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Old December 7th, 2011, 08:45 AM   #1
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Shooting at night on a DSLR

Ive never shot at night before and was wondering if I need to set up lights outside if I'm shooting on a DSLR. It's a city street and relatively well lit. Any advice?
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Old December 7th, 2011, 11:00 AM   #2
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Re: Shooting at night on a DSLR

Hey Lee,

I've shot at night lots with a 5d2 and streetlights. Depending on the light you may need to go to at least f1.4, which creates wery shallow dof. Also, the metal hallide lights or whatever they are are very hard to get anything near white balance on. So there is a yellowish cast to everything. You could correct some of this in post, though it does read pretty true.

I'd advise just going out one night in advance and seeing how it works. Unless you have permits, you probably don't want to be setting up too many lights. And then you need to power them.

Here's some tests we ran awhile back using the 5d and a 50mm f1.4 and a 17-40 f4 on the 5d2. Might come in handy. Most of the shots are labeled, and there was no color grading. Hope this helps.

btw, the shots from 3:25 to 3:50 were lit with a very small LED keychain light.

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Old December 7th, 2011, 11:44 AM   #3
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Re: Shooting at night on a DSLR

If you are looking for the true night look, there is nothing like it. A lot of grain as you climb into higher ISOs, but you are better off getting a good clean exposure than underexposing, and then trying to "push in post." If you have to, you can use something like Neat Video to clean up the grain.

This one shot at night on first day I had camera. Nikon F1.4 lens. No lighting n front of theater.

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Old December 7th, 2011, 11:55 AM   #4
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Re: Shooting at night on a DSLR

The new magic lantern lets you get down to 1/25 with the shutter (1/2 stop over stock firmware), and the difference in blur is not something you can tell apart from 1/50. This, with a little denoiser in post (at 50%, as most are too heavy handed) and it looks good. The gh2 has some high iso hack capabilities.
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Old December 7th, 2011, 12:39 PM   #5
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Re: Shooting at night on a DSLR

Thanks for the advice guys. I plan on doing a couple tests before I start my film. It's a small fight scene so I'm planning out everything anyway

I have a 50mm 1.8 lens but I don't know how well it would work on a fight scene, maybe for coverage. My wide angle is only 4.0
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Old December 7th, 2011, 01:24 PM   #6
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Re: Shooting at night on a DSLR

The 1.8 should work pretty well.... Just pull back for wider view....
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Old December 8th, 2011, 10:52 AM   #7
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Re: Shooting at night on a DSLR

I did shoot a short fight sequence at night with a 50 f1.4. If you are fairly tight (say 50mm at 6-8 feet), then then action is kind of obscure and chaotic which helps to hide the fact that it is not real. I ended up doing some camera panning and a little zooming in post to create a little more chaos. By being further away from the action will give you a little extra dof. You can also find a place for your fight scene that has a little more light. Just watch out for cops...
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Old December 8th, 2011, 12:59 PM   #8
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Re: Shooting at night on a DSLR

Haha yeah I already got a permit for shooting so I'll just show them that. It was one of my concerns.
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