Can one make dark scenes in post without the noise of low exposures? at
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Old January 17th, 2007, 01:30 PM   #1
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Can one make dark scenes in post without the noise of low exposures?

Hi all. . .

This (probably stupid) thought came to me the other day. I am interested in doing some dark shots, but I can't stand the noise issue of the HVX. Is it possible to just expose a scene normally and then just darken it up dramatically in post? I've never tried this before, so it may not work at all, but I thought I'd ask you pros if it IS possible. I realize that I might have to use some pretty high-key lighting to keep from losing the highlights on faces, etc., but if there is enough light the noise should be reduced IF one can really darken things up in post.

Thanks much.

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Old January 17th, 2007, 02:01 PM   #2
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im far from being pro, i just got my HVX and still learning...
I have pretty much same scene coming up soon, but i thought to shoot it dark on camera, not edit in post...I thought about lowering master pedestal to -10 or so and then using either cinelike V or B.Press. So the results would be very contrasty and dim part of picture would be just kind of crushed. What you pros think about it?

Im quite sure that its also possible shooting bright and then lowering down the levels, never tested thought...
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Old January 17th, 2007, 03:41 PM   #3
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Get a light meter and do a bunch of testing (while shooting and in post). That's really the best way.
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Old January 17th, 2007, 08:21 PM   #4
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You can do a massive amount in post if you are getting a proper colour grade, irrespective of what you have shot on. I have shot a project on SD DV and we still had enough latitude to dramatically change the shots in post - but we also got to colour grade on Baselight (a very high end full 4:4:4 realtime grading suite normally used for 35mm grading). after onlining to Digibeta.

Now, darkening footage in post isn't the same as shooting in the dark due to highlights, light spill etc, but with a good quality grade for those specific shots you need to fix up you can single out the problem areas while fixing the rest of the picture.

My advice is try and find a place that you want to colour grade at before you shoot and talk to them and see what sort of latitude they reckon they'll be able to give you.

In general, a good grade should be able to darken a picture. It would be much harder for it to remove noise.

If all else fails one way to grade yourself is to export your timeline as a tiff sequence, import it into a graphics programme like Photoshop, apply an appropriate filter to all the stills, reimport the sequence into your NLE and output the footage back to tape. It certainly would be a way to test what you're trying to achieve in terms of darkening a shot.
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Old January 20th, 2007, 07:12 AM   #5
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Basically in the dark you will reach the limits of what the HVX can do. When you loose light you will get massive noise. No way around that. There is a limit to what the chips can do. The only way is to bring as much light in as you can to avoid the use of gain. I did a lot of night shooting and I hate it, because it's just the end of the HVX world.

The camera is unbeatable in a controlled studio situation or in daylight with no direct sunlight with f-stop around 2-4.
Harsh sunlight eats your shadows or, the other way round, the shadows will burn the highlites.

Shooting day for night is a crutch. I did that and it works, but it's not satisfying. Nights are black and in the black you'll inevitably get the noise.

A day for night plugin I found suitable is in the DFT 55mm package, which is available for AVID, FCP After effects, etc.

But hey, there is a reason why film is still around.
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 01:25 AM   #6
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I've found that overlighting "dark" scenes by 1 stop, and carefully monitoring hightlights, allows for a moderate "crush" of the darks in post which helps smooth out the noise.
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