Shooting High Definition Video in Lowlight

The high ISO range of the 5D Mark II allows you to shoot HD video in locations you may have passed up in the past as too dark or too much of a hassle to light. Although noise is always a factor in high ISO shooting, the contrast range of HD works in your favor to capture moodily lit natural scenes. More often than not, multimedia journalists and videographers try to work with the available lighting in the space they're shooting in by controlling it. They supplement it with the light sources they do have and color-correct them when necessary. This is accomplished by using color-correcting filters.

Color Temperature Orange (CTO) shifts cool temperature light sources, such as the sun, toward the warm side of the scale, depending on how much correction you use. Color Temperature Blue (CTB) shifts warm temperature sources, such as most incandescent light kits, household lamps, and studio lights, toward the cool side, such as when you want to be closer to the color of the sun.

High definition reproduces color much more accurately than standard, so it's important that you learn a little about color temperature and how your camera sees color. Remember the principles here are the same as in still photography. You're lighting to create a 3-D world in a 2-D framework.

I used to encourage my film students who were concerned about the cost of processing to go out and shoot pictures without film to learn how the camera sees. It's equally a good idea to watch TV or videos with the sound off and see how others lit a scene. Try to figure out where the camera was, where the lights were coming from, what lens was used, and so on. You'd be surprised what you notice when you change how you typically perceive a scene. And the video capabilities of the 5D Mark II can help your still photos — and vice versa.


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