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How Did They Get So Much Dynamic Range?

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Firstly, sorry if this belongs in Shooting sub-forum instead of the main forum.

I am wondering if anyone has an idea / suggestions for getting as much dynamic range as this video has (comparing the scenes where the interior of the house and the exterior sky can both be seen).

I shoot real estate videos as well with my a6500, and I am not able to get that kind of DR. I either have blown out highlights or need to bring the shadows up so much that the image really falls apart.

If I were to guess, it looks to me like the tonal range of the sky is quite compressed.  Is it something like Cine 1 ??? or S LOG??? Or something else???

Here's a sample of a recent video I shot for comparison (I shot using Version 2 of EOSHD Pro Color for Sony Cameras), which if your familiar with for the a6500, is MAYBE not optimized for highlight compression??? (My understanding is it might be geared more toward preserving shadows instead of highlights, but I have been wrong many times in the past. Apologies in advance if this is incorrect)

 

Thanks in advance for any thoughts on this. (or general feedback / critiques / suggestions on my video are all appreciated as well).

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

It could be any combination of the following:

- Well lit houses with plenty of light coming from the large windows 

- Using lights to bring the inside/outside closer

- High dynamic range camera with log/Raw 

 

For example in my house, I can achieve this effect with fairly large and plenty windows + slog2 with A7rII. 

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Time of day will be your friend. Doesn't hurt to have big windows like the ones on the first video.

On your work, some shots you have very hot buildings outside but not enough light inside to compensate, so you have to compromise.

Choose the time of day wisely and it will be easier to balance inside and outside. Don't fight the sun, use it.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Don Kotlos said:

It could be any combination of the following:

- Well lit houses with plenty of light coming from the large windows 

- Using lights to bring the inside/outside closer

- High dynamic range camera with log/Raw 

 

For example in my house, I can achieve this effect with fairly large and plenty windows + slog2 with A7rII. 

Thanks for the reply, Don. I appreciate it.

Does they sky look like S Log 2 in the shots where the interior and exterior looks pretty well exposed? I have only briefly used S Log 2 and it hasn't been good for me, so I am not sure what to expect using it out.

Just now, froess said:

Time of day will be your friend. Doesn't hurt to have big windows like the ones on the first video.

On your work, some shots you have very hot buildings outside but not enough light inside to compensate, so you have to compromise.

Choose the time of day wisely and it will be easier to balance inside and outside. Don't fight the sun, use it.

 

 

Thanks very much for the suggestions. I definitely see what you are saying where the views of the buildings outside the window are very hot.

Yeah, time of day is important.

Thanks again.

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10 minutes ago, Mattias Burling said:

Its not insanely high. The good old bmpcc could pull that of imo.

Thanks for the note, Mattias. I Always appreciate your input.

So you would guess that in the top video I linked to, the dynamic range is close to 13 stops?

(I assume this because I am familiar with your video comparing the dynamic range of the D750 to the BMPCC shot in prores and RAW).

THINKING OUT LOUD TO MYSELF: If it is about 13 stops, then I would have to shoot in Slog 2 on my a6500 to get that range :(

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Its not exactly easy to just look at an image and determine the stops needed (and Im not the guy qualified to answer). But yes, to my eye 13 looks more than enough. In many of the shots its even less. Its simply a very bright room. 

 

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You had fairly good interior light in your video. Forgive my ignorance as I haven’t shot with cine2 profile very often, but couldn’t you spot meter the interior and exterior and split the difference so you don’t have to push or pull either too much? Or over expose the exterior by +1.7-2 stops and then pull down your exposure in post. I know you’re not a fan of sLog2 but I believe the official Sony LUTS work fairly well? Or I’ve read that anyway.

Also, auto iso works fairly well on the a6500, so test that as well.

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I'm using sometimes nd graduated filters if not moving the camera (or sometimes on slider, when the movement is not changing light area borders).

When you can use it, the results are amazing (at least for an amateur, like me): no problem to get +3 stops of dynamic range.

When the grad is not too hard, the border is not easy to spot even if it does not fit so well to the scene.

Additionally, polarizing filter helps a little.

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It's real estate.  As they say: "Location, location, location."

Basically, it's even naturally lit rooms with lots of ambient light so you don't need 13 stops of DR.  I've shot similar with a lowly 5DII.  High end properties are designed by high end architects that know what they're doing.  Light is a very high priority consideration.  Thus, these properties just look awesome all around.  You're shooting in space that has already considered the stuff that makes for impressive visuals.

This is high-end marketing so they're probably on a really good camera, but I'm not seeing anything too surprising regarding some impressively extended DR.  In fact, looks like they're over exposing a bit to grab shadow details.

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A pair of good quality 1x1 led panels from Aputure with 95+CRI to bring the inside lighting up by a few stops.  Fire one up at the ceiling and use the other to simulate the feeling that there's light coming from a window out of shot.  With $900 invested in a pair of LS-1 panels you'll be laughing.  

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5 hours ago, CineAlta said:

A pair of good quality 1x1 led panels from Aputure with 95+CRI to bring the inside lighting up by a few stops.  Fire one up at the ceiling and use the other to simulate the feeling that there's light coming from a window out of shot.  With $900 invested in a pair of LS-1 panels you'll be laughing.  

Where are you finding an LS1S for $450?

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Whatever source is providing the ambient lighting, there looks like there's some serious diffusion going on. The shadows have a very soft falloff rate and thats complimenting the modern structures and decor. It's giving it a "clean" look. I'm sure with modern interior design, these types of videos sell the cool factor all on their own. 

In some of the shots the sky is on the verge of clipping so it tells me they shot to the right a little. I don't do real estate so I have no idea if this is a common trend or technique, but I'm guessing seeing the details of the property is pretty important, rather than say the sky? 

On your own example you need to work on your gimbal skills a little. The movement is not seamless and steady. You seem to speed up, then slow down at various intervals, it stood out to me right away. Also, you pan rather quickly, compared to the other example video, is that intentional? When you walk with the gimbal, are you doing the heel to toe method? 

 

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2 hours ago, Matthew Hartman said:

Whatever source is providing the ambient lighting, there looks like there's some serious diffusion going on. The shadows have a very soft falloff rate and thats complimenting the modern structures and decor. It's giving it a "clean" look. I'm sure with modern interior design, these types of videos sell the cool factor all on their own. 

In some of the shots the sky is on the verge of clipping so it tells me they shot to the right a little. I don't do real estate so I have no idea if this is a common trend or technique, but I'm guessing seeing the details of the property is pretty important, rather than say the sky? 

On your own example you need to work on your gimbal skills a little. The movement is not seamless and steady. You seem to speed up, then slow down at various intervals, it stood out to me right away. Also, you pan rather quickly, compared to the other example video, is that intentional? When you walk with the gimbal, are you doing the heel to toe method? 

 

@Matthew Hartman Thanks for chiming in.

Usually, for probably MOST real estate videos, they don't take the time (and effort) to light them. I have shot some homes that go for a couple or three million dollars, and the agents want you in and out quickly.

Now the house they shot in LA is probably several million, so maybe they allowed them to take more time and set up some lights.

Usually you are right, the interior is what matters, but a lot of times it is balancing the actual interior "flow" (how the rooms connect to one another) and also just trying to sell the feel of the place, which would mean the views. You know how they say "sell the sizzle not the steak? Well, in real estate you kind of have to sell both the sizzle and the steak.

(Although I know one company in LA that basically sell just the lifestyle aspect. They will have a couple of actors who are acting like they live there. Snuggling on the couch, drinking merlot, having a mini food fight, it looks more like a bad viagra commercial than a real estate video. But, who am I to judge???

Thank you for being polite when you say I "need to work on my gimbal skills a little." That's a little bit of an understatement :grin: Yeah, i am still trying to get it down. I think it is a combination of pilot error and having to calibrate the gimbal. Also maybe shoot at 30fps and then slow down to 24fps to smooth things out a little. I always seem to pan a bit too fast. I do try to keep the knees bent and walk heel to toe. Now that the weather is a bit nicer, going to have to practice some more.

Thanks again.

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They're just using a ton of fill for the inside. You could blast a few HMI or Daylight LEDs into a bleached muslin sheet on the opposing wall. Then if you still have a decent amount of light to play with use more diffusion 4 ft from the wall.

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3 hours ago, AaronChicago said:

They're just using a ton of fill for the inside. You could blast a few HMI or Daylight LEDs into a bleached muslin sheet on the opposing wall. Then if you still have a decent amount of light to play with use more diffusion 4 ft from the wall.

Well... that is kind of what I thought at first, too. I thought they had to be either bouncing light off the ceiling or bounce off a wall or through a scrim.

But looking at it closely I don't see ANY reflections for either bounced light or shoot through light.

I can see reflections or practical lighting in the ample glass and chrome, but I don't see any telltale signs of bounced / shoot through lighting. There is a ton of glass in the shots (windows, shower doors, mirrors, pictures in glass) and using bounced or scrimmed lighting you would expect to see either direct reflections of the light itself, or reflections of the wall, or the shadow of the camera person.

2 hours ago, mercer said:

I think Mark is saying he has like a half an hour to get in and out, so extra lighting will have to be minimal. I think he does the photos and video... so he basically has enough time for a walkthrough.

 

Yeah, that is basically my fate. Had to photograph a house once where they gave me 20 minutes and I had to shoot while the owner / wife  was having a mental breakdown (she was being forced to sell the house due to a divorce settlement) AND they had five maids (cleaning crew, technically) cleaning the house while I was in there trying to shoot. :angry:

So ideally I would like to keep lighting to a minimum.

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