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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.


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Old August 9th, 2006, 09:49 AM   #1
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finding the colour saturation very weak

Can anyone suggest where Iím going wrong, everyone raves about the quality of the Canon XLH1 but Iím finding the colour saturation very weak, contrast low and picture generally very average. I upgraded from a XL1s and the colour on that is definitely superior. Any ideas
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Old August 9th, 2006, 10:00 AM   #2
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Jamie,
Right out of the box the color is flat. You have to start playing with the preset menu for any image flexability - that and the Kelvin (white balance) dial will give you great color.
But Remember it is Not 4:2:2 color space, so the color may sometimes seem thin. However, you can stream lossless 4:2:2 through the HD-SDI port and this is what allows for maximum flexibility with this camera,
J
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Old August 9th, 2006, 12:02 PM   #3
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The XL1s produced colors appreciably more saturated than the objects being photographed. Canon toned this down in the XL2 and XL-H1 i.e.they reproduce color more realistically. If more saturation is desired it can be dialed in either in the camera or in post.
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Old August 9th, 2006, 12:47 PM   #4
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I have both the XL2 and XL H1 and have always found the saturation to be way low if you don't play with settings. I crank them up to +4 (I think, from memory). The only thing is, you have to watch out for reds. They look like garbage if you have cranked it up too much and hit a very hot red spot.

Just my $.02. You MUST change the settings for the H1 to get the best picture out of the camera. It's very vanilla if you don't.

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Old August 9th, 2006, 06:07 PM   #5
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Also, turn down your pedestal and/or setup level. I caution against pushing the color too far in camera as you will lose resolution that cannot be gained later. The color information is all there to be tweaked with later. Also, if you want more poppy colors, use video gamma and video matrix, not cine settings.



ash =o)
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Old August 9th, 2006, 07:02 PM   #6
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I found that the 1st generation of DV cameras all tended to be hot in terms of chroma (especially the DVX, which I dialed down to -5 or -7).. I guess the manufacturers wanted to show off that DV could capture rich color - kinda like the way detail/sharpness tends to be exagerated in HDV cameras...

My experience with the H1 is that it is just fine more than 90% of the time. There are a few situations where the chroma seems a little weak, but I'd much rather have it weak than hot - remember NTSC (if you have to deal with such a thing) is very unforgiving.. And, as mentioned above, it's very easy to boost color in post, but not so easy to remove it...
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Old August 9th, 2006, 07:07 PM   #7
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Steve,

Why is it better to increase a low color level in post rather than decrease a high color level ?
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Old August 10th, 2006, 03:13 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Antoine Fabi
Steve,

Why is it better to increase a low color level in post rather than decrease a high color level ?
Same reason you allow headroom when recording audio. If there's clipping you've lost the clipped data forever.
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Old August 10th, 2006, 08:46 AM   #9
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Oversaturated images lose chroma resolution that cannot be regained later.



ash =o)
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Old August 10th, 2006, 10:16 AM   #10
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Additionally, the really nice thing about the H1 is that you can SELECTIVELY dial color in or out - that's something that's usually only available on much more expensive cameras...

If you've got the time and the patience (which, admittedly I usually don't) you can actually set up menu accessed scene files for specific locations and/or situations... That is a terrific plus for people that are picky about color reproduction...

Recently I had the opportunity to review footage shot on an HVX (not shot by me, so I was unable to truly evealuate it) and for all the acclaim of 4.2.2, I wasn't very impressed with the image at all.. the colors seemed "mushy" and, while they may have been vibrant, they didn't look natural to my eye. As much as I like the P2 card concept, I'm very happy I settled on the H1...
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Old August 10th, 2006, 10:30 AM   #11
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my take is that I suspect there is a reason why manufacturer,s ship the cameras in a low saturated state.

Essentially 4:2:0 means HD luma but SD chroma. So if the balance is changed in favour of higher chroma the image will be perceived as softer because the balance is being shifted toward SD chroma. This is pretty much unavoidable unless you are lucky to have 4:4:4.

A point about raising chroma in post tends to lead to excessive exposure of the macroblocking 8x8 pixels, the DCT in the codec is optimised for the presented balance and altering that later in post makes it more visible. (Why on earth the codec gurus do not implement a phase shift in the chrom- luma macroblocks instead of having them co-sited, as present, really baffles me - it would lead to better images)

Because of the above , my preference is to shoot one click higher than I need on the colour gain and reduce chroma in post (and in so-doing reduce macroblock visibility)
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Old August 10th, 2006, 10:53 AM   #12
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John: I believe that any amount of manipulation in post should be avoided in HDV - when possible.. The reality is that in fast shooting (I shoot documentaries) it is often impossible, or at least impractical, to customize for every setup... Given the fact that occasionally some color correction is going to happen, I prefer to boost color (slightly) rather than have to tone it down. To my eye, and I've tried it both ways, it looks better - you're point is well made, though, and means that everyone needs to experiment some in order to satisfy their own eye...
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Old August 10th, 2006, 11:08 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Rosen
John: I believe that any amount of manipulation in post should be avoided in HDV - when possible.. The reality is that in fast shooting (I shoot documentaries) it is often impossible, or at least impractical, to customize for every setup... Given the fact that occasionally some color correction is going to happen, I prefer to boost color (slightly) rather than have to tone it down. To my eye, and I've tried it both ways, it looks better - you're point is well made, though, and means that everyone needs to experiment some in order to satisfy their own eye...

No worries Steve; mileages vary as they say.

One point I would add is you never know what monitor your audience will be viewing on and if it happens to be a cruddy low contrast ratio (<1000) device then the macroblocks will show up.
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Old August 10th, 2006, 12:18 PM   #14
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Another minor point:
Some 35mm adapters often change the image and need to be fed a bit more Color Gain
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Old August 10th, 2006, 01:26 PM   #15
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"Same reason you allow headroom when recording audio. If there's clipping you've lost the clipped data forever." dixit Stephan Ahonen

"Oversaturated images lose chroma resolution that cannot be regained later."
dixit AshG

...hmmm....makes sense...

I'll test it !

thanks !
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