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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Black and White Editon: Film Stills from the Helm

These are stills from a short film that took place inside The Helm of Vancouver restaurant/lounge.  House of Leo Productions brought me in for this film, which will be available online soon.

The complete set for this shoot is available online at my Flickr site!

For this assignment, I brought out a Canon 7D and the Sigma 30mm 1.4.  As soon as I got on location, I swapped lenses with the camera operator (Joseph Le, who was using a Canon 7D with 18-135mm IS USM).  They needed the brighter low-light lens (And batteries and extra memory card.  Always pack extras, other people might need them).  In return I got a longer lens to make me look more impressive and like a real paparazzi.

Only lighting available were basically candle lights and street lamps outside.  I didn't bring my flash.  And I wouldn't use one if I had, this was a real classy place and I wouldn't want to disrupt other people's dining experience.  So I was left with a big ol' slow lens to shoot in this place.

In this situation, I faced a few problems.  Slow Glass (f/3.5-5.6) and Low Light (EV at -1 to maybe 4 near the window.  See here to find out how to calculate EV's!) with no flash.  In such low light situations, I would have to crank up the iso to very high levels, between 6400-12800.  Anyways, the EF-S 18-135 is an excellent lens that covers a very useful range, it just happened not to be too specialized for this situation.  But I work with what I got.

In this case, I use Monochrome to drop the color noise, and hope the Image Stabilization can handle the low shutter speeds.  The Monochrome setting I used was sepia orange.  This will give a nice film-y look.  Actually, I use it all the time because it's my favorite.

The above Photo of Elysia was taken at f/4.5, 1/4s, ISO-12800 at 38mm.  It's only thanks to the magical powers of Image Stabilization that I could drop to such a low shutter speed.  That scene was actually pretty dark (EV -1), and most of the photos in the Flickr set was taken at that setting

This picture of Nicole was better illuminated.  The window allowed the street lamps to brighten her up, and I was allowed to take the picture at f/3.5, 1/25s, ISO-3200, at 18mm.  When I take pictures, I try to up the iso before I drop the shutter speed.  Grain looks a lot better than unintended blur.  So with this magical IS lens, I trusted it to take good pics at 1/25s and used that as my zero point before I started dropping the ISO.

Stephen Sawchuk

This good looking dude is not one of the model/talents.  He's the producer.  Regardless, this photo was taken at f/5, 1/25s, ISO-6400 at 57mm.  As with the other pictures above, the metering mode did nothing for me, I had to meter the scene by eye (again, see here to learn how).  I set the camera to full manual because low light settings like this is very tricky.

Anyways, even with your standard kit lens, you can still take great low light pictures!

1 comment:

  1. Hey thanks for that link on EVs! Very helpful. This is really cool what you are able to do with that kit lens. It proves the photographer makes the picture, no matter what the equipment.