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Old June 8th, 2012, 06:46 AM   #706
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread - AGC+SET

Hi Alan,

Good question and one that reminded me of yet another feature about this amazing little cam that I had completely forgotten about. I agree the TM900 manual is very vague (pages 72, 73 and 74) on the audio settings but from my understanding of it/testing it out on the cam, this is what I think is happening.

Put the TM900 in Manual mode (mine lives in this mode!)
Then it's Menu>Record Setup>Mic Level (Page 7 of 9)
Once in Mic Level you then have 2 options, Auto or Set.
I assume Auto is AGC controlled

Now the Set option opens up some interesting features.

If the AGC button (bottom of screen) is not selected/activated (i.e. not highlighted in yellow for those that are new to the cam, just toggle on or off by pressing once each time) you can simply adjust the level up or down from 0dB (steps of - 3dB in the downward direction, steps of +2dB in the upward direction). When you have it where you want it (using the on screen noise bars and headphones to judge sound levels), then just press Enter. This is simply manually adjusting the sound level and is what I've been doing most of the time on my TM900. It will show as SET in the Menu.

Alternatively, if you adjust the level to say - 6dB and touch the AGC button to activate it (and then press Enter) the Mic Level is then displayed in the Menu system as being SET+AGC.

I believe this is exactly as you imply Alan, the ceiling for the AGC control is set at a lower level than 0dB (by whatever you have selected), in this case it would be - 6dB (to spell it out).

I have just checked all this in the cams menu (whilst awaiting for yet another render to finish!) and it seems to make sense.

This could be pretty useful now that you've reminded us all that this feature exusts on the TM900! I would stress that I've never used this SET+AGC function in anger, as I usually just shoot with Manual control on the sound level (or occasionally AGC, i.e. "Auto" Mic Level). This feature might be another very good option for Luc to use to stop overloading his cams sound pre-amp - so let's hope he reads this in time.

It would be great to hear from someone who uses this feature a lot in real live situations to confirm what you and now I think this does.
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Old June 8th, 2012, 08:39 AM   #707
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

I use a Videomic Pro on mine, just turn the switch to -10. Works like a charm, but still and all, a bit of a hissy mic. I usually end up running a de-hisser on the footage. By the way, I always bring headphones to monitor my sound. It's one of the benefits to using a camcorder like this.

Al

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luc Spencer View Post
Guys, I hate to be off-topic, but I would really need your words of wisdom for a gig tomorrow. It's about setting up the VideoMic Pro on the TM900. I filmed a concert last night with the mic on the 0db setting and the TM900 on auto microphone volume setting (AGC off). The display showed me that most of the time the level reached the first red bar, which I thought was fine (the 2nd red bar I thought to be the problem).

After a few hours of filming when I got home and reviewed my footage... utter disaster, the sound was heavily distorted :( I was filming right near the stage, a few meters from the subwoofers, maybe I should have lowered the bass volume? Or kept the camera on auto mic volume but set the VMP on -10db? Or just set a value for input in the TM900's menu that would be close-ish to the first red bar in the level meter and stick to that throughout the entire gig? Not sure which would have been the best way to go. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated, thank you very much!
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Old June 8th, 2012, 08:45 AM   #708
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

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Originally Posted by Dennis Freeman View Post
Andy,
It is a shame that the event couldn't have happened on a sunny day. It would have looked even more spectacular than it does.
Nice work,
Denny
TIme for some Magic Bullets Looks! (G)
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Old June 8th, 2012, 10:19 AM   #709
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

No way Al!

A deep blue Thames and a sunny sky, "Californian style" would just not match the typical English weather (and the atmosphere that goes with it) that we often seem to get on these special occasions! Right now as I'm finishing the edit we are being battered by 70 mile hour winds and "European monsoon" rains here in the UK. Yep, this must be England in June then!

If I can get this Diamond Jubilee Thames River Pageant re-edit finished sometime today/tomorrow I'll post it on here this weekend. It's taking a lot of my 8 core Mac Pros resources in CS5.5 as I've now got nearly 80 clips dynamically linked between Premier Pro and After Effects (mostly for Warp Stabilisation - which it has done a fantastic job on). However, I've now decided that after this project I will be placing an order to max out the RAM in this thing!
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Old June 8th, 2012, 05:26 PM   #710
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Re: TM900 - Jubilee River Pageant (Highlights)

Here you go!

I did a lot of work on the sound that the Rode VMP captured to help recreate the magical atmosphere. Lots of Warp Stabilisation too - you would think most of it was shot on a tripod now! I also repositioned, reselected and/or chopped/trimmed lots of shots so this one is 100 seconds shorter, and I hope a slicker edit. Further notes/details on the YouTube page. It is also now on Vimeo. Still no blue skies though....;-)


I still think it is amazing that one can get such good 1080p material in poor weather from something that is so small that it almost fits in a pocket - if you've got something unusual and a perfect spot to film it from!
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Old June 9th, 2012, 08:23 AM   #711
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Hi Andy,

A really great effort. Having suffered the travesty of the BBC's boring, totally uncoordinated live coverage of this event, with seemingly unlimited resources, I have to say, your coverage captured far more of the atmosphere. The Director General of the BBC is stepping down: would you kindly take his place please.
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Old June 9th, 2012, 08:59 AM   #712
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Thanks Guy for that great compliment!!! :-) I had heard the BBCs coverage was pretty bad on the day. You are the forth person to make this kind of comment about my little film. [The DG position was a bonus the others omitted!]

It was a nightmare re-edit so compliments like this are much appreciated! For those that want to know, I lost my Dynamic Link from After Effects about a day and a half into it (a worrying sea of red "Media Offline" all along my Premier Pro timeline). I had to do some serious head scratching/problem solving into the small hours to recover the project. Luckily, I have very regularly back-ups and managed to find a way to get it to all hang together again for a final render of this Highlights film. 12GB of RAM just ain't enough so 32GB here I come. Mind you, I'll need to spend some of that high salary the DG gets on something.... I suppose :-)

Back on topic, well sort of. Luc, when you're next on, how did the audio go with the TM900 and Rode VMP in that next gig?
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Old June 9th, 2012, 10:09 AM   #713
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Andy, could you have boosted the contrast/saturation just a bit on the river scenes? The cutaways are much more vibrant to my eyes, and with a bit of punch (but not magic bullets) I think the river scenes would have been more interesting. Awfully flat on my monitor.

All the best! Wish I was back over there again.
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Old June 9th, 2012, 10:34 AM   #714
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Yeah I did wonder about that - good suggestion - and a few other things I'd like to do to it.

A lot of the 20x zoom shots in particular are a bit flat - but of course it was pretty dismal, dull and misty day and that's all part of the history of it!

However, in view of the hiccups well into re-editing, my main aim then switched to get "something" completed and in the bag.

I'm archiving copies of the whole project on multiple external drives and when I've got the extra RAM installed on my Mac Pro I'll try and re-open the project and see if that speeds things up. [For the first time in 6 months of using CS5.5 this project brought my system to its knees with a few lock-ups, crashes etc. - up to now it's been wonderful and zippy fast, as indeed has been the project I've just completed today].

Failing that, I'm looking at a new Graphics card as well (all this is on a thread I started in the Adobe section on here) but that involves upgrading from Leopard to Snow Leopard and a few other things, all of which I'm reluctant to do in view of ongoing client projects right now. The RAM can be installed without any other changes - so will be done as soon as I can get it delivered!
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Old June 10th, 2012, 04:56 AM   #715
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Andrew, before you get too far down the road of computer upgrades, take a look at Premiere CS6. First reports are that there are improvements to the Mercury Engine and the camera stabilisation effect is integral to the editing program. This will prevent you running both Premiere and After Effects, which is eating up the RAM. Unfortunately I missed the preview in Brighton last month, but hopefully someone on this forum went and may enlighten you as to how much of an improvement the latest version is.
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Old June 10th, 2012, 05:19 AM   #716
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Thanks Guy. I'm following CS6 developments VERY closely. There seem to be a few serious bugs for Mac and AVCHD users (in particular) - which will get sorted soon I'm sure....and then I will be upgrading. CS Production Premium is such terrific software and the guys and gals at Adobe actually listen to what us professionals want and need so I have no doubts about this at all.

In the meantime, I figure that the RAM upgrade can only help my otherwise normally superbly stable and pretty fast system (I'm editing one of the films I shot in my wife's native Mauritius last year - family stuff - and it's flying through it!). I really need to upgrade the Graphics card - but that comes with some complications that I can't risk right now (I need FCS2 on my system as well). I'm hoping to get that done sometime in the next few months, important ongoing client projects permitting.

More details about the RAM and Graphics Card upgrade I'm considering in this thread in the Adobe section:

Mac Pro 2.66Ghz 8 Core Nehalem - 32GB RAM Upgrade Worth it?
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Old June 10th, 2012, 06:41 AM   #717
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Andy, as a long time Vegas Pro user, I'm really enjoying CS6! Also purchased and tried FCPX, but it didn't work for me or my MacAir. CS6 runs fine on the Air and for the first time with the cloud options, I can run on both Mac and my PC. I'm sold!
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Old June 12th, 2012, 03:32 PM   #718
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Wilkinson View Post
Back on topic, well sort of. Luc, when you're next on, how did the audio go with the TM900 and Rode VMP in that next gig?
Well... below is a sample. Unfortunately I did not read the SET+AGC trick in time for the event, so I just set the camera to AUTO mic volume and the VMP to -10dB. Compared to the last event I filmed, the sound is much better and cleaner. However, I am still hearing slightly distorted lows. I'm guessing it's because of the reason you mentioned earlier, the camera is always trying to stay on 0db, so the song beats surprise it and it doesn't have enough time to react and lower the input level. I just hope the SET+AGC setting doesn't lower the volume too much on every beat, then increase it when there's no beat, then lower it again on the next beat and so on. That would actually be worse. I can't wait to test it tomorrow, don't want to wake up the neighbours now :)

And thank you Andy! I wanted to come here and complain about how useless the sound settings are for this camera, but apparently it's a bit smarter than I thought. One thing that does disappoint me, however, is the low light picture quality. What you're seeing below was shot at 1/50 exposure and anywhere between +6 and +12db of gain (auto iris). Everyone praised this camera for its excellent low light capabilities, but in all honesty it's not that great.

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Old June 13th, 2012, 09:26 AM   #719
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Mkay, I did the test. Conclusion? Disappointment. Here's what I did:

Record Setup -> Microphone volume -> SET -> -6, AGC ON
VMP on -10dB

Now, from what I understood, the level meter was supposed to stay somewhere around the -6dB mark no matter the noise level. What I did to test this was just increase and decrease the volume on my 5.1 sound system while watching the level meter. Unfortunately, when at max volume, the level meter on the camera showed the sound to CONSTANTLY be on the first red bar, sometimes even hitting the second one. When I lowered the music volume, the level meter was somewhere in the middle. Unless I'm missing something, I seem to be looking at using fully manual mic volume from now on. Video below.


As a sidenote, I did a quick time lapse today to drain a battery. What in the world is going on with the quality of the footage? I know it's not in the 50p setting (HA mode used) but the footage just looks horrible in comparison.

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Old June 13th, 2012, 11:46 AM   #720
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Hi Luc,

Thanks for the update. The AGC+SET thing at -6 dB test looks disappointing - I wonder how this is supposed to work then. Anyone know?

Cannot really tell from your video about the timelapse quality as I am out and about and only viewing on my Samsung Tablet. Last year I did try an extended timelapse with my TM900 and I will say that I was so unhappy with the quality of it when I got home that it never even made it into a family video. I ONLY ever use it in 1080p50 now. Each camera has strengths and weaknesses - get to learn them well and use them to play to their strengths whenever possible!

Sure, low light performance on the TM900 is not stella. What do you expect with 3 small chips! This kind of thing is all relative. I can tell you it trounces my old Sony HC1 and a friends Sony V1 that were my main tools a few years ago. If you need good low light get a Canon 5D Mkiii.
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