The amount of camcorder light sensitivity needed when you shoot in low light will depend on camera design, camera adjustments and on how light or dark the subject and surroundings are.
Here is some information that can help you determine your camcorders sensitivity to light…!
All video camera systems must have a certain amount of light to produce good, clear pictures. But, what if the subject or surroundings are not bright enough for you to record good images…?
There are two basic ways to control the light sensitivity of your camcorder or video camera...
Basically… On the higher-end video cameras... you can do one of two things:
In this article I'll go a bit more in depth on controlling your camcorder's light sensitivity through the use of the video gain control.
On higher-end cameras increasing the video gain may be a solution where there is insufficient light and no way to bring in more natural or artificial lighting... Although the camcorder or video camera's image sensor itself still lacks light... This electronic boost will strengthen the picture signal output (brightness) and increase the camcorder light sensitivity without affecting a change in F-stop or shutter speed.
Most high-end cameras include two or more manual positions to increase the camcorder light sensitivity (video gain) and many have automatic video gain built-in.
The basic rules for using the camcorder's video gain controls are:
* A +6 dB increase (the mid-point on most cameras) will double (2x) the video gain (brightness).
* A +12 dB increase (the high-point on most cameras) will quadruple (4x) video gain (brightness).
You may be more familiar with working in f-stops. You can do a rough conversion between dB and f-stops ... It roughly goes like this...
So… That's a rough scale.
One of the problems with using the video gain control is that your picture quality may suffer… Here's just a quick breakdown...
You have to work with these values a bit but… When you're shooting in low light it can be valuable data to know!
If you have this option in your camera features… It is best to keep your video camera's video gain to a minimum wherever possible because even though the camera's light sensitivity is better... You will notice that turning up the video gain increases picture "noise" or "grain" (those little black specks you see dancing around the screen sometimes) and the picture sharpness also deteriorates.
However... There will be times when high image quality is less important than getting the "right" shot. At those times... the video gain control for light sensitivity will come in handy! A lot of times it's a trade-off but… After you work with it a bit… you'll become expert at knowing how much gain you can use and still get the shot right.
I hope this helps you understand controlling light sensitivity using the video gain control a bit more so that you'll be able to get the "right shot" ...
Even in low-light...!
(Top of Page)