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Dim lighting

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cow_fanDim lighting
by on Jun 24, 2006 at 5:13:36 am

I don't actually know where to post this. I have a panasonic consumer miniDV camcorder. I'd like to shoot my subject in dim lighting and make some angles to put some shadows. However, whenever I do that, the video becomes grainy. I think that's because the camera is trying to compensate for the low light and in the process, lowers the quality of the picture. Can somebody please tell me how to shoot in low light without those grains all over my video. Thanks.

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Don GreeningRe: Dim lighting
by on Jun 24, 2006 at 5:03:08 pm

You have to be able to to turn off picture gain on your camcorder because that's why you're getting the the noise. Read the owner's manual about your camera's manual mode settings and it may allow you to better control the gain feature.

- Don

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mark SuszkoRe: Dim lighting
by on Jun 25, 2006 at 11:49:32 pm

Here we get into that old saying: "it doesn't have to BE real, just look real". You are trying to actually shoot in the dark, and just because a camera says it can shoot in .5 lux, doesn't mean you should. The pros set up lighting that "looks" darker than it really is. You have seen this all you life on stage and on TV and in the movies and when it's done right, you accept it as natural and don't give it another thought.

Here's my poor attempt at mindreding based on what you posted: You may also be asking, without using the exact terms, how to shoot Film Noir style or chiaroscuro. Shoot it, hell who can even SPELL it?!?! :-) Seriously, look up these terms on wikipedia or google and you should find some links to how to shoot high-contrast shots, day for night shots, and nighttime interiors. You will be AMAZED at how many lights it takes to properly convey DARK on a set.

Some of those 'dogma99' type guys live by rules to use only existing practical lights and unmodified daylight, so as to not unduly alter the "truth" of the performance. I laugh at this myself, nothing about what we do with images is that honest on a philosophical level, if you take it to the extreme conclusion. We'd have to give up editing for one thing. Anyway, I don't think this kind of look is what you were after from your first post...

More likely the noir or the, chorizo... eh, whatevertheheckyoucallit.

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Peter RalphRe: Dim lighting
by on Jun 26, 2006 at 2:18:30 pm

absolutely - you can switch gain off in most cameras - but the image will look like garbage because it has no contrast - dynamic range is the key to good images

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