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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 September 4th, 2009, 07:01 PM   #1
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Image quality in-camera vs. in computer

Hi,

I've been using my Canon XHA1 on and off now for a few months. I've noticed a drastic difference in image quality from in-camera via viewfinder/lcd & my computer after I have captured all my footage.

My AGC is always off, AWB is always off, I use a variety of presets (VIVIDGRB, PANALOOK, etc.), and shoot primarily manually or in Av mode. In camera, the image looks crisp, clear, and the colors are absolutely spectacular.

After I capture into my NLE (Avid MC), the image has a hazy/cloudy thickness to it, it's also not as sharp. It's not grainy, nor noisy. It just looks like there is a layer of white haze/fog on it. I am pretty new to video, and HDV video especially. But for all you XHA1 users out there, does the image quality from what you see in your camera match closely to what you get after your dump your footage into your NLE? Or does it look quite different, or even slightly noticeable?

When I do coloring to it, the colors are more clear, and less hazy, but it still doesn't match the great, neutral image that I see in the camera (LCD, and viewfinder settings are still default).

Does anyone know what the problem may be caused by? Or has anyone else ever experienced it?
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Old September 4th, 2009, 08:30 PM   #2
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Avid has always been this way, even with regular DV. It has to do with AVID using 601 color space and computer monitors using RGB. Your footage is fine, AVID just displays it with the blacks pumped up. It's a hangover from when the onscreen was just for editing purposes and used an external CRT to see what their footage "really" looked like. It also wasn't as noticeable back before everyone had LCD monitors. The only real "fix" is the adjust the gamma settings in your monitor (which of course will make other apps look "wrong") and even this isn't perfect. I have a custom display setting set for my monitor that I use just for Avid.

This thread on the avid forum talks about it a little more.

Poor contrast in the source/record monitors and in full screen - Avid Community

Bottom line, your footage is fine. If you dumped it right back to tape without doing anything to it, and played it back in your camera, it would look the same as watching the original tape. Same if you export it to a file (provided you export as RGB).

If you haven't adjust your monitor, and you try to bring that black level down with color correction to where it looks right by your eyes, in reality your probably crushing your blacks which will be noticeable when you lay to tape or export.

Sadly this means it really hard to do great color correction in MC without a well calibrated external client monitor hooked up via Avid hardware ($$$).
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Old September 5th, 2009, 01:17 PM   #3
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Point well taken, thank you so much Adam. Yes, the gamma is the only thing that helps save the cloudy look. Which isn't too bad, but it's just sooo annoying when you have the beautiful crisp image in camera, and then in post you are staring at a something that doesn't do the all the work put in prior justice. It just feels like someone blasted a fog machine into shots, haha.

Perhaps does FCP handle this issue better?
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Old September 7th, 2009, 10:08 PM   #4
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From what I hear it does, but I've never used FCP myself so I can't support the claim.
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