First of all, it is super important to understand that the live view and high-resolution images are different. In the cinematography workspace you set up your high-resolution capture settings and take test shots to make sure that your final images will look correct. In the animation workspace you are typically working with the video assist images from your camera, although you can switch to review your high-res images.

Possible Cause #1: Using a Nikon DSLR

Most of the Nikon cameras do not have live view “exposure simulation”. This means that their live view exposure level auto-adjusts all the time, and does not reflect changes in camera settings. In this case, you will have to live with the difference. Make sure to check your high-resolution images early and often.

Possible Cause #2: Exposure Simulation is turned off

The Canon live view DSLRs all have exposure simulation. It is either “always on”, or there is a setting to turn it on. If there is a setting, it will be called out in our setup instructions. Just make sure you’ve followed that step.

Possible Cause #3: Using a manual aperture lens on a Canon body

We recommend using a manual Nikon lens on Canon body, because this avoids flicker. The downside is that this can affect the live view exposure simulation of the Canon cameras. Usually you can adjust the live view to match the high-resolution images by adjusting the “Exposure Preview Offset” in the Cinematography workspace’s Camera Settings. You can read more about the problem and see another solution here.

Sometimes the internal live view calculation is thrown off by the last digital lens connected.

Here is a possible solution:

  1. Attach a Canon digital lens to the camera.
  2. Open the aperture as much as it can go (lowest f/stop number).
  3. Take a picture.
  4. Power down the camera and then try your Nikon lens.

If you still can’t get close with the exposure preview offset, let us know.

Possible Cause #4: The sensor isn’t getting enough light.

We often get calls from people who are on a dimly lit set, with their aperture stopped down to f/22, and with “Exposure Preview Offset” set all the way to “+4”, and they want to know why the live view doesn’t match their high-resolution image. This is especially problematic for manual aperture lenses, since the aperture is always stopped down.

The reason is simple: the lens doesn’t have enough light. You have exceeded the limits of the live view exposure simulator (inside the camera).

Here are some possible solutions:

  • Increase the lighting on your set.
  • Open up the aperture.
  • Use a bash light (also called a work light). This is a light that is on for the animator and video assist, but off for the high-resolution capture.

There are a few ways to set up a bash light with Dragonframe:

  • Use the DDMX-512 to control a bash light through DMX.
  • Use the DDMX-512 to control a bash light through a relay.
  • Go to Preferences : Capture and set a capture delay of several seconds. Turn a light off after you press the shoot button, and then back on after the high-resolution image is captured.