I have just startet my first low-light project with the sony a7s and we took the first shots last week. The aim was to use as low lights as possible and we ended up using only moonlight for most of the shooting.

The tricky part in low light is to get usable footage with little or no noise, so we ended up doing 2 sequences of each shot with 2 different iso-settings. The iso-settings were 25600 and 80000 and it seems really strange boosting a camera to this level. We have seen other footage that showed the capabilities of the camera at low light, and together with the de-noiser-plugin caller “Neat Video” the result is quite allright, but challanging to grade.

The other settings used was shutter 1/50, kit lens @ f3.5 and as mentioned ISO from 25600 to 80000 with PP2/Cine2 profile. I have also written and recorded a voiceover that will be present in the first half and the film will also inlcude timelapse sequences, making the whole story about 2 minutes. It might be sufficient with a retake of the sequences with a faster lens but I hope we can finish it completely before summer anyways.

Below is a few ungraded screenshots of the actual film with, and it seems usable.

miniclip2

Some banding occurs in the transition between dark blue and light blue (just over the horizon). Adding 3% noise to the sequence takes some of it away.

miniclip

The “Neat Video” plugin is really effective removing noise, but can easily make the shots soft when applied too aggressive.

Do you have any tips or experience filming in low light? Feel free to share them by commenting below.

Note to self for next time:

  • For even better results, get a hold of a prime lens with an aperture of 1.4 or F1.8
  • Using a fieldmonitor just makes it easier

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