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Step 8: Getting a Good Shot in Low Light Conditions


One of the major perks of using a DSLR is the ability to shoot in low light. This is possible because the sensor on your DSLR is a lot larger and sensitive than sensors on most camcorders. And it uses magic.


When you go out to shoot at dusk, twilight, or in a dark bar with friends, there are a few key things you should know that will help your videos look as stellar as possible.

  • Use lenses with low f-stops -- The lower the f-stop, the wider your aperture will be meaning the more light will hit your sensor. Need a recap on what these terms mean? Check our handy Glossary.
  • Choose a white balance that will stay true to the look the light is giving you -- dusk can give you some nice bluish tints that really indicate that it's dusk. If your white balance is off a little, it will give your image a different color tint and may look a little weird. Of course, you may like that weird look, so it's up to you.
  • Bump up your ISO -- if you have a full frame camera, you can push it up to around 3200 ISO without your image being super super grainy. With a cropped sensor, you can push it up to about 1600 ISO. If you bump your ISO to these respective settings and you still can't get a good image, you call always go higher, but your image will become more grainy. I recommend experimenting a little and go out at night and shoot video with different high ISOs to see the difference.

Now for some inspiration! Check out what our buddy, Vincent Laforet, was able to do just using ambient light and a Canon 1D Mark IV.

Nocturne


from Vincent Laforet Pro

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  • Introduction to DSLR Cameras

    New to shooting with a DSLR? Maybe you're thinking about getting one? We'll teach…

  • Setting up your DSLR

    This lesson covers a few simple changes you can make to your camera settings in order to get…

  • DSLR Lenses

    If you're new to shooting with a DSLR, here are some things you'll need to know about…

  • DSLR Accessories

    Accessories are important as you start shooting. Learn about what you definitely need and things…

  • Shooting video with a DSLR

    Keys to understanding your camera settings and how to start shooting great video with your DSLR.

  • Recording sound for DSLRs

    Recording high quality sound for your DSLR can be tricky business. Here are a few ways to help…

  • Timelapse with a DSLR

    Learn how to make a basic timelapse video with your DSLR.

  • Nighttime Shooting with a DSLR

    Shooting at night with your DSLR? This lesson will give you the tips for making your low light…

Ready for a challenge? So do you feel confident enough to go out and shoot something? Philip has a great starting challenge for you called "An Object." Find an object and film it so that it's interesting! Use all the techniques you learned, keeping in mind your white balance, ISO settings, and frame rate. Keep your video under two minutes and really push your boundaries with framing and DOF. Watch Phil's example video here.

Accept this challenge
Category:
DSLR
, Lighting
, Shooting
Difficulty:
Beginner

Nighttime Shooting with a DSLR

Shooting at night with your DSLR? This lesson will give you the tips for making your low light shots awesome.

New to Video School? Read our Frequently Asked Questions.

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