Thread: Shooting in the dark / candle lit without noise. Possible?

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  1. #1 Shooting in the dark / candle lit without noise. Possible? 
    Senior Member Will Keir's Avatar
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    Hey guys, I'm trying to get some candle lit scenes and on my 17-50mm Red Zoom F/3 I'm not able to avoid noise. There are been a few post where people use just a candle and get a nice scene noise free.

    I am going to have to add extra light to this candle scene to avoid the noise correct?

    I also tried filming at sunset and found my footage to be quite noise in the fading light. Shooting 5kWS, 6:1 24fps - 1/48 shutter.

    I believe natural lighting can be the most magical in the world, I want to capture these difficult scenes for their beauty and power, with deep blacks and little noise. Is my answer going with faster glass?
    Will Keir
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  2. #2  
    Moderator Phil Holland's Avatar
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    In my opinion your answer might be Neat Video. If you're in a situation where you need to go up to ISO 3200-6400 you can make your material look very good. 12800 is still okay, but is on the edge personally.
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  3. #3  
    Moderator Gunleik Groven's Avatar
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    Faster glass will help a lot, though...

    MP/Supers/Elites are more than 2 stops faster.
    That would reduse the 6400 ISO need to around 1000, and maybe only 640 if you use RLF for a base.
    Light (and thus faster glass in this case) is kind of in the essence of exposure...
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    Senior Member Will Keir's Avatar
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    I thought I noticed RLF increasing my light. Shooting RLF in low light situation is a method to avoid the noise?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunleik Groven View Post
    Faster glass will help a lot, though...

    MP/Supers/Elites are more than 2 stops faster.
    That would reduse the 6400 ISO need to around 1000, and maybe only 640 if you use RLF for a base.
    Light (and thus faster glass in this case) is kind of in the essence of exposure...
    Will Keir
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  5. #5  
    Senior Member Will Keir's Avatar
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    Faster as in a f1.2 or something similar?




    Any recommendations specifically?

    I was hoping for a good low light zoom, but most zooms are slow because of this feature?


    Quote Originally Posted by Gunleik Groven View Post
    Faster glass will help a lot, though...

    MP/Supers/Elites are more than 2 stops faster.
    That would reduse the 6400 ISO need to around 1000, and maybe only 640 if you use RLF for a base.
    Light (and thus faster glass in this case) is kind of in the essence of exposure...
    Will Keir
    Creative Director ~ Jumping Rock Pictures
    Epic X & Dragon #2482 / R1 #3033
    Zeiss MKII Super Speeds Lenses

    "Why I choose film?
    The friendships, the adventure, the art."
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  6. #6  
    Moderator Gunleik Groven's Avatar
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    Cheapest you can find (PL) is probably a superspeed or optica elite.

    As to stills glass, I am not the guy to ask. But yes. F1.2 would make a world of a difference.

    Shooting with RLF enabled, doesn't change the exposure, but it gives you a realistic view on what you can develop from the image. If you think the noise is ok at RLF, then probably the image works, you just need to learn to handle it...
    Life is good. So is RED...

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  7. #7  
    What's RLF?
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  8. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Álex Montoya View Post
    What's RLF?
    RedLogFilm
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  9. #9  
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    Just in case you didn't already know this, but Hollywood uses special candles with thicker wicks, that produce more light than a typical candle. On Google I found this: http://www.wicksandwax.com/movie_candles.htm
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  10. #10  
    The Special Candles (also used on Vampire Diaries... who shoot a *VERY* dark set) have double wicks in each as standard... they are a very good product... but will burn twice as fast as non photo application candles..
    Also, i worked with the gaffer Danny Eccleston (who worked on the crew of Barry Lyndon) who explained to me that his prep included some pretty exhaustive charting of a set with candles in known positions and distances from the camera, and metering them..

    If you know any artisans who make candles near you, you may be able to have them make some for you.. I might even try triple wicks in such a case..
    but get double or triple as many as you need for your shot, you will use a lot of them.. and if you have at least one person assisting with 'candle management,' including duplicate holders on hand to rotate with burn outs, you'll have an easier shoot.

    Also, remember oil lamps with a wick for bigger and brighter sources..
    ... and for an off camera source.. liquid fuel double mantle coleman lanterns... though they wont flicker...

    Lens wise... at 5k area coverage, I don't think you're going to find a fast zoom at all.. at least probably not under t2.5....
    Superspeed lenses tend to have VERY shallow DoF wide open.. if you have some still lens mounts on your camera, there are some exotic f 0.95 still glass pieces you may be able to rent.... I think they are all in the 45mm to 55mm focal length area...
    for ease of availability, I think the Canon EF L series fast primes are going to be cheaper than Zeiss t1.3 cine glass...

    Now, if you would consider some artificial light to help out your shoot (almost all the stuff I deal with that yields dense blacks is in very controlled lighting setups), perhaps its worth looking at Party City for the battery powered LED tealight or votive fake candles...
    also, for a fill light, I bought a $6 string of LED outdoor lights from target recently .... kept the bundle tight out of the box, clamped in a stand on a lamp dimmer, and used it as a fill.... I didnt try to make that bundle flicker, but could have...

    Oh... another usefull tool is a flicker generator, plugged into a tungsten low wattage sources..... very reasonable to rent.. havent priced one to own...
    Last edited by Christopher Mills; 04-21-2012 at 03:07 PM.
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