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If the exposure is low, should I ever raise the gain or just do it in post?

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Noam Osband
If the exposure is low, should I ever raise the gain or just do it in post?
on Mar 25, 2017 at 8:01:27 pm

Sometimes, when I shoot with my XA-10, the image is dark. I usually raise the gain by 3 or 5 to make it brighter. However, is there any advantage to doing that as opposed to simply doing it in post? It seems to me the advantage of doing it just in post is it means the raw footage will have less grain from the get go. Thoughts on this? I'd love to hear other ideas.


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Blaise Douros
Re: If the exposure is low, should I ever raise the gain or just do it in post?
on Mar 28, 2017 at 5:17:32 pm

It's probably slightly better to do it in-camera when you're shooting a low-bitrate h.264 camera like the XA10. Realistically, you will add just as much grain in post, if not more, by trying to lift the exposure--there's not enough color information in XA10 footage to make a difference. There isn't less grain, it's just camouflaged by the fact that your video is underexposed.

The XA10 has a clean enough video preamp that raising the gain by up to 6 or 9 DB shouldn't make the noise appreciably worse. Once you get higher than that, it will become much more pronounced.

Bottom line: yes, raise your gain. The feature wouldn't be there on the camera if it wasn't useful.


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