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low light video help

Discussion in 'Filmmaking' started by mzd, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. mzd

    mzd Mu-43 Veteran

    241
    Nov 30, 2010
    Wisconsin
    Ok, so I feel pretty competent at the technical side of still photography, but I have little experience with video.
    My set up was my GF1 w/ the 20mm and a tripod. I used MF since the subject (jazz band) isn't moving front to back and I didn't want the AF hunting.
    The room is very dark (needing approx 1 sec exposure for a properly exposed still).
    I did a quick search for movie tips with the GF1 in low light and someone suggested using Shutter Speed priority at 1/30 and I believe Nostalgic film mode, so I used that. I think ISO was at 400. I didn't really have time to do a lot of testing before hand. I did also push the exposure comp up a notch or two.
    Here are the results:

    [ame=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApkhYQ91BSE]FPJC - Mercy Mercy Mercy, The Chicken - YouTube[/ame]
    (you can view it 720p (click on Watch on Youtube) for the best quality youtube offers)

    So, please offer any suggestions on what I could have done differently in this setting? (The audio obviously came from an external source and was added in post.)
    Overall the results are passable for basic video capture of an event, but the quality is really low, imo. I'm looking for any suggestions to improve it.
     
  2. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    couple of things

    !) Don't have a GF-1 but do have an e-p1 which is of a similar generation - and in that I have no control over ISO when in movie mode. You may have thought you had set iso 400, but it may have pushed that to get the exposure - hence the noise

    2) The lighting is doing you no favours at all - sometimes there just in's enough light

    3) your focus seems off - more oriented to the back wall than the performers at the front

    K
     
  3. mzd

    mzd Mu-43 Veteran

    241
    Nov 30, 2010
    Wisconsin
    thanks, yeah, I was pretty sure that I read somewhere that ISO settings don't apply in video.
    I agree, it looks like I did back focus a little (again, due to the low light and tripod position, it was challenging to set the focus).
    Would I have been better off setting slower shutter speed? It was really difficult to test different settings on the spot because you really can't get much detail viewing the video on camera (I tested a couple settings for a few seconds at the venue and this one looked acceptable during playback on the camera at least).
     
  4. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    The rule of thumb is that shutter speed should be 2x the FPS. So if you are shooting 720p @ 30FPS, then your shutter speed should 2x30 = 1/60.

    But the biggest problem with this video is that the ambient light stinks. There's no light on the foreground subjects. In order to get them properly exposed, you'll have to really push the ISO, and you'll blow out the rhythm section and the back wall.

    The real solution for this is more light on the foreground subjects. Something like this would help:

    ePhoto On Camera DV Camcorder DSLR 170 LED Video Photo Lite Panel

    Make sure you put on the tungsten gel to match the room lighting. I bet if you ask the club owner and band if you can add a light so you can get better video AND offer to share it on their websites/Facebook page, they'll say sure.

    Good luck
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    even moving the table lamp in the centre over to the right of the frame and to the front of the band would have made a difference.

    not aimed at the OP..... but its sad in the blind quest for higher ISO that people tend to forget about the need for light to actually record an image

    K
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. mzd

    mzd Mu-43 Veteran

    241
    Nov 30, 2010
    Wisconsin
    ok, so if I'm understanding this all correctly, the video quality issues in this case don't really have anything to do with the camera or settings - it is just lack of light. on the technical side, the low quality (which look similar to jpeg artifacts to me) is the result high ISO has on video, which the camera has pushed in order to get the exposure. the only solution is better lighting.
    if I had set the shutter speed to 1/60 then there would be even more noise in the resulting video, correct?
     
  7. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    That would be my take on it.... Noise is a sod to compress... and video isn't like a strip of film where each frame is a complete picture.

    Instead it takes a full frame every so often and then keeps track of the changes in subsequent frames. Now if there is noise in the image, then every frame will be different and will probably overload the compression algorithm as it only has so much time before it has to start work on the next frame.

    well thats my understanding anyway.

    I used to have a old Canon DSLR, and if i upped the ISO, the number of pictures it said it could store on the card went down, as it knew it wouldn't be able to compress the noisier image as much as a less noisy image

    There is apparently a hack for the GF1 that gives you some more control over manual settings for video... but I have no experience of this.

    I had a quick look at the GF1 manual... but couldn't work out if you had control of ISO when in movie mode

    cheers

    K
     
    • Like Like x 1