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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon GL2, GL1 and PAL versions XM2, XM1.


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Old August 29th, 2005, 02:26 AM   #1
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Quality of video on GL2

I just wrapped up filming a children's camp and I was wondering - does the program you capture the video into make a difference in the quality of the video? The footage on my GL2 looks considerably better when I play it back on the camera than it does in iMovie, and even once I share it as a DV-NTSC or DV-PAL it still doesn't look as good as it did in the viewfinder or LCD screen on the GL2. If I used a better program such as Final Cut Pro or Express would the video quality be better? Or how about the dvd authoring - would DVD Studio Pro produce a higher quality video than iDVD? In case you're wondering, I was using iMovie because I had to film Tuesday-Thursday and have the final dvd out by Friday and I'm not quite comfortable using more advanced programs just yet. But I have Final Cut and I'm in the process of learning the ropes. Thanks,

Steve
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Old August 29th, 2005, 08:39 AM   #2
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Hello Steve,

The program you capture with DOESN'T affect the quality of your picture, but you can't always trust the image in the viewfinder or on the LCD, so sometimes it looks a bit different if you capture. That's why many professionals use a seperate monitor too if they film.
But I sometimes have the thing that my picture looks better if I play the complete AVI in Windows Media Player then if I see it in my capture window of Premiere Pro. It's always good to connect your computer to a television screen when editing, so you can see an objective image.

I can't comment on the dvd-thing.
I think it's possible - not sure - that some programs use better mpeg2 decoders then others. I notice when I use one program to decode something (sometimes just in wmv) the file is bigger then when I do it with an other program, even when quality is the same.
PS: Learning to work with a better program (well, there's a big difference between iMovie and Final Cut Pro, I suppose ;-)) is always good. You have lots of more options to work a little more on the final picture with those programs.
Best regards,
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Old August 29th, 2005, 04:21 PM   #3
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Non-compressed (native format) video will always look better than compressed video. A sad fact of digital video life.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 04:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim OMalley
Non-compressed (native format) video will always look better than compressed video. A sad fact of digital video life.
I think that the video is compressed before it is stored to tape, so it should not make a difference.

Mel.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 07:25 PM   #5
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The viewfinder lies. I don't have iMovie, but I've noticed playing back in Quicktime looks way worse than playing back in FinalCut Pro. I've always wondered why.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 06:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mel Davies
I think that the video is compressed before it is stored to tape, so it should not make a difference.

Mel.
Mel is right, the dv format is already compressed 5:1, so once it's on the tape it's already compressed.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 07:28 AM   #7
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For true playback quality reference, you will need to have a ntsc monitor (or tv monitor) hooked up in your post-production setup. Personally, I use a nice little Toshiba stereo TV, which is connected to the GL2 via S-Video and stereo audio, which is connected to the G5 via firewire. Not as perfect a result as a calibrated NTSC monitor, but it does a lot better job than the computer screen when it comes to previewing smooth compositing and color correction.

There are settings in iMovie for playback quality, but even the highest setting won't look as good on your computer screen as it will look on a production monitor. Rest-assured, what you "see" on your computer is generally inferior. If in doubt, and you don't have a playback monitor available, export about 1 minute of questionable footage back to a tape on your GL2 and compare it there (or on a TV elsewhere). Keep in mind, though, that anything you are looking at on that itty-bitty screen will look great because the pixels are so close together and the resolution is lower and won't blow up artifacts like a bigger screen would.

Regarding DVD Studio Pro and iDVD quality differences, there is the ability to have the MPEG2 compression look better in DVD Studio Pro. Please be aware that DVD Studio Pro will take some time to learn before you can author a more effective DVD than what iDVD is capable of.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 08:09 AM   #8
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Thanks for the input, guys. To clarify things, the picture is still great when I view it on my television. I have a 29" Sony Wega that has a pretty crisp picture, and when I watch the final dvd on there it isn't bad at all. It's just...different. A bit less fluid, a bit more saturated than everything appeared on the GL2 viewfinder and screen. But by no means is it a BAD picture. But the straight-up DV-NTSC and DV-PAL video files I open up in Quicktime are just not as good as I'd like them to be. C'est la vie digital, I suppose...
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Old August 30th, 2005, 08:55 AM   #9
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Actually the editing program's hardware or software CODEC does indeed make a difference. The compression ratio does not change, of course, but the quality of the CODEC will affect image quality even if only slightly. I doubt there's much of a difference between iMovie and FCP, since they're both using Apple DV, but I've seen some low-end PC apps that are not that good. On the PC side, one of the best DV CODECs is Canopus DV.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 09:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
Actually the editing program's hardware or software CODEC does indeed make a difference. The compression ratio does not change, of course, but the quality of the CODEC will affect image quality even if only slightly. I doubt there's much of a difference between iMovie and FCP, since they're both using Apple DV, but I've seen some low-end PC apps that are not that good. On the PC side, one of the best DV CODECs is Canopus DV.
Woaw, so I was completely wrong on that. My apologies.
And thanks for clearing that up!
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Old September 12th, 2005, 02:26 AM   #11
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Hi there! I advise to you quite nice tool that captures screen from Windows screen without any problems.Its Screen Vidshot.This tool also captures screen desktops.Screen VidShot allows you to record screen to video AVI, ASF, WMV.http://www.geovid.com/Screen_VidShot/
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Old September 13th, 2005, 12:09 AM   #12
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perhaps its the filming

I was wondering if you filmed with your LCD flipped out of vertical position to film. If you set your exposure with the lcd facing anyway but vertical you could be seeing it beautifully in your camera and definitely fliming it washed out or over exposed!!
The suggestion of seeing it on a tv can't be emphesized enough!! I always run a quick test dvd of a 10 minute section, watch it and then make any necessary adjustments. I also use a two monito system with a crt and a dvi monitor to post with. I feel stronly enough about the tv thing I am going to get card that allows me to run all three at my work station.
I have used four different editing suites, all finsihed up with fine color and images.

Gus
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Old September 14th, 2005, 09:19 AM   #13
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Another good idea

(Quick note. I just realised you are using a Mac. they only have this program for PC's as of now. But I thought I might leave this in for other PC users who might find this useful)

Is to use a great program called DV-Rack. You can monitor it real time on a laptop in the field, do adjustments to your video before shooting and even record straight from the program itself. It has a lot of features in it that really help set up your video to be as you want it before ever hitting the record button.

It's just a suggestion, I have tried it and was pleased with what I saw.
They even have an add-on for HDV now as well. In case you have't seen it before, here is the link to check it out.:

http://www.seriousmagic.com/dvrack.cfm

Hope it helps,

Sean
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