Thread: How to not get noise in the shadows?

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  1. #1 How to not get noise in the shadows? 
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    I've been looking at Daredevil on netflix and it made me think, how would you get that look if you were the DP.

    I get so much noise in the shadows at ISO 800 on my BMPCC it is quite awful and I end up using NeatVideo on every single shot, and it gets a bit soft.

    Do you shoot everything at ISO 200?

    Do you overexpose everything at ISO 800 by two stops and bring the exposure back in post?

    What do you do personally? Is there some kind of magic trick that I'm not getting or is it some digital imaging science that I am unaware of?
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  2. #2  
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    There's no magic trick, but a good guideline: Do not, by any means, underexpose.

    Noise is introduced in areas where there isn't enough light. This doesn't mean you should overexpose and let highlights clip, but try to expose towards (not at) the right end of the histogram and bring back the shadows in post.
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  3. #3  
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    Noisy blacks are not caused by the blacks, it's caused by the camera (and to some extent the lens). A simple way to test your camera (Blackmagic or not) is to shoot with the lens cap on, and try various settings. Some will be noisy at their native ISO and some wont - And some are easily handled with light noise reduction.
    For what it's worth I've shot a ton of high contrast footage at ISO 800 on my BMPCC and the shadow noise levels have never been an issue. If they're really that bad it might help if you'd post a frame to show as an example. It might be as simple as you not being used to it. Watching Daredevil, as high quality as Netflix streaming is, it's still highly compressed and the grain that inevetably was in the original footage might simply not be visible due to (if not noise reduction) the compression.
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  4. #4  
    Senior Member 4saken's Avatar
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    there is actually tons of noise in the Daredevil footage, you just don't see it in the heavily compressed 1080p stream. Here's two screengrabs from the 4k material. Look at it at 100% and you will see lots of grain.



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  5. #5  
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    It's about lighting ratios. You need to light your shadows. It will be more of a shadow due to the ratio between shadows and highlights. I usually "overlight" and bring down levels in post so I get a clean image. This is especially needed if you want shadow detail (or if you want to raise the shadows), but not so necessary if you're just gonna crush it.
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  6. #6  
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    Townio, if you do as Darren says above you can't lose. I am old school so I think in film sensitivity and grain, regardless of what I know about the sensor and raw I would drop the ISO to 200, light it and then bring the shadows down in post.
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  7. #7  
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    I really think it's all about the high contrast stuff. Not sure if was Hook or John but we talked about this in a think my low light pocket thread. Here's some stuff I shot and it was ProResHQ. Blown away by the results but as pointed out to me, it was all very high contrast so the sensor was getting a good amount of light but just not over the whole surface. And of course overexposing the shadows by 2 stops and bringing down in post works. Shian had a great tutorial over on PV if you remember regarding our GH2s and the lovely DR they offered.

    Even more mind blowing is these were shot with the video profile, not film.

    CU_1.6.1.jpg

    band2_1.3.1.jpg
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  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by vicharris View Post
    Blown away by the results but as pointed out to me, it was all very high contrast so the sensor was getting a good amount of light but just not over the whole surface.
    This has also been my experience with BM sensors. When a part of the sensor is getting good exposure, the noise seems way less visible, if at all. And I've noticed that in both film and video modes.
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  9. #9  
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    Since no one brought up the light temperature, that can also be a factor. David Mullens talked about how tungsten light "starves" the blue channel, and that's where most of the noise appears. An 80B type blue filter can reduce noise. Daylight has less issue with more blue in the light. The yellow 2700k low CRI CFL bulbs are probably the worst, and you don't want them anywhere near your frame.
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  10. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Giambrone View Post
    Since no one brought up the light temperature, that can also be a factor. David Mullens talked about how tungsten light "starves" the blue channel, and that's where most of the noise appears. An 80B type blue filter can reduce noise. Daylight has less issue with more blue in the light. The yellow 2700k low CRI CFL bulbs are probably the worst, and you don't want them anywhere near your frame.

    Yep, this too. Luckily my last two shoots that were indoors and at "night", I was able to pull all the house practicals out, put in all daylight bulbs and light with 5600K. Then I'll turn that to a night look in post. Most of the people on set thought I had no idea what I was doing but it was a work around but not a easy on or very practical most of the time.

    Actually now that I think about it I think I peppered the Kinos but you get the idea.
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