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I See Bush

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  1. Not sure if this thread is still active but in case anyone else comes by looking for an educated guess: Ive been shooting video on Nikons for the past 8 years now and I’ve had this issue with everything from my first D3200 to the higher tier D850 and Z6. As far as DSLR’s go, Nikon cameras demand more on the person behind the camera unlike Canon or Sony where the camera does the heavy lifting for you. You gotta really know how to expose your shots and how to set your lenses for the situation which is great for making you a better cinematographer but it’s also a massive pain in the ass if you just want to pull out your camera and get some quick shots. Nikons are really particular and fussy cameras but when you learn them they’re a joy. Now I’m not 100% sure what the root of the issue is because every time I think I’ve figure it out, it pops back up. I do know it has to do with lighting and frame rates and I’ve noticed it most when the video is shot in low light and 24fps. Changing the aperture speed has helped in the past for me in some situations and using infrared or ND filters can sometimes solve the issue if I need it darker but have the aperture wide open, which first led me to believe it’s an issue with noise or light pollution in the shadows. But then by coincidence I noticed after a shoot that clips shot in the same lighting and same lenses on the same settings on the same camera body had this flickering issue for clips shot at 24fps but not for clips shot in 60fps. Playing with that in post I noticed that the flickering lasted exactly one frame in a 24 FPS timeline. Now frame rate alone isn’t the solution, because with that knowledge I went to a shoot and even at 60 FPS it could still get bad in low light...but frame rate is half the solution and the other half appears to be exposure. Given that I’ve only had this issue on Nikon cameras, my conclusion is there’s definitely some kind of imbalance specifically with how Nikon hardware processes light at lower frame rates, and I suspect that the camera is given too much time to expose an individual frame before the next frame is processed, leading to this flickering. Since increasing your frame rate is not a sustainable option, the next best thing is to keep ISO permanently locked at 800 or below and control exposure exclusively through lens aperture, shutter speed and onsite lighting equipment. As for a solution in post to solve it if you’ve already shot and can’t go back to shoot again, duplicate the clip, overlay it on top of your original clip and move it forward one frame. Play with the Blending or Transparency options in your editing software on the top layer until the flicker disappears. The reason this works is because the two frames’ flickering compete with one another and only last for a frame, so by blending the flickering clips together you’re essentially neutralizing the flicker effect. This has the added effect of creating a sort of simulated motion blur which can work in your favor or to your detriment depending on whether you shot in 24 or 30fps and what you plan to export it as.
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