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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old February 14th, 2005, 05:22 PM   #1
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Low Light Comparison- Image Attached

As per the request of some members- here's a frame grab of the first dance at a dark reception hall. No onboard lights used on either camera.

The Sony image appears brighter than it did when you were actually there viewing it with your own eyes.

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Old February 14th, 2005, 06:06 PM   #2
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Thanks for that comparison Glen.

The 170 really shines looks great. The dvx has a clean picture and wouldn't be bad if it weren't sitting next to a 170 frame.

Ben Lynn
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Old February 14th, 2005, 07:31 PM   #3
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Spring for that Z1 and put a shot of it with the other two.
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Old February 14th, 2005, 09:15 PM   #4
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Thanks Glen
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Old February 14th, 2005, 10:13 PM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Patrick King : Glen,

Spring for that Z1 and put a shot of it with the other two. -->>>

The Z1 is supposedly 2 stops darker than the Panny... :(
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Old February 15th, 2005, 08:29 AM   #6
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the first thing i learnt with video was that light is imperative to a good shot.
No offense, but both those images look terrible IMO and i persoanlly wouldnt be pleased in delivering those to a client.

I honestly dont believe the DVX was set up correctly, either that or theres something wrong with that camera, as i have shot in lower lit situations (not by choice) without it lookin that ugly.
Most times, in that situation, I often use an onboard light.
In this particular comparison, the DVX footage is backlit with the faces in shadow, while the PD footage is obviously in a position where light will fall on their faces and be well lit. Also the blacks looks Grey.

the only way for a real fair comparison is to have the camera in an identically lit situation. But I honestly fail to see the point in this type of comparison as both cameras are good. Both have their strenghts and weeknesses, and both are kick ass for pretty much any situation..

But my point is that GOOD video requires light and shadow to create a feeling of depth.
This isnt Glens work isnt good, as I know Glen does some awesome work (prolly some of the best ive seenin the industry), this is just a general comment on LIGHTING.

i dont doubt that for one second, but Some knobhead years ago decided it would be a good idea to market his video with the term "we dont need lights"
THis is one of our bigest probelms when dealing with Clients.

And sure enough, any one can work a job without lights, but to what sacrifice?? i for one am not willing to give up image quality, clarity, and colour and go without a light to satisfy a precedented idea that lights are not required... id rather run diffused 20w which will at least give me some definiton, light, depth and colour of what i am shooting.

BOTH these shots need light.. to me theyre both seem very bland, colourless, and shallow. The Sonys red tilted white balance comes to the fore and frankly i wouldnt find that acceptable. the DVX is too dark, muddy, undersaturated and backlit.

i mean its great the Glen has put these up, but lowlight or not, video will always need light, irrespective of the camera you use.. yup, even the DSR 570 needs light to shine through......
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Old February 15th, 2005, 08:37 AM   #7
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forogot to add. the So HDV cams are really nice cams, and it looks like Sony have managed to deal with the lobster issue

but theyre not great performers in low light, but seriosly, who wants to see dimly lit, undefined footage?

the number of pixels within that 1/3rd ccd block is almost 3 times more than the DVX and PD.. so theyre smaller.. smaller pixels do not have the same surface area as the larger pixels found in the PD and DVX, so more light is required to light those pixles..
Theoretically, lowlight caps by spec alone, the PD comes out on top, then the DVX, then the XL2 then the FX/Z1's

but again, i reiterate my comments that good video requires light.. and once definition begins to wane and whites begin to dim.. you WILL notice the difference and your clients will be greatful for it..
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Old February 15th, 2005, 09:05 AM   #8
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I try to use on-camera lights as little as possible. 1) It's less intrusive 2) I feel it actually creates a more pleasing image- though give me a moment to explain.

I'm well aware light is the most important aspect of any form of imaging whether it be photography, or videography. That said you must understand the effects additional lighting has on overall exposure. Light is known for adding depth to subjects...however on camera lighting isn't off axis and is aimed directly at the subject thus actually flatening the image.
When using an on camera light you also end up with uneven lighting and hot spots, also the subject be much brighter than the background....with extreme cases causing the subjects to look like they are swimming in a sea of blackness. I prefer to see as much as the background and surrounding as possible. It just looks more natural to me.

For those reasons I'd rather "start" with an image that is slightly underexposed and bring out the luminance in post. It's a clean enough image that it won't cause any noise issues and ends up with a much more pleasing image than if an on camera light was used.

Now don't get me mistaken- I'm not saying additional lighting is bad. In fact it's why most movies look the way they do- it's why great photographs look the way they do...it's just that I don't feel on camera directly lined up with the subject is appealing and only use it if the image from my camera is beyond the threshold by which I'm able to get a clean image when tweaking in post.
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Old February 15th, 2005, 10:27 AM   #9
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That footage looked awesome!

Ben Lynn
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Old February 15th, 2005, 12:26 PM   #10
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splitting hairs

Thank you for this comparison. Very interesting.

Why do we have to split hairs when the majority of wedding videography clients won't notice the difference -- unless you show an A/B comparison? Most people simply don't care. All they want is someone to preserve the moments elegantly and tell the story of their special day -- even if you need 12 dB of gain, or you have to boost color saturation in post. Sure, they can tell the difference between footage from a pro/prosumer camcorder and footage from a compact single-chip camcorder. The smaller CCD image will be terribly grainy, fuzzy and unusable in the lighting shown in this example.

I shoot weddings with a DVC80, and I don't dispute the popular opinion that the PD-170 can see in the dark :) Clearly it excels in that area. I, however, prefer the more neutral color handling of Panasonics. If I want a warmer look, I add it in post. In defense of the DVC80, I've shot in REALLY dark rooms and managed to get killer video, even under nothing but Christmas lights and candles. When I get time, I'll post some still frames from that particular wedding reception. I'm pretty sure you'll see a difference.

Thanks again for the post, Glen. I always enjoy seeing what other people are shooting.

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Old February 15th, 2005, 12:43 PM   #11
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So the picture says DVC-80 but everyone keeps referring to the DVX100, which is it?

I agree the images are a little dark but the Sony footage could easily be cleaned up in post (the Panasonic footage might be too dark for my taste). It would also be a little easier to judge if they were under the same lighting conditions (the backgrounds indicate they are facing different directions at the least and this can have an adverse effect).
As for Peter's response, there is a link under his name to his web site, check it out. Some very nice images there. It looks like he might come from a still photography background (am I correct?), just a hunch from the lighting styles. I also didn't think he was really slamming Glen per se, as much as maybe making a suggestion. Whether Glen uses it or not is up to him. It's his clients and his style. Video does always look better with some sort of lighting control, but I can understand it being difficult under these circumstances.

p.s. From the title of the post, I expected the images to be captured by natural light, it was in fact to show the "low light ability" not the cameras overall ability, so I would excuse either shot for being dark and consider it just what it is... a comparison.

Thanks for the images Glen.
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Old February 15th, 2005, 08:13 PM   #12
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If you read carefully, my comments are not directed at anyone in particualr or anyones work.

Its a general statement on lighting and delivery of an image.
I have always said that Glen is one of the best producers i have seen and i still believe that to this day.

Glen, Allen, thanks for your thoughts on the lighting stuation, Im glad you at least understood my point here..

Personally, in a real life LIVE situation, if an area is fairly well lit, be it from fairy lights spotties, or disco lights (as in the case of these frames), theres no need to run a light as youd be capturing the environment naturally, allowing the shadows and motion in light to create the atmosphere.. this is just gold.. and i agree that you wouldnt want to wash that out with a cam spotty. Add that work therory with a camera which has a lowr SN Ratio and a wider dynamic range, (maybe a 1/2 CCD cam or even 2/3) the footage would REALLY be something.. even in abysmall lighting..

However you mentioned the onboard lights.. With onboards ive seen alot of footage where people look like cardboard cutouts.. not very wide in its scope but i guess the only positive point is that people can actually see facial detail, which is what they essentially want..

I dont like the cutout look and feel.. but this again is a matter of opinion being that with a nice diffusion and proper camera angles, that element of depth and position (and not a black hole) is captured with only a soft boost of the subjects form and detail while retaining the environmental surrounds. Ideally only one camera would be running a light while the other plays with its shadows. In a perfect world id love to do this all the time, but not even half of this is possible..

Rhett Allen, I come from a Post Production and audio background originally, working on broadcast and finishing using Avid and Pro Tools etc. I moved from that as i needed variety. All the whiel working Still and Video on the weekends and editing other Producers work for bread and butter. (ie i used to edit for other wedding videographers)

But ive seen (and worked on) A LOT of different types of work over the years to understand what i personally like and what works for me and my own clients.

As youve been to my website, youd have also noted my comments on lighting in there. The suggestion that
"People are tired of the type of lighting that you seem to think is nessecary for every single shot" is false.. Like i said, if people bother to read the fineprint, there wouldnt be an issue with my comments.

I dont have any set rules with what i do, but i work with what is given.. before i use a light, i ask permission.. Sometimes i dont get it. so what life goes on and we keep going.. but as for this board.. i think afew people need to read things thoroughly before deciding to badmouth someone else..
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Old February 16th, 2005, 07:15 AM   #13
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Folks, I just got through editing this thread for content: left the technical stuff in place, as always... ripped out the flaming... as always. Peter is quite right, people need to read things thoroughly before deciding to badmouth someone else. Because we never allow that sort of behavior here. Debate the techniques, but don't attack each other. That's not why I built this place. This is supposed to be an archive of technical information. It's not your typical "internet message board" in that personal flaming is never permitted. Also, please keep in mind that this is an international community. There are cultural differences at work here and we need to respect each other for that. Some Americans on this board seem to have a hard time keeping that in mind. Please, folks... even though English is the primary language here, remember this is a worldwide group.

This thread remains closed until Glen feels like opening it again.

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