Singapore night drive – another pre-production 1DmkIV low light shoot

1DmkIV – Singapore night drive from Dan Chung on Vimeo.

This is my second shoot using the pre-production 1DmkIV on loan to me from Canon Singapore. I chose to make this one a bit more like a conventional piece you might find on a news website’s feature pages. Setting myself a one evening time limit on getting the shoot done we filmed everything in about 4 hours. The star of the show is 28 year old Marvin who spends all his money on a Mercedes SLK to drive around Singapore in, mostly cruising with his friends at night.

Setting up the 1DmkIV and trying not to get run over.

Setting up the 1DmkIV and trying not to get run over.

I enlisted the help of a small group of friends to assist me in getting it done quickly. I was joined by Wee Han Yeo who I met at the Cathay Photo workshop earlier in the week, Russell Boyce of Reuters and his young son Lewis, as well as local Reuters photographer Vivek.

The equipment was kept simple, unlike Vincent Laforet I don’t really have the access to the best gear for car shooting (gotta love the Gyros and stabilizer rigs Vincent!), instead all I had was a tripod, the new Genus DSLR bars fitted with a Redrock Micro follow focus, along with a Redrockmico Event rig. All the car to car and interior stuff was handheld. Lens wise I had a 14mm f2.8L, 16-35mm f2.8L, 70-200 f2.8L and 300mm f2.8L lenses. I shot in 1080p/25 with the shutter speed at 1/50th to match the streetlights, aperture was wide open at f2.8 the whole time. The amazing thing is that from the video you can’t tell just how dark it really was, it was pretty damn dark!

A hybrid Genus/Redrockmicro rig and follow focus in action.

A hybrid Genus/Redrockmicro rig and follow focus in action.

Edited as usual in Final Cut Pro there is a very light grade on the footage and a few bits of smoothcam to make up for the lack of a Gyro or Steadicam.

This time it was in virtually no light, shooting mostly in the 2000-6400 ASA range using streetlight with a Litepanels Micropro LED light for fill in. For the driving shots we put the Micropro on the dashboard pointing at Marvin to give his face is little glow.

Marvin is lit by a Litepanels Micropro sat on the dashboard

Marvin is lit by a Litepanels MicroPro sat on the dashboard

Russell’s son Lewis did a lot of the audio separately using a Zoom H4n audio recorder. For the section where Marvin is talking in the car the Zoom was left in the car and synced later in post.

I was really happy with the quality of the images I was getting is such low light but please decide for yourself, there is a downloadable link for a 1080p version on Vimeo.


Posted on December 16th, 2009 by Dan Chung | Category: DSLR video news |

12 responses to "Singapore night drive – another pre-production 1DmkIV low light shoot"

  1. Darren Abate Says:
    December 16th, 2009 at 11:56 am


    The video looks great; it’s good to see a more “normal” example piece – one that would be shot on equipment that most of us already own.

    Very nice work. I’m looking forward to the release of this awesome camera.

  2. Matt Kirwan Says:
    December 16th, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Good work Dan.

    As above – it’s great to see a piece without too many bells and whistles.

    Just tinkering with audio at the moment – there is no doubt our job is heading down the multimedia route faster than ever before.

    I would be interested to hear your thought process for a piece like this. For example:

    As you are well aware – if you were to do a similar feature shoot / case study with ONLY stills – you would rock up and like most photographers have a few set shots and way of working and be on the road (with a strong set) in an hour.

    You say you wanted to shoot as real as possible – with so much to gather (video/audio) four hours is obviously very swift.

    Would you literally write a storyboard?

    Or like a stills job, formulate a few shot ideas and ‘wing it’?

    It seems with video – much more planning needs to be undertaken – something that is quite worrying…more jobs, less photographers etc…

    I suppose what i’m getting at is do you think YOU could knock out a similar piece without the assistants and certainly without any more time?


    Matt Kirwan

  3. Gary Taylor Says:
    December 17th, 2009 at 7:32 am

    Just been doing something like this myself, with a good friend of’s something we’ve wanted to do from the age of 16 but never had the equipment or opportunity to carry it out.

    We’ve produced a fair clean rough cut, and we’re currently working on a stronger edit. Not as great as we’d like but everything seen, is done by the 2 of us. I’d be interested to hear what you think. I think it’s only fair when I’ve commented before on some of your posts.

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