Upping the gain on the 953... at DVinfo.net

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Old May 22nd, 2003, 03:44 AM   #1
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Upping the gain on the 953...

Peter Jefferson mentioned in a previous post about upping the gain to about 15dB in lower-light conditions, which gave good results with minimal distortion...


What type of light setting (or lack thereof) did you use in order to necessitate that much gain? And how much does the heightened gain affect the overall brightness of the shot?

I tried testin' this out on one of the 953's at Circuit City, and at 15dB, noticed considerably more brightness with little if any distortion, but I don't consider that an accurate assessment due to the bright flourescent lighting of the showroom...

That's why I'm curious just how effective raising the gain would be, for example, in a normally lit (or even semi-poorly lit) room using typical household lighting...

Just outta curiosity is all....
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Old May 22nd, 2003, 07:18 AM   #2
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i was actually at Royal Botanic gardens in sydney one night and was filming the Opera House and Harbour Bridge from across the harbour...
Where i was there was next to zero light, but what i was filming was quite bright...

normal typical i use between 12 to 15db gain, any higher and its really ugly...

for wedding receptions i only need light if the venues do not use flouro. the cam is ALWAYS in manual unless i need to run a "filter" (the W.B button. lets u set different environments to compensate for certain kinds of lighting.) For flouro or computer monitors, i usually set the cam to "outdoor" <the little sun> with an open aperture
For receptions using chandaliers or "standard lights" i usually set teh cam to indoor<little globe>.

but most of the time, its fully set to manual so what u see is what you get..

usually the darker footage of a reception actaully adds to the alpha wave mindset created by the ambience of teh whole produciton, so more light doesnt necessarily mean a better product.

best way is to film and experiment in differnet environments..
its hard to say as some lights are well suited to allow a "light free shot" while others look atrocious.

also i find the manual focus in lower lighting as it stops the "scanning" of the auto/f ... its one of the fastest auto focus' ive seen, but when light is low, it has trouble (as do most cams)

I find that the constant movement of the autofocus can sometimes emphasis the distortion of the shot in lower light, as its constantly scanning.. once u have your focal point, turn off auto focus.. you will notice the difference in noise...

all i can say is that this cam has helped my business as i am actualy marketting what i do as being totally discreet, as we use small unincumberant cams as opposed to shoulder mounted monsters (which i love but can distract the crowd when working)
A small cam like this does a fine job (for what it is) and is a lil easier to sell as "discreet" than a large XL1s. Obviously the 2 are totally differnet, but for bread and butter work, you can get 2 MX's for teh price of one XL...

in the end its best to experiement and see what works well...
sometimes i even go into post and run some bump maps over the fotage to make it look like im spotlighting... so theres no end to what you can really do... lights or not...
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Old May 22nd, 2003, 01:13 PM   #3
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Thanks for your feedback!!

some very good points there.. I've utilized a few of those options as well, on my lower-end cameras (using manual focus and various white balance settings in dimly lit areas), and they certainly do help...

But my 1 chip cameras do not have the manual gain up ability like the 953 and most other 3-chip cams, hence my curiosity as to the effectiveness of that added manual tool....

Thanks again for the tips, Peter!
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Old May 22nd, 2003, 01:22 PM   #4
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Actually, even my $400 Panasonic DV52 has manual white balance, shutterspeed, and aperature controls (+18dB to F16)...

Usually when your at +15dB gain (depending on the camera) there is a considerable amount of grain visible, but it may not be very visible on the LCD as it will be on a TV or on the computer...so watch out for that...
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 02:27 AM   #5
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yeah i agree. the LCD pigments sometimes hides the noise...
on top of that, running in frame mode shows a slight stutter which doesnt show up on monitors or tv's... this is the delay in refresh i guess...

most cams allow for manual adjsutments as mentioned above..
ive got a groovy lil DS88 which has been thru the rounds afew times and some of the footage from it is very respectable using only manual settings

one thing ive always liked about the Panas, is that even the smaller "non pro" cams had these manual adjustments...(as well as awesome sound...)
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