Shooting Motions In The Dark

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I am back to Melody club again for another salsa performance. However, this time I had more time myself, might as well take pictures around since I dont know how to dance! Someone there was asking me how to shoot motion such as dancing in this dark environment, therefore I want to share something with you here.

Location: Melody Club
Photographer: Charles Lin 

It is not so hard to shoot in the dark. All you need is either a tripod, a flash unit, or a great camera body with good high ISO. Of course a faster lens helps too. But in order to shoot dancing in the dark, it could be another issue. Tripod might not be an option here. The reason is that you need faster shutter speed to caption the action, and tripod is good for exposing longer period of time. So the options left to be a flash, a good camera body or a faster lens. It costs lots of money for them except flash. 

However, flash might not be able to use all the time since it could cause some distractions for dancers or viewers. No one likes to be flash many times while they want to enjoy their dancing. If it really happens, you probably need to rely on your camera body and lens. This is why some people paid huge money on professional camera bodies, for shooting extreme condition like this, or even worse.  

In order keep shutter speed around 1/40 to 1/80, you camera body should be able to do at least ISO 1600 and aperture should go F2.0 or even faster like F1.4. But this setting would still give you image about -2EV or even darker in rooms I show you below. Shooting RAW and editing would be another tricks after. For shutter speed 1/40 to 1/80, time to time you would still get some blurry movements, depend on what kinda of dancing, and what kind of moment you want to capture. You can increase ISO to 3200 or even 6400 to allow you get 1/100 or 1/125. Worry about noise later, and get your image first! 

Also, One way to help camera focusing is using extended flash units. If you turn the trigger off but keep the focusing function, it really helps a lot especially a dark room like this. I wonder why Canon does not put focus assist light on their camera body like Nikon does? 

For the editing, lighting up the whole picture is a must and first things to do. However, you might also find lots of noise after you do so. At the time you need some noise reduced tools to help. Second thing you need to pay attention is color temperature. It might getting warmer and warmer when you light up the pictures. 

So, if you can afford high end camera body, there is not many difficulty here. However, for the others with entry level or old cameras, you really need to get the best of  you camera for the shoot like this. 

Here are some pictures I took at the night, 

You can light up different level to get the result you want

Before and After, I focus on body than face. 

整體來說, 要在光線較為黑暗的地點拍攝並不是太困難. 你可以利用腳架, 閃光燈, 或是好的機身有可用的高ISO. 大光圈鏡頭當然也是選擇之一. 但是在這種昏暗的場地要拍攝像跳舞一樣的表演時, 真的又是另外一回事了. 畢竟腳架是給長曝時使用的, 不太適合用在需要比較快的快門的場合. 而剩下的機身及大光圈都是一筆可觀的耗費. 

然而, 不是所有場合都可以自在的使用閃光燈. 畢竟會影響到舞者或是觀眾. 不會有人喜歡在跳舞或是在欣賞的時間旁邊有人頻頻放閃光燈只為了他要取得一個好畫面. 而如果這種情況真的發生了, 你也只好倚賴你的機身和鏡頭了. 這也是為什麼專業的攝影師需要花許多錢投資在機身以及鏡頭上面. 全都是為了在這種比較極端一點的場合拍攝. 

在拍攝一般跳舞, 建議是將快門維持在1/40到1/80之間. 而ISO是至少1600. 光圈最好能在2.0以上或是到1.4. 但是圖片中的房間, 這樣設定之下依然會給你大概-2EV或是更暗的照片. 此時利用拍攝RAW所給的寬容度和一些後製技巧可以再提供一些幫助. 而快門設定在1/40到1/80之間時, 偶爾還是會拍到手腳甚至身體因為動作而模糊. 在這時候, 就提高ISO到3200或是6400來讓快門速度可以到1/100或是1/25吧. 先不用擔心雜訊, 要緊的是先拍到照片! 

利用外閃來補助對焦也是蠻好用的技巧之一. 將外閃的觸發關掉, 只留下對焦輔助的功能. 在這種昏暗的房間中可以讓相機比較容易對焦. 我也挺好奇為什麼Canon相機都不可將對焦輔助燈裝在機身上呢?

而在後製的時候, 第一步驟一定是增加亮度/曝光. 但是在增加亮度的同時一定會發現雜訊點越亮越明顯. 這時候你需要一些消雜訊的輔助工具. photoshop本身的可能在效果有一定的限制. 而除此之外也要注意色溫的變化. 調亮時可以加一點冷色系的色盤讓整體回到更像當初眼前所見.

前面有幾張是亮度與一些後製的對比. 我個人偏好還原當時眼睛所看到的畫面. 所以並沒有調太亮. 可以參考看看.   

總之, 如果買的起專業級的機身, 那在黑暗中拍攝動作並不困難, 只要注意好快門的速度補抓動作即可. 但是對於普遍大眾來說, 手中的入門或是中階機可能都會稍有挑戰, 需要盡可能利用到相機的最大功能.

Feel free to leave a comment let me know what you think!


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