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Panasonic DVX / DVC Assistant
The 4K DVX200 plus previous Panasonic Pro Line cams: DVX100A, DVC60, DVC30.


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Old July 21st, 2003, 06:24 PM   #1
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Gimme' a report on GRAIN and low-light!

Hey guys... as I'm about to pull the trigger on a dvx100 I'd like some input from those of you who actually OWN the dvx100.

I saw some very helpful "grabs" from Stephen's thread and enjoyed them very much. The thing that I would love to see is a tape... ACTUAL footage. Since that is unlikely I'm hoping you guys will "chime in for me"...

Stephen said that those GRAIN-FREE grabs are authentic... perfectly grain free... Since I've not read much about that in ANY review so far I'd like some confirmed experience... I thought that maybe since this will be my first "real" camera that maybe I just didn't know the "good ones" are all like this...

Is it true that when you run out of light one way or another, that if you keep the gain at zero, that you'll simply have dark footage rather then grainy or "dancing pixels" footage?

So if you video an area of plenty of light which falls off to an area of low light (such as an open door to the night) that you'll have a properly exposed area which then falls off to black WITHOUT grain or "dp" (dancing pixels) in the dark areas?

This is of crucial importance to me... I read SO much about the trv900 and how great it was at low light that I bought one that was basically perfect for $1400... after 3 weeks I felt compelled to sell it and just get the dvx100 I'd been wanting... this conclusion came largely because of the grain/dancing pixels when light runs out... I have at least one person who says it's possible to have totally dark footage without DP or grain... is that really true?
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Old July 21st, 2003, 06:27 PM   #2
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The AVI clip I posted is raw DV - it's the signal on tape. Print it to tape in a loop and look at on a monitor.
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Old July 21st, 2003, 07:58 PM   #3
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Stephen, I meant no disrespect to your post and the avi file... unfortunately my video computer is on dial-up so it would take a long time to download the avi and loop it. My system is set up with a raptor-rt card w/ analog out so checking the footage would be no problem but keeping my dial-up from dropping over the course of 10 megs would...

I'm hoping that every dvx100 owner that reads this post will agree that your grain-free experience really is the norm.

Stephen, I'll try to get over to my brother's house (he has high-speed on my old computer that I set up for him) to check out your footage... but it's likely that before I get a chance to do that I'll have a dvx100 anyway... I just want some reassurance to hype my anticipation a little more.
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Old July 21st, 2003, 10:01 PM   #4
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No problem. I would really be surprised if you don't love the low light look of the DVX100.

In fact, my next short is a low-key lighting piece in black & white. I should have some test shots in a couple of weeks or so.

The real magician in the DVX100 is the DSP via cinegamma (as well as the many other controls for controlling the camera response).

A lot of people griped abouit lack of gain in progressive modes. I for one, don' t miss. Shadows is the key for creating depth in a shot and too much videography is about eliminating shadows but study any other visual arts and it's all about the shadows.

Other than green screens or clients who demand it, gain is an overrated camera feature in my book.
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Old July 21st, 2003, 11:10 PM   #5
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I have no problem with gain if it can be had without grain... the thing which really surprised me about the trv900 is how well-respected it is for it's low-light ability considering a fair portion of that comes from gain-up.

My brother had one a couple years ago and he thought it was a priceless camera for it's low-light... the thing is definitely more capable of getting a low-light image then it's replacements, but with a little more gain... in my mind the word gain is now synonomous with grain... anyway, the reason the gain/grain issue is so big with me is that I think ANY grain in a professional video is unacceptable. I'll find ways around it with lighting or post-work, but I want a cam that helps me as much as possible from the initial shoot.

I even considered a dvc-200 but I just don't think I want to mess with a shoulder cam just yet. Also I really want the progressive modes and that cam doesn't do 'em.
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Old July 22nd, 2003, 07:08 PM   #6
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Matt what kind of post work do you do to get rid of grain and what program do you use?
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Old July 22nd, 2003, 11:33 PM   #7
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So far the only REALLY effective cure for grain I've found is to light your shoot. I'm not smarting off here... seriously, light with the minimum kit necessary and then darken in post. You can change the color and darkness of anything you shoot... just like "day for night" shooting...

Ideally I want a cam that requires the very least as far as extra light that I'll only remove in post anyway... I'm hoping the Panny will fit that bill. I should mention that I still expect to use some kind of extra lighting in every dark shot... I just don't want grain. Period.

The only other ways to remove grain in post is to mask it... either soften, blur, haze, fog, or matte out grain/dancing pixels in dark areas... all of those options are a pain in the butt! So I'm hoping a better cam reduces post time.

I use Premiere 6.0 and I'd have almost no real complaints about it if only they could swipe the speed rubber-bands from Vegas... I almost tried to load a second nle program into my computer JUST to get the speed rubber-bands... that ONE feature of Vegas is worth the cost alone.
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Old July 27th, 2003, 12:48 PM   #8
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I'll admit I quickly scanned the thread. Are you using 24p? Here's some VERY low light shots film in 24p normal:

http://www.aviewofyou.tv/dvx100/duo.html

and

http://www.aviewofyou.tv/dvx100/duo2.html

The camera does very well in 24p in low light situations. I'll admit that the 60i medium and high gains are grainy. Sorry... don't have examples of those.
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