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Night vision in 4k solutions
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Night vision in 4k solutions

Kris Denton
 

Hi All,

I am currently shooting a series for a new streaming network documenting basic training in the army. One of the upcoming events we need to shoot is an exercise where they shoot live rounds from towers over the tops of the heads of the trainees as they crawl under barbed wire for approximately 80 yards. The production company is not too keen on allowing us to be out there with the trainees so the cameras need to be some distance from the action. I shot a test with a PXW -Z90 on Night shot and the results were very disappointing. Using a fairly powerful IR flashlight light on the camera with 216 to soften it, the footage looks fine if I can be within ten feet but beyond that it falls off to darkness.

This footage will only ever be shown on phones so I can tolerate some noise but it does have to be 4k footage.

If anyone has any experience getting quality night vision / IR footage at distance I'd love to hear how you've done it. I am considering the Panasonic EVA-1 and potentially an Astroscope Night vision adapter and using fast lenses.

They do shoot off flares typically during the exercise which do light up the area of which I'm lobbying for however the trainees are told to freeze normally when the flares go off which kind of defeats the purpose! I'm hoping I can get the army to bend the rules a little for the purpose of our shoot with regard to the flares.

My thanks in advance.

Kris Denton
DP
Currently at Fort Jackson Army Base, SC

Steve Oakley
 

have you tried contacting combat camera unit ? they have this stuff and may be able to help you out.

Steve Oakley
DP / Editor / Colorist / VFX Artist
Madison & Milwaukee WI
920 544 2230


On Jan 15, 2020, at 11:59 AM, Kris Denton via Cml.News <krisdenton=mac.com@...> wrote:

Hi All,

I am currently shooting a series for a new streaming network documenting basic training in the army. One of the upcoming events we need to shoot is an exercise where they shoot live rounds from towers over the tops of the heads of the trainees as they crawl under barbed wire for approximately 80 yards. The production company is not too keen on allowing us to be out there with the trainees so the cameras need to be some distance from the action. I shot a test with a PXW -Z90 on Night shot and the results were very disappointing. Using a fairly powerful IR flashlight light on the camera with 216 to soften it, the footage looks fine if I can be within ten feet but beyond that it falls off to darkness.

This footage will only ever be shown on phones so I can tolerate some noise but it does have to be 4k footage.

If anyone has any experience getting quality night vision / IR footage at distance I'd love to hear how you've done it. I am considering the Panasonic EVA-1 and potentially an Astroscope Night vision adapter and using fast lenses.

They do shoot off flares typically during the exercise which do light up the area of which I'm lobbying for however the trainees are told to freeze normally when the flares go off which kind of defeats the purpose! I'm hoping I can get the army to bend the rules a little for the purpose of our shoot with regard to the flares.

My thanks in advance.

Kris Denton
DP
Currently at Fort Jackson Army Base, SC
_._,_._,_

Links:

Kris Denton
 

Steve,

We have spoken to the media people at the base and they have nothing to offer….I’ll get production to ask the CCU.

Thanks,

Kris


Kris Denton
DP
LA
Ph 310 344 5159
 



On Jan 15, 2020, at 1:21 PM, Steve Oakley <steveo@...> wrote:

have you tried contacting combat camera unit ?

Steve Oakley
 

 1st combat camera / AF  based in Charlston, but cover all branches due to consolidations / downsizing. I don’t know what their policy is on supporting outside productions but could probably ask some one I know who is part of unit. LMK, the politics can be weird. you can google their contact info.

Steve Oakley
DP / Editor / Colorist / VFX Artist
Madison & Milwaukee WI
920 544 2230


On Jan 15, 2020, at 12:27 PM, Kris Denton via Cml.News <krisdenton=mac.com@...> wrote:

Steve,

We have spoken to the media people at the base and they have nothing to offer….I’ll get production to ask the CCU.

Thanks,

Kris


Kris Denton
DP
LA
Ph 310 344 5159
 



On Jan 15, 2020, at 1:21 PM, Steve Oakley <steveo@...> wrote:

have you tried contacting combat camera unit ?


Kris Denton
 

Thanks Steve..
Kris


Kris Denton
Director of Photography
LA
Ph 310 344 5159
 



On Jan 15, 2020, at 1:37 PM, Steve Oakley <steveo@...> wrote:

you can google their contact info.

Michael Bravin
 

Kris

Its not 4K but the Canon ME-20 will do the job. I know you said 4K, but thought Id offer a great solution none the less.

Michael Bravin
Dark K Pixel Wrangler
Canon Burbank

On Wed, Jan 15, 2020 at 10:50 AM Kris Denton via Cml.News <krisdenton=mac.com@...> wrote:
Thanks Steve..
Kris


Kris Denton
Director of Photography
LA
Ph 310 344 5159
 



On Jan 15, 2020, at 1:37 PM, Steve Oakley <steveo@...> wrote:

you can google their contact info.

Kris Denton
 

Thanks Michael,

Has to be 4K.

Kris




On Jan 15, 2020, at 8:56 PM, Michael Bravin <hdguru@...> wrote:


Kris

Its not 4K but the Canon ME-20 will do the job. I know you said 4K, but thought Id offer a great solution none the less.

Michael Bravin
Dark K Pixel Wrangler
Canon Burbank

On Wed, Jan 15, 2020 at 10:50 AM Kris Denton via Cml.News <krisdenton=mac.com@...> wrote:
Thanks Steve..
Kris


Kris Denton
Director of Photography
LA
Ph 310 344 5159
 



On Jan 15, 2020, at 1:37 PM, Steve Oakley <steveo@...> wrote:

you can google their contact info.

James Barber
 

Haven’t done this myself but my first line of inquiry would be cameras with really high ISO, and see if there’s any sort of specialist community like astrophotographers removing the hot mirror/IR filters to increase sensitivity in that spectrum (a so called full spectrum conversion). A quick google shows some people are doing this with the Sony A7s, and 8-bit might be okay if it’s IR greyscale. Couple that with an IR pass filter on the lens and you could block most of any visible light. You’d need a ton of IR light in the correct wavelength though - luckily IR LEDs are cheap. A company called KolariVision seem to offer cinema camera conversions, but I’ve not looked deeper than that.

Best of luck!

James Barber
Director/DoP/Editor
London

Colin Elves
 

I’m not sure if there is a 4K solution yet, but the Lunax Starlight camera (HD) has been used for wildlife docs (e.g. the BBC Africa series) in the past: https://www.tshed.co.uk/product/2k-hd-lunax-starlight-camera/

It wouldn’t surprise me that one of the hire companies in Bristol (UK) has now got a 4K version of something.

Colin Elves
DoP 
Berlin/London

On 15 Jan 2020, at 19:27, Kris Denton via Cml.News <krisdenton=mac.com@...> wrote:

Steve,

We have spoken to the media people at the base and they have nothing to offer….I’ll get production to ask the CCU.

Thanks,

Kris


Kris Denton
DP
LA
Ph 310 344 5159
 


Colin Elves
 

Aware that I’m in a ’teaching grandmothher to suck eggs’ situation, but you normally position your lights near the subject and not near the camera when you want to illuminate something far away - I don’t think IR lights would be any different. Why don’t you position a series of IR lamps next to the course to illuminate the soldiers then have the IR camera at a safe distance filming?

Colin Elves
DP, Berlin London

On 15 Jan 2020, at 18:59, Kris Denton via Cml.News <krisdenton=mac.com@...> wrote:

Hi All,

I am currently shooting a series for a new streaming network documenting basic training in the army. One of the upcoming events we need to shoot is an exercise where they shoot live rounds from towers over the tops of the heads of the trainees as they crawl under barbed wire for approximately 80 yards. The production company is not too keen on allowing us to be out there with the trainees so the cameras need to be some distance from the action. I shot a test with a PXW -Z90 on Night shot and the results were very disappointing. Using a fairly powerful IR flashlight light on the camera with 216 to soften it, the footage looks fine if I can be within ten feet but beyond that it falls off to darkness.

This footage will only ever be shown on phones so I can tolerate some noise but it does have to be 4k footage.

If anyone has any experience getting quality night vision / IR footage at distance I'd love to hear how you've done it. I am considering the Panasonic EVA-1 and potentially an Astroscope Night vision adapter and using fast lenses.

They do shoot off flares typically during the exercise which do light up the area of which I'm lobbying for however the trainees are told to freeze normally when the flares go off which kind of defeats the purpose! I'm hoping I can get the army to bend the rules a little for the purpose of our shoot with regard to the flares.

My thanks in advance.

Kris Denton
DP
Currently at Fort Jackson Army Base, SC
_._,_._,_

Kris Denton
 

Colin,

Appreciate that! Where I would like to put lights is right where live fire will be raining down and the military will just not have it....it is a very large area to light with IR and make it look evenly lit.

I’m working on trying to get them to send up more flares to illuminate the scene...

Kris Denton
DP
LA

On Jan 16, 2020, at 4:06 AM, Colin Elves <colin@...> wrote:

Aware that I’m in a ’teaching grandmothher to suck eggs’ situation

Ganzo
 

Maybe not exactly what you want to do but I had to shoot a "night vision" shot for "The Red Sea Diving Resort" (you can see it on Netflix) which was to replicate the green vision goggles or binocs that army uses in complete darkness. We shot in So. Africa and they did not allow civilian use of those so I opted to use the A7SII which records 4K on board and pushed the ISO to 104,000. I also shot some at 240,000 ISO. Noisy, yes, but since we were grading it to be green like night vision goggles it worked great. You can judge it yourself but we were happy with the results.
Roberto Schaefer, asc,aic
Ganzo@...
Currently in Westworld

Pete Wages
 

Hello Kris -  Years ago I shot a military training thing at Ft. Benning with the rangers.   It was at night and they were shooting something like blanks.   I recall not being able to use IR lighting because it would blind the soldiers using night vision.
It may be worth checking to make sure IR lighting is ok.  
   

Pete Wages
DP
Atlanta


From: cml-general@... <cml-general@...> on behalf of Ganzo <ganzo@...>
Sent: Thursday, January 16, 2020 9:27 AM
To: cml-general@... <cml-general@...>
Subject: Re: [cml-general] Night vision in 4k solutions
 
Maybe not exactly what you want to do but I had to shoot a "night vision" shot for "The Red Sea Diving Resort" (you can see it on Netflix) which was to replicate the green vision goggles or binocs that army uses in complete darkness. We shot in So. Africa and they did not allow civilian use of those so I opted to use the A7SII which records 4K on board and pushed the ISO to 104,000. I also shot some at 240,000 ISO. Noisy, yes, but since we were grading it to be green like night vision goggles it worked great. You can judge it yourself but we were happy with the results.
Roberto Schaefer, asc,aic
Ganzo@...
Currently in Westworld

chris.walton@...
 

Hi Kris,

I have shot a few military training exercises at night with both the Sony A7 and the Canon ME-20. The Sony is acceptable if the illum is good. If you are shooting under a full moon, it should work well. I would second checking out KolariVision.  You will most likely get a good extra stop of light without the IR filter at night (this based on experience with the Canon ME-20 which brightens by at least a stop when the IR filter is removed and on experience with KolariVision modified GoPros). I have shot with a PVS7 based night vision rig which I was not terribly impressed with. The intensifier is basically an SD tv display with an analog camera on the other end that is probably not more than 1/4. 


Best,

Chris Walton
EP, Steyer Content
Bainbridge Island, WA

206 398-5809

Kris Denton
 

Thanks Pete,

You make a good point. The trainees are actually not wearing their NVG (Night vision googles) so IR is totally fine.

We have come up against that issue already!

Kris Denton
DP
LA

On Jan 16, 2020, at 10:07 AM, Pete Wages <peteavid@...> wrote:

It may be worth checking to make sure IR lighting is ok.

Eric Bader
 

Is rigging IR LEDs to those towers an option? That should definitely do the trick. I've used the Varicam LT (with the IR cut filter swapped) in pitch black environments with fantastic results at ISO5000. It wasn't a long distance but I lit the subjects with Jem Balls with IR lights inside of them (purchased cheap from Amazon) for beautiful even illumination.

Eric Bader
DP, LA
ericbaderfilm.com

On Thursday, January 16, 2020, 9:03:04 AM PST, <chris.walton@...> wrote:


Hi Kris,

I have shot a few military training exercises at night with both the Sony A7 and the Canon ME-20. The Sony is acceptable if the illum is good. If you are shooting under a full moon, it should work well. I would second checking out KolariVision.  You will most likely get a good extra stop of light without the IR filter at night (this based on experience with the Canon ME-20 which brightens by at least a stop when the IR filter is removed and on experience with KolariVision modified GoPros). I have shot with a PVS7 based night vision rig which I was not terribly impressed with. The intensifier is basically an SD tv display with an analog camera on the other end that is probably not more than 1/4. 


Best,

Chris Walton
EP, Steyer Content
Bainbridge Island, WA

206 398-5809

Randy Wedick
 

C300mk2 at 102400 iso with Sigma 200-500/2.8?


On Jan 15, 2020, at 9:59 AM, Kris Denton via Cml.News <krisdenton=mac.com@...> wrote:

Hi All,

I am currently shooting a series for a new streaming network documenting basic training in the army. One of the upcoming events we need to shoot is an exercise where they shoot live rounds from towers over the tops of the heads of the trainees as they crawl under barbed wire for approximately 80 yards. The production company is not too keen on allowing us to be out there with the trainees so the cameras need to be some distance from the action. I shot a test with a PXW -Z90 on Night shot and the results were very disappointing. Using a fairly powerful IR flashlight light on the camera with 216 to soften it, the footage looks fine if I can be within ten feet but beyond that it falls off to darkness.

This footage will only ever be shown on phones so I can tolerate some noise but it does have to be 4k footage.

If anyone has any experience getting quality night vision / IR footage at distance I'd love to hear how you've done it. I am considering the Panasonic EVA-1 and potentially an Astroscope Night vision adapter and using fast lenses.

They do shoot off flares typically during the exercise which do light up the area of which I'm lobbying for however the trainees are told to freeze normally when the flares go off which kind of defeats the purpose! I'm hoping I can get the army to bend the rules a little for the purpose of our shoot with regard to the flares.

My thanks in advance.

Kris Denton
DP
Currently at Fort Jackson Army Base, SC