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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 October 8th, 2010, 03:08 AM   #1
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Change gain in midstream?

I am shooting a short film, and while I did not commit the cardinal sin of accidentally engaging the AGC, I did leave my gain at +6 from an event I had just shot in a dark theatre. Predictably, some of the footage looks extremely noisy. I have two more shoot days in the same location. I suspect I'll never match the footage if I completely turn the gain down to the 0 where I would normally be...but will I get usable results if I finish out the shoot correcting it to +3 to reduce the noise at least somewhat?
And does anyone have recommendations for filters or plugins to try in post? Most recommendations I've seen are for windows, and I'm mac/FCP.
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Old October 8th, 2010, 01:21 PM   #2
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I would immediately take the gain boost off and optimize the future shoots. I'm sure you will find an artistic way of dealing with the previous shoot, in post. The audience will not remember the grain once it is gone, only the true tech heads in the audience will know what went on at the beginning.
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Old October 8th, 2010, 01:30 PM   #3
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There are a number of noise reduction software packages available. Haven't needed to use any yet but this thread has some info:
noise "cleaning" software
I'd be inclined to set the gain back around 0db or -3db and correct the previous footage in post.
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Old October 8th, 2010, 09:04 PM   #4
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+2 .. the Neat programs get great reviews and they're into newer versions just recently.

http://www.neatvideo.com/

Hi Cynthia, can you report back how you get on? thanks :)

Cheers.
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Old October 12th, 2010, 02:31 PM   #5
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thank you for the help...I changed gain to 0 and finished the shoot. I'm going to invest in some of the software that you've recommended and report back.
I did notice when moving the original footage into a ProRes sequence (I've been trying to capture in ProRes unsuccessfully, think I haven't correctly imported the additional EasySetup for this), the footage looked much less noisy. Since converting to 4 2 2 from HDV shouldn't result in better quality than the original, I was puzzled. My imagination, or has anyone else noticed this, and if so, how come?
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Old October 12th, 2010, 04:28 PM   #6
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Hi Cynthia, if I follow you .. it's subjective, depending on the subject, light, whether the cams exposure is in the sweet spot etc.

But 4.2.2? do you have a XF300?

Cheers.
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Old October 12th, 2010, 09:32 PM   #7
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hi allan,
sorry i didn't express myself well. i was referring to the fact that pro res operates in a 4 2 2 color space, as i understand it....but i am coming from HDV, 4 1 1 . the converted footage shouldn't be any better, as the conversion can't add more information than was originally there...yet, the footage looked better and less noisy to me after converting to pro res. i wondered why i would be getting this effect.
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Old October 15th, 2010, 03:10 AM   #8
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video noise reduction

here's my initial report. while i haven't worked on the footage i described yet, i was doing my color correcting on a short i'm about to submit to festivals and was unhappy with some noise when i imagined viewing the movie on a theatre screen. so i decided to look at some of this software and see what results i got. i first downloaded the Too Much Too Soon video plugins, which are free. there are numerous plugins which looked useful including some color correction tools (i am learning Color but am not efficient enough yet to switch over) which give more fine control than the 3way corrector in FCP. i tried both smart noise reducer and noise reducer. while the documentation warned that noise reducer might create too much of a plastic effect, in fact i found that smart noise reducer didn't really reduce enough to be effective. so i applied noise reducer and definitely improved the video, though noise was still visible.

i then purchased the pro version of neat video. wow! as others have noted on this forum, the "out of the box" settings work extremely well. the video immediately cleaned up and looked great. the standard settings still allow some customization, so it's possible to tweak the amount of noise reduction and also the amount, if any, of sharpness one wants applied. i found this especially useful in some footage where i had areas of detail and natural motion, such as grass moving slightly in the wind, which on the default settings tended to get slightly blurry (somewhat similar to smudging in photoshop, rather than out of focus). after a little bit of playing with the pdf manual on a second screen for reference, i opened up the advanced settings and was able to do further customization of the effect. i'm very happy with the software and look forward to working with it further, and applying it to the high-gain footage from the other project.

i will note that patience is needed here. both sets of software have long render times. fortunately, neat video has a preview function so that the effect of the corrections can be seen on the selected frame on which one is working, with the ability to view the entire frame or zoom in/out, and one can switch back and forth from original frame to corrected preview by clicking a button.

Last edited by Cynthia Granville; October 15th, 2010 at 03:11 AM. Reason: typo in title
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Old October 16th, 2010, 04:09 PM   #9
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Thanks Cynthia, another good plug for Neat. Do all the festivals you enter present their entries on a theatre screen?

Cheers.
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Old October 18th, 2010, 02:59 AM   #10
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hi allan,
it will vary. my previous short doc wasn't in any major festivals, but for the two small ones it screened in, they used a dvd in both cases and used a projected system similar to a home theatre setup. another festival i attended because i was in it as an actress did indeed use a large theatre screen. don't know what the format was that they were screening...but for some of the major fests, i know i will have to convert to digibeta or beta SP. to get to that point, some decision makers will be looking at dvds, some will be looking at online screeners (usually a 2g size limit, but codecs differ by festival, some want h264, some mp4, etc etc). so while i can't come up with one flavor for everything, and in a lot of cases they'll initially be looking on something that probably looks a lot worse than my imac, i want to get to the best quality i can right now so i won't have a ton of revisiting to do when (i hope) i get the movie into some of the higher-end fests which require high-quality screeners.
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