6 Tips for Shooting Video in Low Light

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You can get some pretty cool effects when you shoot at night or in low-light situations, but you really need to know what you are doing to get quality video footage in low light. Often, when you aren’t using the proper settings on the camera, you can end up with a lot of noise in the picture, which may or may not be easy to edit out later, depending on how much noise there is. Of course, if you want the best picture quality at night, it goes without saying that you need a camcorder with night vision.

If you want to learn how to take clear, crisp video footage in low light situations, here are some tips that can help.

Shoot at a Low ISO

You may think that you will see more in the shot if you are shooting at a high ISO. It is actually better to shoot at an ISO of 800 or lower. Yes, you are going to need to use a tripod in order to avoid camera shaking, but the lower ISO will also help you to have less noise in your video. On the flip side of that coin, it is not a good idea to shoot at too low of an ISO either. Avoid shooting at 100 or 200 ISO, and stick between the 400 and 800 range.

Get some Fast Lenses

Unfortunately, videography is not an inexpensive hobby. Among the most expensive gear you will be using are the lenses, and it is advisable for you to get some very fast lenses in order to get the best video footage. Using a fast lens will compensate for shooting at a lower ISO, so you won’t need to use extra lighting and you can get great shots in low-light situations.

It is a good idea to have lenses that are F1.4 or lower, especially if you are using a camera with a smaller sensor. Lenses are becoming more and more affordable, and you can find some quality lenses that won’t cost thousands of dollars. On the other hand, your lenses are an investment, so don’t waste your money on cheap products that won’t do the job.

Low Light Video

Learn about Shooting from Distances

The farther you get from your subject, the harder it is to keep it in focus, and it gets even more difficult when you are shooting in low light. Try shooting at the infinity focus range. This is going to keep the shot from being so wide that you start to lose focus whenever a subject moves, and everything will remain in focus. This is going to make focusing a lot easier in low light situations. Another option is to use a wider lens that needs less distance to reach the infinity range.

Use a Flat Picture Style

If you want to see a more dynamic range in your movies, try using a flat picture style. This is going to help keep dark and white areas looking the way they should, and not appear too dark or too light. This is going to make things much easier when it comes time to edit your videos because the lighting will already be taken care of.

Pay Attention to Your Location

One of the best ways to deal with any low light situation is to scout out your shooting location before you start recording. This way, you will have a pretty good idea of what the lighting is going to be like at various times throughout the day and night, and you will be able to include this in your initial plan that we talked about earlier in this article. You will be able to arrive prepared, and if you need extra lighting, you will know to bring it along so you always have what you need to create quality videos.

shooting in low light

Get Rid of Noise

No matter what you do, you are bound to get some noise in your videos when you are shooting in low light conditions. You will have to get rid of any noise in the editing process. Hopefully, if you have followed the rest of the tips in this article, you won’t have too much noise to worry about. There are some pretty great tools available for getting rid of noise, and you can even clean up video footage that you thought you would never be able to use.


It takes a bit of practice to be able to shoot quality movies in low light situations, but the more you do it, the easier it is going to be. The best way to overcome noise in your videos is to be prepared, which includes making a plan, learning about the lighting conditions around your shooting location, using the right gear, and knowing how to use it properly. As you get better and better at shooting in low light, you will be less reliant on your editing software to get rid of the noise.

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