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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old July 27th, 2006, 10:15 AM   #1
Inner Circle
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,488
Best low-light settings for HD cameras?

In a recent discussion Peter Jefferson made this comment:

If only more people would bother to tweak the settings.. of EVERY camera in this range. then this stupid low light argument would die
So how about people post their favorite low-light tweaks for each of the current low-cost HD cameras?

I'll start with mine for the Sony FX1: run gain to at least 12db, use 1/30 shutter for scenes without too much motion, and adjust the gamma curve in post to bring out lighted areas without washing out dark ones. By doing this I can get footage from an FX1 to have about the same low-light responsiveness as a DVX100, or not quite as good as a PD170.

Anyone else care to share?
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Old July 27th, 2006, 10:53 AM   #2
Inner Circle
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Aus
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with a HD101 or DVX100 (maybe even the H1.. i havent tried it..), adjust the gamma to "high" (not Cine) in lower lit areas.. then crank up detail coring to remove the noise, BUT increase ur detail level just a notch.. this retains the sharpness and cleans up some noise.. with HDV, coring is paramount to a clean low light image..

moving on.. in pprogressive modes your automatically losing 1 to 2 stops of light.. its jsut the way it is... your looking at twice as much temporal resolution as interlaced... there are a couple of ways around this low light sacrifice though.. the first is to obviously use gain, but in progressive modes, it gets ugly... running the shutter at 1/25ths (or 1/30 for NTSCville) SHOULD give a similar result to a gain of 12+... so u shoudl be able to kill off the gain.. if at teh most pump it to 9...
Another option is to shoot the reception in Interlaced, then convert in post. This way u get teh best of both worlds and most people wouldnt tell teh difference..
Also you might be surprised how much little light is neded, so a 20w may not LOOK like it will make a difference, but to the camera it does..

in reception venues, u will come across hot spots wher downloghts are brighter in certain areas. Best thing to do with this is note down your iris settings in different locations.. gets tedious, but saves having to level it out in post.. and when ur doing 200 odd tables, it gets on ur nerves. With this kinda thing, runnign the auto iris helps as the camera "LOOKS" for an ideal iris setting..

Oh one other thing, when deliberatly shooting with Cinegamma modes (DVX/HD101/H1) always run ur footage at least 1 stop below whats required... u can always brighten it later, but thats a rarity as the CCD dynamic range is at its peak if u dont fully blow out your highlights.

God theres heaps more but i have 12 hours to finish a job and theyre bustin my balls..
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