GL1 - Poor Video Quality: Any Suggestions? at DVinfo.net

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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old June 9th, 2003, 12:17 PM   #1
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GL1 - Poor Video Quality: Any Suggestions?

Greetings,

First of all, this is my first post here but have been lurking around reading threads and getting to know the personalities on the board. I applaud www.dvinfo.net for making this resource available!

I'm brand new with the world of DV production but have a vast desire in making it work. I LOVE MULTIMEDIA and technology and have a creative hunger that I need to feed. :-)

Now on to the nitty gritty. After doing months of research about camera qualities, features, and price...I concluded that the GL-1 would be my best bang for the buck so I purchased one about 6 months ago and have been experimenting with the camera to find it's features, strengths and limitations.

After spending many many hours of taping, editing, rendering....for DVD media, I'm just not happy with the video quality. I've tried different environmental factors as well as manual settings on the camera, along with running the camera in just AUTO. As I am quick to assume, the video playback on the LCD and on my computer monitor is crisp and clean, however, once it is burned to DVD and played back on a TV, all the footage is grainy with no clarity at all on the video footage. Stills from my digital camera and "Titles" that are generated out of Premiere come out crisp and clean so I don't think it's my rendering process, otherwise, those elements should also have the same kind of grainy artifacts as well.

My conclusion is that either my camera is shot, I have too high of expectations for the GL-1, or I'm missing some magical setting during the recording, capturing process, or rendering process in regards to the codec settings.

If anyone has experienced the same issue and have resolved this issue, it would be greatly appreciated if you could share your tips or tricks.

~Cheers~
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Old June 9th, 2003, 12:36 PM   #2
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Strange, I bet it's something when your rendering MPEG2 for a DVD. Try playing the footage back on the TV straight from the camera, and see if it still looks like that.

Are you shooting indoors with little light or somewhere with "lowlight"?
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Old June 9th, 2003, 12:36 PM   #3
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Hi Chris,

welcom to the board! I need more infos to help you. Are you using a Mac or PC? Which Software are you using for cutting/editing/encoding/mastering? If the picture is perfect on the GL1s display or a connected TV, the computer is responsible for the loss of quality. Describe your workflow so we'll help you.

Chris
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Old June 9th, 2003, 12:39 PM   #4
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I have a feeling that most of what you are seeing is compression artifacts. I have a GL1 myself, and find little fault with it. As a matter of fact, I think it's footage was every bit as good as my XL1s was.

MPEG compression is a lossy format at best, and tries to lose information it thinks you won't need. Hence, the grainyness you mentioned. I am not an MPEG expert by any means, and I'm sure that others here with more experience will chime in and help.
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Old June 9th, 2003, 12:47 PM   #5
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Hi Chris,
Yes, to just capsulize what I think Alex, Chris F. and Keith are basically wondering, at what point in your workflow are you observing a disappointing result? Shooting some footage and then just plugging the camera into a good television set for playback will probably yield the best indicator of the GL-1's status. I owned one for three years and agree that it produces very good results.
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Old June 9th, 2003, 01:40 PM   #6
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Just a friendly comment: perhaps make a point using good lighting to improve your footage? Good lighting works wonders.
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Old June 9th, 2003, 02:21 PM   #7
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Thanks for the quick replies!

I'll definately look into what the footage looks like directly from the camera to a TV Monitor. It's been so long time since I've done that, lately I've been going directly from the field to capture to burn...

This is how I have been doing the process.
[list=1]
[*]Film the shot.[*]Firewire connect to a Roxio Firewire PCI Card.[*]Open Premiere 6.5 (PC Format)[*]Standard DV AVI Capture[*]Do what ever editing to the video I need to make[*]Render Timeline -> Movie using Microsoft AVI NTSC (I cannot seem to adjust anytype of settings using this codec, which I believe is just the nature of that codec.[*]Open MyDVD where Sonic Transcodes the AVI files when it burns to DVD.
[/list=1]

So that's my process, but I will definately check how the quality looks directly from the camera to the TV tonight.

~Cheers~
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Old June 9th, 2003, 02:24 PM   #8
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I also wonder if your camera might have the autogain enabled. For example, do you turn it on before taking the lens cap off? If you aren't seeing grain on playing straight from the camera to the TV then autogain isn't a problem. If it is then watch the footage on your TV with the display turned on. That way you can see what exposure settings your camera used when you filmed in auto.

If it is a rendering problem I'm wondering if the rendered resolution isn't set right? Perhaps rendering for a web setting (320x240) and then playing back full-screen?
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Old June 9th, 2003, 02:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
<<<-- Originally posted by Jeff Price : I also wonder if your camera might have the autogain enabled. For example, do you turn it on before taking the lens cap off? If you aren't seeing grain on playing straight from the camera to the TV then autogain isn't a problem. If it is then watch the footage on your TV with the display turned on. That way you can see what exposure settings your camera used when you filmed in auto.
That's interesting. I'll have to check into this 'gain', which could certainly be the culpret, as I can't seem to remember anything about video gain. If it's anything like digital audio, too much digital gain makes horrible distortion. I'll check.


Quote:
If it is a rendering problem I'm wondering if the rendered resolution isn't set right? Perhaps rendering for a web setting (320x240) and then playing back full-screen? -->>>
I made sure that all files were rendered and kept in a 3:2 aspect, 720x480 resolution through the whole process (to the best of my knowlege). :-)
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Old June 9th, 2003, 02:50 PM   #10
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NTSC DV resolution is 720x480 .
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Old June 9th, 2003, 03:07 PM   #11
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NTSC (& PAL) DV has a maximum playback resolution of 540 horizontal lines. :)


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Old June 9th, 2003, 06:18 PM   #12
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Transcoding/compression settings to MPG2 for DVD can have a lot of effect on the quality, and moving video is a lot harder to compress than stills. Use the highest bit rate you can for reliable playback for best quality.
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Old June 9th, 2003, 08:00 PM   #13
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Thank you everyone for your time and input. It appears, after investigating the settings on the camera, that my camera tech had the sharpness set to MAX, +12db on the Video gain. So between the two elements, the result was my graininess found of the footage. I really need to look into a external but portable monitoring system. It just looks too good on that LCD.

By the way, the camera tech's name will remain undisclosed. :-)

~Cheers~
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Old June 11th, 2003, 09:15 AM   #14
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Oh yeah- that'll do it. I don't know of any instances when you'd need the sharpness turned up that high on any digital camera. I shot my last wedding on my DVX100 with the detail (sharpness) nudge up a bit and it seemed to introdcued a fair amount of noise in the image. It also depends on the size of the TV your viewing it. On my small 12" tv (I used for montitoring while editing) all footage looks flawless- very sharp and clear without the presence of noise. However when I play it back in my 36" Sony Wega HD-TV any bit of noise in the image is much more visible. I'd assume that would multiply the larger the screen your viewing your image on.
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Old June 11th, 2003, 11:05 AM   #15
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I would agree with the TV size. On my 27" it looked "acceptable" but by no means good enough, on my 32" I almost couldn't even watch it. I've seen cleaner footage with my old Sony Hi-8.

I did run some test shots lastnight with much better results. I'm finding that unless I have a 27+" monitor display, it will be really hard to judge if the shot is "clean" or not until I can get more experience under my belt. The LCD is fine for framing the shot, but it does no justice for the lighting and clarity of the shot. At 720x480 resolution on a small LCD like that, anything is going to look good, right? ;-)

So either I run in "Auto" mode constantly, or I need to be able to define what the different meters are telling as it relates to what the shot "will" look like once it's down on disk, and as far as I know, can only be achieved through trial and error unless someone can direct me to some technique resources specific to the GL-1.

Not really knowing the terminology that I'm looking for, I'm really not quite sure what to 'search' for.

~Cheers~
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