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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon XL2 / XL1S / XL1 and GL2 / XM2 / GL1 / XM1.


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Old August 30th, 2005, 01:38 PM   #1
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Video Quality Help

I've been playing around with the XL2 for awhile, and when I shoot in anything less than perfect light I get REALLY noisy video. I know that I am doing something incorrectly because I've seen lots of footage that looks outstanding in mediocre lighting conditions. Here is a sample clip of a project I am working on now, if you can excuse the compression artifacts you can see that its just really noisy and crawly, and at times looks like its not even capturing at full 24bit color depth. http://www.libproductions.com/video/Cplstst1.mov

In this particular shot, it was on manual mode, 30p, 60 shutter, 1.8f, gamma set to "cine". It was using the 20x lens with no ND. I would love to know how to get much more consistent results with this camera, as some of the footage I have shot has blown me away.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 01:47 PM   #2
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Well, I certainly can't answer your question, but I really liked the gritty look it had. I think pristine video is kind of boring.

One thing to consider - you don't accidentally have the film grain option selected, do you?
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Old August 30th, 2005, 02:13 PM   #3
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dunno if this helps at all, but i never use cine in low light, for the very reason you mention, too grainy, picture quality seems more defined on normal mode. low light will often result in a more cine quality anyway, due to noise, so you might want to turn that off in low light and experiment some more.

you didn't mention your gain setting. one of the nice features of the XL2 is that you can crank up the gain without lots of noise. in fact, it will help to eliminate the type of noise you seem to be getting in low light.

i would add that i think the cine feature is somewhat overrated. seems everyone wants to use it just because they call it "cine." tantalizing designation, but it does not enhance all footage in all situations, imho. "normal" is somewhat underrated because of its video associations, when in reality, some very nice images can be produced in this mode, with other tweakings, such as lighting, gain, etc., especially if you're already shooting in 30p or 24p, anyway.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 02:27 PM   #4
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Are you sure it was on manual? That looks like +12dB gain to me and the focus seems to pop. Also, any custom settings? You can turn up the Master Pedestal in dark situation and then adjust the contrast in post. As mentioned, the Cine-settings will control light differently. There are also multiple controls to adjust noise and black levels, etc. Someone created a decent tutorial (basic but at least a nice general guide) over at http://dvcreators.net/ watch the XL2 video linked at the top of the page.



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Old August 30th, 2005, 02:53 PM   #5
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Yes, definately manual. The focus popping was intentional for that particular shot.

The noise does look like it is set to a ridiculously high gain, but I had the gain set to "A"(utomatic) on the camera, but I don't remember the VF saying that the gain had been adjusted up (could possibly have adjusted it up without me realizing it). I saw the DVCreators video a bit ago, was very interesting, but brought up a ton more questions for me than I had before I saw it!

I'll try to switch back to normal settings instead of cine and see how it looks, but this is the first time I've actually set everything to Cine (just for this shoot), and I've encountered the noise since I've had the camera. I tried cranking NR all the way up, and it didn't seem to help much at all.

Nope, no Film Grain, I forgot this camera even did that! I tried that out the first day I got it, blanched, and have never looked back.

Thanks everyone for thier input, at least I have a couple of things to test before we pick up shooting again.

*Edit*

Welp, dropped everything to default, manual mode, gain 0, f1.6, 30p, 30s and shot in a low light environment and I'm still getting the same grain. This is driving me nuts!

Last edited by David Samuel; August 30th, 2005 at 04:04 PM. Reason: Update
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Old August 31st, 2005, 01:34 AM   #6
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That is not normal... have you tried adjusting the master pedestal, setup level and pressing the blacks?



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Old September 3rd, 2005, 03:10 AM   #7
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same problem

I have noticed a lot of noise with my xl2 also, I have tried adjusting all the different settings, knee etc. to no avail. I am starting to think my camera is malfunctioning
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Old September 3rd, 2005, 11:54 AM   #8
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Gabriel, Dave. Try these settings

shutter 1/48
aperture 1.6 (wide open)
gain -3db
Aspect ratio 16:9
gamma cine
knee low
black press
color matrix normal
color gain -3
color phase normal
rgb color all normal
v detail low
sharpness lowest setting
coring higher (highest?) setting
setup level lowest setting
master pedal lowest setting
NR low

I listed my entire setting to give you a complete picture of one of my custom presets. In this setting I have nearly zero noise in a fairly dark room. The primary contributing factors to a clean, noiseless image are the shutter, aperture and gain. Followed by sharpness, coring, v detail, noise reduction, then... setup level, master pedal, black settings, knee. The rest, like aspect ratio, color gain, gamma etc... have no noticeable effect concerning noise.
This has been my experience in fiddling with the controls to get a clean image.
When you press blacks, lower master pedal and set-up level you get richer blacks but lose detail in the shadows. Go into your controls and try multiple settings. The XL2 almost demands to be gone through with a fine tooth comb to take advantage of all of its wonderful capabilities.
If more experienced handlers would liked to chime in please do as I am a newbie myself.
Hopefully I have at least somewhat hit upon the ability to reduce noise in the image.
And remember, great lighting is always crucial as well.
One more thing (editing this post to death) go to
http://www.dvcreators.net/
and click on "watch XL2 feature tour" this is a great video that shows how to light for very dark rooms. They have one shot of a girl next to a candle in an otherwise completely black room. No noise, just beautiful.

Last edited by Eric Brown; September 3rd, 2005 at 01:12 PM.
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Old September 3rd, 2005, 12:18 PM   #9
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Turning the coring UP actually helps reduce noise, not down...



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Old September 3rd, 2005, 12:47 PM   #10
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Thanks Ash, should have made myself clearer go "up" on coring...noise level goes "down"... not the actual setting.
Thanks for pointing out the oversight. It always helps to have a fresh pair of eyes on these big posts and...when I really don't have all the knowledge.
Edited the post as well...
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Old September 3rd, 2005, 08:02 PM   #11
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thanks eric

I will try these settings and see if anything changes. My problem is I am getting a lot of noise period. Even with outdoor shots in broad daylight. I will try to upload some samples of what im talking about.

I really dont want to send my camera to the service center :(
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Old September 11th, 2005, 12:23 AM   #12
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Eric, did you try your settings in 24p, or 60I? I really like the way it looks with your suggested settings shooting in 24p. I dimly lit a room, a good part of the room in darkness, and had a candle lit on one side of the room on a fireplace, with a family photo behind it, a TV on another side of the room. Love how it created a nice moody look to it as I slowly panned from one side of the room (in darkenss) over to the playing television, still panned until I wound up on the candle on the fireplace and the picture. It had some noise in the overall picture, but looked more like film grain in quality. Sweet :) The XL2 has only begun to amaze me as I slowly but surely explore the camera more :)
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