V1 in low light: first true event impressions at DVinfo.net

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Old March 25th, 2007, 08:46 AM   #1
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V1 in low light: first true event impressions

Last night I was shooting an important event in a candle-lit surroundings; it was really my first test of the V1 other than the 25p mode trials. The circumstancies forced me to go with gain as high as 18 dB sometimes, and I must say the output is a very nice surprise! With gain up to 12, the video is dark just as the scenery was; at 18dB it is actually brighter than the reality, and only then the noise is noticeable.

Even though the shooting was critical (I have people counting on a DVD from the event), I experimented a little and - since it was mostly static (authors reading their poetry in the candle light), I tried the shutter speed at 1/12th which allowed for just 6dB gain, an yielded very clean picture indeed.

Most of it I did with 1/25th and 9-12dB of gain, in progressive. Quite satisfactory!

PS. not even trace of oil paint or blockyness under these difficult circumstancies.
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Last edited by Piotr Wozniacki; March 25th, 2007 at 01:22 PM.
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Old March 25th, 2007, 04:56 PM   #2
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Post images! I know everyone is dying to see real-world results. Thanks for the report. What other settings did you use? Specifically, did you do something with black compensation?
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Old March 25th, 2007, 05:06 PM   #3
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Post images! I know everyone is dying to see real-world results. Thanks for the report. What other settings did you use? Specifically, did you do something with black compensation?
I had blacks stretched to get most of the dim surroundings. In spite of this, the dark areas simply remained dark, but noice is almost unnoticeable - like in this snapshot:
Attached Thumbnails
V1 in low light: first true event impressions-eyp-evening1.jpg   V1 in low light: first true event impressions-eyp-evening5.jpg  

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Last edited by Piotr Wozniacki; March 26th, 2007 at 04:19 AM.
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Old March 26th, 2007, 03:06 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Piotr Wozniacki View Post
I had blacks stretched to get most of the dim surroundings. In spite of this, the dark areas simply remained dark, but noice is almost unnoticeable - like in this snapshot:
Was the only lighting source those candles? If so, the image is truly amazing. You have to love the way the V1 handles bright lights; the flames have a nice rounded soft look rather than the harsh star-like verticle smear of CCD type camcorders. Very nice... Thanks for the pic.
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Old March 26th, 2007, 04:18 AM   #5
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Was the only lighting source those candles? If so, the image is truly amazing. You have to love the way the V1 handles bright lights; the flames have a nice rounded soft look rather than the harsh star-like verticle smear of CCD type camcorders. Very nice... Thanks for the pic.
There's no way the candles are the only light source. Look at the shadows (or lack of).
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Old March 26th, 2007, 04:23 AM   #6
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There's no way the candles are the only light source. Look at the shadows (or lack of).
You're right Drew; I have uploaded another snapshot into my previous post above where you can see a lamp at the ceiling. There were a couple of lamps like this scattered around the room, but all very dim indeed.
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Old March 26th, 2007, 05:41 AM   #7
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It really looks like you have some on-camera light. There are shadows cast from the candelabra straight behind them and a few inches low. There is a similar shadow cast from the face of the man in the denim jacket. This means there must be a light in line with and above the camera pointing at the scene. Also, the shadows moved from the first shot to the second meaning that the light must have moved. The fact that the background isn't underlit usually means that the light near the camera isn't very strong, but it really looks like you have an on-camera light. Perhaps the overhead light just happened to line up with your camera?
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Old March 26th, 2007, 06:05 AM   #8
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Markus, this is funny:) Yes I can see the shadows you're talking about, but you're investigating as if I said there were just 10 candles there and nothing else. Of course there were lamps like the one on the second snapshot I added (not much brighter than the candles), and yes - there was a bar some distance behind me, where people were having drinks and listening.

But it is obvious that the place was generally dark, and when I was entering, my first thought was I couldn't probably make a watcheable video there. And yet, it's a nice surprise!
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Old March 26th, 2007, 06:20 AM   #9
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Yes, I can tell that it's dark as the candles look so bright. Candles don't seem so bright in a well-lit room and are barely visible in the sun. Regardless, I can't shake the feeling that it seems like there is an on-camera light. It's not the overall brightness, but the pattern of the light. Maybe one of the room lights just happened to line up to look like an on-camera light.

Maybe you brightened the image too much. That's hard to believe, but maybe the overall even lighting dampens the feel that it's in a dim room? I know the V1 isn't bad in low-light once it is tweaked properly, so I don't doubt this kind of shot is possible in the right person's hands.
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Old March 26th, 2007, 06:35 AM   #10
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I think we're so used to the "cinema" version of low-light (which uses well constrained strong light and strong shadows to create contrast), that "real" low-light can look a little washed-out. However, the V1 has created some impressive looking images here considering the lack of light.

Personally I'm not overly fond of the way it has rendered the candles - a little too "electronic" looking for my taste. For some reason they don't look very organic. But I'm very impressed with the lack of overall noise in the image.
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Old March 26th, 2007, 06:40 AM   #11
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Markus, I just scrolled through the timeline and found the moment when somebody was taking a still with a mobile phone from behind me; you can see the same scene with his flash (of course neither me nor the camera was fast enough to compensate for this additional light). But, it is not that much brighter at all, which means you're right saying I managed to lighten the scene as much as possible, using pretty low shutter speed and stretching blacks.
Attached Thumbnails
V1 in low light: first true event impressions-eyp-evening6.jpg  
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Old March 26th, 2007, 06:54 AM   #12
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I think you can even do better in low light by turning down the saturation which suppresses the colour flecks of noise. Personally I'd have either pressed the blacks or left them untouched rather than stretched them.

I didn't find the V1 too bad in low light. If it was setup well.

I agree with Alex the candles might be rendered without smear but the sharpening halo round them shouts "electronic" unfortunately.

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Old March 26th, 2007, 06:54 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Alex Leith View Post
I think we're so used to the "cinema" version of low-light (which uses well constrained strong light and strong shadows to create contrast), that "real" low-light can look a little washed-out. However, the V1 has created some impressive looking images here considering the lack of light.

Personally I'm not overly fond of the way it has rendered the candles - a little too "electronic" looking for my taste. For some reason they don't look very organic. But I'm very impressed with the lack of overall noise in the image.
I think you've got the point here, Alex - the camera was not using any "cine" settings (gamma or colour), and the blacks were stretched (rather than compressed) on purpose. All this contributed to a more evenly lit atmosphere, which you may not like, but my point in posting those snapshots was just to show the level of noise.

Here is another lo-light snapshot, with quite the opposite settings: cinegamma, cinecolour and black compressed. The result is a contrasty video.
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V1 in low light: first true event impressions-vlcsnap.jpg  
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Old March 26th, 2007, 10:25 AM   #14
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In EYP Evening5.jpg there's something very odd happening with that double bass.
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Old March 26th, 2007, 10:29 AM   #15
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In EYP Evening5.jpg there's something very odd happening with that double bass.
Let me guess: the oil paint effect!
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