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Old January 8th, 2007, 09:30 PM   #1
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Low light/ Filming in the woods

I've been trying to shoot people biking in the forest and I cannot believe how little the camera can pick up in the woods. It looks horrible. I have the camera set up at full gain. 720/24PN and a shutter speed of 60, actually I have had to use 24 which looks fake compared to a real film camera. Is this just how HD cameras are? I own a M2 adapter, but obviously can't use it unless I'm outside in the middle of the day.

I have tried filming in the woods in many different conditions as well, like when it's a nice bright overcast so you get that solid look in the trees, and when it's a sunny day as well. Nothing seems to work.

This is very upsetting and hopefully I won't have to go with 16mm for this little project.

If anyone has any advice let me know

Thanks

Last edited by James Adams; January 8th, 2007 at 10:45 PM.
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Old January 9th, 2007, 02:26 AM   #2
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To stay within topic while providing no answers(sorry), can anyone tell me what the sensitivity is between the HD and SD modes? I am assuming the cam can shoot 16:9 SD progressive as well? I ask because I am interested in knowing is if the lighting isn't satisfactory for HD is the cam still a SD low light champ?
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Old January 9th, 2007, 11:35 AM   #3
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HVX has an ISO sensitivity of 320. It's brighter when in "high" gamma than when in the CINE gammas though.

If you wanted to use 16mm film you'd have to use a stock rated 500 or 800 to get more sensitivity than the HVX offers.

I don't know what you're doing differently; I live in a wooded area and the HVX does just fine if there's enough light, and if there's not enough light then of course you don't get anything useful.

As for sensitivity between HD and SD, it doesn't change. And yes it does progressive 16:9 SD.

None of the HD cameras are as fast as their SD equivalents; the HVX is a stop slower than the DVX under most conditions, and two stops slower when in interlaced mode as compared to a DVX in interlaced mode.
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Old January 9th, 2007, 01:01 PM   #4
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Yeah, I think that at this time of year it's going to be impossible to get enough light for the HVX through the trees as the sun is not directly above the open areas of the forest but off to the side instead.

This is definitely a bummer because the customer wants it in HD. I know something like a vx2100 could easily get that light.

Another thing is they also want some real slow-mo, so that would make things even worse.

So is there any other options or is s16 the only way to go?
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Old January 9th, 2007, 05:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green
As for sensitivity between HD and SD, it doesn't change. And yes it does progressive 16:9 SD..
Really, no change? I noticed a full stop difference between 720p30 and 480p60 on a JVC HD10. I assumed droping to SD on the HVX could be a shot savor for those low light scenes.
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Old January 9th, 2007, 11:50 PM   #6
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James,

I recently shot some woodsy overcranked 720P/48 & 60fps, late in the afternoon, no extra gain, and without any post-work it is still very visible. Are you shooting in one of those dense primeval forests?
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Last edited by Benjamin Hill; January 26th, 2007 at 10:26 PM.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 12:47 AM   #7
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Yes I am shooting in a dense redwood forest. Much more than the one you've shown. It's not possible to see the sky like that unless you look straight up through the trees. I've seen these very woods shot with 35mm in the rain and it looked amazing. I'm just bummed out that I can't even get enough light with the HVX to see much of anything in the best settings.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 10:29 AM   #8
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As mentioned in various threads, no digi-cam including the larger 2/3" bodies perform well in low light, it's even the bane of DSLR's which is why film is still the low-light king.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 11:19 AM   #9
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Wait -- are you trying to shoot in a dark forest with no additional lighting? Of course it'll look horrible... where have you seen it shot on 35mm before? You can probably bet that they had several HMI fixtures and reflectors and all sorts of additional lighting to give the shot depth and make it look good.

Point a 35mm film camera at that same dark forest (with no additional lighting) and it's gonna look awful too.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 03:18 PM   #10
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Some of the stock footage I've seen from Warren Millers crew was shot in 35mm in the rain and it was freakin dark, but it a nice way. It felt exactly like it does when you are there. I'm almost positive there was not light set up. I think a long cable cam set up with a light on it would look strange
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Old January 10th, 2007, 10:14 PM   #11
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James,

If you really want expert help/advise then share either some clips or stills of your shoot and those of us who can will be able to immediately diagnose the problem, whether it's the location or camera setup - or both.

And Barry's comment is spot-on; there's no such thing as a good-looking dark outdoor location that isn't artificially lit in some way. Proper lighting setup is as much an art as the actual photo/videography and in many situations getting a professional lighting rigger is more important than the shooter; done correctly you'd never know the light isn't natural.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 02:59 AM   #12
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I dont have any clips on hand, but it is mountain biking I am talking about. These people are being filmed moving hundreds of meters of distance in one shot. Tell me how you could properly light a shot like that especailly when using a cablecam set up?
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Old January 11th, 2007, 10:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Adams
I dont have any clips on hand, but it is mountain biking I am talking about. These people are being filmed moving hundreds of meters of distance in one shot. Tell me how you could properly light a shot like that especailly when using a cablecam set up?
Without seeing either your clips or the ones from WM's stock it's impossible to say how it was done, but if you have a link to the WM clip or can provide one of yours then accurate answers can be given to both.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 02:53 PM   #14
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ill try to get one of mine on here in a a bit, thanks
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Old June 2nd, 2007, 09:56 PM   #15
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Reviving this thread... I'd like to know how the HVX200 compares to some Sony cameras (V1 or even PD170) in low light conditions. I've been thinking of getting this camera for some news projects. I like its higher quality color sampling and I hear DVCProHD stands up much better than HDV through the editing and transmission chain of television. However, I'm always shooting in developing areas, usually in someone's home or a school, with no or little electricity. The only light source I have at my disposal is natural light streaming into the room. I've been able to make the most of this light with my PD170. How's it going to be with the Panasonic?
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