Advanced adjust in Pana cameras at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Panasonic P2HD / AVCCAM / AVCHD / DV Camera Systems > Panasonic DVX / DVC Assistant > Panasonic DV / MX / GS series Assistant

Panasonic DV / MX / GS series Assistant
...and other Panasonic DV camcorders.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old November 9th, 2003, 07:00 PM   #1
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Posts: 1,137
Advanced adjust in Pana cameras

Can anyone please tell me what you get when you go, on your menu, from CAMERA FUNCTIONS to ADVANCED FUNCTIONS to PICTURE ADJUSTMENT?

From the manuals I downloaded (DV953 and MX500) you should be able to adjust sharpness and colour levels, but it doesn't say how.

Do you get numbers on the screen or what? Can you repeat a setup or go back exactly to how you were before?

What I'm trying to find out is if you can improve on the shadow detail in some way. Perhaps a low contrast filter, who does not influence resolution? Maybe someone tried one that does flare or cause halation.

These 1/6" CCD cameras are reported as not being so good in low light conditions, but what happens with the shadows in daylight situations? What about cloudy days?

Does the GS100 improve on that area in any way? I couldn't find a comparison between the 953 and the GS100 yet anywhere? Did anyone did it?

What about these "advanced" menus on the GS100: do they provide further adjustments?

It's a pity these manuals spend 1/3 their size in still photo situations, when this is a video camera. Who needs all that explanation?

On the other side, there's very little (and also confusing) on how you should set your sound levels when using "manual" option. First of all, if you are doing a digital audio recording, you shouldn't use a VU meter as they do. A digital level meter is very different and less forgiving than an analog meter. If you go over the top it's total disaster.


Carlos E. Martinez
Carlos E. Martinez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 24th, 2003, 10:53 PM   #2
Outer Circle
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Hope, BC
Posts: 7,527
Quote:
Can anyone please tell me what you get when you go, on your menu, from CAMERA FUNCTIONS to ADVANCED FUNCTIONS to PICTURE ADJUSTMENT?
In which Pana video camera? Do you want me to find you the answers for the MX300? Or are you going with the PV-DV953/MX5 manual. Decide which camera, and then I'm sure someone will be able to help you.
Quote:
These 1/6" CCD cameras are reported as not being so good in low light conditions, but what happens with the shadows in daylight situations? What about cloudy days?
Read what I wrote in my PV-DV953 mini-review/test, and search the threads for numerous reports from other members.

As someone who has studied film (which you mentioned in another post), I must point out that the filming I see set up around town here almost always uses artificial lighting, whether the filming is done at night, on a sunny day, on a cloudy day, on a dork foggy day---and even in the pouring Vancouver rain. I would assume then that this would be the avenue for achieving good results with shooting miniDV also.
Frank Granovski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 25th, 2003, 05:10 AM   #3
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Posts: 1,137
<<<-- Originally posted by Frank Granovski : In which Pana video camera? Do you want me to find you the answers for the MX300? Or are you going with the PV-DV953/MX5 manual. Decide which camera, and then I'm sure someone will be able to help you.Read what I wrote in my PV-DV953 mini-review/test, and search the threads for numerous reports from other members.-->>>

The cameras I was referring to, mostly, were the dv953 and GS100. Things might be a bit better on PAL versions, but not too much on low light situations.

<<<-- As someone who has studied film (which you mentioned in another post), I must point out that the filming I see set up around town here almost always uses artificial lighting, whether the filming is done at night, on a sunny day, on a cloudy day, on a dork foggy day---and even in the pouring Vancouver rain. I would assume then that this would be the avenue for achieving good results with shooting miniDV also. -->>>

You raise a very interesting point, because it has many ramifications. If you intend to say that whatever the camera I use, even one like the DV953 which is considered as so-so in low light situations, in a video to film project I would have to light (or lower the contrast ratio) in some way, you are absolutely right.

The question is that if your project has a very low budget, your lighting options are probably less than limited.

You are perhaps not so right in assuming that all film situations are artificially lit, as enormous advances in film emulsions and fast lenses allow you using just a minimum. Also lights like HMI types let you just fill in the shadow areas a little with not much gear as it was in the past (enormous arcs and so on). Available light becomes an important factor then in low budget projects.

Film also has a much greater latitude between blacks and whites (about 12 stops vs 5 stops for video), which let you get away with many things that would look bad in video. On the other side film is very very expensive and cumbersome, particularly on documentary projects.

It's been some time since I realized that video, particularly when you use less sophisticated cameras (like we do) has a very "16mm like" behaviour, like 16mm was until about 20 years ago. If you handle video as you had to with 16mm back then, you can get very good results. To achieve better results you have to:

1) Control the contrast of your scenes, through lighting or other ways (filters, framing, scenography, wardrobe, etc.)

2) Control the blocking you do, as you shouldn't go too wide on your scenes. Lanscapes or city views tell tale video limitations when blown up.

3) Test the lenses you use, using a lens chart, on every position and with every light stop. As a reference use what you get when you stop at two diaphragms above the more open lens stop, which is usually the best.

4) Do as many tests as you can with your camera and ask your lab to blow them to film. The lens charts should also be viewed on a microscope. Look at the tests on a large film screen.

These were basic things you did back then with 16mm.

There's one trick that worked for high contrast situations, used first by DP Conrad Hall on "Cool hand Luke" and by many since then, which is blocking your daylight exterior scenes in backlight. You open up your stop and use a reflector (or light) to fill in the contrast. That is a cheap and very good looking way to handle daylight high contrasts, but you have to be careful with skies, which will easily bloom. Graduated NDs help a lot to control that.

This trick would keep us away from doing just "Brownie style" framing, as you had to do in the old days with box Kodak cameras, using direct sun light for your shots.

The question with cameras like the DV953/GS100 is how they read the shadow areas in daylight situations. That is a low-light circumstance that is very important when you blow up. That is you can't think of low light situations only on poorly lit places or at night, but also on apparently well lit ones.

Sorry for this very long text.



Carlos E. Martinez
Carlos E. Martinez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 25th, 2003, 07:28 AM   #4
Outer Circle
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Hope, BC
Posts: 7,527
Quote:
The cameras I was referring to, mostly, were the dv953 and GS100.
Okay, what I can do for you is to print out your post and go play with the PV-DV953 later today, since no PV-DV953 or GS100 owners have yet to answer you. (Allan had mentioned a few times that the GS100 menu is very similar with the PV-DV953 menu.)

As you probably have read from some of Allan Rejoso's GS100 posts, he claims that both the lux requirements and video quality of the GS100 is a little bit better that that of the MX5000/PV-DV953. For lower light shooting, I would never consider either one of these cams, though. However, I believe that the LUX requirements of the MX5000/PV-DV953 is better than the PAL version (MX500).

I tested the PV-DV953 during a dark rainy Vancouver afternoon, and noticed the footage was razor sharp with rich color saturation. Indoors, in low light, the footage was still sharp but the colors disappeared (almost B&W). I've played with the PV-DV953 several times and assure you that it is a solid, ergonomically well-designed camera. I think that it is a much better cam than my MX300. With the GS100, I can only go with what members report, like Allan; and with Tom Hardwick's indepth reports. (Tom tests and reviews cams for a British camcorder magazine, and I must say he does a thorough job.)
Frank Granovski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 25th, 2003, 09:17 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Singapore, Passport: Malaysia
Posts: 407
Carlos,

The Manual adjustments on the MX500 is in the menu.

You cannot adjust them while shooting, both image and audio, which is quite a pain. For example, while in daylight, sharpness at normal is OK, but in hi gain (+12db) a little softer will reduce graininess. So when you walk from the pool in daylight to teh inside of the house, in 1 shot, you won't be able to adjust the sharpness. Similarly, the saturation.

For audio, you have auto, manual gain with AGC (Auto gain control) and manual gain without AGC. My experience is that the AGC works well for the built in mic. But, being on the menu, you cannot adjust while shooting, which is another pain. What I am thinking of doing is to use an external mic with a volume control, and set the gain on the camera to +2db (I don't mind a little over the top).

I hope this helps.
__________________
Cam: Panasonic MX350EN, SOLD my MX8EN
Mac: G3 400MHz PowerBook, 256 MB, OS 9
PC: Pentium 4 2800MHz, 512 MB, WindowsXP
SW: iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Ulead Video Studio, various little utilities
Yow Cheong Hoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 25th, 2003, 09:56 PM   #6
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
<<What about cloudy days? >>

On a cloudy day you are able to get good captures as there is a flat lighting effect from the clouds.
  Reply With Quote
Old November 26th, 2003, 12:52 AM   #7
Outer Circle
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Hope, BC
Posts: 7,527
"Can anyone please tell me what you get when you go, on your menu, from CAMERA FUNCTIONS to ADVANCED FUNCTIONS to PICTURE ADJUSTMENT?" You get the controls for sharpness and color level. "From the manuals I downloaded (DV953 and MX500) you should be able to adjust sharpness and colour levels, but it doesn't say how." It's via a display setup. "Do you get numbers on the screen or what? Can you repeat a setup or go back exactly to how you were before?" You get numbers, I mean "marks" with "-" or "+" on the screen; you can repeat a setup as many times you want until the auto shut-off kicks in---but like with any miniDV cam (as far as I know), you can't adjust anything while shooting. "What I'm trying to find out is if you can improve on the shadow detail in some way. Perhaps a low contrast filter, who does not influence resolution? Maybe someone tried one that does flare or cause halation." How can you improve the shadow detail when you've white-balanced something not in the "shadow detail?" Unless you white balance for something in-between. I don't know about any filter that will sharpen something in the "shadow detail" without effecting the undork areas. "What about these "advanced" menus on the GS100: do they provide further adjustments?" Yes, zebra, mic sensitivity, color bars---besides picture adjustment. "On the other side, there's very little (and also confusing) on how you should set your sound levels when using "manual" option." Not confusing at all, but for best results use an XLR adaptor, a good mic, a mixer and headphones (for the MX3 and MX5/PV-DV953). Don't know about the GS100. Ask Allan. :-)
Frank Granovski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 26th, 2003, 03:55 AM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Posts: 1,137
<<<-- Originally posted by Yow Cheong Hoe :

The Manual adjustments on the MX500 is in the menu. You cannot adjust them while shooting, both image and audio, which is quite a pain.-->>>

That is exactly the same on all major cameras, the legitmate pro ones, sometimes only having adjustment for audio, which you can't reach during shooting.

The only things you should have externally is zoom, focus and F stop, and that is well dealt with on most prosumer cameras. You should have a well marked and precise barrel for each, which allows a predictable and repeatable correction of any of them during shooting. That's what camera assistants work with in pro shooting, particularly fiction, where you repeat your takes over and over.

<<<-- For example, while in daylight, sharpness at normal is OK, but in hi gain (+12db) a little softer will reduce graininess. So when you walk from the pool in daylight to teh inside of the house, in 1 shot, you won't be able to adjust the sharpness. Similarly, the saturation. -->>>

That would really push it, even if you worked with the best camera around. A situation like you describe is one where probably film is better, but in any case you should have to light the inside. Sharpness is something you should not mess around. You set it only once, as well as saturation, for the whole movie.

This I am saying is mostly visible if you have a large screen or if you blow up to film. If you will see this stuff on a large screen (video or movie) you should never go past +3dB in gain. And on the outside keep your F low, around 4 or 5.6.

<<<-- For audio, you have auto, manual gain with AGC (Auto gain control) and manual gain without AGC. My experience is that the AGC works well for the built in mic. But, being on the menu, you cannot adjust while shooting, which is another pain. What I am thinking of doing is to use an external mic with a volume control, and set the gain on the camera to +2db (I don't mind a little over the top).-->>>

If you want quality audio you should set it to manual for good. You should never adjust audio DURING shooting, only before. This is a serious misunderstanding among non-professional filmmakers, as audio is not given as much importance as it deserves or taken for granted.

There are several rules that should be followed in audio for video, starting for the mic you will be using and the position it will be in. The camera mic is only good for ambience, never for critical quality. Dialogue or interviews should never picked with it, as it will be severely lacking.

You should also use an external level control for the mics, be it a passive one or active one. And uou should use quality headphones.

There's another thing which should be provided on cameras like the DV953/MX500 or similar, which use a 1/8" miniplug for audio input. You should implement a short cable adaptor, to XLR or RCA, and leave it on all the time. This is very important: never plug the adaptor out if possible. All socket springs, those inside the camera, wear off and diminish pressure on the plug you insert. In time they become noisy or develop contact failure.

There's a lot more that can be said on audio recording, but I don't know if this is the right thread.


Carlos E. Martinez
Carlos E. Martinez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 26th, 2003, 04:01 AM   #9
Outer Circle
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Hope, BC
Posts: 7,527
Quote:
There's another thing which should be provided on cameras like the DV953/MX500 or similar, which use a 1/8" miniplug for audio input. You should implement a short cable adaptor, to XLR or RCA, and leave it on all the time. This is very important: never plug the adaptor out if possible. All socket springs, those inside the camera, wear off and diminish pressure on the plug you insert. In time they become noisy or develop contact failure.
That's one reason for getting an XLR adaptor.
Frank Granovski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 26th, 2003, 04:13 AM   #10
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 53
What is everyone talking about?

You buy a professional Panasonic PV-DV953 camcorder and study the manual and you can make movies. What is it and why do you need this XLR adaptor on a professional camcorder?
Fred Garhart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 26th, 2003, 04:23 AM   #11
Outer Circle
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Hope, BC
Posts: 7,527
"Professional" mics need an XLR socket. The PV-DV953's mic plug is too small. So the XLR adaptor is used as a bridge. See here:

http://www.beachtek.com

And it's black too. :-)
Frank Granovski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 26th, 2003, 04:24 AM   #12
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Posts: 1,137
<<<-- Originally posted by Frank Granovski : That's one reason for getting an XLR adaptor. -->>>

You probably mean a box adaptor like the Beachtek, which is a very good option.

I mean something even simpler and cheaper, which is a short (30cm) stereo cable with a quality 1/8" stereo plug on one side and two XLR-3 female connectors on the other side.

That should cost about $20 and do the job for a proper connection. It should be velcroed somewhere though, so it doesn't move.


Carlos
Carlos E. Martinez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 26th, 2003, 04:42 AM   #13
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Posts: 1,137
<<<-- Originally posted by Fred Garhart : What is everyone talking about?

You buy a professional Panasonic PV-DV953 camcorder and study the manual and you can make movies. What is it and why do you need this XLR adaptor on a professional camcorder? -->>>

You insist on calling the DV953 a professional camcorder, which it certainly is not.

Not even the excellent DVX100 is a professional camera. The DV953 is probably two steps below the DVX100, which is at the same time below from say a Sony DSR-570.

A new category was created for cameras like the PD150, XL1 and DVX100, which is "prosumer". But they are not really professional, they have many limitations that allow them being used on specific situations. But they would never be accepted on any broadcast, for say a news program or laugh in program.

You can study a manual and make movies, but you will be far from being a professional.

A XLR adaptor is something you will need if you want to interface your DV953 with any professional microphone. High quality mikes will quite likely be a lot more expensive than the camera itself.

In addition to that you will need to control your audio, so you will also need an external unit, like a preamp or mixer. The AGC is worthless for quality audio.

Professional quality is described by standards, which are quite rigid. Practically all the automatic settings on the DV953 are worthless for a quality job.

What we can do with a DV953 or any of those prosumer cameras I mentioned is a job that resembles what you can get with real professional equipment, just enough so you can show it through a TV channel.


Carlos
Carlos E. Martinez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 26th, 2003, 11:19 PM   #14
Outer Circle
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Hope, BC
Posts: 7,527
Quote:
Professional quality is described by standards, which are quite rigid. Practically all the automatic settings on the DV953 are worthless for a quality job.
I disagree with that by 100 percent. If it wasn't for people with small cams and shooting for the moment (auto mode), we wouldn't have even seen those 2 planes flying into The World Trade Center. And how many times and on how many TV stations around the globe was this footage played?
Frank Granovski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 27th, 2003, 12:00 AM   #15
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
One of the reasons I did buy the DVC200 was the full auto mode. The JVC500 did not have this. I wanted to be able to open the bag and grab it if there was a major news item or another type of situation.

I do like what Frank has brought up, full auto has itís place.
  Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Panasonic P2HD / AVCCAM / AVCHD / DV Camera Systems > Panasonic DVX / DVC Assistant > Panasonic DV / MX / GS series Assistant

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:33 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network