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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 December 1st, 2008, 11:44 AM   #1
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Shooting With An On-Camera Light...Noise Problems

I am sure there may already be threads on this, but I was having trouble finding them.

I am currently doing a lot of work in night clubs, where the lighting is pretty much non-existent except for dim lights above a few tables and the dj booth.

I was shooting last week, and I had my Canon VL-10 on, which is blindingly bright in a space like that. Using a DVX and HVR-A1U, I had been fine. Now, with the Canon XH A1, I am exposed for skintone, but getting a ton of grain. My gain is at -3 and my shutter was between 1/60 and 1/90.

I tried increasing the shutter speed, but it only dimmed the image while the noise seemed to stay in the image even when I blacked it out. The only way I could find to get rid of it was to crank open the f-stop to 2.8 and raise my shutter speed. This stunk, though, because I lost a lot of depth and there was still noise.

I know the XH A1 is not as good as the Sony cameras for low-light, but is there a fix for this? If there is already a decent thread for this similar problem, a link to that would help as well.
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Old December 1st, 2008, 12:22 PM   #2
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Hi William,

If you have AGC turned off you should have a very clean image. Can you post a full-res still of what you're seeing?


Quote:
Originally Posted by William Holland View Post
I am sure there may already be threads on this, but I was having trouble finding them.

I am currently doing a lot of work in night clubs, where the lighting is pretty much non-existent except for dim lights above a few tables and the dj booth.

I was shooting last week, and I had my Canon VL-10 on, which is blindingly bright in a space like that. Using a DVX and HVR-A1U, I had been fine. Now, with the Canon XH A1, I am exposed for skintone, but getting a ton of grain. My gain is at -3 and my shutter was between 1/60 and 1/90.

I tried increasing the shutter speed, but it only dimmed the image while the noise seemed to stay in the image even when I blacked it out. The only way I could find to get rid of it was to crank open the f-stop to 2.8 and raise my shutter speed. This stunk, though, because I lost a lot of depth and there was still noise.

I know the XH A1 is not as good as the Sony cameras for low-light, but is there a fix for this? If there is already a decent thread for this similar problem, a link to that would help as well.
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Old December 1st, 2008, 02:43 PM   #3
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thanks

I will when I get home tonight. thank you!
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Old December 1st, 2008, 04:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Holland View Post
I am sure there may already be threads on this, but I was having trouble finding them.

I am currently doing a lot of work in night clubs, where the lighting is pretty much non-existent except for dim lights above a few tables and the dj booth.

I was shooting last week, and I had my Canon VL-10 on, which is blindingly bright in a space like that. Using a DVX and HVR-A1U, I had been fine. Now, with the Canon XH A1, I am exposed for skintone, but getting a ton of grain. My gain is at -3 and my shutter was between 1/60 and 1/90.

I tried increasing the shutter speed, but it only dimmed the image while the noise seemed to stay in the image even when I blacked it out. The only way I could find to get rid of it was to crank open the f-stop to 2.8 and raise my shutter speed. This stunk, though, because I lost a lot of depth and there was still noise.

I know the XH A1 is not as good as the Sony cameras for low-light, but is there a fix for this? If there is already a decent thread for this similar problem, a link to that would help as well.

I too shoot nightclubs at nights here in NYC!
I also have a VL-10 on my camera
which is too bright in nightclubs and usually scares the girls away, so I made a homemade baking paper diffuser where i added about 20sheets over the light and taped it off with gaffers tape(its just enough so that its not blinding and it doesn't scare the girls away)

As for my settings with the XH-A1 i use
+3/+6/+12gain depending on location as some venues have better lighting as some have no lighting at all.
my shutter speed is always at 30 which is enough for people in clubs.
i try to refrain from excessive panning.

here are two examples.
SECRETS MK & Stage on Vimeo
(shot with +12db and shutter at 60) NOTE: this was my first video ina nightclub with the homemade diffuser which had excessive noise due to the +12gain setting.

Halloween Bash MK & Stage on Vimeo
(shot with i believe +3db and shutter at 30. sometimes i went back to 0db when they were announcing the winners since they had a spot light on the stage.

and if im far away from the crowd getting a general shot i usually take off my home made diffuser from the light to help.
I only use the diffuser whenever I am walking up to people dancing.
The last thing I would want when im at a club is to have a really bright light to blind me from enjoying my night out.
I dont want to seem as if im prying into their space, so the home made diffuser helps a lot because no-one really minds the soft lighting(which is more than enough to get a clear shot)

i will try to take a picture of my homemade diffuser so you can get a general idea of what i am talking about.
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Old December 2nd, 2008, 10:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Holland View Post
I know the XH A1 is not as good as the Sony cameras for low-light...
Not necessarily. Any HDV camera is less good in low light than the previous generation of DV cams, and the Sony VX2100/PD170 is still king of that particular hill. Comparing my XH-A1 to a friend's Sony FX1, the differences are not huge and I actually prefer the Canon's image in most situations. I have yet to see footage from the the FX1000/Z5/Z7 family. Sony are making big claims for them, but I'd like to hear some independant opinions.
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Old December 2nd, 2008, 11:20 AM   #6
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baking sheet

samuel,

That's funny. I've been doing the same thing for a diffuser. It's true, girls don't like it when you shine brights lights in their faces, especially if they aren't models and used to extreme lights. Looks like we are doing the same type of work lately as well. I see what you mean about having the gain set to +12 vs. the lower settings.

Something I did notice when I went home. I took note of the gain settings, but in the dark club did not think to look at the gain control. In my head, I reversed hi and lo, so when I switched down I mentally thought I was decreasing gain. What I was really doing was switching to plus 12. I'm shooting this Saturday, so we'll see what happens.

I had heard that about the DVCams. I actually had to insert some footage from a DVX into a recent shoot and you can tell, because it looks way better than my HD footage (in terms of color, not so much on clarity).

Thank you everyone!
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Old December 2nd, 2008, 05:06 PM   #7
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goodluck and please show us some work on vimeo when you get the chance =P
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 11:16 AM   #8
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definitely

I just directed and shot a video for a local Chicago band. They put together a teaser trailer to submit to the Justice: Great in 2008 contest. The final video is pretty insane, and you'll see the footage here before I do any color grading to it.

The teaser:
Flavor Savers great in 2008! on Vimeo
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 12:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Ko View Post

Halloween Bash MK & Stage on Vimeo
(shot with i believe +3db and shutter at 30. sometimes i went back to 0db when they were announcing the winners since they had a spot light on the stage.
REALLY dug this video. Great stuff man! Like the ida corr in the beginning, really started it off hype. What preset you using?

Also please share those pictures of your diffuser :).
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Old December 4th, 2008, 05:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Panado View Post
REALLY dug this video. Great stuff man! Like the ida corr in the beginning, really started it off hype. What preset you using?

Also please share those pictures of your diffuser :).
i was using stock preset!

i will take pictures this weekend and post them up.
its about time i post up some pics of my rig as well.
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Old December 4th, 2008, 12:31 PM   #11
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According to this site (which recently added an english translation) the FX1000 doesn't seem to stand out compared to the XHA1 or even the FX1:

HD/HDV/AVCHD camcorder tests and comparison of Canon XH A1,Sony HDR-FX1000 (HDR-FX1000E) and Sony HDR-FX1 Best values highlighted sorted by s

The Panasonic HMC150 hasn't been review yet, and neither have the Sony Z5/7 to see if the FX1000 low-light sensitivity is as it appears here, being that they use the same chips. Besides the actual brightness the noise levels have to be taken into account too, and we know what happens to the A1 at 12db and above...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Fry View Post
Not necessarily. Any HDV camera is less good in low light than the previous generation of DV cams, and the Sony VX2100/PD170 is still king of that particular hill. Comparing my XH-A1 to a friend's Sony FX1, the differences are not huge and I actually prefer the Canon's image in most situations. I have yet to see footage from the the FX1000/Z5/Z7 family. Sony are making big claims for them, but I'd like to hear some independant opinions.
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Old December 5th, 2008, 10:21 AM   #12
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on that note...

I also have heard that the codec used for the new panasonic bogs down your computer while editing as well. I was considering buying it since SD cards are so cheap now, but there were too many things that gave me a bad feeling about it. At least until they get the bugs worked out.
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