The best things about Autumn are the colours of changing leaves and the homely atmosphere in the evenings. The worst thing, early night fall and lack of light. With Diwali having just been, now seems as good as any to talk about how to improve filming in low-light conditions on set and triumph over darkness.
Of course, the most obvious way to ensure you have enough light on set is to use external, reliable fixtures. It is important to choose a light with the right power output for what you are trying to film. Also keep in mind what power sources you want to use when filming outdoors and how to transport them. We made a list of handy lights to use in Autumn which includes the popular RollLite 3×1 by Fomex. Other lights you might want to consider are the Gemini 1×1 and Gemini 2×1 which have crisp light beams and come with different light modes for different cinematic effects.
There are a few lenses that will make shooting in low-lighting conditions easier. Prime lenses are usually what you want because their wide aperture lets in more light to their sensor. Compared to zoom lenses, they will let in almost thrice as much as light. Canon has some great fast glass Cine Prime Lens bundles available. Zeiss prime lenses are also great for low lit scenes and we currently have a Zeiss CP.3 in clearance, so worth checking out!
Not actually kit, but something you need to know when buying cameras. When wanting to brighten up your image using your camera’s settings there are 3 main ways of doing this: ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed. Increasing the ISO on your camera will allow more light into your camera and make your image brighter, so it’s recommended for low light cinematography. However, higher ISO also means more pixel noise, so you want to avoid the highest setting when possible. To avoid cranking up your ISO too much you can use the aforementioned aperture setting. A wide aperture will again make shooting in darker areas easier. Another way to improve shooting low-light scenes is via your shutter speed. Make sure to keep the shutter speed low to allow more light to be exposed to your sensor. Keeping an eye on these parameters will gravely improve your image quality when shooting in low light. Make sure you use a camera you are familiar enough with to control these settings. The Canon EOS 5DS R has settings that are easy to get to grips with and allow you to shoot comfortably in Manual.
These tips should help improve shooting in low-lighting conditions and capture your scenes in the best possible quality.
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