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Old April 11th, 2011, 09:23 AM   #91
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Mark, as an owner of a TM900 I wanted to say I loved your films. Fascinating on a human interest level as well as technically, I am especially impressed with your excellent exposures while filming outdoors in very bright conditions. The latitude of this camera for coping with highlights is considerably less than with my EX1R and gives me the most trouble when filming natural objects such as found in nature, flowers, fruit, tonal shades, etc.

Yours was so well done!

I note from your Vimeo page for the London film you used "1/60th shutter, auto wb, fixed iris and gain". Since you successfully avoided blown highlights with a camera devoid of any ND buttons, I assume you must be using an external ND filter?

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Old April 11th, 2011, 12:28 PM   #92
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Claire,

Thanks very much. My settings were indeed aimed specifically at eliminating blown highlights; auto aperture (fixed shutter) produces overexposure and zebra stripes all over the frame. I sometimes use an external ND in bright light. But, the TM900 has its own, built-in ND filters and in very bright light when I step down the "aperture" I do not see diffraction. As a result I have stopped using my own ND. You cannot control the internal ND, but it, as in many consumer cams, it kicks in as aperture values increase. BTW, that I am deliberately underexposing to avoid hot spots is seen a bit in the somewhat noisy shadow areas.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 02:28 PM   #93
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Yeah, I think I would have taken off the polarizer on the long interior shots as you've probably lost a bit of depth. I havent used one myself, but there are circular polarizers specifically designed for interior work - milder effect with around 1 stop reduction.

You probably had more to think about anyway with frequent white balancing - warm fluorescent lighting mixed with window and skylight. Difficult.

In that type of situation what I find helpful is a Tiffen 812 filter. Manual WB off a grey card at a point where daylight mixes with fluorescent (or halogen) lighting, typically propped against a wall near a window or on the floor if there are skylights. Then pop on the 812. Might have to experiment a bit, but it helps to avoid the daylight/shadow blues without overly warming the interiors. Easier said than done though in the moment. I vote that all museums should be painted with studio neutral grey as a mere courtesy.

Ditto on Claire Watsons comments about the outdoor clips. Very nice. Of course in very bright conditions you could put a second polarizer (linear) in front of the circular and use it as a variable ND filter.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 04:01 PM   #94
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Great tips. Thanks.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 08:18 PM   #95
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Well, as you might have surmised from my last few posts I dont own a TM900 myself....and so arguably have no business posting on this users thread ; )

Actually, I'm trying to decide between a TM900 or Canon HF G10. I nearly went for a TM700 last year, but held off with the promise of further improvement in low light sensitivity/gain-noise suppression in the upcoming 2011 models. Plus, I was a bit put off by the appearance of scaly pixelization-like artifacts particularly on skin tones and most noticably faces. I'd seen this also on HMC-40 footage. I must say that the various head-shots included in your TM900 montage appear to be free from this type of artifact. I'm left wondering if this is as a direct result of improvements in the imaging system or AVC encoding per se, or perhaps your choice of settings. I'd be interested to know if there are any 'TM700-upgraded' TM900 users who could comment on this.

By the way, on the subject of internal ND filters. I dont know for sure what happens in the TM900, but I do know that in the earlier Panasonic GS Series DV Cams (GS400/500 etc), two automatic internal ND filiters operate in conjunction with physical iris movements. The first ND4 filter is activated as the iris shifts from f2.8 to f3.4 and the second ND9 filter activates as the iris shifts from f3.4 to f4.0. The ND filters then step insert up to f8 as the iris is maintained at its f4 position. With both ND filters fully inserted, the iris aperture is then decreased from F8 to F16. In effect, the shifts from fully Open (f1.6 with 0db gain) to f2.8 and from f8 to f16 are mediated purely by physical iris movement. In that way the ND filters operate over an optimal range of physical aperture.

It might be reasonable to speculate that a similar, if not the same mechanism operates in the newer Panasonic AVCHD cams as well.

Edit:.......well this seems to suggest so:

http://www.ianperegian.com/My_FZ35_3...D_Filters.html

Last edited by Bryan Worsley; April 11th, 2011 at 09:38 PM.
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Old April 12th, 2011, 12:22 AM   #96
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Hi

Yes I think a similar arrangement of ND filter is in the TM900 from what has been reported, and most if not all camcorders have them.

I've heard people explain it is to keep the lens in the 'sweet spot', but ND filters rather than iris opening and closing also have another although less obvious benefit, the camcorder can adjust exposure without the depth of field shifting due to the iris changing size, which might look rather distracting when the exposure changes during recording.

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Old April 12th, 2011, 06:02 AM   #97
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Yes, that's what I was meaning by 'optimal range of physical aperture', but put less succinctly ;-)
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Old April 12th, 2011, 10:57 AM   #98
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

I Picked up my TM900 on Saturday. I am simply blown away by the quality this little cam can deliver. I have spent a couple of days tweaking it, and have got it pretty close in matching my EX1 in reasonable light conditions. My only, very minor concern, is the over saturation on the EVF. I have fashioned an old Z Finder eyecup, which now fits perfectely over the EVF, it really does cut out all of the extrenious light. I know the cam is recording, subjectively, true colours, its just the over saturation on the EVF that I find a little disconcerting. Of course the only adjustment for the EVF is brightness, or have I missed something in the menu's ??. Hope to get some footage up soon, mixed with EX1 and Nex-5, should be interesting.
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Old April 12th, 2011, 04:18 PM   #99
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Springtime Sunrise - In Ely (Panasonic TM900 & Canon 7D)

My latest film. Shows the capabilities of the TM900 really well I hope. I used my Canon 7D and Canon 100mm Macro IS and Canon 70-200mm IS for the flower shots that top and tail this latest little ditty. The master looks lovely on my big monitors, stunning, razor sharp, but looses a little after YouTube compression...

Like Colin, I'm still blown away by the capabilities of this tiny little TM900 and I think I'm pretty close to matching it well with my Sony EX3 (in good & studio light, in corporate work I'm doing at the moment) - but that cam took a rest for this little film.

The 7D gives a different kind of look and capability, ideally suited for what I used it for in this, I think.

It's great having different tools for different applications. I love 'em all!

YouTube - Springtime Sunrise - In Ely (Panasonic TM900 & Canon 7D)

I hope you enjoy the film. More notes on the YouTube page.

UPDATE: As well as the 2GB file that I uploaded to YouTube last night I've now uploaded a much smaller 1080p .mp4 (at 243MB in size) to Vimeo.


Differences in playback quality between the two sites and files is very interesting (and no, the Vimeo one is not better in all respects...but then it was a much smaller file!). I guess I should get myself a Plus account sometime to remove the 500GB file upload limit and get better 2-pass encoding.
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Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; April 13th, 2011 at 05:54 AM. Reason: Adding Vimeo Link
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Old April 13th, 2011, 10:52 AM   #100
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Andy, I enjoyed your photographic eye in this video. But I have some questions about videography. First, it seems to me that most of the video was really a series of static or still shots, like a slide show. There was little subject or even camera movement. I would have thought that the comparative advantage of video is that one gets to see natural movement of subjects and also a "moving eye". The moving sun was effective in this regard, but mostly the video clips have no motion at all.

Relatedly, natural sounds add a great deal to being immersed in a scene; something still photography cannot do. Yet in your video, natural sounds were completely obliterated in favor of music. Music clearly also enhances the expereince, but that can be added to a slide show of still shots too. For example, real meadow sounds while we see a meadow adds a lot. This by the way is where the 7D falls down - it has no good audio at all. Audio is critically important to video.

This is not meant as a criticism, but as a still photographer moving to video I thought about the move precisely in terms of the advantages to the visual (and audio) arts that video brings. These do not seem so apparent here.

Maybe this is not the place for this, but even in terms of showing off a video camera, performance (including sound) when there is action or camera motion is critically important, though clearly not the only factors.
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Old April 13th, 2011, 11:30 AM   #101
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Andy,

I'm enjoying my 900 as well, pretty amazing little camera. I'm finding the images very sharp. One area that is taking a little adjustment for me is the Bokeh. I seem to get a "X" diagonal pattern in out-of-focus elements rather than the smooth blur I get with the 7D. Not necessarily bad, just different than what I'm accustomed. You can see some of what I mention in the background of the following picture.
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Old April 13th, 2011, 11:59 AM   #102
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Sound. Yep, I hear you! I worked hard on trying to use some of the bird sounds (there are a lot of birds in Cherry Hill that make those trees and the Cathedral their home - as you can see). Truth is I captured sound with my new Rode VMP but (even at 05.50AM) it was ruined by the near constant background traffic noise of people rushing to work (to nearby Cambridge, London and no doubt lots of other places). Years ago I was one of them. Despite appearances of being in an isolated medieval setting, the Cathedral is right in the heart of the (albeit very small) city of Ely. There were also a lot of near constant train noises from the nearby station as well. Ely is one of the busiest small town stations in the whole of England due to the Victorians decision to make it a major junction with trains going to many major cities every few minutes., There is also a lot of to/from European freight traffic too! The air was very still the first hour or so (hence no tree movement for a while either). In such conditions, all this "unwanted sound" can travel for miles and sure enough my Rode picked it all up loud and clear - along with the bird song.

So, in the end, I took the decision just to just "go with the music" for this particular edit.

Static Shots - Yep, I see you! I had quite a few panning shots which I either screwed up (its such a light cam on the Libec TH650 compared to my EX3 on a bigger tripod - still getting used to that!) or I was not happy with the lighting of those few shots regarding the daybreak story, dark stillness to activity and travel type thing I decided to try and show. As we all know, at sunrise (and sunset) the light changes every few seconds and you have to work VERY fast to try and capture the moment. Loads of shots in there I would have liked more time to get better position, better exposure, better composition, better focus etc.

In truth, most of the type of shots I wanted happened within about 30-45 minutes - not even a full Golden Hour - I was short changed! I set myself the challenge to get everything I could in a short period of time on Monday morning and then Monday evening to edit it - and this is it!

I also deliberately wanted to see just how sharp the thing would deliver in the very dim, then soft early morning light (but, unlike my previous TM900 videos, did not call this video a "test" - my mistake I guess). This dictated the type of shots I decided to take - mostly static shots of trees and architecture etc. where I deliberately wanted to avoid any motion blur - as you've noticed Mark!!!! Anyway, I've proved that the cam is amazingly sharp now so normal stuff will soon follow!

I will say, having such a highly portable light cam as the TM900 with its "instant on" function enabled (and my small tripod) really helped my move around the area very fast to try and capture what I saw in a way I would have struggled to do so easily with my EX3 and my big heavier tripod.

I basically squeezed this little short in around a ton of other (paid) work I'm doing (and perhaps should be doing right now!) just to give my brain a break and get to know the cam better!

Mark. I thank you kindly for you comments. I guess I really must be "a pro" at this video malarky as I'm constantly analyzing my previous work seeing things that I should and could have done better, this one included - as soon as I'd uploaded it I thought of lots of changes I would have made....given more time in the shooting and the editing. Anyway, this process is greatly helped by constructive criticism from those willing to spend the time to give it in the true spirit of helping others. And in return I try and share the little things I learn along the way as no doubt some of you have noticed.
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Old April 13th, 2011, 12:02 PM   #103
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Shealy View Post
Andy,

I'm enjoying my 900 as well, pretty amazing little camera. I'm finding the images very sharp. One area that is taking a little adjustment for me is the Bokeh. I seem to get a "X" diagonal pattern in out-of-focus elements rather than the smooth blur I get with the 7D. Not necessarily bad, just different than what I'm accustomed. You can see some of what I mention in the background of the following picture.
Yep, that's why I went with the 7D and Canon 100mm Macro IS with my flower shots in Springtime Sunrise. You will also see the X pattern (caused by the 4 blades resulting in a simple diamond shaped aperture of the iris on the TM700, TM900 etc. - and most other small camcorders, BTW) in one or two of my "direct at sun through the trees shots". In addition, the small sensors (albeit 3 of them) give the TM900 a much deeper depth of field compared to a larger chip cam like the 7D. It's not a look I like very much, at all, but its not a hugely expensive cam and it's tiny so I guess this is the trade off (or one of them anyway). It's just optical physics.

Maybe a "TM1000" (if one ever comes!) will have a 6 (or ideally 8) blade iris and a bigger 3-chip assembly and give nicer OOF globes, nearer to my lovely Canon 100mm IS Macro.... and still cost under a Grand. We can but dream!
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Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; April 13th, 2011 at 02:03 PM. Reason: Typos/clarification again...
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Old April 13th, 2011, 05:15 PM   #104
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

The 7D and TM900 are definitely different tools with different uses. When I recently published my comparison report between the 7D and TM900 several people felt I was trying to show the TM900 as being superior to the 7D. Actually they both excel in different areas and can work together beautifully if you keep them in their appropriate space.

I shot some footage with the TM900 in full sun this week and it looks really great!
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Old April 14th, 2011, 01:07 AM   #105
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

What export settings are you using for CS4 (If anyone here is using CS4) to make videos Vimeo friendly?
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