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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 March 1st, 2006, 09:01 AM   #1
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DVX settings for a serious amateur

I have just received my DVX100BE, as an upgrade from a canon MVX3i (you may have seen my thread previously; thanks everyone for their advice).

The manual controls are great, feels like my Nikon dSLR in continuous shooting mode! I also ordered an AT835ST, but it is still out of stock.

Comparing some initial shots, the colors are so much more real, skin tones are natural, gone is most of the "candid video" look, and the iris control makes for precise exposure control. Haven't had to use any Gain yet, where mvx3i was giving very spotty images (presumably because of auto-gain).

However, the image is not quite right, the default scene settings don't give me what I am looking for. There is still too much noise (an evenly colored object becomes spotty!), too much contrast, blown highlights, and the 25p modes are squarely aimed at projection viewing in dark rooms, with a oversaturated dark film look.

My main subjects are family, shot indoors and outdoors. The end product will mostly be visualised on various PCs (with calibrated monitors), distributed to others as mpeg on removable hard disks, and occasionally on DVDs for TV viewing.

So after a few tries, and reading the manual, I change the scene settings and settle with

DETAIL LEVEL 0
V DETAIL LEVEL 0
DETAIL CORING +5
CHROMA LEVEL 0
CHROMA PHASE 0
COLOR TEMP 0
MASTER PED 0
A. IRIS LEVEL +0
GAMMA HIGH
KNEE LOW
MATRIX NORM
SKIN TONE DTL OFF
V DETAIL FREQ THIN

PROGRESSIVE NO
PROGRESSIVE 25p

Still trying to decide between 50i and 25p, I shoot some more, and find that the colors are more natural in 25p (50i is like using too much Shadow / Highlight adjustment in Photoshop), but the contrast is still high (50i has a greater dynamic range, which I need because I shoot without lights). 25p may be preferable to me without these other issues (on a PC 50i mode has interlace artefacts that 25p does not, and it still looks smooth).

So, can someone please help me tune the settings to get what I need? (I'm trying to shortcut spending hours evaluating different settings).


About AWB, it seems to work well for me, and since moving clouds can have a big impact on color temp in seconds, I am tempted to just leave the camera in AWB all the time... Is that a bad idea?


Finally, I usually shoot dSLR using Aperture priority, because DoF control is what is important... why does all the doc and the advice I read on using the DVX, insist on using default shutter speeds and adjusting only the aperture? Indoors, I have found f6 or so during the day at 1/50, but I'd like to get to f2.8 or f4... can I just boost the shutter speed to 1/120, or does that create some issues? (on 50i or 25p?)? How about faster shutter speeds? With the equivalent of a 300mm lens, I would tend to use at least 1/250 in photos... Do you guys speed up the shutter to avoid camera shake too?

Thanks
Christophe

Last edited by Chris Suzor; March 1st, 2006 at 10:25 AM.
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Old March 3rd, 2006, 09:44 AM   #2
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Progressive scan is a beast to tame... once tamed though, the bugger purrs like a kitten..

that said, there are MANY MANY MANY posts pertaining to progressive shooting, the gamma "differences" pertaining to the formats, the noise levels, the lux restrictions, varying shutter speeds and their effect on certain shots, scene file settings etc etc etc...

best to search each subject and log down whatever relevant info you find.. this way youre learning as youre going along as opposed to getting a Black and White answer which wont expose you to any other nuance within the camera itself..
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Old March 10th, 2006, 11:37 PM   #3
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Just an update if anyone is interested. I have progressed to find these settings work for me:
DETAIL LEVEL 0
V DETAIL LEVEL 0
DETAIL CORING +5
CHROMA LEVEL +2
CHROMA PHASE 0
COLOR TEMP 0
MASTER PED +7
A. IRIS LEVEL +0
GAMMA HIGH
KNEE LOW
MATRIX NORM
SKIN TONE DTL OFF
V DETAIL FREQ THICK
PROGRESSIVE 25p

The camera is excellent, I am capturing good video where I could not previously because of low light, even without high gain, and the progressive mode is really showing it's advantages. The image quality is excellent, and the manual controls are exactly what I was looking for.

Moving the PEDESTAL up really helps in poor lighting, it extends the usable dynamic range (and gives a little noise, but it's better than areas of too dark for me). I haven't played with the 2 DETAIL LEVEL or SKIN TONE settings, it's not obvious to me what they really do.

For white balance, I let the camera set a good AWB, and then lock it for the current session. Works great, and it is better than shifting WB during a single shoot.

I am still learning about optimising shutter speed with progressive, although low shutter speeds makes smoother video, the motion blur from active subjects really requires a faster shutter... I may settle on using 1/60 and 1/120 depending on the subject's motion.

Regards
Christophe
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Old March 12th, 2006, 10:25 AM   #4
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Cheis i think ur confusing Luminance with Dynamic Range..

the Master Pedestal adjsuts ur black levels, basically widening or crushing the black luminance within the shot.. i wouldnt call it dymanic range at all..

also reading voer your initial post, to my own eye, i have to disagree with ur comment on 50i having a wider DR than progressive. For one, in progressive your using the full frame resolution of the camera, so inherantly, your shot is exposed to a wider field of Luminance and colour. Efectively runnign twice as much horizontal resolution than interlace, 25p might SEEM darker, but simply the nature of the beast.

ok with the DVX there are afew things to take note..
th AWB (or auto white balance) is ok is stable light. Also in natural light its usually pretty accurate, but to be honest, i wouldnt rely on it 100% o f the time, in fact i only use it when im shooting outdoors and i cant be bothered WB manualy.

As for clouds, u once u find ur colour temp that u want, u can always lock the AWB by allocated a user button to the AWB Lock function. I do this with both my cameras.

With regard to shutter speeds, i wouldnt recommend shooting progressive above 1/50, expecially for handhed work. Any faster and your motion may come across as being stroby. Then again faster shutter speeds an increase detail especialy for sports, however if shooting faster speeds, i would recommend a tripod and let the action roll out in front of you. The ND filters and the width of the Iris are perfectly sifficient to shoot in almost any lit environment (even sunlight through trees) at 1/50th

As for camera shake, the DVX is known to have weak OIS, however i find it a boon as i can now pick up any camerra of this formfactor and now im gonna get a rock solid shot.

As for scene settings, it seems your getting confused again.
Progressive is 25p, u cnat have progressive no and then progressive 25p to on

as for your scenee files for a basic filmic RICH look in colour, width and gamma
this is what id recmmend (just off the tops of my head...

DETAIL LEVEL -1
V DETAIL LEVEL 0
DETAIL CORING +5
CHROMA LEVEL 0
CHROMA PHASE -4 (for PAL this is the most accurate i have gotten using a colour chart. Oranges look orange and pinks look pink... not red.. )
COLOR TEMP 0
MASTER PED -4 (for trus crushed blacks and neutral greys)
A. IRIS LEVEL +0
GAMMA Cine
KNEE Auto
MATRIX Cine V
SKIN TONE DTL - I leave this off coz i soften in post
V DETAIL FREQ - THIN for plasma or projector, Thick for DVD TV. I usually shoot THick. Im considering switching this due to the detail coring and vertical detail tweakability.
PROGRESSIVE - Either one

This works with either progressive or Interlaced. INterlacd will give u a full 2 stops more lux tolerance than progrezzive in this mode.
When shooting low light, u can switch the gamma to High.

Now these settings work for me, and i cant fault the cameras teakability to get the best footage from any given environment.

Like i said initially, best to do a search (theres no right or wrong) and use what works well for you
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Old March 12th, 2006, 04:33 PM   #5
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Thanks, I see what you mean with pedestal settings from this page:
http://www.dvxuser.com/articles/MP/
My tests led me to think that the blacks were being streched into gray, which is similar to extending dynamic range, but I may have to redo some tests after reading that page.

I have decided to stick with 24P. Don't know if I should use 24PA, I guess if I don't know then I don't need it.

I believe I'll need at least 2 scene files, for low light and bright outdoors. Maybe more, but I'll start with that.

I see you recommend Matrix Cine, but that is too rich in colour for me.

I'll have to get a white or grey card, because even locking WB after AWB is sometimes unsatisfactory, as I found today, and there's not always a white subject to be found.

I shoot with a monopod, and I have noticed the OIS is not great, when playing with the controls there is some camera shake. I'll have to improve my technique.
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