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Old October 15th, 2009, 08:10 PM   #1
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Help! Me + HMC-40 = bad video today

Videos: Downtown Vero Beach walking tour - Treasure Coast, FL | TCPalm.com

I shot this today with my HMC-40. It was very bright and I had the camera on full auto, except for when I went into manual iris mode to lighten up a scene under a breezeway. I THOUGHT I returned the camera to auto mode afterward, but I'm kind of wondering now because I have never encountered such a severe "moving zebra lines" effect in any outdoor videos shot with my other videocameras.

Anyone know what I did wrong? I am not very happy with myself or the camera at this point.
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Old October 15th, 2009, 09:28 PM   #2
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What quality setting was that footage shot at?

By "Zebra" lines do you mean the stair step effect on some objects that are on angles?
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Old October 15th, 2009, 10:04 PM   #3
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I did a little more investigating

I shot at highest quality setting 1080/30p.

Some of the problem, I know, is the compression for the web. But I also am re-examining the files and it looks as though my AVCHD converter program may be a culprit here too. There is still zebra-ing (I don't really know what to call it - wavy lines in the roof of one building, moving-blinds effect in some of the windows, flickering when panning white picket fence) in the MTS files, but my converter seemed to accentuate it.

I re-rendered the video using the MTS files. Seemed to clear up the zebra-ing on one rooftop, but not much of the moving-blinds and white fence flickering. I'm still dumbfounded about that.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 12:03 AM   #4
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It looks like your "zebra lines" are actually aliasing. Most camcorders have this problems to varying degrees. Trying viewing your footage in the original .mts format or transcoding to ProRes (Mac) or Cineform (PC, Mac too?). Whatever you do, don't apply any sharpening to your footage as this will exacerbate the problem.

There are several post methods to reduce aliasing but I'm not an expert on this. Maybe somebody who knows can chime in.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 02:10 AM   #5
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Hi Sherri

If you shoot in progressive mode and add a fair amount of movement to the scene then the lines will get worse!! On top of everything the HMC40 uses CMOS chips which are not the greatest when it comes to recording fast motion.

Now, one important question is : What are you rendering your progressive file to or are you watching raw footage??? If you are converting the MTS file your convertor will normally add interlacing to the footage so you could also be looking at interlacing lines.

If you need to use progressive footage then make sure that the converter keeps it progressive!! Also if the converted footage is interlaced, it will be upper field first and if you render to SD (which is lower field first) you have problems!!

I suggest as step one, get Panasonics free Main Concept Transcoder from their website and try converting some MTS footage to Widescreen AVI and see what it looks like???
I use 2 x HMC72's (that's the PAL HMC70) and for weddings I transcode to AVI and get really nice results!!!

Chris
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Old October 16th, 2009, 04:41 AM   #6
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A fair number of people also use the DVCPROHD codec. You can get the transcoder for free off panny's website. I think you have to register your camera to get into the downloads section.

16GB of PH came out to about 80GB. I think that was 720 60P footage. Not sure how the transcoder handles 1080 vs 720 etc. as far as file sizes.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 06:41 AM   #7
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Hi Denny

Not any more!! You can simply go and click the download and Panny will send you a link and password. Just make sure that you download the Version 2.1 as this also allows you to transcode to AVI widescreen in both 16:9 and 4:3 and the quality is great!!! No need to register your camera at all but you will need a valid email to get the link/password!!
(For anyone else remember that the transcoder ONLY works on Panasonic AVCHD cameras!!!)

BTW Sherri, the other patterns that appear in your video are called "moire" and are supposed to happen when the pattern (like a tiled roof or brick wall) "match the camera's pixel matrix....look carefully at professional TV productions and you will see even the pros have problems with it!!!!

Chris
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Old October 16th, 2009, 10:02 AM   #8
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Thanks everyone for the replies. I'm going to spend today working on my camera technique and editing. Looks like I will have plenty to do.

As a start, I downloaded the Mainconcept 2.1 AVCHD transcoder from the Panasonic Web site.

Guess what? It doesn't recognize the HMC-40 clips as coming from a Panasonic camera. I'm getting an "unsupported footage" error.

Sigh. A great start to my day....:)
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Old October 16th, 2009, 06:31 PM   #9
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After many hours of testing and retesting, I have finally devised a conversion profile in Elecard that seems to be multi-purpose. After dinner today, I shot some new footage that I knew would give the camera all sorts of fits - a chameleon climbing up the screen on my porch. After encoding, the SD files actually looked better than the original MTS files.

But despite how good the conversion is, Premiere Pro CS4 doesn't seem to play as nice with these Panasonic clips as it does with clips from my Sony camcorders. The Adobe Media Encoder (h.264) still adds a bit of moire and distortion whether I'm using the MTS files or the downconverted ones.

Bottom line, I'm beginning to wonder if I made a $2,000 mistake. My Sonys - HDR-SR11, HVR-V1U and HDR-XR500V - worked beautifully right out of the box. No moire, aliasing or any quirky problems with CS4. Stunning high def video, great SD (recorded in-camera).

I wanted the Panasonic as an affordable, tapeless, pro quality eventual replacement for my V1U. I had high hopes after my first assignment - the footage was awesome, but it was shot after 6 p.m. If I have to worry that I'm going to get moire, aliasing and other artifacting in bright afternoon light - which in South Florida is every day - then what's the point of using the Panny at all?
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Old October 16th, 2009, 07:28 PM   #10
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Hi Sherri

The MainConcept encoder requires that the file structure from the camera be maintained so try reading the card directly. If you decide to copy the stream content to a drive then you have to copy the entire folder structure intact!!! I personally just plug the card into a card reader and transcode from there.

I must admit that the change from CCD for 3MOS sensors immediately put me off the HMC40 and I stayed with two HMC70's which give brilliant results!!!

Before you toss in the towel, try shooting in the normal 60i mode and you might be pleased with the result!! 30P can be very fickle and often people who shoot in progressive mode to get "filmic results" end up with other issues.

Chris
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Old October 16th, 2009, 08:05 PM   #11
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Hi Chris

The shots I did tonight of the chameleon were in 60i and yes, even with the moire from the screened porch, the resulting MTS file did look better. I have another assignment during the day tomorrow and the Panny will be in tow. I'm only taking it to non-deadline assignments now because I can't afford to have big problems on deadline like I did last night.

I tried using the Mainconcept transcoder directly from the card as you suggested, but it still says "unsupported footage...can only transcode footage shot with a Panasonic camera!" I'm guessing Mainconcept has no profile for the HMC-40 yet.
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Old October 17th, 2009, 10:20 PM   #12
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Hi Sherri

According to the website Version 2.1 ONLY supports Panasonic footage shot at 1080i and not any progressive footage. It's maybe worth doing a few seconds of 1080i footage and seeing if that works???

The only "professional" advice I have received about moire patterns is avoid them!!! Even in top series like MASH I have seen shots with moire patterns so the pros get it too!! I also shoot Realty Property Condition Reports here and get plenty of moire pattern when I'm filming the "insect screens" on windows!! (Normally I would avoid shooting them but with these it has to be part of the video!)
Try to avoid shooting (especially in bright light) anything with a repeating pattern...tiled roofs on houses...face brick walls ... you will find if you just re-compose the shot a little with a minimum amount of pattern it will not be a problem.

Chris
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Old October 17th, 2009, 10:40 PM   #13
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Hey again Chris

Thanks for the advice. I'm going to be taking the videocam on a cruise with me at the end of the week, so I can guarantee it will be getting a workout. No roofs, but a lot of bright light out on the Lido deck and in port.

And FWIW, the latest footage I tried to transcode with MainConcept was 1080i, still no go. Grrr.
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Old October 18th, 2009, 05:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Sherri

According to the website Version 2.1 ONLY supports Panasonic footage shot at 1080i and not any progressive footage. It's maybe worth doing a few seconds of 1080i footage and seeing if that works???
Chris,

I have transcoded 720 60P with 2.1 no problem.

Not sure where you read that.
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Old October 18th, 2009, 07:46 PM   #15
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Hi Denny

The Panny website says that!!! I only shoot in 1080i so I never bothered to test any other modes. I wonder why it won't work with Sherri's setup.

I works fine with the HMC70's and 150's and I really don't see any reason why Panasonic would suddenly change the structure???

However, enjoy the cruise, Sherri!!

Chris
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