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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old June 16th, 2008, 03:57 PM   #1
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Darker than expected

I recently shot a wedding with my A1's and the lcd looked great, but when I am editing in FCP6 the image looks really dark? Is there a problem with the lcd making the image looker brighter than it actually is or is my imac and macbook pro screens confusing me?

Thanks
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Old June 16th, 2008, 04:49 PM   #2
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You should judge exposure by your zebras, not the LCD screen. You can adjust the viewfinder to color bars and get reasonably close, but getting the LCD so it is right is difficult. It can look light or dark depending on the angle of view. With the viewfinder your eye is in the same place all the time, so it can be more accurate.

Hopefully you're within a reasonable exposure range so you can tweak things and bring up levels a bit without messing up the image quality. However, you really need a properly calibrated NTSC monitor to check how the footage really looks.
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Old June 16th, 2008, 05:48 PM   #3
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Hi Bill,
We used zebra patterns on both cameras and judged Exposure accordingly. Never ran into this problem on my Sony's. the lighting was natural and shouldn't look so dark on the monitors.
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Old June 16th, 2008, 07:20 PM   #4
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FWIW check your LCD display settings on the A1's menus. Could be you shot with the backlight set to bright rather than normal.
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Old June 16th, 2008, 07:31 PM   #5
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Nope just checked and the lcd is set to normal and all the settings are in the middle.
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Old June 17th, 2008, 05:09 AM   #6
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Odd that you were using zebras but still had problems... Were you using a custom preset? One or two of the presets posted on this site have "tweaks" to the set-up, master pedestal and/or black-level that make the image look a bit dark. Look on the bright side, though (pun intended!) - better to be slightly under-exposed than over, since you can often raise the brightness a little and recapture some details.
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Old June 17th, 2008, 06:01 AM   #7
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Connect the camera to a normal TV set, play the tape and check what the video REALLY looks like. Or better still, to a professional video monitor.

NEVER judge (or make fast judgements) about the exposure relying on a computer monitor.
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Old June 17th, 2008, 06:34 AM   #8
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Final Cut Pro 6 darkens the gamma in the canvas to compensate for the default mac display gamma of 1.8. If you changed your display's gamma to 2.2 the FCP video would be too dark.
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Old June 17th, 2008, 06:39 AM   #9
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wow, never knew FCP did this. I have the same issue with my Sony footage, and
end up lightning it. So, do you tweak it, or leave it alone?
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Old June 17th, 2008, 08:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Hayes View Post
wow, never knew FCP did this. I have the same issue with my Sony footage, and
end up lightning it. So, do you tweak it, or leave it alone?
well, once you export it to the web it will go back to the gamma you shot it at (quicktime may also lower the gamma when playing the footage). So the only thing you can do is to calibrate your monitor to a 1.8 gamma unless you can figure out how to turn off the gamma correction FCP has.

I just change the gamma of my displays to 1.8 when i'm in FCP and switch them back to 2.2 for all other work.
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Old June 17th, 2008, 09:34 AM   #11
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Alex,
So should I just edit the HDV footage as normal and when I output to SD DVD will the problem be corrected or is there anything I should do immediately?

Thanks for the help
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Old June 17th, 2008, 09:53 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jason Bowers View Post
Alex,
So should I just edit the HDV footage as normal and when I output to SD DVD will the problem be corrected or is there anything I should do immediately?

Thanks for the help
If you don't mess with the footage's color or light levels things should turn out good on DVD.

Ideally you would set your monitor to a 1.8 gamma when working in final cut pro.

Here's an article with some tips on dealing with Final Cut Pro's color including an applescript to make changing between different gammas easier:

http://www.leadinghd.com/?p=4
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Old June 17th, 2008, 07:06 PM   #13
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What setting are you using for your zebras? If you were gettting zebras on the flesh tones and still dark, check the zebra setting. I keep mine at 75%.
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Old June 17th, 2008, 07:34 PM   #14
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I was using zebras at 100%. When shooting the reception the lcd and viewfinder both looked good but the imac is really dark. I hope what Alex is saying is true.
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Old June 17th, 2008, 11:43 PM   #15
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For what it's worth, I found after my first weekend shooting with the A1 that my footage was also dark compared with what I had been seeing in the LCD. I thus simply adjusted the on-camera LCD brightness down a notch or two and it's been much more reliable ever since. But it also helps to keep in mind what you're ultimately shooting for: TV or web.

-Brendan
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