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Old December 13th, 2012, 06:13 PM   #76
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Hi Guys

For any "downunder" people, I see that Global Media Pro this morning have listed the AC-90 as "in stock" at AUS $2120 ...what is a little worrying is that my beloved HMC82's are no longer on the price list!!

I'd love Panasonic bring out an AC-100 (the AC-90 in the shoulder mount housing) They did it with the HMC40 and brought out the 80 as an events camera...Here's hoping they do the same with the 90??

Chris
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Old December 17th, 2012, 07:27 AM   #77
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Chris & Noa,

After getting my feet wet with the AC90, I am overall pleased with the picture I got out of it.

First, I want to say I am by no means a professional. I started filming weddings about 6 years ago for a friend because they knew I fooled around with handy cams and electronic stuff and it just kinda took off from there. I am self taught, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

The lighting was good for the ceremony. The reception lights were up for the formal dances and then turned way down, almost off. I had the gain at 24db and adjusted the on cam lamp as necessary. Also bounced light off the ceiling, from a light on a stand that was next to the FX1000 on a tripod.

Overall I was pleased with the PQ. Some of the reception footage is a little washed out when there wasnít enough light. Anything over 8 or10 feet from the camera looks colorless but is without much grain.

Auto focus seemed to work fantastic.

I like the size, feel and weight.

Had trouble with white balance. Coming from Sonyís, the Panny is a little different. I used Auto WB most of the time and would lock it when it looked right. The lock is not saved like manual WB, so it is lost when the camera is turned off. The manual WB always seemed to look a little cool, got to work on that.

Iím not real sure how the ALC works. With ALC on you still have to control the audio up or down for proper levels. The Sony kept the audio at perfect levels at all times, never had to worry with it.

Rocker Zoom is nice and smooth. Has more travel than Sony FX which makes it easier to get nice slow zooms.

Battery life was good. Bought an extra battery and never had to use it. Probably shot about 45gb of footage with it.

The scene file I had set up was ok some of the time and not so good at other times. Gamma was wrong, made skin tone to dark. Iím sure it can be made better with trial and error or from someone with more experience than me with scene file settings. After looking at some of the footage, I wish I had just shot flat but with the fast pace of the day I just didnít get into swapping them around and just used the one that I thought looked the best from all my testing at home.

Scene File settings were:
Detail Level 0
V Detail 0
Detail Corning-3
Chroma 0
Chrome Phase 0
Master Ped 0
Auto Iris -7
DRS off
Gamma low
Knee auto
Matrix norm1
Skin Tone off

1080/60p

Hereís the link to some sample clips. All shots are hand held except a couple shots on the Merlin and on tripod at the ceremony. All audio is from onboard mic. I included some clips from the GH2 and FX1000 for comparison. The FX was set for normal Gamma. I always adjust contrast and gamma in post.


Password: panny
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Old December 17th, 2012, 08:39 AM   #78
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Hi Tim

AWESOME!! That really shows what the camera can and cannot do...it handles black at receptions very well too!! Is there any reason why you set the scene file autoiris to -7? If you use auto then surely it will underexpose the whole time IF of course you used autoiris? In manual exposure on my HMC's I use a dead flat scene file..everything set to default and it's perfect for me!!

The audio is still a little worrying...does the AC-90 have an auto and manual switch? On my HMC's I run on manual until the reception then let auto take over when the loud music starts. The ALC on the 130 allows the camera to run in manual audio BUT limits the signal if it gets too loud ..with bands and suchlike I still prefer auto as the levels constantly change!!

OK, Just my view here but the images from the 90 STILL don't have any WOW factor..to me (and only me) they seem very flat and a tiny bit muddy indoors and there is no sparkle to them. The GH2 was getting closer to a nice image during the makeup but the 90 just seemed too ordinary...I still think the Leica glass does something to the end result.

It would be interesting to see how the camera performs with no tweaking of the scene files and equally interesting to have Noa's honest opinion !

Thanks again for the upload

Chris
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Old December 17th, 2012, 09:02 AM   #79
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Tim
Overall I'd say the PAnny AC90 handled the job quite well. yeah some areas of the reception did go a bit dark but that can be easily taken care of by either adding a bit more light from an on camera light or boosting the gain slightly. Keep in mind that most on camera lights are only good for about 8 to 10 feet anyway, and in most cases if there's anything of interest going on past that we're probably going to move in closer for framing purposes.

the FX1000 did seem to handle the lighting quite well also but IMO there were some areas that appeared to be a bit hot while the GH2 also did the job nicely it appeared to me to be a bit cool compared to the AC90.

when the lights were off and you were getting footage of the band to my eye, that footage was very nice. the colors appeared real as did the exposure.

Overall I'd say the AC90 did a great job but like Chris, I have to question the audio control. When I do weddings, at the reception I use a hypercaroid on the camera and a Sennheiser Drum Mic with a wireless transmitter back to the camera. the mic is placed within about 4 inches of the speaker be it for the DJ or a bands vocals and it picks up a clean track of sound for me. I still have to wonder if this system that I've been using for many years and practically guarantees me almost perfect audio would be in trouble. I really don't have time during a reception to fiddle with sound levels since my job is to concentrate on framing.
I guess my question is how does the audio block on the AC90 work? I might need to buy one, set up my audio system and blast my 600W surround sound like I was at a reception. My neighbors will love me ;-)

Anyway, thanks for all the work and footage you've posted. I'm thinking my decision is getting easier by the day.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 09:15 AM   #80
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Chris,

I wasnít blow away either. The 90 will be an improvement over the FXís I think. I have only delivered one Blu-Ray since moving to HD anyway.

In good light I was in auto iris most of the time, so the -7 would have come into effect. At the reception I was locked at 24db after the lights went out. Playing with the camera it just looked like it wanted to overexpose, which I hate to do. You think the indoor stuff was underexposed?

Do you think the 40 has a better image than the 90? Does it have that WOW to it?

Remember, this was my first time with a panny. You or someone else might could take the 90 and make it go WOW.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 09:38 AM   #81
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Don,

As far as I know the only setting for the audio is ALC on or off, I had it on but I'm not sure what it does. Like you, I blasted my Yamaha receiver before the wedding and set the levels there thinking the 90's ALC would boost the lower sound. Not being use to checking sound levels, I never adjusted them.

I very rarely use camera audio except for syncing and never at the reception.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 09:41 AM   #82
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Thx for sharing Tim, that's very helpfull. the images are somewhat comparable with my sony cx730's, You can see the fx1000 keeps more details in the blacks while the ac90 crushes the blacks more resulting in loss of detail, my cx730 does that too. I also find the panny image and color more pleasing to look at compared to your Sony.

I did get the impression that you underexposed with the panasonic, you can always correct that in post but where you using the zebra's to check your exposure?

If I look at the image I"d say there is nothing wrong with it and very good for such a small sensor camera, that's an image you can expect from a recent camera.

I have given it a lot of thought and even after finding a UK supplier that sells the ac90 even cheaper then in Belgium I will not be buying it and most probably will cough up the double price for a Sony nex ea50. The few videos that you can find back on vimeo show a filmic image which I like so much and I think it's the best camera this moment and at that pricepoint that bridges the gap between regular videocamera's and dslr's and which can provide that "wow" factor in a better way then the ac90 can do.

I even had been thinking about the BMC but if you want to make it really production ready you"ll need to pay about the double for accesoires and then it's also the workflow to consider if you do raw. The nex ea50 will fit in my existing workflow allowing to be used at either weddings but also corporate videos. I only think it's much too big, I currently carry 5 small camera's with me in one backpack when I do weddings, the nex ea50 would require about the same size of bag to be carried along :)
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Old December 17th, 2012, 10:01 AM   #83
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Hi Noa,

I think the blacks are crushed because of the scene file I had it on, I really wish I had changed it some!

I hate to say I had zebra turned on but didn't expose for it, just let the camera work on its own. I think I had to much confidence in its ability to get it right, which it did some of the time.

I guess I need to add that the 90 might have done a better job if I hadn't had the Auto Irish Level at -7.
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Last edited by Tim Akin; December 17th, 2012 at 10:32 AM.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 10:05 AM   #84
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Double posted

Last edited by Noa Put; December 17th, 2012 at 01:24 PM.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 12:27 PM   #85
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Tim, the low detail in the blacks has as much to do with your choice of Low Gamma. Try Cine-d.

Without trying to over think the profile settings, I think the only way to have more wow factor is to have more light or a more expensive camera. As is, it does a pretty good job of returning a decent low light image that's clean of noise.

I set up a low light experiment with 3 cams, the Canon 5DmkII, the Sony PMW350K and the Panasonic AC90. For wedding or reception, each has its problems.

The 5DmkII with 85mm f/1.2L glass can really wow when the lights are down, but there's so much cmos wobble and skew from camera shake as to be unusable if handheld. Dof is similarly razor thin at f/1.2 but it really pops at ISO 1600, low noise, rich saturation, natural gradations.

The PMW350k stays sharp at f/1.9 and free from wobble and skew, noise is acceptable at 12db gain, the next step up 18db turns night into day but with plenty of chroma noise. The handling is great on your shoulder, as long as you're not smacking the guests with it. The image at 12db has some sparkle, not as much as the 5DmkII but it also doesn't have the wobble and shake or thin Dof problems.

The AC90 in the low light of a reception hall is a compromise of easy good handling, stable optics but a relatively unremarkable image that gets the job done in a non offensive manner.

If I had to choose one camera for weddings to balance all the compromises, it might be the EX1 or its newer replacement the PMW200. I really believe you need stabilization. I really believe that to get the benefit of the full, aps-c or super 35 sensor cams, you need either stabilized lenses which sacrifice some of the inherent benefit of fast lenses, or you need merlin, steadicam, glidecam...what a hassle.

There is one other wedding cam that sounds promising, Sony EA50 that has an aps-c sensor, built in stabilization, shoulder rest and a reasonable price. I haven't seen a report on the image, some of the people were already saying it has the sensor from an NEX, and thus would be compromised. But nothing surprising about that. Weddings are hard to do well.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 01:22 PM   #86
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Thanks Tom, funny thing I had a scene file set up that looked the best to me for low light (with Cine-D I think) and I didn't even try it.....what was I thinking.

What's your take on running Auto Iris Level at low levels? Do you use Auto Iris/Gain?
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Old December 17th, 2012, 03:17 PM   #87
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Tim,

Generally, if I am going to use auto iris/gain, I expose -1.

The pros will always say, "I shoot everything in manual." With some of those pro cams that may have 13 stops of latitude, you can. You can pan all over the place and the envelope always has enough latitude to contain the whole scene. The result ends up looking super professional. With little chips, you don't have that luxury so to answer your question, I will if necessary shoot with auto iris/gain. And I doubt most people will notice or complain because the ac90 is quite graceful across lighting transitions.

I would also remark that it's easy to look at a clip somebody else posted and think, oh yeah my ____handicam does as well. I've got drawers full of retired handicams where I thought that as well, that yes under the right conditions one could reproduce a particular scene as well, forgetting it could completely ruin the image in a less favorable circumstance. Just pointing out, the ac90 while not perfect, is thoroughly professional in the sense that it records a high percentage of keepers in many varying conditions, that don't inherently favor it, like low light.

Weddings are tough. Unlike cinema, you don't get to plan all your shots. The ac90, even with not the ideal gamma or exposure chosen, you get something usable. That's what I meant by calling some shots unremarkable, they may not always sparkle, but they also don't call attention to themselves for being bad. It certainly can sparkle however, in good light, with 1000+ tv lines of resolution, moire free. So detailed, it makes me wonder, with most dslrs and cinema cams struggling to make 650-900, that if they used all the resolution that the hd format supports, who would be calling for 4k?
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Old December 17th, 2012, 03:58 PM   #88
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Thanks for your input Tom, I really do appreciate it.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 05:46 PM   #89
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

I agree with many of your settings. Detail coring -3 is what I like best (as well) for daylight. For low light indoors I go the other way to +3, but either way is not a big difference in noise. But as you've found, coring helps to crispen an image without outlines, or cancel random noise if the gain is up or when bringing up drs to reveal more shadow detail.

You're aware this cam like like many avchd records in 16-255. Anything going to hdtv should have the levels adjusted to 16-235, which is a good time for a light grading if desired. Since this needs to be done anyway, I prefer to watch the histogram and make sure it's all captured and none clipped. It makes the grading easier.

But I think you also moved the black pedestal which I leave alone. Moving the luminance/highlights clipping point to 235 is a good idea but if you alter the pedestal how can you be sure the object that starts on your histogram at 16 is truly black? Since the pedestal moves the whole gamma curve including mids, I think it's better to set pedestal at default and adjust something later in post. I realize you are trying to achieve a certain look, but you also mention a skin tone, which could be a slight consequence.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 07:10 PM   #90
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Hi Tim

I don't have the manual or the camera but looking at the photos I certainly don't see any auto/manual audio switch at all!! That essentially means that you can have ALC which is not level control but simply a clipping control (you still set the level manually) At weddings I just don't have time to fiddle with audio levels so if the camera has no auto/manual audio switch like all Panasonics then I would be VERY surprised indeed and that would be a huge design flaw.

No, your footage didn't look under or over-exposed at all....maybe a tad under as faces were never very bright or blown out at all. The way I see it if you turn the scene file autoiris down to -7 it's essentially the same thing as physically turning the iris ring in auto ....You are simply closing the iris just a fraction away from the setting that the camera decides. On my AC-130's I was "convinced" to set the autoiris to "+2" and my entire wedding was washed out so it went back to zero and stayed there. I can see the value of that setting maybe if you are filming in snow or in a desert.

Can you check in your manual about auto/manual for audio please...if the cam doesn't have an auto audio then for me it's useless for weddings.

I'll take another look at the footage carefully and see if I missed anything or if I can hopefully see some wow??

Thanks again for the upload

Chris
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