Lighting

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Stephen
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Lighting

Post by Stephen » Wed Feb 28, 2007 12:17 am

The wisdom of the list is required !

Having major problems trying to get decent quality footage out of my camera (XM2) in low light

My pal is a jazz musician and tends to play in clubs that are very poorly lit... or have every possible type of lamp burning! (allbeit very dimly)...

any help appreciated on getting light in there without loosing the ambience..... got a couple of 1kw portable site lighting (those yellow thingies on a tripod) but they are hellish powerfull and need some type of diffuser ... and gawd do they get hot!!!
anybody had any success with these??
Stephen

Film making is not a matter of Life and Death
It's much more important than that.

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stingman
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Post by stingman » Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:31 am

This subject is the bugbearer of my filming (that`s why i`m upgrading!) The quality of a low lit film is really bad with a really grainy picture. The result, as you`ve guessed is more light, but still trying to keep the atmosphere!
A few surgestions....

Why not try a have three lights, A red filtered one, a green filtered one and a blue filtered one. I think thats right. When combined they will give a white light (like the theatre). If you move them out a bit but overlap them a bit on the subject, they will illuminate the subject (white light) but give the rest a bit more atmostphere. Also, if you do this you could add an extra light below the subject. This would create shaddows and contrast. If you film from below, this would add a bit of an extra class to your production. Add smoke and you might think that the jazz player was in New Orleans in the 70`s.

For night scenes in films, they use bright blue lights. This gives the effect of the moon but still lighting the subject or scenes brightly.
May be you could (at home) play about with table lamps of different colours etc.

I hope this helps. It`s always good to experiment. That`s what makes this hobby fun. If it was set in stone then it would become boring like landscape films!!
Ian Gardner
Film Maker

ned c
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Post by ned c » Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:12 pm

The use of the low energy light bulbs in a small reflector may work for you. They run much cooler than other bulbs and draw much lower current for a given light output. They can be found with different color temperatures so can be matched up to the camera white balance. An inexpensive method worth trying. Let us know how you get on.

Ned C

Michael Slowe
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Lighting

Post by Michael Slowe » Fri Mar 02, 2007 12:18 pm

I have had to make one or two films in places with very low lighting. I try and do without taking my own lights as I am generally in situations where that is impossible. Have you tried upping the gain on the camera? I recently did this on my HDV Sony and was amazed at the pictures obtained in a pretty dark location. I locked the aperture open wide and played with the gain and no grain showed in the result. Be sure to do a manual white balance before you start. Of course it all depends on how dark your club is, there has to be a level at which no camera can cope without assistance!

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billyfromConsett
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Post by billyfromConsett » Sun Mar 04, 2007 4:51 pm

Lighting what the camera sees in darkish rooms is a tall order even for professional kit.

My XM-1 was much better than most other consumer cams I've seen. The XM-2 is even better in low light than its older brother. The choice I made to replace my old cam was Sony's VX2100, and I got this for its handling of low light filming.

But in my wrestling to get enough lumins on my prey in the past I've used a Miranda 20W video light. It uses about 6 AA batteries, and these last about 5 minutes before dimming. There's one on ebay for about £5 currently. You can borrow this if you like and test it.

There are newer 3W lights that last longer than this, but they'll probably only light to around three to six feet in front of the lense.

The alternative is to get the band to do a show for your camera - in a better lit room. Offer them a free DVD!

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billyfromConsett
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Post by billyfromConsett » Sun Mar 04, 2007 4:52 pm

You can borrow my light- not the one on ebay! :D

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Dave Watterson
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Post by Dave Watterson » Wed Mar 07, 2007 9:46 am

I asked a friend who makes a lot of videos of bands and his reply was:

Good quality video, film or photography is simply not possible in low light.

It is, however, possible to shoot in a well lit environment and make it
appear that it was shot :-

1) In a dimly lit jazz club
2) At night
3) In a coal cellar

You will need manual control of exposure via the iris.

So - he suggests you set up a special session with the band ideally in a club during the day when you can get a lot of light in - or if need be in a rehearsal room. Then set about faking it by adjusting the exposure in the camera. During editing you can also play about with colours and brightness to enhance the effect. Maybe if you intercut that with whatever shots you can grab at the real gig of dancers etc it will look right.

Dave

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Willy
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Post by Willy » Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:40 am

[quote="Dave Watterson"]I asked a friend who makes a lot of videos of bands and his reply was:

Good quality video, film or photography is simply not possible in low light.

It is, however, possible to shoot in a well lit environment and make it
appear that it was shot :-

1) In a dimly lit jazz club
2) At night
3) In a coal cellar

...

Lighting ! Gosh ! Very difficult !
Last Saturday I tried to film a scene for my next film on an attic in a house just opposite the church of a peaceful village. Sometimes you can only hear the sheep in the meadow. That day, however, there were hundreds of walkers in the village. They parked their car in front of my friend's house. There was a lot of noise. It was the start of a walking rally.

Moreover the weather conditions were awful. It was stormy weather. Galeforce : 90 kilometres per hour ! The wind was blowing hard. The tiles of my friend's roof were clattering all the time. Bad luck ! We filmed, but we stopped after a few hours. We decided to do everything again next Saturday.

In the mean time I edited the part that we had already filmed also knowing that the sound was awful. I showed that roughly edited part in my two clubs. (It's interesting to be a member of two clubs. You must only find the time to go to both and your wife must agree). Not only the sound was terrible, but also the lighting !!! I had used dark blue filters on the attic. My shots seemed to be too dark, though I use a Sony 2000 camera which is excellent in rooms with poor light.

After all it is good to do everything again. For next Saturday the weather forecast seems to be excellent. There is spring in the air. But in the mean time I can set up the lighting again. Next time no dark blue filters ! That's for horror films and this time ... I am one of the actors ! The more light the better, but we must still try to keep the real atmosphere of a real attic. Luckily also my clubmates are willing to do everything all over again. It gives a nice feeling to be a member of a club. Making such a film is team work and it means that you need friends to help you. [/b]
Willy Van der Linden

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Stephen
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Post by Stephen » Wed Mar 07, 2007 3:10 pm

some great advice here !!.. cheers


Dave - I think you've got it spot on with your suggestion of setting it all up in good light then making it appear dimly lit etc...

I've just done another quick shoot in a hotel lounge (40'x30') with no more than 12 60w lamps dotted about the place... on coffee tables, in the corners.... terrible results .... the management woud not allow my big lights !!!

I tried uppin the gain but it was difficult to get pictures without excessive grain.... but hey....the camera did capture the jazz/blues type atmosphere which is what it's about... the guys in the band loved it....but I wanted more quality.... maybe asking too much !!! ... I will eventually get round to clipping them together and putting them on youtube for you peeps!!

Next experiment is with those 4x25W flourescent tubes that are usually recessed into ceilings... stuck on a tripod they could come to something..!!

I'll keep the list informed...

ooppppss thanks for that offer Billy.... when we meet up we shall discuss !!!
Stephen

Film making is not a matter of Life and Death
It's much more important than that.

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stingman
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Post by stingman » Wed Mar 07, 2007 6:48 pm

With the flouresent lights. I think this idea is good but you will need to do a white balence and be prepaired to alter the picture colour in your editing software when you edit. These sort of tubes give out a yellow light and looks a bit crap!
If you go to an aquarium dealer, they sell different types of flouresent bulbs. These give out different DegreesK, ie different shades of what ever colour. You can get True whites or some that give out a more reddy/pink type of light Growlux.
This may help. If I do more Bluescreen stuff on a person size scale, then I am thinking of useing Flouresent tubes.
Ian Gardner
Film Maker

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