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Old October 22nd, 2005, 11:45 PM   #1
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HD100 with mini35 today & Sony Z1 - good day

Gonna write and run.

I got a chance to go out today and I took my HD100/mini35 rig out and shot some test footage of my girlfriend in front of a small pond at a local park. Tried Canon 24-70 f/2.8, 70-200 f.2.8 and a prime 50 f/1.4. The footage looked very good, very cine with nice selective focus feel and the blown out background. I often remind myself that this is a $5K camera (through a $10K adaptor) - it's capable of just incredible images.

I also tested inside again tonight - very ambient light with a lowel Omni bouncing into an umbrella. I saw no SSE. I did a couple of evenings ago - but I can't recall the exact settings. Tonight was 0, 3 & 6db, back iris between open to 2-3, with the 50mm f/1.4. If I really hunt for it, I feel like my right half has a touch more red in it. No pronounced SSE today or tonight. It was a good day...

I also picked up the Sony Z1 on friday - I really like it as well. Of course it's two complete looks (1080i 'hypervideo' and the 720p 35mm cine look), but it's cool to have them both. I enjoy the layout of the Z1 as well, but I prefer the HD100 layout overall. If the upcoming JVC HD7000 can truly marry 1080i with 720p with a nice piece of glass on the front, it will be the camera I've been looking for. Until then, I'm very happy with both tools.

I thought I'd send a positive word. It's been concerning recently with all of this SSE stuff being thrown around. It was nice to get some nice results out of it today. Hopefully more to come...

Best to everyone,

Shawn
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 02:31 AM   #2
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Thanks Shawn,

I have toying with the idea of the Redrock Micro or Guerilla thingy when it comes out.

Totally agree with your last sentiments. People considering buying HDV would certainly have second thoughts after the SSE issue blew up. It is nice to remind people that this is a terrific camera. I had the choice of the Sony which I had used and the JVC and went with the HD100. No regrets at all.

Rob
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 04:47 AM   #3
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The thing is that none of these other cheaper adapters will give you the same quality the Mini35 gives you with the HD100.
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 05:46 AM   #4
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Michael, I really dont know much about the adapters.

I was thinking of waiting for the Guerilla one which uses a different (purely optical) concept to see what kind of reviews that got.

I would think that the German made one would have to deliver some superior quality given the price difference!

Though I would like to get one of these adapters it is not a priority as obviously you can use techniques to get pretty good DOF with the stock standard lens. I like the shallow DOF look but I would give priority to a good story any day.

Rob
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Old October 25th, 2005, 12:22 AM   #5
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Well - it's been a while since I've tried it with the stock Fuji lens, so I gave it a try tonight. Found subtle split at 0, 3 & 6db at 1/60 & 1/30. The more light the better, but it's there on tonights tests in a regular room with available ambient light. Additionally, the right hand side of the image has a slightly redder tint to it, which is how I've identified it on my widescreen. I noticed it after downcoverting and playing on an SD DVD as well. too bad.

Tried tweaking the color gain, red paint, etc. Still there. Hope to get a resolution overall.
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Old October 25th, 2005, 01:10 AM   #6
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Shawn, its really interesting how the whole SSE thing varies from camera to camera. I certainly dont get anything near approaching what you are describing. I feel that I have to go to pretty extreme lighting conditions to even begin to see SSE.

Rob
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Old October 25th, 2005, 01:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Alyasiri
Well - it's been a while since I've tried it with the stock Fuji lens, so I gave it a try tonight. Found subtle split at 0, 3 & 6db at 1/60 & 1/30. The more light the better, but it's there on tonight's tests in a regular room with available ambient light.
Despite the initial claims that SSE is tied to gain IT IS NOT. As a JVC engineer explained, all gain can do is amplify a signal. So it only amplfies -- thus making more visible -- any SSE.

SSE is from the CCDs and the amount of light is ONE of the keys. You've got to rely on measuring the REFLECTED light which, of course, is based not only on the amount of light but also the composition of the scene. ASSUMING you have an equal amount of light and dark objects, the AE must read at least F2 -- not OPEN. (You are using the AE as a light meter!)

The problem is that if you have a white wall that reflect lots of light, the AE will read F2 but other objects will all be under-illuminated. Which is why I strongly suggest adding light/gain until the AE reads F4. It gives you a stop extra light as a safety margin.

By the way -- below F4 the light transmitted through the lens is reduced far more than indicated by the F-stop. (This why film folks work using T-stops with a zoom lens.) The HD100's ASA is only 125 at these large aperatures and I doubt very much any normal room's lighting will be enough. (Shoot some color ASA 200 film with no flash and see what you get.)

You can, however, use as much gain as you want -- but over +9dB you will be adding noise.

Now about your red-side. AFTER you have the amount of light you NEED and set the gain to what you WANT -- only then can you manually color balance.

Moreover, if you WB with insufficent light, the WB will NOT be accurate. So, low light can not only lead to SSE it can lead to colored SSE.

I know folks here hate rules, but not only do believe they are critical -- JVC showed me a guide they were working on. We had a long discussion about their Guide and my book. We both think a set of guidelines is critical to get the most from this type of camera.
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Old October 25th, 2005, 02:47 AM   #8
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From all the posts (and of course only going on the posts) it appears that people's empirical experiences vary widely from camera to camera and that SSE appears to vary from camera to camera. For example mine form PAL land seems pretty good in this regard. I would not get anything like the obvious appearance of SSE that Shawn is describing under the conditions he is describing.

Is there any likely explanation for this to do with CCDs or is it possible that this illusory and more likely to be a matter of camera settings ? (or is it impossible to properly to answer this question given the limited info!).

Rob
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Old October 25th, 2005, 09:36 AM   #9
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Steve,

Thanks very much for your post and your information. I'm not in front of the camera right now, but I certainly look forward to experimenting with your suggestions later on.

Again - not being in front of it, this may be 'off' - but are you suggesting going to auto iris on the lens, and adjusting the camera according to what it reports (gain/shutter until automatic iris sees the subjects as f2-f4) - then going to manual and adopting the camera's 'suggestion'? I'm not positive that will work for me in how I was hoping to shoot with this, but maybe I'll have to re-evaluate how/where I use this camera overall - which may be the point to all of this.

Additionally, do you recommend other menu settings for the AE Level (I recall Normal, +1, +2), and setting the ALC MAX to 6 or 12db? I haven't played with these settings at all (that I recall), and I never have the lens in 'Auto' mode. I admit I have been opening the iris wide, and adding gain/decreasing shutter until I see zebras (which I have set to 100). So I've been using the camera as a waveform monitor rather than a light meter.

I'm looking forward to more experimentation. A bit pessimistic that I can't control every setting I'm in, but I may have to accept that as a fact.

Anything you can add is greatly appreciated.

Thanks very much,
Shawn
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Old October 25th, 2005, 06:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Alyasiri
Steve,

Are you suggesting going to auto iris on the lens, and adjusting the camera according to what it reports (gain/shutter until automatic iris sees the subjects as f2-f4) - then going to manual and adopting the camera's 'suggestion'?
There's a simpler way. Switch the Iris to Manual. Frame your scene, and momentarily press the AE button on the lens. You now have the "correct" exposure and you can see what the light level is. You'ld like F2 to F4. Let's say F2.8 as a minimum.

I say "correct" because in almost every situation the AE system is spot on. However, let's assume you want a darker mood or a bleached look -- simply adjust the AE bias. Now the AE delivers your mood.

Now, if you really think you can out-think a computer, AFTER the AE system has set its idea of a correct exposure -- simply fine-tune it manually.
---------------------------------

I left out setting the gain because that should be done on a location to location basis or each shot will have a different noise level.

----------------------------------

Likewise, after you set your gain for the location you want to WB. It's up to you how often you WB. Just don't change the gain.

--------------------------

"I admit I have been opening the iris wide, and adding gain/decreasing shutter until I see zebras (which I have set to 100). So I've been using the camera as a waveform monitor rather than a light meter."

I wrote a whole series on exposure for HDV@Work and one of my main points is that shutter-speed is for creative alterations of the image -- not for exposure control! Set the exposure to either 1/60 or 1/48 or 1/50th. Do not touch unless you want a blur or a strobe look.

Then use the iris to get 100IRE. However, that only works if you have enough light to get 100IRE. In low light, set the zebra to 80IRE. Now faces should have enough light to show zebra. If you don't see zebra, you have too little light!

By the way, this is an alternative to the "get an f/2.8" reading rule.
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Old October 25th, 2005, 06:12 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Robert Castiglione
Is there any likely explanation for this to do with CCDs or is it possible that this illusory and more likely to be a matter of camera settings ? (or is it impossible to properly to answer this question given the limited info!).

Rob
I sure feel it's impossible to answer! :(

"It's the CCDs, Dummy!" seems to be the truth. But, it seems the CCDs vary. Then the calibration varies. Then the way folks shoot vary.

Moreover, I've got two sets of potential rules, while JVC has another one.

By the way, JVC suggests ALMOST ANY CHANGE you make can make SSE go away. Increase/decrease exposure. Increase/decrease lighting. In about 7-days, I'll explain why JVC says that will work in my "The Sensor Sessions" at: http://www.gyhduser.com/

Right now I'm presenting Interlace CCDs as I work to Progressive and then to JVC's CCDs.
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Old October 25th, 2005, 09:39 PM   #12
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Thanks again Steve. I appreciate your very helpful notes.

I had actually done this before, but AE was always going to open, with or without gain (6 & 9db). I start to approach f2 - f4 if I start pointing it at a lamp, sometimes using gain.

Tested again tonight and yes, it certainly eliminates or masks the split far more if I frame something that is very well lit - but I can pan right a touch and find the split again.

As for shutter, I definitely agree - I never go to 1/30th on any camera - except this one in a dire scenario to bring more light in.

I set the gamma to normal and pulled the levels down - the reddish side is not as prominent, but it is there.

Technically - lower than optimum light scenario - yes, I've never doubted that. However, it seems unreasonable that I can't just shoot matter-of-fact footage in a normal room without this creeping up & in, or me using a light kit for every shot. Can't help but think this unit could/should be tweaked, considering that others aren't running into this in similar scenarios. Perhaps they are.

Thanks again for the tips and advice. It is very much appreciated.
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Old October 25th, 2005, 09:58 PM   #13
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Shawn, is there any chanse you could upload some footage with the JVC/Mini35 combo?
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Old October 26th, 2005, 01:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Alyasiri
- but I can pan right a touch and find the split again.
I've had this happen too -- and came up with yet another rule. The light needs to be adequate for the area you are going to pan INTO. I never published this because it seems so restrictive. Yet, imagine a still camera with ASA 200 film. You set the exposure for one shot and take it. Then you turn to a darker area and snap. The second pix will be under-exposed. Everyone accepts this in photography.

"I set the gamma to normal and pulled the levels down - the reddish side is not as prominent, but it is there."

I'm begining to think your camera is too far out of calibration. I'd take it back. Something seems too far too wrong.

"However, it seems unreasonable that I can't just shoot matter-of-fact footage in a normal room without this creeping up & in, or me using a light kit for every shot."

Back in the 60's when we had a choice of ASA 125 or ASA 400 I had to accept the grain from Tri-X (400) as 125 simply cound not be shot without extra lighting. Now I loved grain. But, if I was shooting for someone who didn't -- I had to add light.

The HD100 is like being restricted to about ASA 200 film as it ranges from 125 to 250. That's why I suggest folks shoot ASA 200 color film with a shutter at 1/60th an an F1.4 lens to get a real feeling what shooting will be like.
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Old October 26th, 2005, 08:13 AM   #15
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Thanks again Steve - I appreciate the advice as always.

I've got a pretty solid set of Canon zooms & primes & a digital SLR - so I definitely hear what you're saying. Not complaining about the grain/grit or darkness - I feel like I've figured out ways to compensate for that. It's just my concern that I'll come back and find a nice line running up the middle on something I've shot - that would be more problematic for me. I've seen this camera take stunning images in controlled situations - I feel like I'm 95% there for the anticipated compensation for more run-and-go shooting, where there wouldn't be direct control.

As far as calibration, I tend to agree - I have arranged to have the unit either inspected or swapped out. Not in a twist over it because I think it will all work out and I've got good folks like yourself in this forum to bounce things around on. I don't recall this being an issue when I first got it, but then I was still installing my HD monitor at that same time, etc.

I'm really using this cam to finalize my setup/workflow over the next couple of months, so I can hit NAB '06 and pick up something bigger, using this for B-roll, 2nd cam or backup. I think it's going to be an exciting year.

Thanks again,
Shawn

**PS - Soroush - I'd be happy to find a quick test clip to upload, however, I don't have the space online. Can anybody house a 10-30mb file if I was to get it to you? Nothing groundbreaking here - it's just a test shot in front of a small piece of water at a park - a nice selective focus feel. I was scoping it out for future shots. Definitely a fan of the mini35. I'd like to get the adaptor for the Z1 as well.
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