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-   -   Tough time shooting in low light (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-xdcam-ex-pro-handhelds/118919-tough-time-shooting-low-light.html)

Phil Hanna April 8th, 2008 04:14 PM

Tough time shooting in low light
I was wondering if anyone can shed light (sorry no pun intended) on why I can't seem to get good low light video. When I try, the speed of the camera is at 1/40th and everything strobes. Can you share some settings that might assist me in getting acceptable low light shots? Not looking to shoot total darkness, but for example, my back yard has some nice lighting in the landscaping and lights that show up into the palm trees.



Serena Steuart April 9th, 2008 01:00 AM

You need to set your shutter speed to the mains frequency. 1/50th for 50Hz, 1/60 for 60Hz. Lights on AC power flicker at the supply frequency, as I'm sure you know. You can also use sub-divisions, such 1/100 or 1/120. There is also a flicker reduction function (p51 of manual), should you still have problems.

Eric Pascarelli April 9th, 2008 05:29 AM

What do you mean by "strobe?" Do you mean "judder" in the pans? Or flicker? The term "strobing" is typically used to refer to choppiness in panning/tilting.

Serena, 1/40 is a "flicker free" speed for 60Hz (three half-cycles per frame). Though at non-standard frame rates it can cause a flicker. At 30 fps there should be no flicker at 1/40.

What frame rate are you shooting, Phil? For the least chance of flicker, try shooting with the shutter off. It increases the incidence of judder, though.

I assume you are shooting in Florida at 60Hz?

Phil Hanna April 9th, 2008 03:32 PM

Just using ambient light
I assume the response was relative to using power lights, hence the 60hz info. Here is what happened. I was shooting a swimming pool at night using the light in the pool. In order to get the thing to show up, I had to open the iris all the way and reduce the shutter to 1/40th. When I panned the camera there was a long delay and a blur to the next position where the camera stopped. Does that help explain what happened? I am just trying to set the camera up to shoot a low light scene using available light and can't seem to get enough light into the camera.



Sean Donnelly April 9th, 2008 04:32 PM

Phil, what framerate were you shooting at? At 24fps, a 1/40th shutter is longer than normal and can appear to strobe because the exposure time is longer than what we are used to seeing (1 over 2x framerate is normal, or 1/48th of a second) In 30p mode, 1/40th is approaching no shutter, which will definitely appear to strobe since the exposure time is longer, creating more motion blur than normal, and an apparent delay when panning. If you don't like that look, try adding gain. If you don't like the look of gain, add more light. :)


Phil Hanna April 9th, 2008 05:54 PM

Thanks all
I am shooting at 30P and at 1/40th was the only way I could get a reasonable image.


Eric Pascarelli April 9th, 2008 06:46 PM


Originally Posted by Phil Hanna (Post 857220)
When I panned the camera there was a long delay and a blur to the next position where the camera stopped.

This behavior strikes me as a longer shutter than 1/40. Are you sure you are not in extra-slow shutter mode, or SLS mode?

One long blur for a whole pan sounds line a shutter speed of one second or more. If I am understanding you correctly, all you see is one blurred frame between the start and end of a pan, not smooth motion.

Can you post footage?

Phil Hanna April 10th, 2008 12:51 PM

I fixed it!
Hi all and thanks for the feedback. I changed the freq to 60 hz and did some other tweaks and it did fine. This was a big help to get me in the right direction. Thanks again.


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