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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 January 7th, 2007, 02:50 PM   #1
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Image graininess

Hi,

I'm new here and I've been trawling around hoping to find the answer to my question. But it seems it is particular to me!

I am an amateur who has just bought an A1 to see if we can make a go of making a documentary. I have a problem: all of the images I film with the A1 tend to have a graininess to the image, like there's a filter over my lens. The colour looks washed out, it's not rich and intense like I've seen in the example films posted here. This happens in both lowlight and outside conditions.

What I don't know is:

Is it me (and my inexperience)? - i.e. is it an obvious thing with using cameras that I don't know - maybe got to do with my settings (however I've tried lots of different settings and got the same effect)

or

Is it something to do with the A1 that I should know and can fix easily?

or

Could it be a problem with my camera?

Thanks, from Kev
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Old January 7th, 2007, 03:21 PM   #2
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Hi Kevin,

yes - the A 1 has a certain grain in its images. I personally like it īcause it looks a bit like 16 mm Film.

Have a look at the custom presets, there you will a function called "NR1".

You can reduce the grain quite a lot with this function.

To the colors: I think most clips you watched here are color corrected in some ways. The goog thing about the "washed out" look is, that you have much room for a color correction.

Hope I can help a bit, Max.

(sorry for my english!)

PS: under this link you will find a small clip I made at home with B/W and other correction:

http://www.madetomasquerade.de/video.../test3.mov.zip
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Old January 7th, 2007, 03:45 PM   #3
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on the side of the camera, switch off AGC... this is automatic gain control. The camera is using Gain to adjust for differences in light, and not soley the iris and shutter.

You will see FAR less grain.
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Old January 7th, 2007, 03:51 PM   #4
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One of the first things I did is to boost the saturation in the image, 'cause from the factory it's a little bit desaturated for my taste.

Edit the custom presets and boost the colour level (I like +30).

The A1 has a really gorgeous image, far quieter than my DVX100A, and although it's a touch noisier than my FX1, the increase in resolution more than makes up for it. But I'm surprised that you're finding it too noisy. As Matthew says - check the AGC.
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Old January 7th, 2007, 03:53 PM   #5
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Yes AGC off makes a huge difference. I shot in the Fog the other night and once I turned AGC off the results transformed from unuseable fizz to stunningly clean!
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Old January 7th, 2007, 03:53 PM   #6
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One thing you might want to check is that the AGC switch is set to off. If it is set to on, the camera will be adding gain regardless of what your gain switch is set to, causing alot of extra unnecessary grain.

Regarding color, the camera's default color preset is rather muted. Try some of the cinegamma presets ( I believe the default ones are presets 7, 8, and 9 as shipped from the factory). Or better yet, try some of the many presets posted on this forum:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=81071
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Old January 7th, 2007, 03:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Huettermann
PS: under this link you will find a small clip I made at home with B/W and other correction:
Very nice work Max. Everything looks so moody in black and white.

Could you just go through any changes you've made to the camera settings, and also what sort of CC you did.

Thanks.
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Old January 7th, 2007, 09:46 PM   #8
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I'll secnd that, would love to read cam settings & cc info.
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Old January 8th, 2007, 02:48 AM   #9
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Image graininess

Thanks for all the help and the quick replies, the AGC did the trick but it still looks grainy to me it's a vast improvement to what it was though. I dived into the custom settings today after reading the replys and I think I'll be able to nut it out from here. I have another question that I can't seem to find an answer for, when I plug the A1 into the computer (Intel iMac) it does't come up as an external device so the only way to load the files is through iMove and it's AIC I wanted to veiw the straight MPEG 2 files without conversions. Are there drivers that I need to load onto the computer?, does cannon support Mac users?
Thanks for all the replys
PS: Oh great work Max that little piece was clear as a bell and looked great.
Kev.
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Old January 8th, 2007, 03:49 AM   #10
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Capturing m2t (mpeg transport files) is not usual behaviour on a Mac. Normally you want to work with QuickTime HDV.

AIC is pretty much identical to HDV but uses intra frame compression, so although the files are larger it's less taxing on the system.

However, if you are after m2t captures I think you can do this through the "Virtual DVHS" which is available (free) in the "Firewire SDK" of the Apple Software Development Kit of OS X (http://developer.apple.com/sdk/).
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Old January 8th, 2007, 05:46 AM   #11
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Bw Cc

camera settings: gamma - cine 2
Knee - M
Blacks - Press
M. Ped. - -6
Sharpness - -2
Color Matrix - cine2
Color Gain - +5

In Final Cut Pro I used the simple ColorCorrection.

I desaturated the B/W clips completely and crushed the Blacks and Whites
in order to get this high contrasty look.

(does anyone know how to post images here? Then I could post a screenshot of the CC and HiRes images of the clip! Thanks!)
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Old January 8th, 2007, 07:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Huettermann
Hi Kevin,

Have a look at the custom presets, there you will a function called "NR1".

You can reduce the grain quite a lot with this function.
Yes it does, but NR1 has some ghosting. Its fine for a still shot. Try Nr2 med is no problem.

My standard settings that I dont usually vary are

Gamma: Cine 2
Knee: Middle
Black: Press
Ped: -5
Sharpness: -3
Color Gain: +15

The rest vary for each shot. I usually have my gain set at -3.

This I have found gives me the least grain and a very nice base image to start with. I use lighting etc based on this from there.
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Old January 8th, 2007, 08:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Huettermann
camera settings: gamma - cine 2
Knee - M
Blacks - Press
M. Ped. - -6
Sharpness - -2
Color Matrix - cine2
Color Gain - +5

In Final Cut Pro I used the simple ColorCorrection.

I desaturated the B/W clips completely and crushed the Blacks and Whites
in order to get this high contrasty look.

(does anyone know how to post images here? Then I could post a screenshot of the CC and HiRes images of the clip! Thanks!)
Did you use any NR on this shoot?
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Old January 8th, 2007, 08:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Siegal
Did you use any NR on this shoot?
No, I didn īt use any Nr and I shot with 0 db gain.
Joel is right, NR 1 produces ghostings in movements!
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Old January 19th, 2007, 07:47 AM   #15
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Kevin, when I attach my XH A1 in iMovie it is detected without a problem (on both my Mac Mini and MacBook Pro (both Intels))
I can record directly to iMovie without using tapes. I haven't tried the tape yet.
I just got to save some extra money in order to buy FCP. This weekend I'll probably will shoot some scenes on tape and see how iMovie handles that
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