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-   -   GL2 Low Light Settings - A Quick Reference (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-gl-series-dv-camcorders/10527-gl2-low-light-settings-quick-reference.html)

Aaron Rosen June 5th, 2003 10:11 PM

GL2 Low Light Settings - A Quick Reference
Hello All -

I would love to see everyone's manual settings that they use for low light shooting. I am shooting a class reunion soon and want to see what the settings everyone uses to reduce the grain.

I have searched and found only bits and pieces.

Figured that this would be a good thread to compress everything for future viewers.

Thanks in advance.

- Aaron

Graham Bernard June 6th, 2003 04:00 AM

Chris - Idea from Aaron . . .
Chris any chance for you to post what Aaron suggest?

A "typical" settings list posted on your XM/GL2ers BillBoard thingy - yeah? Would give me a sense of where to start experimenting

Nice idea Aaron!!!!


Ben Lynn June 6th, 2003 08:54 AM

I have a good setting for reducing grain. Use a light.

Ben Lynn

Michael Murray June 6th, 2003 09:56 AM

I have a good setting for reducing grain. Use a light.

Ben Lynn


I agree Ben. However, what if you are in a situation where adding light isn't practical, or you want to quickly shoot a passing moment in low light, or you WANT a low light effect?

I read somewhere that decreasing sharpness and increasing setup would reduce appearance of grain in low light.

Then again, I've never even used the camera yet, so what do I know?

Ben Lynn June 6th, 2003 11:36 AM

If you have to shoot quickly then nothing is going to help because every setting change requires at least a few seconds to make. Other than lighting the next thing I would suggest is to lower your shutter speed.

It's a party not an action scene so the stobe affect should be minimal.

It's always a battle of give and take. You can keep the shutter speed at 60 but then you need to increase the gain and you end up with a little grain. If you don't want grain then you have to accept a bit of strobing from a lower shutter speed of 30. You just have to decide which will work best for your situation.

I'll be the first to say that lights are bright and uncomfortable for the people being taped, but they really do make the biggest improvement in video quality out all the options. Even just a little 3 watt light or a well diffused 10 watt light will add fill to some close medium shots or tight shots. It won't help for a wide shot but maybe at that point you could go ahead and lower the shutter speed to compensate.

There really isn't just one setting that will work for an entire event. Every shot is different and needs to be adjusted accordingly. The situation will dictate if grain or strobing is acceptable or whether a light is needed for fill.

Ben Lynn

Aaron Rosen June 6th, 2003 11:48 AM

Thank You.
Thank You Graham / Ben.

I agree, using a light is essential.

This was posted with the intent that a light is standard equipment. I am not that new.

I also understand that every scene and every shooting situation is different.

It would still be helpful to have a good place to start, i.e. this thread, for all those people who are not as well versed in video as some.

So if anyone else has some specific shutter / sharpness settings to dial in, we would greatly appreciate a place to stat experimenting.


- AR

Graham Bernard June 6th, 2003 12:53 PM

Ben, Newbie to video here . . .
Yes Ben, I got it. I just want to have some starting points. If I make mistakes - which I presume you have - I want to nail it for myself - yeah? I tell you what, having some examples might, just might, make me experiment, and become more confident with all the fiddly bits. I'd really appreciate your experience to give me some openners. - Hey, I was the guy who White Balanced against Yellow! Now how bizzare is that?!?

I've seen people flinch, and the "pools" of shadows that directional lights creates. If my XM2 don't do an XM2000 job, okay - I'll live with it.

Oh yeah, I remember my Dad with a 4 prong Octopus [ 4 doesn't equate to an octupus - this I know ] set-rig of 300watt floods on each arm!!! This on his darling Bell 'n Howell - NOW THAT'S embarrasing . . . . Lights, yes - experimenting absolutely! - I've invested in a Halma 20watt - takes all night to ccharge, lats 12 minutes - DOAH!

New technologies? I'm looking forward to the new CoolFlus available. AND, and, and the newly promoted LCD banks - low power, plenty of lumins too.

Best regards,


Frank Granovski June 6th, 2003 01:31 PM

Put the cam on a sturdy tripod, and position it somewhere where it won't get bumped. When you record a scene, put the shutter at 1/30 or 1/15. Whatever you do, do not pan, tilt, zoom or shake the 'pod. When you're done, gently press the stop/record button. Works for me.

Graham Bernard June 6th, 2003 01:34 PM

Thnx Frank - Very clear. - I'll give it a go.

Frank Granovski June 6th, 2003 01:44 PM

I see that you are in the UK, so you probably own the PAL XM2. For better low light with a PAL cam, use the 1/50 or 1/25 shutter speeds. Do not go lower. (I own a PAL cam, and have used PAL cams with lower shutter settings. My PAL cam only goes to 1/50.) Anyways, there's not much else to do than say, keep the lens filter free, and point the cam to the better lit areas of where you are shooting---if you point the cam to a dark area, you'll find your footage, er, dorky. Also, turn off OIS, shoot manual, and white balance for each scene. If you can squeeze an extra 1/2 a LUX from this, all the better.

Ben Lynn June 6th, 2003 01:51 PM

Everyone wants a work around but I stand firm on the use of lighting.

Consumer CCD's just aren't to the point of delivering the kind of video that looks acceptable without lighting. Give it three to five years and we'll see some vast improvements.

Try using the lowered sharpness and increased setup level and a few other options and compare them to a good diffused light situation. There is no work around for a lack of light without some major compromises in picture.

I'll go on the record and say that the entire grain situation is completely out of hand. Why are people scared to death about using 18db of gain for a local function? Is your event being broadcast? If so what's the carrier? Cable or Network? If you are that concerned about the picture quality then you should be embracing the use of lights to eliminate grain. And I'm certain that 99.9% of what's being done isn't for broadcast so don't listen to all the hype about trying to elimnate grain. That's a topic intended for a totally different audience than the local videographer.

For live event videography grain is acceptable. And yes I know that some of you are anti gain type of people and you beg to differ, but lets keep things in perspective people. If a light is offensive to someone then the gain up is the next best choice. If you don't like the way it looks, then buy a better camera.

Ben Lynn

Frank Granovski June 6th, 2003 01:53 PM

Yes, Ben. An on camera light will help. I suggest this too. But I think we're working on the premise of no extra lighting.

Graham Bernard June 6th, 2003 02:07 PM

Frank - Thnx for the headsup on the PAL system.

Ben - yes, when I'm more proficient, I'll most likely need to buy a better camera - mind you, I think I'm a long, long way off that point - but until I understand much much more, guess I'll have to make do with what I've got and be content with that. Hey ho!

Thanks for the tip on purchasing a better camera - I suppose they would be in the 5000 dollar mark - yeah? More perhaps? Woah, not yet though.


Aaron Rosen June 6th, 2003 04:01 PM

I understand that some grain is inevitable. That's what happens with a GL2 while run n gun. I would just like to minimize it as much as I can. I would prefur that the client does not think a wheat field exloded inside the tape with all the grain flying around.

So we have learned -

Up The Gain (dB0 of 60, 30 = Strobe Effect)
Decrease the Sharpness - HOW FAR is to far?
F Stops?

Other Variables:

I have read someplace that the TV mode works well. What about the E. Lock?

Ben Lynn June 6th, 2003 05:50 PM

Seriously, have all of you tried your camera's at 18db of gain in a low light area? These camera's don't even come close to a wheat field effect. I used to shoot news on Beta cameras and those had some serious grain to them at 18db, but the GL2 and todays cameras are leaps ahead. At 18db the picture quality is totally acceptable coming from the last few years of cameras. 18db from todays cameras is not that bad folks.

I'd caution against lowering the sharpness in low light situations. During low light situations the f stop is at full open and that creates a more shallow depth of field, thus more of your image is already at a soft focus. By lowering the sharpness you bring a slight blur across the entire image and your focus never seems sharp. Not exactly a good quality for your lasting memories and important clients.

Also, all the TV modes, and E lock modes and so forth are just spin off's of the manual mode. They only allow you access to certain aspects of the camera settings. Learn to control the shutter, iris, and gain in the manual mode (along with your zebra bars) and you'll never need to limit your settings again with the other modes. It takes time to get comfortable with full control but the payoff is a more solid and adjustable image.

If all else fails try talking with the venue and try to have the lighting turned up a bit. You never know.


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