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Old July 24th, 2013, 07:53 AM   #1
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Noisy blacks in Final Cut X

Hi all,

I wonder if anyone can point me in the right direction with this one? I'm a recent recruit to Final Cut X so it could well be something I'm doing wrong.

I'm importing media from a Sony X3 for various projects and have installed the relevant plugins to allow me to read that media. But I am noticing some noise in the blacks.

I was initially importing directly from a card reader and at first thought it must be high gain on the original footage but when viewing on the same monitor direct from the camera everything is perfectly clean. So I figured it must be some degradation on import but I am only importing the original footage, no transcoding is taking place.

I have now tried connecting the camera directly (I know there should be no difference) but notice that this grainy effect in the blacks is showing in the Import preview window, before I even grab the footage! And yet, as I say, the video output from the camera itself is fine.

Any thoughts out there??

Thanks in advance...

Colin
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Old July 24th, 2013, 08:40 AM   #2
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Re: Noisy blacks in Final Cut X

How have you calibrated your monitors especially to ensure contrast (and blacks) are displayed the same?
I'm not sure how one can compare a file to a camera out since the camera out may be processing the signal for display.
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Old July 24th, 2013, 09:07 AM   #3
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Re: Noisy blacks in Final Cut X

Not sure if we understand each other?...

I can send the camera output into the same monitor that I'm using to edit and it looks fine. It's only when reading the file from the card in Final Cut Pro that I see this noise and that's how it also appears when captured.

Any other video I playback on the monitor also appears okay, including work I've done using footage from other Sony cameras?...stumped... :/
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Old July 24th, 2013, 09:26 AM   #4
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Re: Noisy blacks in Final Cut X

Are you transcoding the files before using them in FCPX? Also which Mac are you using? If it's a MacBookPro laptop, I can tell you from experience that FCPX plays XDCam files with a bit of noise that is noticeable. The same files play fine in FCPX with a MacPro. Interestingly, the same files look great in the QuickTime player on the same laptop. My assumption is that it has something to do with the way FCPX uses the video cards. Regardless, in my experience the edited results are good, no noise..
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Old July 24th, 2013, 10:16 AM   #5
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Re: Noisy blacks in Final Cut X

Hi William,

Not transcoding, no, just importing at the native resolution.

I'm on a Mac Mini here but I'm certainly seeing noise on material in the Original Media folders when viewed in the Finder, as well as after subsequent editing and export from the FCPX timeline. But again, the same media viewed when connecting the camera via HDMI looks pristine.

???
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Old July 24th, 2013, 05:45 PM   #6
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Re: Noisy blacks in Final Cut X

The monitor inputs are not the same. The computer is probably putting out a different color gamma ratio than the camera which is likely tuned to Rec709 which is a broadcast digital standard. You should look into monitoring options sold by Blackmagic Designs or AJA. Be forewarned they are not cheap. USB monitor calibrators like the Spyder4 are cheaper.
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Old July 25th, 2013, 05:08 AM   #7
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Re: Noisy blacks in Final Cut X

Ok William, looks like some research needed. I think I understand. :-/

Not quite sure why I should be seeing it in this material and not in anything I've done before, or anything else available online. Is it just the setup of this camera?
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Old July 25th, 2013, 01:50 PM   #8
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Re: Noisy blacks in Final Cut X

The camera might have a black level option which in NTSC is a choice between 7.5 percent black or 0% black. l don't know if this is something that PAL ever had but it can make a big difference in how the dark areas appear. Also the output of the camera might have a black level playback adjustment that is masking how the image really is recorded.
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Old July 25th, 2013, 09:22 PM   #9
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Re: Noisy blacks in Final Cut X

Also note that FCP-X has a very capable scopes suite built in.

Load up your scene with significant dark or black content and look to see if the actual digital signal contains noise - that should tell you whether the issue is the display card processing or the actual digital video signal processing.

FWIW.
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