Help improving this acoustic video!

Wow, didn’t know this category was here. Looks like no-one posts so I’m not very hopeful, but here goes…

So, we bought a Sony HDR-MV1 and started filming ourselves a bit. Our goal is to be able to make a candle/fire/fairy light style video a bit like this:

You know, where it is all nice and ambient/cosy etc…

As you can tell from this video, we are a long long way from that goal:

link to video

Some things I am able to change, and should:

  • Remove clutter and/or find a slightly nicer location
  • Maybe make ourselves up a bit more… :stuck_out_tongue:
  • Look into the camera maybe?

Some things which I need help on:

  • How to light it so it looks dark, with a candle light/fairy light glow?
  • My video seems completely grainy compared to the one I posted. The Sony is (supposedly) filming in HD so what am I doing wrong. Is it just the lack of ‘proper’ lighting?

Along with the sony, I have bought a couple of big bulbs from the hardware store.



unfortunately I can not see your video so i can’t speak specifics but i can answer using some general concepts.

  1. lighting and dressing go a long long way in giving the sense of quality. That lighting is not accidental. you can see that they have a key light on the left and a fill light on the right. The frequency and strength of those lights can effect the mode. There is a lot of information on lights diffusion but here is a cool look at how he got cheap lights to look good.
    make sure that all elements in the frame help to achieve the image you are looking for.
    in this video you can see the lengths he goes through to get the lighting right just for a two minute tuesday video at around 4:15.
  2. The grain could be coming from your lack of light pushing teh iso up. so lighting.
  3. you can always should with more light and then pull create the mode some in post during your colour grading.

Thanks redworks

I edited to link to the vid, it is just hosted on google drive cause I want these early first efforts to remain away from our public youtube account…
Of course, it really is just what I said…turn the camera on and press record…

Ok, so I need to read about ‘key light’ and ‘fill light’ - I guess when you say fill light you dont mean the candles or light that is in the background of the shot?

No worries.

Nope. If you watch the first video i post it will give you a crash course in lighting.

Good idea on this thread!
I do videography for youtube as well and do have some basic video production training.
I use a DSLR for video shooting, I do like the ability to switch to primed lenses if needed. I am not sure if Sony HDR-MV1 allows for that. It looks like a good camera though.

First thing I noticed in the video was the ISO noise, if you are shooting in full automatic mode, the camera might be adding too much ISO noise. I recommend switching to manual and controlling the lighting yourself. Usually an ISO of 100 to 400 is good for nice clean and smooth video.

Shooting in sunlight for starting off is real cheap and effective, but its not always possible to shoot in sunlight, Invest in some good light sources if you are indeed serious about video production, soft box lighting is great for indoor use. Shooting a candlelight setting video requires a great amount of knowledge of lighting but there are quite a few tips online for it that are quite effective. They all start with controlling the light source.

The next thing I noticed was the choice of F stop used in your video. (The perspective). Controlling the perspective is another basic fundamental of video shooting. There are times when you want to use a wideangle if you want to capture more of the background, but it removes the personal touch of the video in doing so. Using a more personal perspective is a good idea for shooting videos in smaller rooms with ambient lighting.

Here is a video sample shot in sunlight with a strong depth of field to highlight details


here is a video shot at midnight with softbox lighting

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I don’t know much about that camera either. We film with a DLSR that cost 2 grand used. (I just say that because I think that it’s quite expensive to make high quality videos, sort of unlike music where budget gear can do a great job. I might be wrong though.) One thing I would do if I were you is take a look at some demo videos shot with the camera you bought to get an idea of what kind of shots it can achieve. Is it capable of the kind of shot your going for?

If it is, then it’s going to mostly be down to lighting. Here’s a still from a video I made a while back that is a little bit like what you’re going for, with some gentle lighting in the background:

37 PM

And here’s another one I thought was cool, also with some gentle lighting in the background:

03 PM

FluteCafe is right about there being a lot of YouTube tutorials for lighting. That’s how I learned. There’s basic lighting techniques that you can apply to your shots to get them to turn out how you want. You probably need more light than you think, even for a dark shot. You have to play with the camera settings to get the right balance…I think it might be called white balance. ISO. Aperture. I don’t know I usually try to get my wife to do that part, haha. For the first image there I had bought some pretty expensive LED lights, but for the second one we were just using those dorm-room style lamps from IKEA that each take 3 bulbs. They worked okay too, but you have to play around with it.

It looks like you’re using overhead lighting, which is actually okay if you want to light the room a bit, but you have got to have some BRIGHT lights right on you guys, then get your camera to tone down the brightness of the overall shot. Then a bit of it might be down to how you edit the video. You can put filters on it to play with the overall tone. But you’ve got to have a good source to start with for sure.

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You guys look good and sound good too. It’s a good tune and you’ve rehearsed it, that’s important!

I’m no expert but I’d say, that’s a good camera so read the manual and see what it can do for you. Then study the lighting suggestions as has been suggested. Think long and hard about the pose and costume along with the lights.

I think you should work on stage presence too. Eye contact is important I think, and using a lyric sheet is probably not too good. You guys look self-conscious.

I think you can do better on sound too. That camera looks like it can do a good job but maybe some extra mics and a little DAW work could go a long way here.

You don’t mention video editing but that’s something to get involved with too, there’s lots of good editing software out there for a reasonable price.

Unfortunately with the Sony I don’t think I can control the perspective and I can’t change lenses. Hmmm.

Thanks for the tips. Yes, when we start doing ‘real’ videos I’ll put my mics up - I just wanted to show what kind of images we are shooting.

zeiss lens? its normally the lens that adds to the cost, not so much the body. There are only a handful lenses that can run up a fortune and their quality is unmatched.

I have a few inexpensive (under 200) bodies , but I did invest in a couple of good lenses(400ish) and an adapter(40ish) so I can cross-use lenses from canon to sony . That saves on the added cost. I like the sony mirrorless body over canon now (which used to be my favorite in the past)

starter DSLRs do quite good with good lighting and can compete with professional ones without any issues specially for a video on youtube.

Experimenting with lighting will be key to getting this right. Lighting is not always intuitive, and it can be especially hard when you are trying to blend something like candle lights with studio lights. Different lighting sources that aren’t the same color can look really bad if not done right.

Getting the lighting right will just take a lot of experimentation, and a lot of looking up ideas on youtube. Don’t underestimate the importance of back lighting.

Also, one thing that I find helps a lot when trying to figure out lighting is to squint my eyes to the point where shadows start to blur together. That’s about what the lighting will look like on a camera. Our eyes have a waaaaaay wider dynamic range than a camera does, so you kind of have to get used to the way a camera sees lighting vs how our eyes see it.

I am unfamiliar with that model “Sony HDR-MV1”, I will do some digging into it and let you know. Its seems priced similar to their starter DSLR bodies, so it might have built in basic lense aperture and ISO noise control . Its not taking the video quality for the price it is even on automatic mode. Now I am wondering if the video you uploaded is a raw or compressed footage?

You should have a “manual” mode on your camera that lets you set the iris (fstop) and ISO sensitivity manually. You definitely want to be doing this if you are in a controlled environment. Otherwise the camera will be doing it’s own thing trying to adjust to the lighting, and it either ends up moving around, or adjusting wrong.

It takes lots of practice to get right, but the video you posted is already waaaay better than most people looking for lighting and video techniques.

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Hmm, I’m not sure. My wife is the one that’s into photography and she bought it. The body is a Canon EOS 6D. But yeah the lens I’m sure added a lot to the cost. I know they can get super expensive. Video stuff seems way more expensive than audio stuff to me, for the same sort of quality. Or maybe I just have way less experience with cameras and lighting so that’s why I think so. :slight_smile:

@ramshackles My wife also suggested that an iPhone is a good bet, if you happen to have one! Those are actually capable of creating really great looking videos.

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which video are you referencing to?the one I saw which was this:

This one doesnt have a fireplace look. The first video posted was I think his reference video track. Yes that one is shot very well, too centered for my taste but ya the reference vid is very good.

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Oh, geez. My reading comprehension is off. I thought that the youtube video he posted was the one he wanted feedback on. Just ignore anything I said about lighting on your video.

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iphone 8 is actually a decent camera, it is 12 megapixels so it can still push out some decent HD quality in manual mode. Compared to professional cameras around 45 megapixels. I have come across some great videos taken on iphones but they do require quite a bit of film making experience to handle as iphones are prone to video noise which then requires high end softwares like adobe aftereffects to rectify, so the cost just adds up.

From my experience, expensive video gear makes the same amount of difference in magnitude of quality as audio gear. A good video camera in the hands of a skilled videographer is going to be far better than a cheaper one in the hands of someone equally skilled.

The cheapest way I’ve found to get decent video is with any modern DSLR and a prime lens. You can get a 50mm used for less than $100 on a good day. A 35mm is slightly more, but probably better all around. They just look so dang good.

Just in case you aren’t aware, a prime lens is basically a fixed zoom lens. Because there’s no zooming function, they can be made with fewer parts and better precision for a lot less money than a zoom lens. The downside is that you can’t control the zoom. The upside is that they look really good for very little money. And they generally have low fstop settings, so they work really well in low light.

Yeah, I’m not aware. (prime lens).
I guess thats what my camera is since it can’t zoom!

I don’t have an iphone but my phone camera is 13 megapixels with a f/2.0 aperture lens (whatever that means).

I’ve been playing around with the sony, I don’t see any ‘ISO’ setting @FluteCafe but here is what I can change:

  • White balance
  • Exposure
  • Something called ‘Low Lux’ which is just an on/off for ‘filming in a dark environment’
  • ‘Scene selection’ - choice between night, sunrise/sunset, fireworks, landscape and a few others…
  • Auto back light (which is billed as a ‘backlight correction’).

I’ll do a few experiments with some lights. I had to order some fittings for the big bulbs I got and they won’t arrive for another week or so, so I’ll just have to make do with what I can scrounge for now…

Yeah I was reading up on it, its more of a sight seeing camera is what the general consensus is like. It is wide angle so you will have difficulty with intimate shots. Good news is that it has a great mic, if you are doing live streaming or live recording it will work great! Still a keeper for my taste, as there arent many good live streaming cameras out there but if you DO have the choice to return and get your cash back, you can use that money to get a decent DSLR body with a kit wideangle zoom lens for larger shots and a backup prime 50mm 1.8 aperture for intimate shots. Biggest aperture for the budget you can find will help you get the most out of lighting in difficult situations while maintaining good clarity.

It really comes down to controlling the 4 main things for videos - shutter speed, aperture and focal length and most important, the lighting. Its literally just “4 things” but entire books have been written on it. Don’t get discouraged, start somewhere simple :slight_smile:

This is a still from one of my videos (don’t laugh :stuck_out_tongue: ) where I use a dimmable LED softbox warm lighting at dusk to create a “fireplace by the sunset” look, sort of like the candlelight look you want. It is an incredibly hard shot to take from a non professional camera, specially with HD clarity - but still very doable if you can control the lighting without using too much of your camera’s backlight (ISO)

Dimmable lights are a good idea if you just want the subject lit but not have the background lit by the same light - then you can use ambient lighting in the back with some candles lit. That way you can take a dim light shot you want.

Sunset by the fireplace FC Template