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Old June 18th, 2015, 11:01 PM   #1
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PXW-X70 33db gain night video

Using my little X70 more extensively now that I can actually ingest XAVC-L into FCPX. Typically use it without a light, and wanted to show how it does in the dark. Most of the footage below was shot at 33db gain at 1/30th second shutter speed, all natural light. Now that "natural" light was yellow street lights, so I dod a bit of color correction, and adjusted the levels a little bit to make it prettier. This is 10bit 4:2:2, so the whole point of that is the advantage of being able to "pretty" up things. I shot this on AWB, as the yellow street lights made everything look yellow/green. The green gets worse when the levels drop, as shown in my other post on the issue. Obviously, the grain and noise will look different on YouTube with compression, but it's an indication of what you could expect of the gain capability of the X70. I may post a direct from FCPX h264 file of this on my OneDrive account for download if anyone is interested.

*SOT's using built in top mic, not the shotgun handle unit.

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Old June 18th, 2015, 11:42 PM   #2
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Re: PXW-X70 33db gain night video

The overall color looks pretty nice for street lighting but to be honest at this level of light even the Sony X200 you're planning to get will have similar trouble in terms of noise. One solution I imagine you could have had in this situation was the pocketable Sony RX100 Mk3. Please don't laugh me off. This tiny cam has the same sensor as the one in your X70 but the lens at the 28mm wide end (more or less the same as the X70's) goes to f1.8 vs f2.8 on the X70. Though the entire zoom range is far more limited (up to only 75mm f2.8 at the tele end) I suspect over this similar zoom range the tiny cam is around at least 1-stop faster than the X70 throughout. Of course you have to live with 8-bit 4:2:0 XAVC-S instead of 10-bit 4:2:2 of the X70. I'm not sure if your station's post or broadcast requirements would allow that for some shots but I think it's ability to buy you 1+ stop uder the kind of lighting in your video could maybe outweigh the codec shortcoming and PP adjustability. My $0.02.
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Old June 19th, 2015, 12:46 AM   #3
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Re: PXW-X70 33db gain night video

Believe it or not, I actually seriously considered getting an A7s with 28-135 f4.0 lens for ultra low light live shots. The zoom range would be too limited to do anything but live shots, so I opted for the X180 for the same price with a VCT14 tripod sled on the bottom. The 26mm wide on the X180 is amazing, but I find myself at 18db 1/30 shutter and still not being able to see anything but black with the brightest on camera LED available. At maximum zoom, the X180 is the same in low light as my station issued HM790 with 18x zoom. The 18x on the HM790 remains f1.4 from wide to full telephoto, so the X180 is twice as bright at wide angle.

And the video wasn't to complain about high gain grain, but to give people a look at the X70 image at the EXTREME. Most low light tests you see on YouTube are shot at 6db, or perhaps 12db at the most. I find the X70 totally usable at 27db, still good at 30db, and passable if necessary at 33db. 33db over 30db introduces some levels and contrast changes, which are not pretty. I wish the AGC had a 27db or 30db option.

I also wish these damn X180/X200 Sony cameras would allow MORE than 18db, and also had 2x digital extenders. For ENG they are NECESSARY.

Paul
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Old June 19th, 2015, 01:28 AM   #4
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Re: PXW-X70 33db gain night video

Am I missing something here, I often get confused! If on manual and the gain is limited to whatever (on mine to 21dB) then set on auto, does that not limit it to your chosen setting? Trying with the lens cap on suggests that's the case
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Old June 19th, 2015, 01:29 AM   #5
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Re: PXW-X70 33db gain night video

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Anderegg View Post
I wish the AGC had a 27db or 30db option.
Paul
I'm sure it did before the 2.0 firmware update - as IIRC I had my AGC set to 27db.

Can anyone with the old firmware confirm this?
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Old June 19th, 2015, 01:50 AM   #6
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Re: PXW-X70 33db gain night video

I'm on 2.0 and it seems to limit to whatever you set it to
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Old June 19th, 2015, 02:00 AM   #7
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Re: PXW-X70 33db gain night video

My AGC LIMIT menu has selections from 3db to 24db, and OFF. That was on the first second and third firmware versions.

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Old June 19th, 2015, 04:17 AM   #8
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Re: PXW-X70 33db gain night video

You are right Paul, I didn't notice that as I set mine to 21. 24 is the limit
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Old June 20th, 2015, 06:00 PM   #9
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Re: PXW-X70 33db gain night video

Here is the same footage as it aired. I have to say, I am pretty impressed with the X70's built in mic's ability to clearly pickup voice at close range. It may be a bit tinny, but the backgound doesn't build up to loudly like a typical shotgun would.

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