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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 December 27th, 2006, 04:43 PM   #1
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Serious flicker problem

I noticed this on Saturday while practicing at a bird snactuary/park (Flamingo gardens) in Davie, Fl. I was shooting in 60i hdv, at times in tv mode and also manual. I tilted up from the bottom of a huge tree, up to the sky , and back down. When I played back my foorage at home (Sony HDTV), I noticed a distinct flickering of light during that particular shot.
I did some shooting this afternoon to test out a stabilizer (multi rig pro) and went in to view some footage I had just shot. I did a wide shot of the grass in my front yard, and also a shot of some trees. Several shots had this same "flickering" or "shimmering" going on.
I figured I would troubleshoot the problem, so I tried to re create it under different conditions. I tried two presets, one stock factory and one custom. I duplicated the same shots in Tv mode, Tv exposure lock, and manual. I under and over exposed to see if that was the cause.( Btw, it's not visible in the vf). It didn't matter what I did, the camera still has the same problem. I didn't bother trying 30f,24f or SD, because ther IS a definated problem.
I'll try to contact Canon tommorrow, but wanted to check and see if anyone else has experienced the same thing.I ahven't seen this problem indoors, only out side. Unfortunately, I have a wedding on Sat, 2 cam hdv...
Bruce S. Yarock
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Old December 27th, 2006, 05:58 PM   #2
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Bruce: Are you shooting at -3 GAIN?.. If not, try that in identical circumstances.. I got TERRIBLE flickering, especially on foliage (with the XL2), until I figured that out (read post below)... Otherwise, I'm stymied...
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Old December 27th, 2006, 06:05 PM   #3
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Steve,
I've been shooting at 0, not -3. I'll try it tommorrow and see if there's any difference.Do you think that the 3 db would come in to play even when using the nd filter? Wouldn't the nd filter negate some of the gain?
Strangely, I never had that problem in the 1.5 years that I had my XL2 (or my GL1 before that). I'll let you know tommorrow. Dan keaton also suggested that I hook up my monitor outside under the same conditions, and see what happens. My monitor is sd (sony 9") and my HDTV is too big to drag outside.
Bruce S. yarock
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Old December 27th, 2006, 06:16 PM   #4
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Unfortunately the gain is a function of electronics and not exposure per se.. Canon, in an effort to make the camera seem more responsive in low light*, moved 0 GAIN to -3 GAIN... (*I'm guessing this was the motivation for an idiotic decision)...

I'm surprised you never had the problem with the XL2.. as we speak I'm frantically trying to edit around some footage I shot almost two years ago with my XL2... when the camera pans across trees there is an annoying sparkling... It is really bad in some situations, particularly on bright, clear sunny days with lots of contrast.. Then other times, it doesn't show up.. It's never a problem with soft lit scenes, interiors, or close-ups - it's wide exterior shots with lots of little details that need to get compressed...

but with -3 GAIN I never had the problem again.
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Old December 27th, 2006, 06:29 PM   #5
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Also, forgot to mention - dialing down DETAIL and/or dialing up CORING in the SETUP MENU is another sollution.. it takes some experimenting to get the right balance.. try -3 or -4 and +4 to +6.. but GAIN will have the greatest impact...
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Old December 27th, 2006, 06:34 PM   #6
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Steve,
I hope that's the problem. I have a wedding on Saturday, and if the H1 isn't working, we'll have to use my Sony FX1 as cam 1 and the MIGHTY canon HV10 as second camera! You should see what the HV10 looks like on top of a Bogen 503 head....like a mosquito humping a football. I can just imagine the spoiled bride pointing to the HV10 and asking "Who are you going to satisfy with THAT thing?"
Anyways, It's strange that nobody else has reported the same problem (unless I never saw the post). Thanks again,and I'll be trying -3 tommorrow.
Bruce S. Yarock
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Old December 27th, 2006, 06:37 PM   #7
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"Also, forgot to mention - dialing down DETAIL and/or dialing up CORING in the SETUP MENU is another sollution.. it takes some experimenting to get the right balance.. try -3 or -4 and +4 to +6.. but GAIN will have the greatest impact..."
I'll try the lower gain first, and then try this. Do you use a custom preset for this kind of bright, contratsy oudoors situation?
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Old December 27th, 2006, 06:54 PM   #8
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Dear Bruce,

What shutter speed are you using? I assume that you would be using 1/60th, but we have not discussed it.

I also recommend using -3 gain whenever possible.

Bruce, call me if you wish to discuss this some more, I am at home.
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Last edited by Dan Keaton; December 28th, 2006 at 05:01 AM.
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Old December 27th, 2006, 07:00 PM   #9
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Dear Bruce,

I have a recommendation.

Setup your camera so that the meta data (all of the settings and custom preset information) is recorded whenever you take a still photo with the XL H1.

Then, when you are testing, take a lot of stills. I recommend setting the still photo mode to the highest resolution.

Then we can go back and look at the still and read all of the setup information so we can trouble shoot your issues.
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Old December 27th, 2006, 07:17 PM   #10
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Do you use a custom preset for this kind of bright, contratsy oudoors situation?
Bruce Yarock[/QUOTE]

Well, yes I do - but I'm embarrassed to say that I usually forget to use it.. I often work fast and after many years of not having the option to change menu settings on the fly, it just isn't a habit I can easily adopt (old dog, you know).. But, as I said, the problem here seems to become a non-problem at -3... Good luck.
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Old December 27th, 2006, 07:18 PM   #11
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Dear Bruce,

Over the weekend you shot footage at Flamingo Groves.

Today you shot more footage.

You could not see any flicker either time in the viewfinder.

And, I assume that both times you saw the flicker on your Sony HDTV.

Have you captured your footage? Do you see the flicker on your computer monitor?

Try outputting an SD signal and feeding it to the Sony HDTV or another SD TV, and/or your SD field monitor. See if the output flickers.

I am wondering if the problem is in the camera, or possibility in the way you are viewing the footage (is the Sony HDTV the problem, or is it a setup issue)?
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Old December 28th, 2006, 05:07 AM   #12
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Dear Bruce,

I know that your shot of the trees involved camera movement, as you said that you tilted up to the sky.

What about yesterday? Were you panning or tilting when you saw the flickering? Were you on a tripod?

I recommend that you run a test with the camera mounted on a tripod, and have it locked down.

If you are panning or tilting and are using a high shutter speed, a strobing effect is normal deppending on the background. With a shutter speed of 1/60th of a second, a slow to moderate speed pan should not show any strobing, in my opinion.
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Old December 28th, 2006, 05:30 AM   #13
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Dan,
I was shooting hand held (but mot moving) 60i, shutter 1/60.As you suggested, I output the signal with the a/v out composite cable,thus viewing the footage in sd. hardly any of the flickering was then visible.
I don't remember ever seeing this problem on my Sony FX1, but I'm going to try the following today:
1- Reduce the gain to -3 on the H1.
2- Shoot the same test with all 3 cameras (H1,FX1 and HV10) and look at the footage of all three. I may also try with a tripod. But regardless, that flickering is a problem SOMEWHERE in the chain, and if it's in the camera, I have ro get to the bottom of it.
I'll keep you posted.
Bruce S. yarock
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Old December 28th, 2006, 11:44 AM   #14
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Bruce,

Any chance you can post a few seconds of footage that exhibits this problem so we can be sure what you are referring to? Obviously I have experience with that exact camera and never saw anything funky like this. I am really wondering if it is something going on with your playback monitor. It could be the camera but I'd like to check out the footage on my monitor to see what you are talking about.

Talk to you soon!

Marty
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Old December 28th, 2006, 02:19 PM   #15
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Marty,
Here's what I did today.
1- Shot a Minute wide shot in my front yard,basically the lawn (grass) in bright light. I tried the H1 first.Lowered the gain to -3, correct exposure, nd filter, manual mode, stock canon preset (yesterday I used a custom preset).
Results- the same flickering.
2- tried my canon HV10. Similar results.
3- same conditions, exposure etc.- tried my Sony FX1. VERY LITTLE OR NO FLICKERING.
But why is there a problem with the canon cams and not the Sony?
So then we-
4- Captured a minute to Premiere Pro(via Cineform), and watched it on the monitor (gateway FPD 1960 TFT LCD) and couldn't see any of the flickering light. So we changed the screen resolution to 1440 x 1080, and still couldn't see it on the computer monitor.
5- But then we exported the timeline back to the hdv camera, played it back on my Sony HDTV, and the problem was still there.
So to sum it up,both Canons,played back through the Sony hdtv, have the problem, but the FX1 doesn't. Could the issue be with the Sony TV? Also, we aren't sure why the problem isn't evident on the computer monitor (because it's not a hi def monitor?). I'd like to post a clip, but don't know how to do it with an hdv timeline.
I guess if I had access to another H1 and a real hdv monitor, I could do an ab test.
Any ideas?
Bruce S. Yarock
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