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Old March 24th, 2010, 11:50 AM   #1
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Want to use my HMC150, but...

I purchased the HMC150 last year and I was never satisfied with the image I was getting. In November I purchased the Canon EOS 7D to use primarily for stills. When I experimented with the movie side of the 7D I was really impressed. This is the image I thought the HMC150 was going to give me. I'm not talking about the shallow dof here (I expected quite a difference in that area), but what I am talking about is the difference in video noise/artifacts. The HMC150 always looked blotchy, grainy, and just flat-out bad. I love the camera feature-wise, but I also want to love it picture-wise.

I am including a frame grab from each camera. There is no lighting (save for the natural light in the house) - I just asked my daughter to pose while I shot with both cameras. As you can see, my poor HMC150 failed to get close to the 7D in terms of image quality.

Is there something I should be doing to give me a cleaner image out of the HMC150? Thanks.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 01:20 PM   #2
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What is the process you are using to create the HMC150 screen grabs?
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Old March 24th, 2010, 03:30 PM   #3
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I converted both movies to Apple ProRes 422 within Final Cut Pro. Next, I opened both of the converted files with MPEG Streamclip and exported both stills from there.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 03:44 PM   #4
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There are things your HMC150 can do that the 7D can't... such as zoom during a shot, and record clips longer than twelve minutes.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 03:50 PM   #5
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Chris,

You're certainly right about that. That's why I would definitely prefer to use the HMC150. However, I wasn't smiling when I saw the image it was (is) producing. I want to smile...please help me smile:)
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Old March 24th, 2010, 04:00 PM   #6
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well, first off...apples and oranges with the two cameras and you will always be disappointed comparing them. I was happy with the 150 til I got my T2i. BUT mixing the footage works just fine for most of the stuff I deliver which is web 720 30p. I acquire in 1080 30p on both. I've done 5 shoots in the last couple of weeks with both cams and they are serving me well.

First thing I noticed was you have a +6 gain on the 150 which will be noisy. You have a very fast lens on the 7D which enhances the 7D's low light prowess.

Second, 1/3" CCD's vs. REALLY BIG CMOS.

One thing that I noticed with my 150 that you may want to try is setting the black balance. Seems to affect the noise in a positive way. I generally will set white balance and then set the black. Manual says to do it whenever you switch modes or if it hasn't been done in a while.

As others have mentioned, use them for their intended purpose and you'll be happy. DSLR's are great b-roll/sfx cams but can't replace the pro features on our 150's just yet.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 04:32 PM   #7
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Well, coming from the DV world, I guess I had expected the image from the HMC150 to at least equal the quality I was getting from both the Sony DSR-500, and the Canon GL-2 I was using as my B-Camera.

I create a 3-screen show with an image size of 2160x480. For presentation purposes, I split that image into 3 720x480 movies, which are then output to 3 DVDs and shown using 3 projectors onto 3 screens. I wanted to go HD because I could almost get a full screen image (I scale it to around 110% to fill) when imported into my 2160x480 sequence. But when I got what I wanted, the HD image of the 150 looked bad next to the other (smaller) DV stuff going on around it. I had to deliberately stylize the footage each time to make it look like I intended it to be that way.

Putting an image in the timeline from the 7D was a vast improvement. I was just surprised at the image of the 150 even when compared to other DV formats.

Also: I did set the black and white balance on the 150 before shooting the test.
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Old March 25th, 2010, 12:19 AM   #8
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I understand your issue, but have a slightly different twist. I really enjoy my HMC40 and its image. But having come to video from DSLR photography, recently purchased the Canon 7D. I actually prefer working with the 7D for video, and am amazed at its 1080p video. I also perceive I work faster with the 7D. Go figure.
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Old March 25th, 2010, 09:42 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by David Jansen View Post
I converted both movies to Apple ProRes 422 within Final Cut Pro. Next, I opened both of the converted files with MPEG Streamclip and exported both stills from there.
Apple ProPres doesn't get along well with AVCHD video. I had a corporate project last year that was almost ruined because the client's in house staff were using Final Cut, and it was severely degrading the original image quality during the ProRes injest. I had to redo part of the edit in Sony Vegas Pro in order to show them what it should have looked like, which convinced my client to hire another editor to finish the project. ( since then, I've heard that the CineForm Neo Scene CODEC for Mac can fix this problem )

I don't know if ProRes is the main cause of the problem you are seeing, but your footage looks kind of rough compared to what I am used to.

Some people are using Adobe Premiere CS4 for the Mac, because it's one of the few Mac editors that can work with native AVCHD files without transcoding. ( I use Sony Vegas Pro under Windows Vista 64 which also works with native AVCHD files )
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Old March 25th, 2010, 10:50 AM   #10
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Guy,

Thanks. I'll check out CineForm Neo Scene. What gets me is that people were really pleased with the image they were getting with ProRes. It reminded me of standing in Best Buy looking at the "wonderful" picture all the big-screen LCDs were supposedly producing. I remember wanting very badly to see what the sales guy was seeing, but all I saw were all the video artifacts and pixilation. My "old-school" analog TV at home was much prettier. When my TV finally blew up and I was forced to get a new one, I really had no other option but to get an LCD set. Well, when I turned it on at home I finally saw what I was supposed to see in the store. It look great! So, I figured the bad looking downloads of the HMC150 video that others were raving about, were just victims of the same LCD-at-Best-Buy phenomenon. But, to my dismay, the image of my newly-purchase 150 wasn't any better. So thanks for your software advice.

Dan,

I used my 7D last night as a static "3rd camera" for an interview last night, along with a DV and a DVCAM camera. It worked great and looked great. Using it for cover footage however, would be quite painful. To me, it would be too much focusing on the camera, and not enough focus on what I'm actually trying to shoot. It would be interesting to know how you are actually working faster. Thanks for your reply!
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Old March 25th, 2010, 06:08 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by David Jansen View Post
What gets me is that people were really pleased with the image they were getting with ProRes.
Everything can look great until you have something to compare it to. If ProRes was doing it's job, then your footage should look at least as good as when you play it directly from the camera over an HDMI connection.

Cineform Neo Scene is a 10-bit CODEC that is designed not to degrade over many generations. I haven't used it with the Mac, but I think you may have to use the Cineform software to injest the video in order to bypass the problems that ProRes creates. ( this is how it is done under Windows, and fortunately the Cineform software does batches of files )
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Old March 30th, 2010, 09:13 PM   #12
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Neo Scene?

Hmmm...


According to the specifications tab: (Cineform NeoScene : Features)

" ProRes Support: Neo Scene will create ProRes files as the destination format if Final Cut Studio is installed on your Mac."

What's the point?

I hear you though - my biggest gripe about Mac and AVCHD and ProRes is the honking big files ProRes makes of my footage.... and yeah, I was REALLY hoping for a HUGE visual difference after stepping up from my HDV camera with it's lowly 6mps bit rate, but honestly, I can see only a marginal difference. I'll keep plugging at it...

(HMC40, iMac, 2.66, Final Cut Pro 6.6)
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Old March 31st, 2010, 04:27 PM   #13
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There is a big difference in the settings you used. In the HMC150īs image there is heavy sharpening! In my oinion that looks bad most of the time.

Try that: in the scene file menu set the "detail level" to -7 , "v detail level" to -7 and "detail coring" to + 4
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Old March 31st, 2010, 05:56 PM   #14
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I can see the hmc resolving more detail then the 7d, just look at the hair but also the skin were the 7d appears to have a more uniform color and doesn't show much detail either. But one could argue about the fact how that will look from a distance, while everybody screams for more and more detail the 7d proves that by blurring details a bit it appears much smoother and sharper. For weddings brides will be happy not to notice those skin imperfections that ex1/3 type of camera's will gladly show off :)
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