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Old December 19th, 2006, 09:54 AM   #1
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How do you pros manage to get such low noise shots?

Hi all. . .

In looking at great shots taken with the HVX posted on this site and others versus my shots, a huge difference in noise seems to jump out at me. . . my shots seem much noisier than yours.

Are you guys doing some special set ups to reduce that noise in the camera, or is it something you do in post?

I'd love to join your esteemed league.

Any tips would be more than appreciated. As of right now, I'm just using the stock Scene files (Cinelike V and Cinelike D), so I'm sure there must be some magic to be gained from manipulation on that score. But what is it?

Thanks very much.

Stephen
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Old December 19th, 2006, 10:48 AM   #2
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I would guess there is a one word answer-- lighting.

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Old December 19th, 2006, 11:25 AM   #3
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Although lighting is very important so is composition and, there are a few "tricks" to get better looking footage out of the HVX.

Stephen, if you look on this forum for a thread called, "HVX Color Sample" you'll see a list of settings I used to make a direct comparison between the standard/default scene file settings and custom settings I created. There's also a link to the test clip that is being hosted by MotionZone HD which shows same-scene comparisons where I switch between the default Scene File 1 setting and my custom settings. Consider this a jump-off point for your own experimentation.

Barry's book is also a great resource for understanding the various camera settings and comes with a CD that has screen grabs of all the listed setting changes so you can see what they look like.

Of all the handheld HD cameras the HVX is the noisiest of the bunch, and while you cannot change the noise characteristics of the camera you can use various settings, such as mine in the thread mentioned, to give the *appearance* of less noise.

One easy "trick" in getting the appearance of less noise is to use the B-PRESS gamma setting in the camera; by crushing the blacks in the output it *looks* cleaner, but if you raise the gamma in post you'll clearly see the noise is still there, it's just hidden a little.
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Old December 19th, 2006, 11:47 AM   #4
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I will definitely check those settings out. . .

But Robert's answer suggests another question. If the HVX-200 is so noisy, why is it so popular for filmmaking these days? I would think that a lower-noise camera would make a lot more sense for film outs.

Stephen
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Old December 19th, 2006, 11:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Pruitt
...If the HVX-200 is so noisy, why is it so popular for filmmaking these days?
16x9, 24p, variable frame rates, great color...
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Old December 19th, 2006, 02:15 PM   #6
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It's not that it's SO noisy, it's just the noisiest of the bunch.

The reasons for it's popularity are vast:

- DVCPRO codec and color space
- Panasonic chips/color response (a little more saturated than Sony, Canon and much more than JVC)
- VFR (variable frame rates)
- True progressive modes, not "frame" modes as Sony and Canon have used previously (the newer HDV cams from both are now using a new progressive HDV codec)
- One of only 2 native tapeless formats (XDCAM is currently the only other native format, RED is coming soon, hopefully)
- The ability to "hack" into the firmware and get extra frame rates/modes out of it (highly required reading from Barry's book and not to be attempted without considering the possible implications)
- The most shooting modes available on any hand-held HD camera.
- Excellent customer support from Panasonic, probably the best in the industry.
- In some rare instances the HVX noise characteristics have made it easier to match the film-grain look without using post techniques. This is mostly producer preference and not a widely accepted methodology.
- P2 currently offers the most options in aquisition and transfer (archiving and storage is a subject of great debate - new options are on the horizon however, talk to Allan @ Omega Broadcast about this).

I could go on, but you get the idea.
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Old December 20th, 2006, 07:12 AM   #7
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And I'd just add to what everyone has said so far (just because it is something I've had to say to many a pixel-obsessive-producer)
Resolution isn't everything.
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