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Tourist
Posts: 4

footage dark in daytime

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I've been using my gopro for a while now and changed some settings according to advice online as the cam was going light and dark on sunny days. The last few videos I've taken however have been really dark, even when it has been shot in daylight. I've done a factory reset and hoping that might fix it. I basically want to use my gopro to do POV vlogs, sometimes the cam on me and sometimes on what I'm seeing. 

 

An example is here https://youtu.be/K3lpDrAlqFg?t=150

 

I basically hops to make the kind of videos that Bald and Bakrupt makes. His quality seems loads better than mine and he just uses a Sony FDR X3000. Have I bought the wrong camera?

It has been a while since I made any videos. As Britain takes its first steps out of lockdown and the sun comes out to help us celebrate, I decide to take a ...
Backpacker
Posts: 7,543

Re: footage dark in daytime

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It's not that you bought the wrong camera, you just have no idea what you're doing.

You've adjusted the settings on your camera manually which is great if you know what you're doing.  However usually manual settings are good for one very specific shot and lighting condition.  If that changes, then you have to enter another manual setting and so forth.  You seem to want to be able to do long one take shots where the lighting is constantly changing and only use one setting.  So regardless if the sun is shining straight on your face, or shining directly behind you towards the camera etc.  There is only one setting for that and it's called "Auto".  Yes, put everything to auto.  What will happen then is the majority of scene will be brightly lit (ie you) while things like the sky will appear blown out.

Looking at the video's you "Want to make" you don't seem to realize there are a LOT of cuts in those video's.  I assure you, during some of those cuts, the videographer is adjusting the settings on their camera.  In longer scenes where he doesn't do that, you see the same thing you have with your video, extremely dark shots, extremely light shots, blown out backgrounds etc.

 

So honestly, I would start by truely learning how to use your camera, learning what the settings do, learn WHY some of your shots are bright and others suddenly become too dark to see (here's a clue, your position in relation to the sun changed).  

sun.jpg

 

 

Tourist
Posts: 4

Re: footage dark in daytime

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"you just have no idea what you're doing."

 

Brutally honest, but entirely accurate.

 

First of all, I'd like to thank you for the lengthy reply and for going to the trouble of providing the screenshots with explanations. It is very much appreciated. I understand what you're saying without fully understanding how to use the cam to fix these problems.

 

However, Bald and bankrupt and, even more so, harold baldr do use lots of one shot footage without these massive changes in light. I think going back to original settings might be the way forward as I'm not really interested in producing amazing quality videos. For me, content is king. I just think that generally, the quality of their footage is much better than anything I've produced with a gopro.

 

Many thanks again for your advice, fella xxx

Backpacker
Posts: 7,543

Re: footage dark in daytime

[ New ]

Believe me, I'm only interesting in solving your issue as quickly as possible.  So no offense intended with any remarks, just the plain truth.

 

Bald and Bankrupt, like I said, I watched a couple of his video's and he does have cuts in there that you may not have even noticed.  Especially when going from outdoor to indoor, or when lighting changes.  When there is no cut, you can see the results (similar to yours, darkly lit/poorly lit shots etc).  Take his latest video (2 months old?), with an overcast sky he's got basically a fixed light background, so he's not going to have the same bright light source problems that were evident in your video.  Also, the very first cut is 45 seconds in as he transitions from outside to inside (and sets his camera up accordingly).  1.08 another cut as he's now not filming in the tunnel, but a larger area with slightly less lighting, 1:19 another cut, 1:47, 2:13, 2:21, 2:28, 2:42...   and so on.  In fact he actually has many many cuts in his footage and some of which would require adjusting the camera settings.  

Harald Baldr, same thing.  1st cut is 47 seconds in, another cut at 1:34, 3:16 another cut............. if you look at the sky (which looks all white) this is because the sky is overblown and it's why you can see him.  You had the opposite problem, you could see the sky just fine but you appeared dark.  So his issue is that instead of a nice deep blue sky with clouds, he's got a white blown out sky.  He should have set up his camera to capture that sky and then used a light or a reflection diffuser to light himself up  (those big gold or silver foldable circles used by photographers to reflect light's without harsh shadows).  

 

There's actually a few quick and easy things you can do though if you want to up your game and image quality.

 

1:  If you're not going to be adjusting settings constantly, then sure, leave the camera on full auto.  For the most part the GoPro will take care of things for you and have pretty good image quality.

 

2:  Get a gradient/graduated filter for your camera.  These are filters that are half tinted and half see through and usually (with an adapter) are also rotatable on the camera.  That way if you have a strong light source from the side, would rotate the tinted part to that side.  If you were filming with the sun in the sky (visible), instead of a washed out sky or too dark a foreground, you would rotate the darkened filter to reduce the glare from the light and this would lighten the foreground of the shot.  

 

3:  For shots where you are backlit, get a light for your camera!  A backlit shot (as shown in the example given in the previous post) will result in a darkened image.  So put a light on the camera for those shots.  If you're filming in bright sunlight with the sun behind the camera, the light will cut down on shadows created by the camera itself.  If you're filming with the sun to your back, this will allow the foreground scene to be lit by the light.

 

4:  Locking your Min and Max ISO's will also help.  Make sure the camera doesn't drop ISO to compensate for too bright a light or boost ISO to high for too dark a lit scene.  It will also help if you happen to shoot any shots at night.  Obviously the larger the light the better, if it's an adjustable LCD panel (brightness and color temp) that's even better.  

 

5:  Looking at the two examples of youtubers that you quoted, honestly, their footage is not that great and there's many image quality issues.  Harald Baldr for instance is shooting in a nice bright sunny environment..... and yet it looks like it's a miserable grey day.  Many of his shots look dull and listless simply because he hasn't even color graded them. 

 

 

So they may have the subscribers and even have good information in them, but they certainly aren't trying to make the footage look cinematic or anything.  

So I feel if you put your settings back on fully automatic, it's going to result in the best image quality for you.  Adding a gradient filter and a light will also give you a step up on your game over the competition.

 

If you want something that looks cinematic, blows away the competition and really pops, just get yourself a good producer.  They will be able to plan your shots, content and work on a story workflow that will make your footage look like a proper quality production.  That's what they are good for.  

 

Good luck and if you need any more advice, just pop it into this thread!

Tourist
Posts: 4

Re: footage dark in daytime

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Thanks again for such a lengthy, detailed reply. There's some great advice,

 

I understand that there are a lot of cuts in both of the vloggers I mentioned. But in some videos, including the ones you refer to, there are long shots without cuts and the overall sharpness and quality seem much better than the footage I make even without the light/dark issue.

 

I'm less interested in learning how to use a GoPro and more interested in making honest travel vlogs in that style. But i still feel that my gopro footage is poorer than i expected. If I compare the visual quality of my overall footage to theirs, theirs seems to be much better. 

 

I reckon going back to the original/auto settings for me is the way to go and just increase the ISO when it's dark. Let GoPro do the tech stuff and allow me to concentrate on content.

 

Thanks again for your help. I'm pretty gobsmacked at the friendly, helpful advice. My first post in this forum too :)

Backpacker
Posts: 7,543

Re: footage dark in daytime

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I try to give out good advice when it comes to camera's, videography and photography.  Just don't ask me for fashion advice or car repair advice, otherwise you're going to end up in real trouble!

 

I dunno, from the video's I looked at, they didn't look that great to tell you the truth, but then again, they are concentrating on the narrative.  I would also add there's a few more things you can do to improve your video.  Shoot in high resolution for sharpness (going to be a bit of a battery drain though), shoot in 60FPS if possible, and when you edit later, make sure you're outputting at a high bitrate (at least 20MBS and use a constant bitrate instead of variable).  This will make editing go slower and rendering will take ages (depending on your system) but at least your output will be much better.

 

Also, if you're not going to spend ages editing, color grading, and working your footage in post production, then don't use settings you see on youtube saying "How to make your footage look cinematic" etc.  The settings they tell you to use WILL make your footage look cinematic, but only IF you spend hours working on it in post production.  So they aren't lying or giving bad advice, they are just telling you how to set up the camera so your footage can be optimised properly in post.  So for you?  I'd recommend putting everything in auto, putting your sharpness to medium, and making sure the color profile is left at GoPro Color.  Also keep your sharpness setting to medium to prevent noisy shots.  Put a light on the camera too.

 

The forum is here to hand out advice and for fellow users to help eachother out.  I admit, sometimes I can be a bit testy, but that's usually only to people who use the forum as a place to complain and whine rather than just ask for help.  Those that are actually interested in help, I'll happily do so.  So honestly, if you need anything else, just post it here or start a new thread depending on if the issue is related or not.  

 

Good luck and I hope that your travels are exciting and pleasant!

Adventurer
Posts: 14,090

Re: footage dark in daytime

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As you figure out the  camera you'll become like  the above poster. loving  it    Long press the back screen for exposure lock

Tourist
Posts: 4

Re: footage dark in daytime

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Just an update. I took my settings back to default and the results are MUCH better. I don't know why I bothered trying to improve them to be honest. I shoot at 60fps but this makes editing difficult as the previews lag. Would shooting at 30 improve this and would it make it poorer quality?

 

Once again, many thanks for your previous advice.

Backpacker
Posts: 7,543

Re: footage dark in daytime

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Shooting at 60FPS will give you a very clear sharp picture and will kinda look cheaper, like a daytime soap opera.  Also shooting at 60FPS is going to pretty much require "double the light" if you will.  The more frames per second you shoot in, the less light makes its way to your sensor (this is a very very basic explination, but just trying to make it understandable).

 

Also at 60FPS you are doubling the workload that your video editor has to do vs shooting in 30FPS.

 

Most people, for that "cinematic" look, shoot in 24FPS.  They would also use an ND filter to add a natural blur to the shots.  Other people will shoot in 30FPS and then slow the footage down by 20% (approx) for a slow motion 24FPS when showing scenic shots as this makes the image look smoother.

 

In all fairness, for your video's, I would either choose the 24FPS or 30FPS option as they are mostly vlogging directly into the camera or quick pans and turns as you show what you're talking about.