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Filming Indoors/lighting/high ISO

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I know this isn’t drone related but I know there’s lots of great film makers on here so I thought I’d at least ask.

I’ve done lots of outdoor videos and indoor photography but I now have a job where I am filming the inside of some office buildings.

I didn’t think it would be so difficult since, as I said, I have the experience outside with video and indoors with still photography but it has turned out to be a much different animal than I thought.

Basically my biggest issue is I can’t get enough light. I have three powerful LED arrays with defusers but in a large open building its like they aren’t doing anything. I honestly don’t think it would be enough if I had 10 more.

I am at ISO 500 1/60 shooting 30 FPS (30 FPS is what the client wants) and still I am still under exposed of where I’d like to be. I’m a bit of a perfectionist to be sure so I have this mental block about using higher ISOs and maybe that’s unfounded.

Any words of wisdom for me? Am I just being too **** about the using a higher ISO or getting the perfect exposure? I have some ability to buy new equipment/lighting but I am worried I’m gonna spend 5k on lighting and still not have enough.

Thanks,
 
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Hey Bret, what camera and lenses you have? For interior you need fast lenses rather than light arreys. I suggest you go for apperture like 1.2 or 1.4, this will definitelly help and improove the quality and the look. The drawback is you'll get too shalow DOF and thus will obviously limit you in two ways. First you will not be able to have the whole room in focus and that will open more work of designing a shot like doing focus racking in the shots so to reveal the closest and the farthest features of the room while camera is on a slider or panning. Second is when you start moving the camera lets say on doly or handheld/stedicam you'll need assistant the pull the focus, for this you'll need additional equipment as well. Second case can be executed by fixed focus, there are some youtubers showing examples of that but you should be very creative in the shot designing as this aquires to start and end the shot from some features that you should nail to be at the same diatance from the camera.

Another issue on indoor shooting are the windows, when you adjust the propper exposure and the windows are behind or on the side of the camera without initially been seen in the frame, when you pan accross them you'll get overexposure. For those situations you may switch to autoexposure in more proffesional and expensive way the dop's are coveringthe windows with ND filters to ballance the exposure, but this is done usually with combination of a few lights.

And finally I suggest you rather rent some lights equipment than buying them, this way you'll be able to get more powerful lights without trashing your budget. And not thinking about where and how to store them.
 
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Hey Bret, what camera and lenses you have? For interior you need fast lenses rather than light arreys. I suggest you go for apperture like 1.2 or 1.4, this will definitelly help and improove the quality and the look. The drawback is you'll get too shalow DOF and thus will obviously limit you in two ways. First you will not be able to have the whole room in focus and that will open more work of designing a shot like doing focus racking in the shots so to reveal the closest and the farthest features of the room while camera is on a slider or panning. Second is when you start moving the camera lets say on doly or handheld/stedicam you'll need assistant the pull the focus, for this you'll need additional equipment as well. Second case can be executed by fixed focus, there are some youtubers showing examples of that but you should be very creative in the shot designing as this aquires to start and end the shot from some features that you should nail to be at the same diatance from the camera.

Another issue on indoor shooting are the windows, when you adjust the propper exposure and the windows are behind or on the side of the camera without initially been seen in the frame, when you pan accross them you'll get overexposure. For those situations you may switch to autoexposure in more proffesional and expensive way the dop's are coveringthe windows with ND filters to ballance the exposure, but this is done usually with combination of a few lights.

And finally I suggest you rather rent some lights equipment than buying them, this way you'll be able to get more powerful lights without trashing your budget. And not thinking about where and how to store them.
Thanks for the reply @niki

I’m shooting at 12.5mm (20mm) inside this large office building with a 6 story atrium so shallow depth of field isn’t much of an option. It’s basically an architectural shoot.

I’m shooting with a Sony A6600 and a Canon f/3.5 10-22mm lens. I’ve got it stopped down to f/8 and maybe that’s why I am having such an issue. It’s just so difficult to tell when it’s in focus while shooting so I stopped down to ensure it’s all in focus.

If I could find one I would go rent a Sony A7SIII or something else with a larger sensor but I’m not sure how many more of these types of shoots I’m gonna get so I’m reluctant to throw down on a new video only camera. The a6600 does great outdoors and with photos and I even use my Osmo RAW for some things they just don’t make a 20mm equivalent lens for it.

I did some shots today with 1000 ISO and it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

Good idea about renting some lights. That’s probably what I am gonna end up doing.

Thanks,
 
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Thanks for the reply @niki

I’m shooting at 12.5mm (20mm) inside this large office building with a 6 story atrium so shallow depth of field isn’t much of an option. It’s basically an architectural shoot.

I’m shooting with a Sony A6600 and a Canon f/3.5 10-22mm lens. I’ve got it stopped down to f/8 and maybe that’s why I am having such an issue. It’s just so difficult to tell when it’s in focus while shooting so I stopped down to ensure it’s all in focus.

If I could find one I would go rent a Sony A7SIII or something else with a larger sensor but I’m not sure how many more of these types of shoots I’m gonna get so I’m reluctant to throw down on a new video only camera. The a6600 does great outdoors and with photos and I even use my Osmo RAW for some things they just don’t make a 20mm equivalent lens for it.

I did some shots today with 1000 ISO and it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

Good idea about renting some lights. That’s probably what I am gonna end up doing.

Thanks,
On X5R I'm using 7.5mm laowa lens, it's very good for architectural as it is rectilinear and is at f2. I can't remember what the minimum focus distance it have but when it's set to infinity and f2 everything after 1-2 meters is in focus which should be good for large rooms. The only drawback is that for shooting DNG with that lens it have to be hot swapped otherwise it can't start recording. But with this lens shooting in RAW you'll get amazing rezults.
 
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On X5R I'm using 7.5mm laowa lens, it's very good for architectural as it is rectilinear and is at f2. I can't remember what the minimum focus distance it have but when it's set to infinity and f2 everything after 1-2 meters is in focus which should be good for large rooms. The only drawback is that for shooting DNG with that lens it have to be hot swapped otherwise it can't start recording. But with this lens shooting in RAW you'll get amazing rezults.
I totally forgot about the Laowa! Yea that would work for my purpose.

But do you think a MFT sensor recording RAW is better than a Super35 sensor recording H.264 or ProRes (with an HDMI recorder)? As far as quality and low light performance?
 
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I totally forgot about the Laowa! Yea that would work for my purpose.

But do you think a MFT sensor recording RAW is better than a Super35 sensor recording H.264 or ProRes (with an HDMI recorder)? As far as quality and low light performance?
I don't remember the exact ratio but Super 35 will give you around 1 stop more light than m43. With full frame it should be exactly 2 stops of difference. F1.8 on m43 equals to f2.7 on super 35 sensor and f3.6 on full frame sensor. In your case you need more light which can be recovered when shooting in RAW but not in h264 or prores. From my experience with X5R the exposure can be recovered to about 2 stops of light without introducing too much noise in the shadows.
I don't shoot interiors but it happened a few times and it was pretty good to shoot with natural light comming from the windows and apperture of around f1.7 to f2 and iso 100. In darker places I had to rise the iso to 400 and even 800 (monitoring the histogram) with exposure of 1/25, but then in post I realized that it is better to keep low iso like 400 and kick the shdows in post than shootin at iso 800. The drawback is that sometimes it's hard to see some details when shooting underexposed.
 
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I don't remember the exact ratio but Super 35 will give you around 1 stop more light than m43. With full frame it should be exactly 2 stops of difference
I know that’s the lens conversion to full frame equivalent but is that really how much more sensitive to light they are?
 
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I know that’s the lens conversion to full frame equivalent but is that really how much more sensitive to light they are?
2x bigger sensor will give 2x more light. It's different story for the dynamic range, in RAW you always get better dynamic range than sdr footage.
 
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2x bigger sensor will give 2x more light. It's different story for the dynamic range, in RAW you always get better dynamic range than sdr footage.
I assume sensor resolution is a big variable in that too though right? A smaller sensor with a lower resolution (but at least 4k) could in theory cover the same area of a larger sensor that has a higher density of pixels.

For instance an 8k full frame sensor would only use a quarter of the sensor to film 4k which would be the same area of a 4k MFT sensor.

Meaning it’s really pixel size that matters not sensor size right?
 
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I assume sensor resolution is a big variable in that too though right? A smaller sensor with a lower resolution (but at least 4k) could in theory cover the same area of a larger sensor that has a higher density of pixels.

For instance an 8k full frame sensor would only use a quarter of the sensor to film 4k which would be the same area of a 4k MFT sensor.

Meaning it’s really pixel size that matters not sensor size right?
What matters is the focal distance to the sensor, sensor size is related to that so at the distance that full sensor cameras have gives the opportunity to have wider hole on the lens at maximum open aperture. This is why large format cameras can have so shallow DOF which as well corresponds to more light going over the sensor and thus shorter exposure times compared to small sensors. Pixel size doesn't matter as 7MP full frame camera will perform the same as 40MP camera with the same lens, only difference will be final resolution but the amount of light going to the sensor will be the same. So in this example both cameras will have same exposure settings despite their megapixels count. It's the same with cropped resolution when you shoot in 4K with 8K camera you still have the same amount of light going to the sensor as the lens focal distance gives that oportunity at it's maximum apperture and it's unrelated to resolution.
 
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What matters is the focal distance to the sensor, sensor size is related to that so at the distance that full sensor cameras have gives the opportunity to have wider hole on the lens at maximum open aperture. This is why large format cameras can have so shallow DOF which as well corresponds to more light going over the sensor and thus shorter exposure times compared to small sensors. Pixel size doesn't matter as 7MP full frame camera will perform the same as 40MP camera with the same lens, only difference will be final resolution but the amount of light going to the sensor will be the same. So in this example both cameras will have same exposure settings despite their megapixels count. It's the same with cropped resolution when you shoot in 4K with 8K camera you still have the same amount of light going to the sensor as the lens focal distance gives that oportunity at it's maximum apperture and it's unrelated to resolution.
But if you shoot 4k on an 8k sensor isn’t that effectively using a smaller sensor? Why would shooting 4k on an 8k full frame sensor (assume using only 1/4th of the sensor) be different from shooting 4k on a 4k MFT sensor (assume using the full sensor)?

And when I mean size of the pixels I mean the size of the pixels on the sensors (photoreceptors.) I thought the reason video specific cameras like the Sony A7S III have lower megapixel count sensors was to fit bigger photoreceptors on to the same sensor size which improved low light performance? Since 4k DCI is only 8.5 MP, for instance, having a sensor with many more pixels than that is kind of wasted sensor area.

Or is it just that larger photoreceptors have less noise for same amount of gain?
 
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But if you shoot 4k on an 8k sensor isn’t that effectively using a smaller sensor? Why would shooting 4k on an 8k full frame sensor (assume using only 1/4th of the sensor) be different from shooting 4k on a 4k MFT sensor (assume using the full sensor)?

And when I mean size of the pixels I mean the size of the pixels on the sensors (photoreceptors.) I thought the reason video specific cameras like the Sony A7S III have lower megapixel count sensors was to fit bigger photoreceptors on to the same sensor size which improved low light performance? Since 4k DCI is only 8.5 MP, for instance, having a sensor with many more pixels than that is kind of wasted sensor area.

Or is it just that larger photoreceptors have less noise for same amount of gain?

It's my bad about the crop 4K, maybe I was thinking something else when typing that. It have less area and is recieving less light per area compared to the full frame and thus you get more noise as less photosites are used per that area. Yes, you're right about the size of the photoreceptors, larger ones have less noise as well if there are much more of them it will help for the less noise in the picture but as smaller the photoreceptor goes the image start suffering from diffraction after certain aperture and diffraction affect color reproducing and that is why for example arri alexa's do not go for those crazy resolutions like the other camera manufacturers and alexa is still the best and the most expensive one.
 
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It's my bad about the crop 4K, maybe I was thinking something else when typing that. It have less area and is recieving less light per area compared to the full frame and thus you get more noise as less photosites are used per that area. Yes, you're right about the size of the photoreceptors, larger ones have less noise as well if there are much more of them it will help for the less noise in the picture but as smaller the photoreceptor goes the image start suffering from diffraction after certain aperture and diffraction affect color reproducing and that is why for example arri alexa's do not go for those crazy resolutions like the other camera manufacturers and alexa is still the best and the most expensive one.
Thanks for the help @niki! I did some tests and the RAW certainly helps a ton in post but the X5R doesn’t perform well at high ISOs which I have to boost even more over the Super35 so I’m still struggling. I got some spot lights so hopefully that will help.

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