Musings by Snehal aka Fearless, a filmmaker with a hankering for technology and science.  

PhotoCine News - Snehal Shoots Music Video with Available Light

Snehal Patel Shoots a Music Video With Available Light

Posted by Michael Britt on October 12, 2010 ·" title="Tweet this article." rel="nofollow">Twitter · Facebook · Reddit

Snehal Patel sent me a link to this music video he shot with almost all existing light.

The story is that I called Samrat up while he was visiting LA and asked him if he wanted to make a music video in his spare time. This video was filmed by myself and international cinematographer Peter Holland. We used a Canon 5D on loan from Canon and nothing else. The only lighting we used was an Arri 300w in the apartment scene. Everything else was filmed with available light. I wanted to see how much the camera could be pushed. I wasn’t bothered by grain or noise in the image as long as the story was clear. There was no crew and no other equipment. Just the camera and an interesting idea.

So Far, Where Do I Go From Here MUSIC VIDEO from Snehal Patel on Vimeo.

In addition to HDSLRs being small and inexpensive, the ability to shoot in low light has really helped fuel the HDSLR filmmaking movement. Several of the speakers at the recent PhotoCine Expo talked about how shooting in low light has helped them achieve shots that they would never have been able to get using traditional filmmaking efforts. Shane Hurlbut ASC has talked about this extensively starting with the webisodes he shot for Terminator Salvation where he used practicals and a small Litepanels hotshoe mounted LED light. He also lit a street scene in Vietnam using a long string of cafe lights and by bouncing a small hmi off of a church in the background. Vincent Laforet shot Nocturne using pretty much only street lights at night and Alex Buono shot the SNL cast opening credit scenes around NY at night without any lighting except a small LED catch light.

As the sensors in these cameras become more and more light sensitive, you will soon see a day where truckloads of lighting gear sit collecting dust in Hollywood. For now, use the common wisdom of these talented filmmakers who break the cameras down based on maximum usable sensitivity.

  • Canon 7D – Optimal up to 1250 ISO
  • Canon 5D MkII – Optimal up to 1600 ISO
  • Canon 1DsMkIV – Optimal up to and over 3200 ISO

This isn’t saying that you can’t stretch the sensitivity a bit when needed but for the best results use the above list as a guide.