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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old January 22nd, 2004, 02:23 AM   #1
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grainy picture

I keep getting grainy picture noise with my XL1S - especially in the Automatic setting. It decreases when I turn it to -3db but the grains are still noticable. Another problem with filming in -3db is that the picture turn very red. Since i film in difficult low light conditions (without added lighting) the picture looks dark and reddish. Is there some way I can get around the noise problem? twiddle with the cstm presets perhaps. The grains are also noticable at 0db and 6db. HEEELLLLLPPPP
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Old January 22nd, 2004, 05:17 AM   #2
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You are posting a few contradictions. In automatic (green box)
mode it changing the gain will have no effect. The camera will
decide it all for you.

Always shoot manual, especially if you want to control how things
look in low light. Keep in mind that camera's require A LOT more
light then our eyes do.

The best answer to your question is: add more light!
Yes, I know it's a tacky answer, but that just gives you a way
better picture. If you are shooting in a club for example it might
be as simple as hooking up a small light on top of the camera.

If you are doing fictional work then definitely get some lights
and learn how to use them.

I've never really seen my image go red when changing the gain,
especially not at -3 db gain. I always shoot at -3 db.

When in manual mode you have much more control over the
settings of the camera. First change the lens to wide open by
going to an f1.8 or 2.0 (or the lowest you can go) iris setting
with gain at 0db. Then you can perhaps change the shutter
to 1/30th. That might introduce some strobing but will lighten
the footage up without introducing grain.

If you still don't have enough light then the only option is to
increase the gain. You should not see much noise at 0db or 3db
gain if you shoot manual at f2.0 with 1/25th shutter speed.

Also don't forget to turn of the builtin ND filter or remove any
screw on filters that you might be using.
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Old January 23rd, 2004, 12:17 AM   #3
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Thanks Rob - I have a question - how does your XL1S perform when it is set on auto gain because mine is horrible with very noticable grains. The grains are reduced at -3db but like I said still noticable. Using light would help but some of my filming works take me to the high himalayas - where electricity has yet to make an appearence. Moreover the interiors of the houses there (few openings to preserve heat) are dark with very few light sources. I try and optimize the light by using reflectors but it is very difficult say if the subject is moving. Things get more challenging because I work alone. So even after having followed your instructions and the picture is still noisy would it be safe to assume that the camera is **ck**. And if that is the case what could be the problem / problems. Cheers Rob
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Old January 23rd, 2004, 05:43 AM   #4
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It does not take a lot of light to provide a significant improvement in the image. Some battery operated light willdo a lot of good. Of course, that means lugging about weight.
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Old January 23rd, 2004, 11:09 PM   #5
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light solar batt. charger

I have a solar battery pack that weighs exactly 26 kilos. Now filming in the mountains means the only mode of transportation are my two faithful legs. Any suggestions on something lighter to charge my camera and light batteries. Plus i need it for my discman.
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Old January 25th, 2004, 10:19 AM   #6
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Can you send me a frame that shows how worse it is? Please
also send along the exact settings you used. The best way is
to shoot full manual and nothing on automatic. Automatic gain
quickly adds a lot of grain indeed. Some grain will always be
present, especially in low lights situations. It might be that your
camera is broken, but that's difficult to tell over the internet.

If you are unsure you can always send the camera to Canon
for a checkup (this will cost money, ofcourse).
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Old January 25th, 2004, 10:03 PM   #7
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Arright Rob - working on sending you a frame. Thanks again.
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Old January 13th, 2007, 03:35 PM   #8
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Same here. I have noticeable graininess even at 0db gain.
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