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Join Chad Perkins, an author and videographer, as he introduces the essential concepts and techniques necessary for shooting video with a DSLR camera. Targeted at beginning videographers and anyone interested in shooting better video, this course covers cinematography basics, DSLR pitfalls, important gear, and postproduction workflow. Along the way, discover how to choose lenses, record audio, and make shots more professional.
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Chad Perkins: One of the biggest problems that I have with these little DSLR cameras is they have such a limited latitude. It basically means that the camera has a hard time taking in and correctly registering bright areas and dark areas at the same time. One or both of these areas usually suffer. To make matters worse, when you do have something that is too bright or too dark, it just looks terrible. Typically, what you want, even in blown-out areas, is a nice subtle gradation from white to darker tones.
But on DSLRs, when you blow out your highlights or also you shadows, you will get these lines where the tones instantly drop off. The camera just can't see anything in between this pure white and the slightly darker tones next to it. Because of that steep drop-off from blown out white to other tones, this problem could be next to impossible to fix in post-production. There is a little fix that might help. If you're using something like After Effects or Premiere or some other tool that has a Levels effect, you can go to the triangle on the far right side of the Histogram and then go to the triangle below that, it's called Output White triangle, drag that inwards to the left.
This reduces the brightness of the brightest parts of the image. And if you're lucky, this trick might smooth out that hard edge, then you could go back and universally brighten all the pixels. If you're still getting blown out highlights or super dark shadows, then use some of the other methods we've been talking about for adjusting exposure throughout this course, so adjusting the aperture, shutter speed, ISO, or you can try to block, or diffuse the light, or you could use a neutral density filter, which Brian will be talking about in the next chapter, which basically is a dark piece of glass that you put in front of the lens to lower the exposure.
But the limited latitude is something that it looks awful and amateurish when it shows up in footage. So make sure that you're doing everything you can do to preserve data in the highlights and shadows.
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