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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 November 5th, 2006, 03:40 PM   #1
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Poor Low Light SO FAR

I have had the A1 for about four days. It is a phenomenal camera and I am learning as much as I can about it. My day shots are fantastic on mostly auto mode with a bit of exposure compensation. My low light shots really suck. I worked overnight last night. (I am an emergency medicine doc) I took some A1 video on a tripod of the helicopter on the pad and it is terribly and unacceptably noisy. The lighting is fair and is certainly MUCH MORE than the lighting of Kaku's city shot at night with the jumbotrons in the background. I must say that I had it in "A" mode and exp locked and tried a little more and a little less exposure with no help. Today I am looking at the NR custom functions and wonder if that is what was used to make the night footage look so good on Kaku's footage..... The gain is set to AGC on. I am willing to try any and all suggestions to get my night footage looking as good as Kaku's. If someone has a GREAT night settings 60i preset file and could upload it I would put it on a card and try it with my camera!

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Old November 5th, 2006, 04:05 PM   #2
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Try putting it in manual with 60i, 18 db gain, 1/30 or 1/60 shutter speed, and iris all the way open.

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Old November 5th, 2006, 04:29 PM   #3
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Try shooting with the iris all the way open, no ND engaged, 1/60 or 1/30 shutter. (1/30 will look a bit slurry)

24F actually has a little more sensitivity too, if you don't mind the look of the frame rate. If you don't actually need a really bright picture I wouldn't go above 6db for a relatively clean picture, and no more than 12 dB for somewhat acceptable noise levels.
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Old November 5th, 2006, 04:30 PM   #4
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Someone please... PLEASE, just put the camera in full manual, open the iris, set shutter to 1/30, turn off gain, go outside into lit street, film...

turn gainm up to 6... then 12... then 18...


Thats a really simple test... MANUAL not AUTO anything. Only real test... Any cam in auto at night blows.
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Old November 5th, 2006, 04:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Nayman
Any cam in auto at night blows.
Amen to that!
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Old November 5th, 2006, 05:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Miner
The gain is set to AGC on.
And that's the reason why you've had poor low light so far.
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Old November 5th, 2006, 05:14 PM   #7
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Ha!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Nayman
Someone please... PLEASE, just put the camera in full manual, open the iris, set shutter to 1/30, turn off gain, go outside into lit street, film...

turn gainm up to 6... then 12... then 18...


Thats a really simple test... MANUAL not AUTO anything. Only real test... Any cam in auto at night blows.

Yeah! Canon's Auto mode is only good for the SMPTE Bars...Auto anything is pretty lame to me. (UNless it's followed by Pilot...and EVEN THEN!!!)
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Old November 5th, 2006, 05:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Nayman
Someone please... PLEASE, just put the camera in full manual, open the iris, set shutter to 1/30, turn off gain, go outside into lit street, film...

turn gain up to 6... then 12... then 18...

Thats a really simple test... MANUAL not AUTO anything. Only real test... Any cam in auto at night blows.
I will do exactly that tonight along with the FX.

It may very well be that having settings in manual mode makes a little difference, but you guys have to face the reality that this camera may not be any different than its SD predecessors in low light and quit stoning the messengers.

I have absolutely no agenda and have no allegiance to Sony or Canon.
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Old November 5th, 2006, 06:23 PM   #9
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Manual Workflow for all the auto users

deleted. Please see the thread on the main page
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Old November 5th, 2006, 09:48 PM   #10
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Again Daniel, no agenda... just don't like unsupported claims or improperly conducted tests... I am open to any harsh realities. Infact, I think the Lowlight disucssions here might stem from the fact most people are unwilling to face the harsh reality that film making needs lighting!
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Old November 5th, 2006, 10:08 PM   #11
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Thanks Thanks!

Thanks,

the constructive posts that helped me get the most out of my A1 were greatly appreciated. The manual settings that were suggested helped tremendously. The A1 set manually to 1/30sec, 0db gain (6db looked good too), and aperature wide open, looked great... I am going to reshoot the helicopter tonite at work and see the difference.


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Old November 5th, 2006, 10:11 PM   #12
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http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=78947
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Old November 5th, 2006, 10:41 PM   #13
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"Someone please... PLEASE, just put the camera in full manual, open the iris, set shutter to 1/30, turn off gain, go outside into lit street, film...

turn gainm up to 6... then 12... then 18...


Thats a really simple test... MANUAL not AUTO anything. Only real test... Any cam in auto at night blows."

Interesting thing I learned just now trying to do this test on my FX1. I don't have an A1, dang it anyway, or I would have done it too :)

Conditions were full moonlight, outdoors at about 8:15 p.m., in a typical housing tract in California. Street lighting.

I set the camera up by turning the Auto exposure to manual. Also before going outside, 1) I roll the shutter speed to 30, open up the iris all the way, by turning the knob until the screen indicates F 1.2. I then go into the menu to set the gain selections a 6, 12, and 18. I slide the three position gain switch to L for low (which would be 6 db). I close the menu. I have the zoom set at maximum wide. Before I walk out, I confirm that I do not have gain button on yet. LCD is not showing gain selected.

I step out side, start rolling tape, and pan the camera around, and I am surprised that I get a pretty bright, but grainy picture.

I then push the gain activation button, and the screen goes darker. Hmmm.. I push the gain selector to medium, which will give me the 12 db, and it gets a little brigher. I then select 18, and it returns to the brightness I had when I thought I was shooting with no gain.

Can anyone explain that to me ?
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Old November 5th, 2006, 11:32 PM   #14
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Put your camera in FULL manual
nothing on auto

Open iris all the way, set 1/30 shutter speed, put gain to 6db.. film, look at it on a monitor... will be pleased.
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Old November 6th, 2006, 12:21 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Nayman
Again Daniel, no agenda... just don't like unsupported claims or improperly conducted tests...
I did the tests tonight exactly as you describe as "proper" and there was little difference in the result.

Canon - brighter but washed out and grainy. (even at 12db)
Sony - slighter darker but color held up much better with less grain.

Taking into consideration the difference in the way both handle gain differently, the Sony and Canon look pretty close when the Sony was at 18db and the Canon was at 12db.

But the Canon, even at 12db, still had more grain and less saturation than the Sony at 18db.
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