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Photon Management
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Old October 11th, 2008, 10:53 AM   #1
Regular Crew
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: oakland
Posts: 27
Dark images

Occasionally I find the darker scenes in my footage look very dark on the final DVD, although the scene was adequately lighted at the time and looked fine on the NLE (Final Cut).

I use tungsten lights, however sometimes incandescent lights are also present in the scene. Could this be the problem? Could it be that they are confusing the camera? But is is strange that it only shows up on the final DVD. Maybe it is a compression issue???
Or something completely different??
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Old October 11th, 2008, 05:09 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,139
There is a lot to cover in discussing exposure from lighting to camera to final DVD.

If it seems like your camera viewfinder and NLE monitor aren't giving you good guidance as to final exposure levels, they are probably not set up correctly. That's a known issue, and there are several things you can do about it.

Start with your camera viewfinder and/or LCD set to the center position for brightness. If you turn up the brightness you will tend to underlight.

If possible, set it up with colorbars. Your camera may be able to generate them, or pull them off a tape. Adjust the brightness so the 10% pluge field is just barely visible, and the 7.5 and 0% look black. See this diagram, it only covers the lower right corner of the bars. (more in this thread.)

Learn to use and trust the zebra exposure indicators in your camera. Caucasian face highlights should typically be about 75, plus or minus. Anything above 100 shows no detail. Anything below about 60 should be a dark color or shadow.

Set up your NLE monitor with bars. Same as above.

Learn to use the waveform monitor available on your NLE. Same as above.

Look at your video in your NLE, check the monitor and scopes and adjust Brightness & Contrast or Color Correction for any scenes/shots that are off.

Set up your various monitors correctly, use the other exposure indicators, and your video will improve!

Last edited by Seth Bloombaum; October 12th, 2008 at 10:37 AM. Reason: Corrected pluge field percentages
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Old October 12th, 2008, 11:40 AM   #3
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: oakland
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I understand that every monitor, TV, projector, etc will show images slightly differently.

The question is why CERTAIN (darker) scenes will project VERY dark, while ALL the other scenes in the movie appear perfectly okay on whatever monitor, TV, projector is being used.

Somehow the darker scenes are ending up unusually dark (I have not used gain). Thanks
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