her can be seen here: http://www.typeb.net/xl1/shot2.jpg.

Now obviously there are some fairly serious differences between the two! I guess the original may have been shot by film but even so the footage I have shot looks terrible. I would appreciate any ideas or advice you may have as I have been tearing my hair out and am absolutely stumped.]


Thanks in advance,
Toby Richards
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Old April 6th, 2004, 11:03 AM   #2
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Hey, put a coat and scarf on #1 and they'll be identical. <g>

Seriously, the principal difference is lighting and this presents a classic example of lighting's impact on image. Model 1 appears to have at least three lights working on her: a soft key, a fill and a background light. Model 2 appears to have only a single key light.

For this shot, you're looking to learn the basics of 3-point portraiture lighting. Look through our Read About It forum for some suggestions on lighting books.
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Old April 6th, 2004, 11:10 AM   #3
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Hi Ken,

thanks very much for your reply. I figured the lighting was going to be instrumental to this which is why I went to my photographer friend as I thought she might be able to set up something half decent. There's actually two lights (one left and one right) but I guess it was a bit of a bodge job.

Lighting aside, the video I shot doesn't look half as sharp as the other one. Is this the camera or purely my inexperience?

thanks again, Toby
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Old April 6th, 2004, 11:33 AM   #4
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"Lighting aside, the video I shot doesn't look half as sharp as the other one. Is this the camera or purely my inexperience?"

Not knowing what camera was used in the reference shot, it may be a combination. It does look like the reference shot was from at least a 1/2" camera, although it's hard to tell these days. The biggest difference between the two shots is really lighting and contrast control. (You also have some soft focus in your shot.)

Reading a Shot
Perhaps the best way to learn lighting is to begin learning to "read" shots. Whenever you evaluate a shot like #! you'll often find the keys to the shot's lighting in the eyes and shadows. Looking at #1's eyes you can see the reflection of at least two lights; a key on your right and a fill on your left. You'll also note that there are no shadows on the background (suggesting that she was standing further from it or that it was lit separately). Since there is no chin shadow, and since there are shades cast along her collarbone, these lights were placed relatively low, approximately at head-height.

Etc.
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Old April 6th, 2004, 11:37 AM   #5
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thank you so much - you've really given me a great place to start!

thanks Toby
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Old April 6th, 2004, 11:45 AM   #6
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I'm ashamed to say I've seen that original footage. The version I saw was compressed so much that there were many dropped frames, so much so that it looked like a fast slide show of still frames. Did you say you're shooting with an XL1?
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Old April 6th, 2004, 11:48 AM   #7
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Hi Alex, I'm shooting on an XL1S PAL.
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Old April 7th, 2004, 03:56 AM   #8
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What settings where you using? If you all had it on full auto then
there might be room for improvement besides lighting improvements.
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Old April 7th, 2004, 04:37 AM   #9
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The 1st picture is definitely better. My 2 cents. :-))
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Old April 7th, 2004, 05:34 AM   #10
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it was all on Manual - I had changed the shutter speed to something like 1/100 (?) as I had found there had been too much blur on the standard setting when she moved her arms around.

As for the aperture, if memory serves me right, she actually used a light meter and we set it accoring to the readings on that. I have to admit I've been finding it very difficult to get the right exposure - is the only surefire way using a preview monitor?
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Old April 7th, 2004, 09:42 AM   #11
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Picture 2 with the red, green and blue artifacts almost looks like there was gain, or maybe just compression on the still. (?) Might be good to post a tiff or other uncompressed still from the footage for better evaluation.
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Old April 12th, 2004, 08:21 PM   #12
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#1 was an animation - at least the one i saw was

some e-mail joke where you click on it she lifts up her shirt
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Old April 12th, 2004, 10:41 PM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dan Marker : #1 was an animation - at least the one i saw was

some e-mail joke where you click on it she lifts up her shirt -->>>

Ahhh... Huh?
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Old April 12th, 2004, 11:04 PM   #14
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> if memory serves me right, she actually used
> a light meter and we set it accoring to the readings on that

Probably she set it great for film but you need less contrast when working with video. Film takes a wider luminance range and compresses it in a non-linear way which is pleasing to the eye. Video does not usually do that and you must manually 'pre-compress' the light in the image you are shooting. This is why acheiving a 'film-look' with video has so much to do with illumination and passing the video through some non-linear transfer functions.

This is also why it is actually easier to correctly light a set for film than for video. Guys that work on film think they are cooler and so does almost everybody else, but correctly lighting video is much much more demanding. Although there is always the advantage with video of being able to see what it looks like right away with a monitor.
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Old May 28th, 2004, 08:27 AM   #15
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i'm a newbie also

i'm very new to this also. my shots are still coming out fairly terrible. what i can notice from your shot vs. the other is, the first was a closer shot with professionally added makeup to cover up shiny skin. the shot itself is more pleasing to the eye. your shot is a little further away with a plain pose. the shadow on the walls also is distracting. i know that you are more concerned about camera settings and light but, thought that may play a small role in it also.
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