Filming distant lights at night time - Any help most welcome

tucker tommy

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Hi there,

I want to film far away ships at night. Not zooming in but just as they are seen to the eye [as little lights in the distance.]
I want it to still be fairly dark but the lights bright, as seen to the naked eye.
Can anyone give me any advise? I only have a cannon slr camera [something like eos600.]
It has a hd movie feature on it but obviously doest work as it is. Is there any lenses I could add?
or any other tips? On a budget so cant buy an expensive camera.

Hope this makes sense .
Thanks in advance.
Tom
 
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ac12

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You need a DARK night, and away from light pollution.
Tripod and long exposure.
 

KmH

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Apparently you're in Europe.
Here in the US a Canon 600D is sold as a Canon T3i.

What you need is photography/filming knowledge and skill. You'll need to set the exposure (shutter speed, lens aperture, & ISO) manually. Note however that if you want to shoot video the video frame rate in effect determines the shutter speed, but that for shooting video we set the shutter speed to 2 times the frame rate. Video Frame Rates (24p, 25p, 30p, 60i) - Steve's Digicams

The best time to make images like you describe is during civil or nautical twilight.
There is still enough light that the surface of the ocean can still be seen as separate from the sky, and lights in the distance are not just specks in an otherwise totally black image.
You need to use as wide open an aperture as your lens is capable of, & focus at infinity.
If you want to make stills you'll likely need to make from a couple to several series of bracketed exposures, and then choose the best of the series.
 
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ac12

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Long exposure may not help as your subject and water will appear blur due to motion.

True.
So the trick will be to keep the exposure short enough to minimize those, yet long enough to get the lights bright enough.
IOW, he has to experiment.
 

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