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Canon Optura Junior Watchdog
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Old February 25th, 2005, 12:20 AM   #1
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Can you believe I compared the XI to the FX-1?

I shot an audition tape with the Sony HDR-FX1, Panasonic's DVX-100 in 24pA, and threw in the Optura XI for giggles. And the reason for this: I shot on a green screen and I hadn't had an opportunity to shoot green-screen with the XI.

I deinterlaced and color corrected the frames in Adobe After Effects 6.5 Pro, but my goal wasn't realism to the background (which was a crappy 600x400 jpg downloaded from the internet). It was to match the camcorders image quality. I spent only an hour on this, so there might be little flaws in the chroma-keying, but for the most part, I continue to be beyond impressed with this little Optura XI (well, "little" compared to the FX-1).

The images I posted are uncompressed anamorphic images. There is the raw green-screen footage for you guys to mess with, and then there's my uncompressed, color-corrected footage.

Enjoy! Feel proud that us Optura XI owners have THE best single-chip camcorder on the market.

www.pseudofilms.com/compare

X-man
Xander Christ is offline  
Old February 25th, 2005, 08:01 AM   #2
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Thanks Xander, great comparison. Looking forward to the DVX100 shots, to see how it compares.

I downloaded the pics and they look great. Could you give more info on how you lit that scene?

FYI: The links under the photos aren't working. They go to www.pseudofilms.com/compare/(Empty Reference!)
Michael Wisniewski is offline  
Old February 25th, 2005, 10:38 AM   #3
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Wow, Xander, thanks for posting those. This is very strange, but on the internet, I almost like the look of the little Xi better than the HD FX-1. I too continue to be amazed at the filmic quality I can pull out of the Canon. Every time I use it, it gets better. I have an HDTV and watch a lot of PBS programs in HD. They look incredibly pin point sharp - -BUT, for many types of visual story telling, I have discovered I donít like that look, and actually prefer the rich softness I can get out of the Xi.

It just needs a little work to bump up the image quality to get the look Iím after. I know Iíve posted on here a lot before, but a while back I purchased a Cokin Diffuser 2 filter on sale for a whole $1.30. I stopped using it because I thought it looked too washed out, and got a more expensive Tiffen Soft/FX3. Well, since putting my footage through the free Auto-Leveler, and Smart Smoother plugins for Vegas, the stuff shot with the Cokin looks absolutely amazing. Somehow the Auto-Leveler tightens everything back up, and it comes out with exactly the look I was going for. Most of the time I donít even use Magic Bullet anymore - -the process Iím using now looks about the same, unless I am going for certain color effects. So, my render times are now also a fraction of what they were before.

I shot some outdoor footage last week during a snow storm with the Xi. Wow. Some of the shots actually look like they are right out of a movie on a DVD. I am very happyÖ.

I also have some raw footage from the JVC HD10U. Although Iíve never used it, I still canít see why so many people hate that camera. The footage (except, yeah, for the excessive chroma noise in some shots) has a beautiful film-like richness to it, that looks far less ďelectronicĒ than the harsh examples Iíve seen so far from the Sony FX-1. Hey, I wonder how the FX-1 would do with a $1.30 diffusion filter, and/or Magic Bullet??? ;)
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Old March 2nd, 2005, 02:56 PM   #4
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I'm a bit surprised. I thought the difference would be quite evident, but they look quite similar.
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Old March 2nd, 2005, 04:03 PM   #5
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In my opinion, I don't think the Xi's image is comparable to that of the FX1. I resized the Xi's image to match the size of the FX1's in photoshop, and it was obvious that the FX1 has more resolution and detail. Plus, the Xi's image looks as if it's oversharpened. Since Xander said the images were not tampered with, I'm guessing that's from the camcorder. You can see a halo around the guy in the Xi image, especially around his shoulders. When I resized the FX1's image to match the Xi's resolution, the FX1's image looked more natural and clean to my eyes.

I think the Xi is a great camcorder, but I don't think it's comparable to the FX1.

KiN
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Old March 2nd, 2005, 09:39 PM   #6
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Sorry for the delayed response, but I'm busy working on my film and now have some time to breathe now that principal photography ends tomorrow.

Michael - the "scene" is actually part of an audition that I shot in studio against a chroma green cyclirama (sp). The lighting grid on the ceiling provided all the lighting and I was able to adjust the "keying" lights individual from the key, fill and back lights. So, yeah, it's a professional setup.

Kevin - I will be converting the 1080/60i to 1080/24p using a proprietary vector/motion estimation algorithm that my company owns. I'll also be color correcting all the footage in a fashion similar to Magic Bullet's "Black Diffusion" setting. So we'll see how "filmic" I can get the FX-1. I opted not to shoot with filtration on camera because I knew I could manipulate it in post (yeah, yeah, cry me a river about render times). All my footage is clean, raw video that I can take in any direction I see fit.

Kin - I think - in general - comparing SD to HD isn't valid (hence the reason I used my nuts to even post this). They really are two different animals. But my point of posting the images was to show that Canon has the technology to make a single CCD compare quite favorably to 3-CCD camcorders.

I didn't uprez the XI's image to 1440 x 1080 because it's an SD camcorder. I left it in SD. SD doesn't compare to HD in terms of the level of detail. And downsampling HD images to SD will always yield better results, as you pointed out.

To see that a one-chip DV camera was able to pull a relatively clean key was amazing. It just might make us pros think differently about adopting new technologies. Most pros take a wait-and-see attitude; but if no one does it, no one will actually know if it works or not. I just did it and proved it works.

I used off-the-shelf software that all videographers would have access to to show the consumer-based Optura XI compares similarly to the prosumer/professional Sony FX-1 without any tricks or gimmicks. I didn't use any of my "fancy-pants" software for deinterlacing or color correction. Download the RAW images (not the "comps") and dink around with them using different deinterlacers, keyers and up-rezzers. You'll find you'll get different results in quality with each one.

But, the whole point of this experiment is to show the quality of a US$900 camcorder. I wasn't saying that the XI is better than the FX-1... I was "implying" it... :) HAHAHA!

Hypothetically - If I had US$3700 to buy either a 3-CCD 1080i HDV camcorder with 1/3" chips, or a Canon HDV 2/3" single chip camcorder with an RGB primary filter and DV Digic (or would that be "HDV Digic"?), I'd definitely go with the 2/3" chip hands-down (unless Canon handicaps the camera by not enabling full manual controls of the video image... i.e. JVC GY-HD10U).
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Old March 3rd, 2005, 07:02 AM   #7
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Xander - Ohh, I see your point. You're right; the Xi is one awesome camcorder, especially with that killer lens. :D

And if Canon does make a 2/3" single chip with RGB and full manual controls, it would make my decision for a new camcorder so much easier!

KiN
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