Optura Xi vs DV953 & compensating in post at DVinfo.net

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Old March 30th, 2004, 12:15 AM   #1
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Optura Xi vs DV953 & compensating in post

I'm a DV newbie, and I'm in a quandary. I just bought a used Canon Xi because I could get a good price for it. Fast forward to buyer's remorse. I've been reading on this board about how the Xi overdoes the contrast, esp in skies, and the sample video on dvspot showed signs of this, too.

Is that something that can be compensated for in post? If so, what program/filter is best? People always seem to say that the camera is the least important factor in a good "film". But to what degree are weaknesses of the camcorder compensated for by post production, esp in the case of the Xi?

I've now been looking at the Panasonic DV953 as a potential alternative to the Xi. (from what Iíve seen) I don't like the graininess of the 953 compared to the smoothness of the Xi, but I have to admit the colors look better. However, one thing I love about the Canon is the user controls: they're very intuitive (as I own Canon SLR and digi cams) and I love the Av, Tv, etc dial. Would anybody care to chime in on the Panasonic's buttons / UI vs the Canon?

If I can't fix the overabundant contrast, does anybody want to trade their 953 for my Xi? ;-)
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Old March 30th, 2004, 01:18 AM   #2
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They're are both good cams, one is a 1-chip, the other is a 3-chip. Which one's better? The 3-chip. The controls are easy to use on the 953. "Graininess of the 953?" The 953 is one of the sharpest cams around. Perhaps you're getting grain because you're shooting in low light. You know what they say in Hollywood: Lights, camera, action! :-))
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Old March 30th, 2004, 07:37 AM   #3
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Michael,

My cam also tends to make overly contrasted pictures.
Here's what I've learned to do.

First, never shoot in bright outdoors without an N/D or Polarizer filter. It would make the iris close to f16 and lose some detail.
With an N/D filter, the iris stays wider than f5.6 and preserves more detail. (On this point, I think cams with 3 CCDs have a little more latitude.)

Second, manually correct the aperture (iris) to avoid blown-out highlights. Dark areas can be lightened a little in post with the brightness or the gamma filters, but washed-out highlights are lost forever.

Third, in post, I reduce the contrast of all my outdoor shots to bring out more mid-tones.

As for grainyness : the DV953 has a sharpness control that can be turned down for a softer look.
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Old March 30th, 2004, 11:57 AM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestions, Norm. Guess I need to go pick up some ND filters.

Will the zebra patterns on the Xi detect overblown highlights?
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Old March 30th, 2004, 01:20 PM   #5
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If you set the zebra pattern at 100%, it'll apply only to 100% white areas of the picture which can be either a source of light that you expect to be 100% white anyway or a blown-out highlight that you might want to tone down to preserve some detail.
If the zebras are set at 70%, they will appear on everything lighter than average caucasian skin tone. This is useful for correct exposure of a interviewed person for instance, or white balancing on a 70% grey card.
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Old March 30th, 2004, 01:53 PM   #6
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Sweet.

Thanks again!
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