Canon Vixia HF G10 – Shooting in low light

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    • #54753
      AvatarVideoMarker
      Participant

       

      Hello,
       
      Not sure if this question is just limited to Vixia HF G10 users or if there is a universal answer…
       
      I recently filmed an event at a hall that was dimly lit. Due to the ambience, they requested no video light (it would've been the brightest in the room). The footage came out really dark. Is there a way using the manual settings to brighten the shot up? 
       
      I have a candle lit wedding coming up and am not sure if I will need to make adjustments to get good lighting there either.
       
      Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!
       
       
       
    • #206267
      Avatarchuckzootz
      Participant

      check your setttings in the camera, You might have the settings for light set  to low, I shot with the same camera and it does well in low light.

    • #206269
      AvatarJoseph
      Participant

      Sorry to state the obvious – but camera's don't work without light.

       

      I've been shooting weddings for more than a decade and I've run into this problem many times. Brides just don't like that big old spotlight ruining their carefully created ambiance. But without enough light, the video just doesn't look that good. I explain this to my clients up front so there's no moment of shock when they see the final product. We are using video cameras, after all.

       

      However, there are certain things you can do to max out your camera's ability to shoot in low light.

       

      With your camera in particular, it's my understanding you have full manual controls so I will respond with that in mind.

       

      Aperature – use the widest aperature available to let in the most light possible. This also narrows your depth of field. (Although only slightly given the size of your chip.) Each f-stop doubles the light entering the camera.

       

      Shutter Speed – use the lowest shutter speed you feel comfortable with. The lower the speed, the more time the chip has to build your image. Here's the trade-off, though – lower shutter speeds equal greater motion blur. If you're shooting at 30 fps – 1/60 shutter speed is generally accepted as giving you the most film-like feel, BUT you can get away with 1/30 shutter speed to maximize your light and therefore image quality.. I wouldn't go any lower than 1/30 fps. 1/15 fps looks like bad internet video and 1/10 fps is just plain BAD. Each time you halve the shutter speed, you double the light hitting the chip. i.e. 1/30 is twice as much light as 1/60 and four times as much light as 1/120.

       

      Gain – This is the same function as ISO in DSLR cameras. Gain starts at 0 db.  Some cameras actually let you go down in gain, but most simply 'bump up' the gain. Increasing gain makes your camera take the light available and digitally increase the light levels of the image. (It's not a scientific explanation, but I hope it generally gets the process across.) Using the gain will increase what you're able to see but it slowly degrades the image and introduces noise to your video. This is where you as the videographer have to decide how much noise is acceptbile. And remember, when you view the video on your flip out screen it's going to look WAY better than it does once you put it onto that 50" television.

       

      Function presets – Once you've done all you can do to manually max out your camera's low light ability, compare your results to the presets. You may have a low light setting, or a spotlight setting, or some other setting on your camera that will help. Use whichever method you feels gives the best image.

       

      Post-production – Remember the old saying, 'Garbage in – garbage out.' You may be able to make incrimental improvements to your video in post (like noise reduction) but nothing replaces good quality video shot in camera. I find over-processed video looks like over-processed video.

       

      Shooting style – This might be a little trickier to accomplish, I find being as physically close to my subject as possible improves image quality in low light. When you zoom, the aperature (or f-stop) decreases due to the way zoom lenses are made. So the less zoom you use, the better the low light video will be. Also, use manual zoom whenever possible to avoid the camera's auto focus from constantly hunting for focus. I find a slightly out of focus shot is at least usable if the action is vital to the video whereas the hunting for focus is just gargbage.

       

      Good luck and I hope this helps you get the best video possible.

    • #206279
      AvatarVideoMarker
      Participant

      Thanks all.

       

      Yeah, I gave a disclaimer about the lighting.

       

      I thought about buying another camera light, but I keep hearing they drain the batteries quicker.

       

      I'll play around with the settings to see what happens. 

    • #206305
      AvatarJohn Newby
      Member

      Diffent cameras have different abilities for low light settings.  My old Sony 8mm had much better low light ability than my current Hitachi camcorder.  The thing is that at low levels some are just dark others lose color and seem to move closer to a B&W picture.  Some Sonys have the low/no light infra red set up also but that was a greenish cast for everything.

       

      I think that the bigger the capture sensor the better it handles low light but am not sure.  The candle light wedding maybe  very tough with out additional lighting.  If you can bring in lights to help then look at using some gels to color the light closer to a candle light (warm yellow/orange?) tone.  They won't ruin the abience like some blue tint LEDs. There are seperate lights that don't have to mounted to the camera and drain its battery. 

    • #207297
      AvatarFastfwd
      Participant

      The only thing I might add in addition to what has been posted – I have a lower end Canon; the HF S20.  I believe your G10 is very similar though in that you may be able to manually adjust your gain to find an acceptable level of noise that you can live with.  My camcorder’s low light isn’t supposed to be as good as the G10 – so, you might get away with less gain and better quality.  I tend to cap mine around 18db+ if I recollect.  Anything more produces too much noise in very low light. 

    • #206292
      Avatarara
      Participant

      [quote=dellwovideo]

      Sorry to state the obvious – but camera's don't work without light.

       

      I've been shooting weddings for more than a decade and I've run into this problem many times. Brides just don't like that big old spotlight ruining their carefully created ambiance. But without enough light, the video just doesn't look that good. I explain this to my clients up front so there's no moment of shock when they see the final product. We are using video cameras, after all.

       

      However, there are certain things you can do to max out your camera's ability to shoot in low light.

       

      With your camera in particular, it's my understanding you have full manual controls so I will respond with that in mind.

       

      Aperature – use the widest aperature available to let in the most light possible. This also narrows your depth of field. (Although only slightly given the size of your chip.) Each f-stop doubles the light entering the camera.

       

      Shutter Speed – use the lowest shutter speed you feel comfortable with. The lower the speed, the more time the chip has to build your image. Here's the trade-off, though – lower shutter speeds equal greater motion blur. If you're shooting at 30 fps – 1/60 shutter speed is generally accepted as giving you the most film-like feel, BUT you can get away with 1/30 shutter speed to maximize your light and therefore image quality.. I wouldn't go any lower than 1/30 fps. 1/15 fps looks like bad internet video and 1/10 fps is just plain BAD. Each time you halve the shutter speed, you double the light hitting the chip. i.e. 1/30 is twice as much light as 1/60 and four times as much light as 1/120.

       

      Gain – This is the same function as ISO in DSLR cameras. Gain starts at 0 db.  Some cameras actually let you go down in gain, but most simply 'bump up' the gain. Increasing gain makes your camera take the light available and digitally increase the light levels of the image. (It's not a scientific explanation, but I hope it generally gets the process across.) Using the gain will increase what you're able to see but it slowly degrades the image and introduces noise to your video. This is where you as the videographer have to decide how much noise is acceptbile. And remember, when you view the video on your flip out screen it's going to look WAY better than it does once you put it onto that 50" television.

       

      Function presets – Once you've done all you can do to manually max out your camera's low light ability, compare your results to the presets. You may have a low light setting, or a spotlight setting, or some other setting on your camera that will help. Use whichever method you feels gives the best image.

       

      Post-production – Remember the old saying, 'Garbage in – garbage out.' You may be able to make incrimental improvements to your video in post (like noise reduction) but nothing replaces good quality video shot in camera. I find over-processed video looks like over-processed video.

       

      Shooting style – This might be a little trickier to accomplish, I find being as physically close to my subject as possible improves image quality in low light. When you zoom, the aperature (or f-stop) decreases due to the way zoom lenses are made. So the less zoom you use, the better the low light video will be. Also, use manual zoom whenever possible to avoid the camera's auto focus from constantly hunting for focus. I find a slightly out of focus shot is at least usable if the action is vital to the video whereas the hunting for focus is just gargbage.

       

      Good luck and I hope this helps you get the best video possible.

      [/quote]

       

      Thank You from me also as I was searching for such answers with the same question. Ara

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