How To Shoot Video In Low Light Conditions Like A Pro using a camcorder?

04

May

How To Shoot Video In Low Light Conditions Like A Pro using a camcorder?

Couldn’t you capture beautiful moments at nighttime with your camcorder? No worries, in this article, we will help you learn how to shoot video in low light using a camcorder like a pro. If you are a beginner, then check out this article on beginners photography tips to learn about the photography tips. 

This article will review the settings to be made on a digital SLR or a hybrid to get as close as possible to this famous “cinema rendering.”

Before going any further, keep in mind that to achieve a rendering of this type beyond these technical settings, you must think about your sequence as a whole, whether by choice of framing or the cutting or by the creative choices during post-production. 

Using cinematic settings does not guarantee that your production will be selected for the next Sundance festival. Still, it will certainly allow you to obtain a less “telefilm” or reportage image. 

THE RECORDING FORMAT

The first set concerns the recording format and, more specifically, the number of frames per second. If you want to approximate the frame rate used in cinema, select a frame rate of 24p – using 25p is also an option. 

These frame rates will guarantee you the motion blur that characterizes cinema rendering. Using higher frame rates is possible (50p or 100p) if you want to create slow motion, but you will have to confirm them to your 24p or 25p output frame rate during your editing.

For resolution and recording bitrate, choose the highest values ​​of your device, for example, 4K 100 Mbps, to give you the most latitude possible in post-production, whether for cropping or color correction.

Finally, always with a view to post-production, you can use a LOG colorimetric profile to keep maximum dynamics on your recording and apply Luts to give a specific style to your image and reinforce the cinematic image effect.

EVERYTHING IN MANUAL

Yes: for cinematic adjustments, you must adjust your device manually! Although this may be scary at first, the fact remains that these settings are pretty simple and will guarantee consistency across all of your sequences.

Start with the white balance: disabling the automatic will ensure that the latter does not vary during the recorded sequence. Current editing software is now relatively easy to correct an insufficient white balance in post-production. 

It is different from a white balance that changes over time in the same shot. If the weather catches you during your shoot, select a preconfigured balance (sunny, cloudy weather, etc.) or, if you can, aim for a white point in your scene to make a precise adjustment.

A slight exception can be made to “all manual” for autofocus. It is customary, in film capture, to focus manually, and most cine lenses do not have an autofocus system. But given recent advances in autofocus and subject and object tracking, it’s clear that it’s only a matter of time: soon, autofocus will be used on set.

If you stay in autofocus, be careful, especially in low light, to avoid “pumping” effects (when the autofocus tries to focus), countering the desired result.

EXPOSURE SETTINGS

The three parameters that make up exposure – aperture, shutter speed, and sensitivity – will form the core of your kinetic settings.

The shutter speed should be set according to the recording speed to maintain the characteristic motion blur. We apply a simple rule: the shutter speed must be twice the recording speed.

For example, if you are 24/25p, your shutter speed will be 1/50. If you want to slow down at 50p or 100p, your speed will be 1/100 and 1/200.

According to this principle, setting this shutter speed will ensure a “softer” image around objects or people.

Also, making an object or person stand out by blurring the background goes a long way toward creating a cinematic look.

At this point, the aperture parameter comes into play: it will be necessary to favor a small depth of field to isolate your subject from the rest of the scene.

To achieve this, you will need to use bright optics. This generally results in fixed lens opening at 1.4 or 1.8 and 2.8 for zooms. 

And to generate background blur (bokeh), set your aperture to maximum (i.e., the smallest value possible) or one stop above.

The last parameter of the exposure trio: is sensitivity. To keep the best possible image, it is advisable to set the ISO to the native value of your sensor; this value may be different depending on your device and generally does not exceed ISO 800. 

Try to stay as much as possible on this value, but if you lack light, increase the ISO rather than record an underexposed image, which is more challenging to correct in post-production.

ESSENTIAL ACCESSORIES

As we have just seen, the exposure parameters are relatively fixed. You will have the minimal latitude to modify them if you find yourself in a situation of over-or under-exposure.

In case of low light, if you do not want to degrade your image by increasing your ISO sensitivity, you will have to use additional lighting to compensate for the lack of light.

Remember to equip yourself with one or more LED panels to be able to unblock your subject in all circumstances.

On the other hand, with a relatively low speed and a large aperture, you risk finding yourself in overexposure, especially when shooting outdoors. And as much as in the previous case, you always have the possibility of increasing the value of your sensitivity. 

Much in overexposure, no parameter will allow you to lower the quantity of light recorded by your camera without losing your cinematic settings.

To keep your aperture as wide as possible without overexposing, you will need to use a neutral density filter, also called an ND filter. It attaches to your lens and limits the amount of light received without altering or changing your image. 

We advise you to use a variable ND filter that allows you to easily adjust the exposure of your image, as you would with the aperture ring of your optics.

Final TIP

With these settings, you should get a more cinematic image. You will still have to calibrate your sequences, mainly if you have used a Log-type colorimetric profile. Using Luts can further accentuate this effect by applying a specific colorimetry.

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