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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 April 10th, 2009, 10:22 AM   #1
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What am I doing wrong?

I dont get it; I film in 1080, I use HD tape, I encode in 720 for the internet. But still it looks really bad! A lot of the shots were filmed with a crazy high shutter speed so thats why theyre so dark btw. Also, this is a canon xh a1 obviously. I am new to this forum so this looked like to right place to post this.im shooting at 60i but i accidently shot some clips in 24p haha.The slow motion didnt work out as I expected but next time im going to use optical flow remapping. I actually just turned off AGC right now and set it to -3 db. I made that video with Premiere pro cs3 but had to capture the footage with imovie, but now im using cs4 and final cut studio 2 and shake. The footage just looks really blurry and not as crisp as it could. EDIT:Oh and a lot of that was shot at 1/15000 shutter speed
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Old April 10th, 2009, 12:18 PM   #2
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If you were using auto focus and auto gain....that may be your issue. the sweet spot for the xha1 is 4.0-5.0 f-stop. I got a feeling, your gain was out the roof.

hope this helps.
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Old April 10th, 2009, 12:22 PM   #3
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Yeah I was, I just changed AGC off and set it to -3db. sorry if this sounds dumb but whats 4.0-5.0 f-stop? Is this the focus? Thanks
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Old April 10th, 2009, 01:15 PM   #4
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If you encoded for the internet, just double check your bitrate on the video and audio. When I first did mine, it looked horrible till I realized it was too low...
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Old April 10th, 2009, 01:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradley Ouellette View Post
If you encoded for the internet, just double check your bitrate on the video and audio. When I first did mine, it looked horrible till I realized it was too low...
when i encoded it it was around 6000 kbits per second
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Old April 10th, 2009, 02:23 PM   #6
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Huh, I just realized I have been using an adapter thats really dark, Im not really sure what it does because I got it for free but I have all these

Merkury Innovations

The one I was using says : MERKURY OPTICS JAPAN 72MM F-DL

and the others say

MERKURY OPTICS JAPAN 72MM PL
and
MERKURY OPTICS JAPAN 72MM UV

what do these do? should I be even using one?
thanks
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Old April 11th, 2009, 02:02 AM   #7
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You have a set of 3 filters.

The one marked UL is an ultraviolet filter - it filters out UV, which can improve contrast
The one marked DL is probably a daylight filter, which is very similar to the UV filter (slightly different spectrum filtered)
The PL one is a polarising filter, which is used to cut down on reflections from windows, water and so on. The PL filter will darken the image.

On a camcorder, the UV filter can help to protect the lens from scratches - many people (including me) leave on on most of the time.

I suggest you shoot some test footage without the DL filter to see whether it makes a difference. If it is a daylight filter, it shouldn't darken the image.

By the way, having looked at the Merkury site, I'm not impressed. They should at least spec what the filters do.
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Old April 11th, 2009, 02:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keegan Quiroz View Post
Yeah I was, I just changed AGC off and set it to -3db. sorry if this sounds dumb but whats 4.0-5.0 f-stop? Is this the focus? Thanks
It's the iris (aperture for still cameras). The amount of light that gets through a camera/camcorder lens depends on two things: how long the shutter is open (longer opening lets in more light) and how wide the aperture through which the light comes in is. Cameras have an iris which cane be opened and closed to make the aperture bigger or smaller.

With a big aperture, you can use a faster shutter (open for a shorter time) to reduce blurring (for example). With a smaller aperture, more of the image will be in focus, but the shutter has to be open longer to let enough light in to get a good image).

Iris/aperture size is expressed as a proportion of the focal length of the lens. So f4.0 means the diameter of the iris is one-quarter the focal length of the lens. Because it's a proportion, small numbers mean bigger openings (if the lens has focal length of 50mm, f4 is 12.5mm, f8 is 6.25mm, for example).

The Canon will guess at how to set shutter and iris for you, if you have exposure set to auto. You can set either shutter or iris manually, if you want to, but then you need to understand how to manage shutter and iris together. What many people do is set the shutter to a speed related to the frame rate (e.g. if you're using 60i, set the shutter to 120) and let the camera choose iris settings.

The other factor in determining the image is gain. Gain is nothing to with the lens or light - it's an electronic way of lightening the image in the camera sensor. If the scene is too dark for you to be able to get a wide enough iris/slow enough shutter to get a good image, gain can help, but the price is that it degrades the quality of the image. That's why everyone advises you to switch auto-gain off. If you leave it on, the camera will 'helpfully' adjust it to allow you to keep a good shutter/iris combination, but it won't care what that does to the image.

Hope that's not too long-winded. If you can get to understand some of these (slightly confusing) concepts, it'll make you more confident. There are some good primers around the web. Google 'camcorder aperture' to get started
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Old April 11th, 2009, 09:06 AM   #9
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Yeah that was helpful, thanks.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 06:48 PM   #10
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huh

yeah i just shot some stuff doing all the things i was told to do but it still looks kind of grainy along with a few other things check it out. this is also with some color presets and post color correction and a vignette filter(i just wanted to see how it would look haha). thanks again
oh and this is with 24p if that matters at all

http://www.vimeo.com/4364924
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Old April 28th, 2009, 03:54 PM   #11
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You say your original footage looks grainy? The stuff on Vimeo is hard to analyze since it has been compressed for the web. Would it be possible to post a short clip in 1080i in the standard m2t format?

Try shooting without any filters or presets. Keep the automatic gain off. Do NOT shoot in "green box" mode. Shoot in "A" if you must, but AVOID THE GREEN BOX. If you shoot 24F, keep your shutter at 1/48. Not for high-speed stuff, though. For that, use 60i.

Keegan, based on your questions regarding terminology, you appear to be new to videography, and photography in general. Starting with an XH-A1 is pretty brave! Jump right into the deep end, eh? If my assumptions about your experience level are incorrect, I sincerely apologize. It's just me opening my mouth and inserting my foot...like usual.

I hope we can help you get your video problem figured out. The people here on dvinfo are real helpful, so you're asking the questions at the right place.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 11:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Wozniak View Post
You say your original footage looks grainy? The stuff on Vimeo is hard to analyze since it has been compressed for the web. Would it be possible to post a short clip in 1080i in the standard m2t format?

Try shooting without any filters or presets. Keep the automatic gain off. Do NOT shoot in "green box" mode. Shoot in "A" if you must, but AVOID THE GREEN BOX. If you shoot 24F, keep your shutter at 1/48. Not for high-speed stuff, though. For that, use 60i.

Keegan, based on your questions regarding terminology, you appear to be new to videography, and photography in general. Starting with an XH-A1 is pretty brave! Jump right into the deep end, eh? If my assumptions about your experience level are incorrect, I sincerely apologize. It's just me opening my mouth and inserting my foot...like usual.

I hope we can help you get your video problem figured out. The people here on dvinfo are real helpful, so you're asking the questions at the right place.
Yeah I am pretty new to this haha. So I shot some more today at a pretty dark place but it turned out really well. I was shooting in 30F, -3db gain, 1/120, 1/6 on camera ND filter, 2.4 and 2.6 iris I think it's called, and I didnt set the white balance totally white because to be honest I kind of made everything looked all washed out. But my footage turned out really good with hardly any grain so I'm happy. In the vimeo movie above I was shooting in 6db gain and a really small iris (I think it's called). So maybe that was my problem. Oh, and that you guys for helping me learn this stuff!
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