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Cold Night, Horse Buggy

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    Cold Night, Horse Buggy

    I'm looking to do some shooting in my hometown. The first of every December we have a pre-Christmas shindig with a Santa at the community center, and a horse drawn wagon ride.

    Problem is, the little time I've played with the DVX in low light has been underwhelming. Driving down mainstreet at night I see nothing but taillights in a black sea.

    I've played with some settings, adjusting gain and shutter speed, never to find that sweet spot.

    My question is specific- I'd like to do an interview with the buggy driver as we go down mainstreet. Mainstreet has a couple street lights, and the downtown area is (to the eye) brightly lit with white christmas lights on all the trees lining the street. BUT, I don't think the DVX will pick that up quite as well as I'd like. What are the settings I'd need to use, and any equipment that wouldn't need an outlet, wouldn't bug the driver, and especially wouldn't spook the horses- and give me a clean, bright picture.

    Is it possible? I'm going to be running over there in the next couple days to do some tests, so any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Could you use some practicals? Something that would look the part for a buggy, perhaps a lantern or two? Short of that, how about a battery powered camping lantern (fluorescent). Just try to use the same for whatever you choose so you don't have mixed color temperature light sources.


      I checked out mainstreet today, and it seems that when the shops are open and the lights in the trees are on that the lighting is peachy.

      Now I just hope everyone cooperates a little so I can get some sort of interviews going to edit into the Christmas-y footage. On top of that, some snow would be nice, but only if it melts the next day...


        Peachy as in warm color temp? It sounds like you could use some on-camera lighting if you're going to be doing these types of shoots more often. If you're on a shoestring, I've heard people have gotten good results from the Bescors. Take a look...

        B&H On Camera Lighting.

        If you wanted to perfectly match your background color temp, you could try a little piece of light CTO gel to help warm it up a little. Good luck!

        EDIT: I wouldn't be too afraid of scaring the horses if you end up getting an on-camera light. You could diffuse if you like, but unless you point the light right at the horse's eye and flash it on, they should tolerate it. In my experience, they just don't like being surprised.
        Check out my website.


          A clean bright picture without lighting is impossible. You can play with gain setting and open the iris as far as it will go but that will be at the expense of picture quality. You can put an on camera light, so everything that the camera sees in a short range will be flat lit (the buggy driver) You may also want to pick a few areas in the town of picture interest and light those areas. But your definitly starting in the right direction your planning your shot. Other then those few suggestion just take your camera out and play (or should I say test) different settings. And for lighting a street you can probably get away with work lights (man I never thought those words would come out of my mouth) Talk with the bussiness owners tell them what your doing and see if they let you plug in lights. Good luck