HF10/100 Color Accuracy - Is it adjustable/fixable? - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
For VIXIA / LEGRIA Series (HF G, HF S, HF and HV) consumer camcorders.


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Old April 24th, 2008, 11:12 AM   #16
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Reporting back before I go on my trip. Cinemode seemed to fix some of the color problems. Also, using the white balance for daylight and cloudy conditions also helped. I decided to keep the camera because for $832 with accidental damage insurance (you break it, we replace it) for 3 years was to good to pass up.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 07:38 AM   #17
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Figured I'd update this thread in case anybody still cares. I bought an HF100 recently (July 2008). I'm still within the 30-day return window for Amazon.com, and seriously considering returning the camera. I've had no end of problems with color accuracy. Auto white balance worked well one or two sessions, but usually adds a distinct blue cast. It's enough to be annoying.

The real problem, though, is that manual white balance doesn't seem to work. I've tried several white objects and it causes the image to be VERY warm every time, like you're looking through a piece of pink glass. At first I thought maybe it was just that I was balancing off of something that has an invisible blue bias but it's happening with every white object I use -- paper, towel, pillow, shirt, etc. It's noticable on the LCD screen, my computer, and my calibrated HDTV.

I ordered a Lastolite 18% gray card. Should arrive this week or early next week. I'll try balancing with that, but I'm not expecting it to work at this point.

I really like the idea of this camera, but this is silly.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 09:24 AM   #18
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Rich, these were precisely the kinds of issues I had with the HF10. I could see early on this cam wasn't going to give me the color accuracy I was seeking and I switched to the SR12. I'm really hoping that Canon gets it right with the HF11. Not being able to get accurate color with even the MWB was the straw that broke the camel's back for me.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 10:26 AM   #19
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I have a hard time believing they'd be able to sell a camcorder with such issues without a lot of returns, so it must not be every camera.

When I get the gray card I'll try that and post and update. I also have an SR12 coming for "eval". If I still have trouble, and if the Sony works better, I'll probably switch.

I really wanted the HF100 instead. I'd rather have solid state memory than a hard drive, I liked the idea of manual settings like shutter speed, and I'm afraid manual focus would be very tough for me on an SR12 what with my poor eyes.

Such is life for early adopters. Which we sort of are, for this class of consumer camcorder.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 01:57 PM   #20
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I havent tried Auto white balance on my HF100 but manual works just fine. I didnt notice anything terrible, sometimes color temperature is slightly off, either blue tinge or picture is a little bit too warm, but it's normal, this same thing happened too me on many other cameras I used.
I personally prefer warm colors when shooting outdoor and even bought a warm-up filter for HF100, used it once and realised that there is no need in it - the colors are pretty accurate and well saturated even without it.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 06:19 PM   #21
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Rich, are you aware there is a flash memory version of the SR12 out now? I believe the model is the Sony HDR-CX12. It has no HD, but only flash memory recording. I haven't tried it, but from what I've heard it's the same PQ as the SR11/12.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 06:40 PM   #22
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There's 4 issues at play:

1. WB Accuracy: On a vectorscope -- is white in the Center. If you want to talk about WB errors, post screenshots of your vectorscope. Otherwise, you are bringing your monitor into the equation. You can check this in each Preset and in Manual.

The Sony is definitely not accurate -- especially using the INDOOR setting with typical household lights. It is very warm because low wattage lamps are redder. It's not really a camera error. Likewise outdoors, the cast is a bit blue -- as has historically been true of Sony. (Sony seems to use the Japanese 9300-degree definition of WHITE verses the USA definition of 6500-degrees.) You'll need to CC each clip if you want perfect color.

2. WB Reliability: If you think it is shifting, test it by shooting white over a period of time. Then use your vectorscope. You'll see clearly IF the camera has a problem. The Sony is very reliable.

3. Over saturated colors: this is way to common in consumer cameras. I find the Sony fine. But, it would be nice to have the option to adjust it.

4. Red Push: any color that has the chroma phase that indicates it is "skin" will have its red component increased. Or, overall red is increased. Again, consumer cameras push red so their very pale skin looks healthy. Again, you'll need to CC each clip if you want perfect color.

PS: most NLE's have a vectorscope.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 06:54 PM   #23
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I don't know about you guys, but for a consumer HD camera I use my eyes as the final judge. If I'm comparing two cameras in the same league (say the HF10 & SR12), I shoot a number of scenes with both and compare the results with the actual live scene. Which is closer? If I shoot a brick building, which looks more like the color of the brick? Repeat the process under different light conditions. Shoot a banana. Which cam renders the color of the banana more closely? I display the results on a calibrated 60" plasma.

Pretty easy and works for me every time. Your eyes are ultimately the best judge in terms of telling you 'this looks closer to the way I see the scene'. But I wouldn't try this approach if you need to rely on your memory. If you shoot a scene and display the results a couple of days later, are you really sure what the scene looked like?

I recall one guy on another site that consistently posted his 'color corrected' results from his HF10. Unless he was shooting the blue grass of Kentucky, I'd never seen grass that looked like his 'color corrected' version. Which brings us to the ultimate question. How many that shoot with these consumer HD cams for 'fun' want to go through the laborious job of color correcting...particularly when it comes to the AVCHD format (not a particularly computer-friendly format at this stage). Not me...but that's me.

This is why I put heavy emphasis on color accuracy as my eyes see it (no, not the color I 'like', but color accuracy as described above). I will not spend hours of time at the computer to make my 'fun video' look right, the camera must do it out of the box.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 07:35 PM   #24
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I Agree with Ken: It would be a waste of time to do color correction for each shot in post production. You have to set the camera right while on the field. The only one excuse I see for a color correction on the timeline is when you do a multicam shoot with different models/brands - they are never the same temperature wise.

I trust my eyes too but rather then bricks/grass etc I use skin tone as a reference. We all know how a healthy human face looks like so there should be no mistake in judjing overhaul color temperature by looking at someone's face in the shot.

I also like those cameras displaying white balance numbers in the viewfinder. Unfortunately HF10 is not one of them.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 10:39 PM   #25
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I'm planning to do some color "correction" (read: manipulation) but I will get better results if the image is accurate to start with.

I'd love a 100% accurage image, but with a consumer camcorder I'll settle for close.

Should have a gray card next couple of days, will try HF100 again. SR12 arriving soon also. Ken, I saw Amazon plans to have the CX12 mid August, that's very tempting, the only problem is the cost of the memory cards.

Is there any information with your camcorder about what happens if you need to get the hard drive fixed or replaced?
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Old August 6th, 2008, 01:47 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stas Bobkov View Post
I Agree with Ken: It would be a waste of time to do color correction for each shot in post production. You have to set the camera right while on the field.
You need to give up this fantasy with any consumer camcorder. You will NOT get PERFECT skin tone using by "setting the camera right." It makes no difference the mode you use, nor the camcorder. These cameras do NOT get it right.

Moreover, it takes almost no time to CC a clip. Once, you set the correction needed for a situation -- correct BOTH Color Balance and remove Red Push -- you paste this correction on all clips in the same situation. IMHO, one would have to be very lazy to not spend 30-seconds adjusting one of clips shot in a situation. With even consumer NLE's like iMovie offering real-time CC -- I find it hard to think of CC as some exotic task. I'm lazy, but not that lazy. (Once you correct for camera error -- it's optional if you then further correct for shot to shot differences. By keeping the Waveform monitor open you can quickly tweak black/white compress/stretch.)

And, with most NLEs -- CC is real-time. AVCHD has almost nothing to do with CC. In fact, with any Apple NLE or EDIUS -- it has NOTHING to do with CC.

However, you and Ken may be happy with what what you get without CC -- and you guys have every right to accept what you "get" and enjoy it.

PS: "We all know how a healthy human face looks like so there should be no mistake in judjing overhaul color temperature by looking at someone's face in the shot." Maybe you live in an all white world, but I don't. And, if you think the camcorder's LCD offers perfect reproduction -- you have a second fantasy. And, even if you have a calibrated CRT -- just what would you do if you see skin tone is not correct? You've got no camcorder controls.
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Old August 6th, 2008, 06:28 AM   #27
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I agree with you Steve. Consumer cams have problems in getting the right skin tone. Even if you manually white balance there is still a slight difference from the original.
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Old August 6th, 2008, 06:58 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Rich Ellis View Post

Is there any information with your camcorder about what happens if you need to get the hard drive fixed or replaced?
Not that I saw Rich, but from what I've read it's not a difficult job. Some guys have opened up their cams and actually disconnected their HDs successfully. I wouldn't recommend that, but it just shows you that access to the drive is not impossible.
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Old August 6th, 2008, 07:09 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
Moreover, it takes almost no time to CC a clip. Once, you set the correction needed for a situation -- correct BOTH Color Balance and remove Red Push -- you paste this correction on all clips in the same situation. IMHO, one would have to be very lazy to not spend 30-seconds adjusting one of clips shot in a situation.
I can tell you haven't done any computer work with AVCHD. :)

It sure is no '30 second job'. First off you must load your clips, color correct and then output back to AVCHD (if your software even allows that!). Yes I know, you don't 'have to' output back to AVCHD, but many of us like to keep the format the same. That process does not take 30 seconds...no way no how.

Further, these are consumer HD cams and for most people a good AWB (not 'perfect') will do the job quite nicely and render itself nearly invisible. The fact is that the range of these consumer cams is such that even when using a vectroscope, there is no way that all colors will be perfect anyway! Many of us want to use these cams as simple point & shoot with no need for computer intervention if we choose not to. More importantly, the tremendous variation in human skin tones from pinkish to deep brownish will more than cover the slight variation in a good AWB in decent light. I've never ever gotten an SR12 flesh tone displayed on my calibrated 60" plasma that would make anyone say "my God, that doesn't look right"...not even close. Flesh tones have always looked extremely believable. Think of it this way, if your fleshtone via AWB is off say 10-15% in any direction, do you 'really' recall your subject under that lighting condition so well that you'd recognize that 10-15% error? I don't think so. The longer the time span between when you did your shoot and when you viewed the results, make your memory's 'accuracy' more and more suspect...especially with skin tones. But such was not the case with my HF10. That cam caused me concern because much of the footage, no matter how I tweaked the cam, would have required computer intervention. No thanks, but that's just MO.

For me, the thought that I'd have to CC my SR12 footage to make flesh tones 'believable' would have been a deal-breaker. Is it perect? Probably not. Would anyone notice a slight error that brings it out of the 'perfect' range? I seriously doubt it. The point is that these are 'fun cams' and not 'broadcast cams'. We are not sending the footage out for broadcast, we're using them (at least I do) to remember and record events. If the footage has color that is entirely beleivable and doesn't call attention to itself (a key), then it's fine for its intended purpose IMO. No matter how I massage the footage, I will never get a $1,000 consumer HD cam to render perfect color. You won't get a $50,000 broadcast cam to do that either for that matter. We can get close, but there is no such thing as 'pefect' with today's technology...and we're not even talking about the display end of this and the errors caused at that end! I could also get in to a whole discussion of our Rec709 HD standard and its accuracy in terms of 'real world' color, but that's another subject! :)
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Old August 7th, 2008, 02:08 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Ken Ross View Post
I can tell you haven't done any computer work with AVCHD. :)

It sure is no '30 second job'. First off you must load your clips, color correct and then output back to AVCHD (if your software even allows that!). Yes I know, you don't 'have to' output back to AVCHD, but many of us like to keep the format the same. That process does not take 30 seconds...no way no how.
The SR is only a "consumer" camcorder when treated as such by someone who lacks understanding of how to get "prosumer" quality from it. True, the majority of those who buy the Sony are indeed consumers.

However, I really don't -- given the questions being asked here AND the number of folks buying my book -- that those who come to DVINFO are buying $1200 HD camcorders to use only as point-and-shoot camcorders. Most are trying to push the quality envelope to get results one would get from a $2500 camcorder. If you want to shoot your kids and not CC -- fine. And, since that's your only goal -- I'm not sure why you keep jumping into every thread to say "you are happy with the Sony." I think we all knew that months ago.

Moreover, your latest post is nonsense. You will be importing, editing, and exporting -- even if you DON'T CC. So adding all these times to the task of CCing -- is intentionally misleading.

If you can't adjust RGB levels with your NLE's WB joystick until "white" is "centered" and then rotate the chroma phase dial to get skin to be the right phase -- while watching on a vectorscope -- in less than 30S, then it is your problem. Don't blame it on AVCHD. The codec has nothing to with how fast you CC.

And, since the majority of NLE's (iMovie, FCE, FCP, Premiere, Premiere with Cineform, EDIUS, Avid Media Composer) aren't working with AVCHD -- one is CCing an intermediate codec, not AVCHD. So babbling about the time needed to CC AVCHD is simply silly.
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