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Old January 27th, 2002, 10:00 AM   #1
Barnaby Hosking
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shooting darkness

In my work I make paintings and shoot photographs and slides of dark landscapes and figures. I am now branching out into film making and I am extremely attracted to the possibilities of using DV. However, I have noticed on other peoples dv camcorders that in areas of the image where there is near total darkness, I see this kind of haze, like there are thousands of little insects going crazy. I understand that real film will give a much denser and smoother black, but a 16mm camera and projector are out of my budget.

I would be very grateful to anyone who could advise me on how to achieve the most faithfull blacks by using DV.
I am very close to buying a XL1S. Do you think this would be a good choice for capturing the richness and mystery of the darkness.
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Old January 27th, 2002, 02:44 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: New York, NY
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I can't answer as an expert but as a user who's experienced the same. Most of the noise you're seeing is chroma noise, but since you're in the UK I would have assumed PAL would yield better chroma in the dark areas. I guess I'm wrong.

The new XL-1s allows for customized settings where you can change sharpness, chroma levels, gain, and black levels. I've been playing around with these settings and found that the noise can be reduced with the right combination of settings.

On the other hand, shooting 16mm film and pushing it to get more speed will give you grain which, although more aestheically pleasing than "thousands of little insects going crazy," it is much the same.
Ozzie Alfonso
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Old January 27th, 2002, 10:52 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Wisconsin, USA
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What you are likely seeing is "noise" that's a result of massive gain added in order to get that shot in dark scenes. Or over exposure.

If you stay at +6dB, maybe +12dB, * or less* (of gain), you will not likely see any noise off a $4k camera.

The real key is your exposure. Most scenes need to be slightly over or under exposed for a truly proper image.

It does seem to me the cam adds some noise when the sharpness preset is used at high levels and shown through s-video on my tube (NTSC).

If you ever want to shoot in near darkness and can live with a lot of noise; by cranking the color, black level, gain + a slow shutter (even hand held), the xl1s will render an interesting shot. I think it's brighter than my eyes. Loads of grain, but it will see! Probably akin to old 8mm film... but faster.
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