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Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC Series
Sony's latest single-CMOS additions to their HDV camcorder line.


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Old June 25th, 2006, 04:33 PM   #1
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Too much noise in low light!

As much as I love my HC1 I hate the fact that it performs so poorly in low light!

It is so awesome when great light is available such as outdoors.
However, indoors (without proper lighting) and at night sucks.

I have the Sony 10/20w light and it seems to do a decent job but I still get grainy video in situations where I use the light.

I am currently doing 2 documentaries at the same time. One of which I am using the Cinema Effect and manually white balancing.

The other Doc I use a shutter speed of 1/30, manual WB, manual exposure. I use 1/30 shutter because I like the look it gives. As close to the film look I can get with the HC1 manual settings.

I just dislike the fact that when I do some B-Roll shooting at night with the light set to 20w I still get very noticeable noise in the picture.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can reduce as much grainy noise without sacraficing manual controls?

I have always been recording in HDV mode and then downconverting to SD in post.

Also, for the docs I do alot of recording in uncontrolled conditions. Meaning that I don't typically have a setup to record except for some interviews I did. My grandmother takes care of severly handicapped children so I have to follow her to different places to record footage.

Should I get a Spiderbrace for the times when I am walking while taping?

I realize that the poor low light of the HC1 is probably the biggest downfall of the unit but when all conditions are optimal the picture is spectacular!

Any inpit is greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance
Charlie Vankirk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 26th, 2006, 07:43 AM   #2
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Charlie,

Maybe you could try this in Low Light :

1) Select Sunset&Moon. In this mode the camera never exceed +9dB and the Shutter is locked to 1/50 (for my HC1E) or 1/60 (US version). You have to focus manually...

2) Activate Back Light. Low lights are now better and Highlights are not touched. Increase Camera Color.

It works for me ! In Post-production you can manipulate the pictures quite well.
Rodolphe Pellerin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 26th, 2006, 11:53 AM   #3
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Exposure

The manual exposure compensation 'toggle' directly corresponds to the amount of gain / iris applied. The last settings are:

+18db
+15db
+12db
+9db
+6db
+3db
+0db

then decreasing iris size from +F1.8...

Therefore you can always swap grain for exposure. I use the Portrait mode a lot -max aperture- then adjust gain. In low light it will probably default to 1/50sec which is correct cadence for 'film effect'.


Regards, Nick.
Nick Outram is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 27th, 2006, 01:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodolphe Pellerin
Charlie,

Maybe you could try this in Low Light :

1) Select Sunset&Moon. In this mode the camera never exceed +9dB and the Shutter is locked to 1/50 (for my HC1E) or 1/60 (US version). You have to focus manually...

2) Activate Back Light. Low lights are now better and Highlights are not touched. Increase Camera Color.

It works for me ! In Post-production you can manipulate the pictures quite well.
Yes, this is excellent!

Also try the Mike Crash filters for Vegas Video especially the one for Dynamic Noise Reduction. That has certainly salvaged a few low-light projects for me.
Gian Pablo Villamil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 27th, 2006, 11:49 AM   #5
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Also, you could try a video noise reduction in post. I use Vegas and the free Mike Crash "dynamic noise reduction" works wonders in getting rid of video noise from my A1.
Laurence Kingston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 27th, 2006, 02:01 PM   #6
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Yeah, I know there is usually a way in Post to work miracles.

I just wish that such a good camera would have better low light capabilities.

I guess that's what we get for buying the first Sony HDV "prosumer" camcorder.

Maybe the next model will have a better low lux.

Otherwise, like I said before, the HC1 & A1U are spectacular in optimal lighting situations.

I will take the advice of using the noise reduction filter in post! I hope it helps.

Thanks again!
Charlie Vankirk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 1st, 2006, 01:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence Kingston
Also, you could try a video noise reduction in post. I use Vegas and the free Mike Crash "dynamic noise reduction" works wonders in getting rid of video noise from my A1.
Where does one find the free "Mike Crash dynamic noise reduction" ??

Thanks
Paul Kepen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 1st, 2006, 02:08 PM   #8
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theres a link for that in Gian Pablo's post above.
Stu Holmes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 2nd, 2006, 02:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
I guess that's what we get for buying the first Sony HDV "prosumer" camcorder.
Charlie, what other compact handhelds SD or HDV are you comparing the HC1 to?

I just received my A1U this week and while I haven't had a chance to get 100% familiarized with it I'm quite sure it won't be in the same low light bracket as my past VX2000, FX1, or DVX100a. From what I've seen so far it bests any of my past compact SD handhelds (DV852, Optura Pi, DV953, GS100, etc..) in dim lighting.
Tommy Haupfear is offline   Reply
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