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Thread: Filming and Photographing laser output

  1. #1
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    Default Filming and Photographing laser output

    I do have a decent camcorder and a digital photocamera.
    I can setup them manualy but what is a good aproach to start taking photo's, in order to see the beams clearly, short shutter time or longer, aperture (i think that is the english translation for diafragm) low or high?
    I have been playing around but it is indeed hard to get nice pictures.

    Normally, when shooting pictures in a dark surrounding, i would take a long shutter time and a high diafragm value so the lens stays open for long time and only a litle light is let in to prevent too much light in the end.
    This way you get the faint light from cars headlights but mayby this is the wrong approac and i do have to take a picture with short timeframe and a very open lens.

    Suggestions?

    For the camcorder, i will put it on a fixed position (statief) and manual focus.
    I can imagine that the camcorder has difficulties with the light changing from dark to light depending on the amount of laser light present, will see if i can find a decent balance.


    Michel

  2. #2
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    Short exposure times tend to cut off the beam in mid air due to the scanning motion of the beam, you need to experiment.
    http://img62.imageshack.us/img62/3985/laser.gif

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  3. #3
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    Lightbulb

    If you want to take a picture of a laser show, don't take pictures while the show is running; pause it at the spot you want to capture and take the picture.

    For videos, use a beam attenuation map, if your software supports it, to blank the lasers around the area where the video camera lense will be located. This way you can take video of your show within the projected area and not burn up your camera's CCDs.
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    allthat... aka: aaron@pangolin

  4. #4
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    Default

    Also, high ISO values work better if you can manually set them, but grainier the higher you go. Find the right balance with the aperture and exposure. It is possible to get good sharp pics with fast moving patterns.

  5. #5
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    I wonder if you make somethign in front of the lens to make it bigger So you increase the light that comes in, and that alows you to lower exposure time.
    But it should also make the camera more sensitive.

    What I mean is, if the lens is bigger and catches more light, exposure should be less right?


    Hmm I think Im a bit wrong here.

    What you can try is do a hacked firmware update, sometimes you get a lot more freedom with the settings, I had a camera .... no wait .. I have 2 camera's who were able to be hacked.

    and the settings that you could set increased a lot.

  6. #6
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    Default

    The contrast is so high in lasers that I prefer a low ISO an a longer exposure because it tends to lead to less blown out pictures particularly in the center. Good luck with video... that's a royal pain to get right and I am not even convinced that it can be done "right" in most conditions.

    When I shoot I usually set my exposure to between 1/6 of a second and 2 seconds depending on what I am doing and my ISO around 400. Color balance before you start shooting because most cameras in an RGB color space tend to hate standard laser colors. Hope that helps.

  7. #7
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    Default

    video, i have absolutely no idea

    photography: a tripod for sure, a remote control for the camera, iso 200 to 400 so as not to introduce grain, manual focus, high apperture value (at apperture priority mode) and let the camera work out the shutter speed it needs (usually in the 1-4 seconds area)

    a little ambient light helps too
    "its called character briggs..."

  8. #8
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    With my 35mm camera, I use 400ASA film and aperture priority, with the widest aperture the lens will open to. Using digital, my results havent been as good. I am going to buy a digital camera with aperture priority mode.

  9. #9
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LaNeK779 View Post
    video, i have absolutely no idea
    With video its going to depend on your camera. With most consumer / prosumer level cameras there's very little manual control so its a case of finding the mode that produces the best results in terms of grain vs blur vs visibility. Fireworks mode has worked well for me in the past on my cameras but has the drawback that for fast beams you definately lose definition and end up with blurred rods of lights instead of tight beams. Works well on tunnels and fences and other slow patterns though.

    Some consumer cameras can also be tricked into allowing some manual control of gain and again experimentation with the other settings is the best route to go (best look on camera forums for your brand to find out about these tricks). Gain is the number 1 enemy if you don't want grainy footage. On professional cameras where you have control over gain, shutter and aperture, your choices are much wider and good results can be had with experimentation. I know someone with a Canon professional video camera who used to lock gain at -3 db (which is actually noise reduction) and got great results in a club. I don't know what his other settings were though.

    Also professional lenses are usually much faster so gather more light on both stills and video cameras if you can afford them.

    If you're wanting to shoot clubbers as well as beams then you need a video light to switch on to illuminate your subject.

    Thats about my 2 cents. I've yet to crack either stills or videos and although I can get decent video I get pants still shots of lasers and if shooting my own, I would certainly do All That's suggestion of pausing the beams and cheating for a really clean pic.

  10. #10
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    Lightbulb

    Quote Originally Posted by White-Light View Post
    I would certainly do All That's suggestion of pausing the beams and cheating for a really clean pic.
    To give credit; hayden gave me this trick... has to have been 4 years ago now... I can't remember if it was at the first FLEM or on a post here.

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