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Old January 16th, 2011, 02:46 PM   #1
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Setting up the AF100

I was using my Evaluation monitor (JVC DT) to view the scene direct HDSDI. This is the best compromise I have come up with for the AF100 to balance banding and noise. The lens on the AF100 is the Canon 24-70 f2.8 L at 50mm f4.5.

Bear in mind I was not using a computer monitor but a calibrated pro evaluation monitor, and hardware scopes.

I am sure I will be making more adjustments and other scene files as I shoot some projects, but this will be my starting point.

Coring is +4 the rest is unchanged from the standard scene file.

Here are photos of the setups and one png exported as a png direct from FCP. There is also a png of my standard setup for my EX1R and EX3. I will have to make a matching setup for those cams as well.
And there is really bad photo in the end of how I set up the scene.
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Setting up the AF100-af100.png   Setting up the AF100-ex1r.png  

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Old January 16th, 2011, 03:10 PM   #2
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Hi,

Coring reduces noise that is added when you add detail. When you subtract detail you are not adding noise and thus your coring at +4 has nothing to do except....? Also the A.Iris at -5 makes no sense and that is a setting that talks to the auto iris of an communicating lens, which you do not have.

I would try Coring at 0 and reduce noise by subtracting more detail.

Best,

Jan
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Old January 16th, 2011, 03:40 PM   #3
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Jan,

It is my understanding that -7 on detail is no added sharpening. So even -2 would be some sharpening, am I wrong here.

I did notice a difference on my monitor when dialing up the coring.

Also the -5 on the auto iris is for if I put a Lumix lens on the cam (and in the future with the Birger mount) and I then used auto iris just to get a rough setting, I wanted it to be 1/2 stop under. My understanding is that -5 is 1/2 stop under exposed. Am I wrong?

Thanks Jan.
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Old January 16th, 2011, 06:30 PM   #4
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Coring is +4 the rest is unchanged from the standard scene file.
What coring does is progressively remove low level detail enhancement as it is dialled up, whilst leaving the level of detail enhancement applied to high level detail unaltered. This will indeed have the effect of lowering the noise levels, but at quite a cost in other ways on some images. By "low level detail", let's imagine three transitions, the first of just 0.02IRE, the second, 0.05, and the latter 0.5. The first might correspond to such as fine detail in a face, the latter a more "in your face" edge with a big luminance change - a window frame say.

With no coring, they all get treated the same in respect of detail enhancement. Start to wind the coring in, and first effect will be no enhancement for such as the face detail - but an unaltered level to such as the window frame. In real terms, the effect will be to make the image look very mushy - no subtle detail, but still sharpening of the obvious detail. Too much coring is one of the best ways I can think of to make images look more "video" and less natural.

It is not a good idea to use coring primarily as a noise control. The point I think Jan is trying to make is that it's better to leave the coring down, and if noise is a problem turn down the OVERALL detail level, so big transitions get reduced as well as finer ones. Even then, detail settings should be adjusted to make the picture look correct in this respect - it's worrying if they have to be used as primary noise controls. You can end up compromising between sharpness and noise, but never getting an ideal.

Better to back the overall gain off and accept a lower ISO rating, but less noise.
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Old January 16th, 2011, 06:52 PM   #5
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Better to back the overall gain off and accept a lower ISO rating, but less noise.
I have the ISO/gain set to the lowest possible iso 200.

I find if you reduce noise, the banding becomes more obvious, increasing it makes the banding less obvious, it is a fine balance.

I tried hundreds of combinations, looking for a result I like. This is the compromise I came up with.

It is interesting to compare to the EXcam. It is definitely noisier, and different in many ways. I set the EXcams up the same way and then refined the settings over a few years. The EX naturally looks sharper because of the smaller sensor.

I was not trying to make them look the same. Just trying to get a nice image.
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Old January 17th, 2011, 12:47 PM   #6
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I find if you reduce noise, the banding becomes more obvious, increasing it makes the banding less obvious, it is a fine balance.
Can you clarify what you mean by banding, Olof?
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Originally Posted by Olof Ekbergh View Post
The EX naturally looks sharper because of the smaller sensor.
I don't follow that. I'd expect the bigger sensor, the easier it would be to get a sharper image - you could get more photosites onto the same chip without compromising their individual size. Yes, it would have shallower depth of field, but I don't see why sharpness of the focussed on object should be compromised by a bigger sensor? And in the case of Red, it obviously isn't.

I'm pretty certain that the AF100 must pixel skip - only read out a percentage of the 12.4 million available photosites each frame. But even if it only read 1 in 3, that should still give about 4 million usable, and I'd expect that to give resolution up to the limits of the recording format. I believe the Alexa has about 4 million pixels total.

If you're rating the camera at ISO200, and having to compromise other settings just to get the noise down, that leaves me very unimpressed.
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Old January 17th, 2011, 01:11 PM   #7
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David,

What I see going on is if I add noise, higher iso, more sharpening, less coring, or different gamma etc, then the banding goes away. As the image gets cleaner the banding on gradients becomes more obvious, look in the upper left corner on the fully blown up png from the AF100 (it is a full 1920x1080 png direct from FCP). If you make a noisier image then the banding is lessened. It is a fine balance that is hard to nail, for me at least.

The EX cam is noisier all over but barley shows any banding. The noise is much reduced viewed on my evaluation monitor, computer monitors make this worse.

I was commenting on the fact that it is much easier to nail focus in a small chip camera. And if you look at both images fully blown up to 100% then you will notice that the EXcam is sharper. Sony does some "magic" to this lens in software and that may be part of the difference.

Please don't think I am complaining about this camera. I love it. It produces beautiful SDOF images. I am just trying to dial it in and sharing my findings. And I love the price of the AF100 and the choice of lenses.

I am going to do a lot more testing. And I will post the rest of my findings as soon as I have time.

I do think the AF100 will really benefit from the NanoFlash, the uncompressed HDSDI out is much nicer than the SD card version on these gradient images (gradients are tough in 8bit). But I must say most footage is surprisingly good for a 24mb codec.
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Old January 17th, 2011, 06:25 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Olof Ekbergh View Post
I do think the AF100 will really benefit from the NanoFlash, the uncompressed HDSDI out is much nicer than the SD card version on these gradient images (gradients are tough in 8bit).
I think the AF100 HDSDI output is only 8 bit anyway - but then so is the nanoFlash.

In practical terms, I don't think it will make any difference - the nanoFlash will improve the results - but it's down to compression issues, not bitdepth. The contouring (banding) you are seeing is down to the AVC-HD compression.There's an easy experiment you can do to demonstrate the effect.

In photoshop, form a blank file, say 640x480. Now, use the gradient tool (Filter-adjustments-gradient map) to form a smooth black-white gradient acroos the image. It will be 8 bit - but you shouldn't see any contouring or banding. Now save the image as a JPEG, with "quality" turned fully down (so max compression) and compare the result. At all times has the image been 8 bit - the contouring is solely down to high compression.

And if you haven't made any corrections to the AF100 image (brightness, colour etc) in the NLE, it's exactly the same here. The contouring you're seeing is down to AVC-HD compression, nothing to do with bitdepth.
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Old January 17th, 2011, 09:35 PM   #9
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David,

The NF is 8 bit. As is the AF100 HDSDI out.

The interesting thing is this banding shows up even w/o the compression.

You can see it HDSDI right out of the camera. The banding gets worse when compressed with AVCHD codec (mpeg4 at 24mb/sec).

The interesting thing is that the EX1 and EX3 cams are 10bit HDSDI. And they do look smoother before and after compression (mpeg2 at 35mb/s). They do have a noisier grain structure though and I think that hides the banding.

But I can't help but feeling there is something else happening here. It may have to do with how Pany is down-converting 12mpix to 1920x1080. I have never seen any moire patterns like the DSLR's. But this banding is something I have not seen in other cameras to this extent.
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Old January 19th, 2011, 04:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Olof Ekbergh
The interesting thing is this banding shows up even w/o the compression.

You can see it HDSDI right out of the camera. The banding gets worse when compressed with AVCHD codec (mpeg4 at 24mb/sec).
It just occurred to me how to do a very quick and simple test, and the results are very interesting.

From your last post, I'm assuming that the .png file you posted and refer to is just as it came out of the camera - no post processing, colour correction etc etc?

Putting it in Photoshop, try opening the "Colour picker" tool (click one of the colour boxes in the toolbox). You can then click on your image, and get a read out of R,G,B values from 0-255 for the relevant pixel.

Try doing that on the contour lines you mentioned. If you go along within any of the contour bands, the values may change by 1 or 2, maybe even 3 from one to the other - that's the effect of noise. But now do the same on the other bands. I'm seeing a jump of something like 10-15 in the value in each of each of R,G and B from band to band! There's no way that's caused by 8 bit bitdepth - it follows from the measured values that that level of contour banding is more what you'd expect from 5-6 bit.

Is the .png you posted from an HDSDI capture? If so, is there any chance of posting the same image recorded to the SD card?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Olof Ekbergh
I have never seen any moire patterns like the DSLR's.
There's no secret that the big difference between this and a DSLR is that although the sensors may be similar, the AF100 has an optical low-pass filter, and this must improve the moire/alias issues a lot. But this banding, if from an uncompressed output and an unaltered image, tends to imply a problem with the signal processing at the front end of the camera.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 04:13 PM   #11
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I will soon be posting new png's both straight out of the HDSDI and native SD as well as NanoFlash.

Both of the png's above were direct exports from FCP no CC. They were both natively out of both cams media.

I have come up with much better looking settings for the AF100. It is all a matter of dialing it in like any new camera.

The banding is visible in HDSDI as well as in the compressed files. But by playing with the settings you can minimize noise and banding.

This is all pretty time consuming, and I have been very busy the last few days. But I will have a comprehensive update soon.

My feeling is that the AF100 with a NanoFlash is a real winning combination. And one I will be using a lot.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 05:15 PM   #12
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The banding is visible in HDSDI as well as in the compressed files. But by playing with the settings you can minimize noise and banding.
Olof, I commend your work, but if the above words were intended to reassure, they tend to worry me more and more.

In most cameras, the whole point of the settings are to adjust the "look" of the camera to suit. The expectation is that you can set a wide range of values - and get a wide range of looks - without worrying too much about technical issues.

It sounds as if with this camera, the cart is pulling the horse. You seem to be having to set adjustments primarily to make the output technically satisfactory - and then just accept the "look" that gives you?

I find that completely unsatisfactory, and indicative of underlying problems. I'm completely amazed to find this level of contour banding on an uncompressed, unadjusted, camera output at any normal setting. When you first pointed it out I was convinced it must be down to compression problems, and even then it wouldn't be good.
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Old January 25th, 2011, 04:26 PM   #13
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These are my new settings I like in the AF100:

Film Cam
Detail Level -4
V Detail Level -4
Detail Coring -3
Chroma Level +2
Master Pedestal -2
Gamma HD NORM
Knee LOW
Matrix NORM2

If not noted then they are standard scene 6.

The photos below show the setup recorded to the internal SD card, Direct SDI out and to NanoFlash @ 100mb/s long gop.

I find that using the cine gammas produce too much noise or banding These settings are a compromise that I think will work in a lot of settings.

I think the difference in the NanoFlash and SDI out are pretty obvious, my conclusion is that this is a great cam and the NanoFlash will make it even better.

I will probably make adjustments to these settings as I shoot more but this will be my starting point. I intend to always grade my shots, so this is not a final grade at all, and bear in mind that this is ugly harsh lighting with a tortuous gradient in the back and some very bright highlights and dark areas. I meant to light this badly.

It is interesting to note that the file size on the png (originally a PSD but to big for this site) of the SD card file is almost half the size of the SDI and NF files. This means there is a lot more information in those files.
Attached Thumbnails
Setting up the AF100-af100setup2.jpg   Setting up the AF100-cfcard.png  

Setting up the AF100-directsdi.png   Setting up the AF100-nanoflash.png  

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Last edited by Olof Ekbergh; January 25th, 2011 at 05:39 PM.
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Old January 25th, 2011, 06:50 PM   #14
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As regards the nanoFlash capture, what bitrate did you have it set to?
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Old January 25th, 2011, 09:02 PM   #15
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As regards the nanoFlash capture, what bitrate did you have it set to?
As stated above, NanoFlash @ 100mb/s long gop. So not anywhere near the highest 280mb/sec intra frame. It is what I and many others have found to be the "sweet spot" for general shooting, it is what I typically use.

Only if I was chroma keying do I go higher.
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