How does this guy's camera get so bright at night?

I wish I had some footage to show but was not able to get any from him yet. But I viewed some of his night footage and it looks insanely good at such a high ISO, with very little noise. On a downtown lit street 800 ISO at f.1.4 is acceptable, but what about doing skyline shots?

His camera can open up to maximum ISO without noise, and with the aperture very sharp. It's a Panasonic video camera, but he did not remember the model number. But I saw it on a big screen HDTV and it looked fantastic. Any cameras I can get that hopefully are not too much that has such good ISO? Cause doing night shots of city skylines, are too dark with a DLSR. A lot of cameras have to be ordered, so I don't know what the ISO is like till I see that camera.
 
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Oh, and if you can't control the light (natural light), you expose for the subject and take what you get out of the rest... maximize by shooting in well lit spaces with nice white lights, not the sodium ones.
 
Okay thanks, but because of the location, that was the best angle I had access too. I wanted more angles but couldn't get more. And yes that is 1.4 at 800 ISO. I could shoot at 1/30 but I want the option of moving establishing shots as well, in which case the 1/30 would be more noticeable to the audience, if that's a potential problem.
 
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It's f#$%^&$%#ng simple:
if your image is too dark at 1/60 or 1/48, but bright enough at 1/30 or 1/24:
plan less movement!
You don't look for solutions, you look for problems...

To do:
- test
- know your gear (make sure you use the right settings)
- CHOOSE a solution to bypass problems you can't solve
 
If you pan slowly, you can still have the slower shutter speed. It only changes the amount of motion blur on your shot -- which requires motion to produce, so control the motion and you can alter the shutter speed... or bump up your ISO higher and deal with the grain a bit... denoise in post.
 
If you pan slowly, you can still have the slower shutter speed. It only changes the amount of motion blur on your shot -- which requires motion to produce, so control the motion and you can alter the shutter speed... or bump up your ISO higher and deal with the grain a bit... denoise in post.

Photoshop CC touts some pretty impressive motion blur bandaids for stills, I'd be curious to see what exporting an image sequence of your video out and running it through that would look like. It might not be uniform enough to play it back smoothly and motion blur typically makes it look more smooth anyway, but it could be a fun experiment.
 
I'd like to se that, you could just batch process an image sequence... that may even give a cool effect if it fails too :)

Photoshop CC touts some pretty impressive motion blur bandaids for stills, I'd be curious to see what exporting an image sequence of your video out and running it through that would look like. It might not be uniform enough to play it back smoothly and motion blur typically makes it look more smooth anyway, but it could be a fun experiment.
 
Okay thanks. I only bought the 1.4 lens a couple of weeks ago and could still return it, or if not, sell it.

Since the lens produces noise, I would still have to denoise in post, much like I would have to denoise with a regular zoom lens. Was their any reason to buy a 1.4, if I just have to denoise anyway? Might as well just shoot with the 18-55 lens, make it as bright as it needs to be with ISO, then denoise in post, since the 1.4 produces noise anyway. Or is their any reason I should keep the 1.4?
 
Lenses don't produce noise, ISO (gain) does.

1.4 is going to let you make a way brighter image than 3.4-5.6. Many stops brighter. That means you're ISO can be lower going you less noise.

I'm really not trying to be insulting, I'm sorry if it comes off that way, but it's pretty apparent you're not understanding what anyone here is trying to explain. You need to find a better way to learn. Buy a book or DVD, follow advice verbatim, or what's probably best in your case: find a live, one on one teacher that can physically pick your camera up and say "this does this, watch."
 
I know ISO and aperture are different. But what I mean is, is that I thought I was suppose to get the 1.4 lens to avoid noise. It is still there, so I figure what was the point of getting it, when I could just shoot at a higher ISO on a zoom lens, then clean it up in post anyway. It seems that 1.4 is redudant since it produces noise as well. But like you said it produces less noise than a zoom lens at 6400 ISO. So I guess that's better for denoising.
 
The 1.4 is the aperture, it allows more light into the sensor sacrificing Depth of Field to do so. All lenses are noisy at the extremes of their aperture ranges, so the f/2.8 on your 1.4 will be much sharper than f/2.8 on an f/2.8...

You can push them to the extremes to deal with specific situations, but as we've said in the past, by choosing not to light, you're choosing to have noisy images... it's a choice you're making. You use the 1.4 to alleviate some of the issue, then choose whether or not to post precess your footage with a denoiser to handle the rest if you find it.

At night, unlit, you're choosing to get a black image if trying to stay under ISO 800 and trying to keep your shutter at 1/48.

The only way to brighten your image is to add light, or accept that it'll be noisy and make that part of the aesthetic you're using... or spend a gajillion dollars to fix the problem and use f/0.5 lenses with your camera at 1sec shutter and ISO 6400... then it'll look like daytime with some noise in it...

You need to choose which compromise you're going to make (shoot footage each way and pick the one that sucks the least), then push forward, ever forward. You're not a filmmaker if you're not making films... make films.
 
No, big budget movies light their scenes.

Also, shooting at T1.3 (ie. a Master Prime) on 500T stock or 800 ISO should give you a pretty decent image, assuming you're doing a shot of a city that has a fair amount of light in it - if you look out into the city and can only see a few flickering lights here and there, then that's all your camera will see as well. Your camera can't see into the dark.

f/1.4 is not noisy. Soft? Perhaps. Especially on a still lens. But not noisy. Noise comes from the internal electronics of your camera, most notably changed with the ISO.

AN f/1.4 lens essentially allows 3-4 times the amount of light to hit the sensor as your 18-55mm lens. To put it another way - if you have a scene that calls for ISO 1600 and f/5.6 on your 18-55, you could open up to f/1.4 on your new lens and bring the iso down to 100 and you'd have the same exposure (just your DOF would be much shallower).

Buying a lens for one shot is folly, just as buying a lens and then saying it's worthless because you can't figure out how to get one shot is is also folly. Lenses and cameras aren't magic.
 
Okay thanks. Well maybe it's not noise coming from the 1.4, but something else. It looks like noise, but maybe it's just 'soft'. Basically it's flickering tiny red and black dots in the dark areas of the city, where their is not as much light.

But when it comes to big budget movies... let's take Skyfall for example. The scenes of Shanghai skyline and downtown Shanghai. Did they really have the budget to to every one of those buildings and stick really bright lights in every single one of those windows, so the camera can pick be lit that well? Would the Chinese government let them even if they paid a few million dollars? They would need permission from every single one of those building owners.

So when you say that big budget movies light their scenes, how do they light city establishing shots? That way?
 
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You mean for shots like this?

293257_397972386950377_1678465914_n.jpg


Deakins uses a lot of the light that's simply 'there' and augments it with his own stuff. For most of the stuff on the river, it was lit simply with what was already there.

For skyline shots, it would be simply what's there. This was shot on Alexa in raw - the Alexa has a DR of ~14.5 stops and Deakins shoots on Master Primes which are T1.3 wide open. On top of that, some of the night stuff was pushed to ~1600 ISO, which is relatively noiseless on the Alexa, especially after some post processing.

A DSLR has a useable dynamic range of about 5 stops in video mode. Your f/1.4 lens is probably around a T1.6 and you've got your ISO at 800. So, overall you're not going to get as much into the image as you would on an Alexa.

Also remember - Shanghai has a fair bit of light in the city, as does New York, Tokyo etc.
If you walk into Times Square at 4am and shoot at 800 ISO, f/1.4 you're going to be seeing a lot more than if you were to walk into farmland 300 miles from the nearest city and shot with the same settings.

Similarly, if you were to shoot a city skyline of NYC on a day where all the lights were on in the city, you'd be seeing a lot more than if you were to shoot on a day when (for some reason?) there was a major power outage that saw all the lights in the city go out.

If your city is not a bright city, or it's a sleepy neighbourhood where the city shuts down after 6pm and you're trying to shoot at 10, you're not going to see much..

In terms of big budget movies, you could potentially close an entire street and light it with 18k's, 20k's, dinos etc. on condors if you needed to.

Cameras aren't magic - you have to work within your limitations.
 
My reference to f/0.5 was an example... if you could find a .5, I'm sure it would be outrageously expensive as it's a specialty lens with magical powers of some sort. Cameras want light, feed them!
 
Looks like Shanghai has alot of light. This matches other footage I've seen of Shanghai at night as well, the production didn't have to add light as they chose a location and an angle that already had them there:
http://www.scenicreflections.com/files/Shanghai_Highways_@_Night_Wallpaper__yvt2.jpg
Many of the shots in my google search are shot with slow shutter speeds to counteract the fact that it's night: http://bit.ly/11mEXEQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4RN21d6VxA
@3:47: http://vimeo.com/48701103 (this is with the 18-55 kit on a T3i)
@5:47: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8-_mtElefs (also on a T3i - I added it to my search on google video)
 
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