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Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD
APS-C sensor cameras including the 80D, 70D, 7D Mk. II, 7D, EOS M and Rebel models for HD video recording.

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Old June 21st, 2012, 11:16 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Karachi, Pakistan
Posts: 210
Blurry footage

Hi folks. Lately I've been doing a lot of talking head videos and couldn't help but notice how soft the picture quality is compared to other similar videos I see online taken with the same 550D camera and stock lens. My focus is as sharp as possible and yet the resulting footage isn't crisp.

The sharpen filter on my NLE does seem to bring back crispness so I've been using that a lot. But is this standard practice? Does everyone have to sharpen their footage in post to get crisp results? Or do I need to replace my lens? If so then what lens would be a cost-effective replacement? I just have the single stock lens that came with the camera. I don't mind using sharpening in post either, just wanted to know the right way of getting the best possible results.

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Old June 22nd, 2012, 10:07 AM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,311
Re: Blurry footage

Though the lens you're working with may be the source of the softness, there are other possibilities, too:

Wide aperatures mean shallower depth of focus - solution: shoot at smaller lens aperatures aka. iris, aka. f-stop (larger numbers are smaller aperatures).

Avoid high ISO settings. Add lighting as needed or change the location so that you don't have to go to high ISO to get the shot. I'm not shooting with the 550D, but on my 60D I want to stay below 800 ISO, 640 is even better. I do need to spend more time working on this on my cam... I want to do more test shooting.

1920x1080 is the best video resolution available in this camera, use it!

Avoid transcoding for editing, if possible with your editor. If it *is* necessary, assure that it is at the same resolution as the original, and to a codec that isn't softening your footage.

Master to a good codec that doesn't soften, at the original resolution.

Prepare distribution using best methods for deinterlacing, rescaling, and encoding. I use Handbrake as a quick and easy approach to excellent results for internet distribution.

None of the above costs money (Handbrake is free), I'd make sure my workflow was tuned up before spending money on a new lens. Maybe it will be necessary to get a new lens, but even then, these methods in your workflow will give best results with the new lens, too.

Test, test, test! You'll get more familiar with your cam & workflows, and better understand when you're getting into situations that compromise the image, and how much.
30 years of pro media production. Vegas user since 1.0. Webcaster since 1997. Freelancer since 2000. College instructor since 2001.
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