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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old January 14th, 2004, 02:09 PM   #1
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I know this is going to make some of you good folks wince but here’s my question: what should I change in the PDX10 defaults? When I received my new PDX10 several months ago I just loaded a tape and battery, switched to 16:9, took off the lens cap and started shooting. And yes, I’m quite delighted with the results so far. Now having completed several small productions I thought I might take a look at the manual and I can’t believe all the things I might change. So you good people who know the camera inside out what should I really change, how good are the default settings, what really needs to be tweaked for general all-purpose well lit shooting, or are the defaults just about as good as it gets for other than highly specific shots? I know I could experiment till the cows come home and I know many folks have indeed done that already. Suggestions most welcome.
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Old January 14th, 2004, 04:25 PM   #2
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What I found that I use quite a bit, are the custom presets. I always have it on. In the Custom presets you can adjust the color level, sharpness and a bunch of other settings. I found that I need to tweek these settings when the lighting changes.

Another thing is the whitebalance. I found myself setting the white balance manually quite often. It gives better color, in my opinion.

Exposure - This really depends on your taste. I usually play around with exposure, to see if I can get a better picture.

Shutter Speed - I haven't used this often. But I found lower shutter speeds, give a really interesting motion blure. In a production I'm working on, I'm planning to use shutter speed at 15 to get a dream like motion.

One final thing I found, is that the picture that appears on the LCD of the camera, is different from what appears on my computer. A lot of the time the picture might look well exposed on the LCD, but then on my computer monitor appears too dark, or grainy. It might be a good idea to carry with you a small TV, or a laptop to adjust the color on it. If any one has better ideas, I'd like to hear them.

I'm just a beginner, and this is just my experiences so far.

Hope that helps
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Old January 14th, 2004, 04:31 PM   #3
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Do a quick search for "Custom Preset", there was recent thread where people listed their settings and experiences. Best advice may be to just try different settings and see what you like!
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Old January 14th, 2004, 04:56 PM   #4
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Read the manual, absolutely. Manual in one hand, camcorder in the other.
Daily.

Experiment. Find out the differences between the degrees of change within each setting. Ask questions, here and elsewhere, if you don't understand a function. Take none of them for granted. In short, make the camcorder an extension of your entire being. Telling you what's better or best when you haven't got any original sense of what things look like and how they could possibly matter isn't going to help you very much. We will gladly assist in teaching you how to fish....

Shoot your experiments, and playback on a tv or monitor. Call out the settings to the microphone, and/or take notes.

Get to know the difference between the LCD and the TV, as this will further affect how you think/feel about settings.

As you become generally familiar/aware of settings, read way back into this forum for ideas and understanding. Doing so before becoming familiar/aware will give your reading nothing to connect itself to. This is going to happen anyway....
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Old January 14th, 2004, 08:07 PM   #5
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One less obvious thing you might want to check... the camera defaults to DVCAM mode. While this *might* provide more robust recording, there is no difference in the digital data written to tape. In other words, it's not a higher resolution or higher quality mode, the image should be the same as DV SP recording.

So if you aren't shooting "mission critical" stuff you can switch to DV SP recording mode and voila!... suddenly you'll get 50% more on each tape (60 minutes vs 40 minutes).
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Old January 14th, 2004, 08:27 PM   #6
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"So if you aren't shooting "mission critical" stuff you can switch to DV SP recording mode and voila!... suddenly you'll get 50% more on each tape (60 minutes vs 40 minutes)."

I don't mean to change the subject but does the statement above mean that you can shoot in DVCAM mode with a non DVCAM tape (standard mini DV) ??

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Old January 15th, 2004, 02:51 AM   #7
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<I don't mean to change the subject but does the statement above mean that you can shoot in DVCAM mode with a non DVCAM tape (standard mini DV) ??>

Yes, you can.

And if i remember correctly, audio is set by default onto 32KHz, you will have better audio quality if you set it to 48KHz.

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Old January 15th, 2004, 03:22 AM   #8
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I might offer that the default sharpening on the TRV-950 is too high for my own tastes.

I would offer that in many cases of simple, direct playback of the footage recorded in good lighting the sharpening does give the perception of higher detail.....as it should.

However, nothing I record is just played back....it all goes through the computer where I look at the images at or near the resolution limit on a regular basis.

If one does this, works with frame grabs at all from this process, then the sharpening at default is way, way too high......it adds a tremendous amount of noise that gets amplified even further in the mpeg2 processing or jpg processing (for frame grabs).

So.....I keep CP on and sharpening all the way at its leftmost position.

Also.......I keep the color level at two clicks to the left of default (reduced color saturation). I have a preference for very neutral skin tones in a variety of lighting. Reduced color level makes the white point adjustment more robust to different lighting.

In those rare cases where I operated with default color level then I have to manually set the white point.....and then adjust it with white balance bias (toward blue indoors, toward red outdoors).

Hope this helps. If you are not sensitive to noise.....then sharpening will be OK.
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Old January 21st, 2004, 12:00 AM   #9
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Depending on the program, OS, type of screen and stuff like that you might se very different image on the computer monitor as compared to the cam's LCD. I use Mac OS X and by default QuickTime displays DV encoded video in a reduced quality mode when digitizing, also the gamma of the computer display system is very different from that of a TV and to make things even worse I have a Powerbook so the LCD screen is much darker than your regular TV. It seems to me that the built in LCD at default settings translates quite well to a regular TV set.

Also note that whether in 4:3 or 16:9, the LCD does not show you the while video frame, which is a pity because with this camera the complete frame is usable video (which is not the case with some other Sony and some Canon camcorders).
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Old January 21st, 2004, 03:59 AM   #10
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Ignacio,

Thanks for the post regarding computer monitors. Yes, the computer monitor should be completely ignored when editing with regard to color reproduction and tone reproduction.

However, for noise assessment using the monitor with screen grabs in Photoshop or Matlab allows one to both visually (by subsectioning the image and resizing up) or with FFT assess the noise level. At default sharpening the noise level is really quite high for indoor shooting....but....drops away to nearly nothing with sharpening turned down all the way.

While often the noise level that is present with these analysis is not bothersome on straight playback (good lighting shots for example)......if one ever wants to do any editing starting from the lowest noise level possible is my choice.

Hence, my own preference toward sharpening at minimum. The TRV-950 is an extremely low noise camera when sharpening is set at min. Noise, however, with sharpening at default, is pretty objectionable to me.

Lastly.....while in good lighting the sharpening does appear to provide a more "clear" image.....I feel video of people is superior with less sharpness and detail. Most folks (like me) suffer enough facial imperfections to benefit by reduced sharpening....especially for close up work....
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Old January 22nd, 2004, 11:00 AM   #11
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I found my PDX10 needed the exposure setting two notches to the left in the presets, otherwise the pictures were too pale for my liking. I'm surprised the camera comes set up like this, as turning down the exposure makes the low-light performance effectively better.

tom.
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Old January 23rd, 2004, 04:08 AM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by Tom Hardwick : exposure setting two notches to the left ........ turning down the exposure makes the low-light performance effectively better.
tom. -->>>


How do you mean this??

Jan
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Old January 23rd, 2004, 04:55 AM   #13
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Let's say that turning down the exposure preset by two clicks knocks off half a stop. I don't have the PDX10 now to check it out, but let's make this assumption.

Let's say for a given lighting situation the PDX10 would need maximum aperture out of the box. If I knock back the exposure by half a stop to give me the density I like, the same lighting setup would need the aperture resetting from f1.6 to f2.0

This means I can film in gloomier situations using max aperture and max gain up. Does this make sense?

tom.
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Old January 24th, 2004, 09:19 AM   #14
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> This means I can film in gloomier situations using max
> aperture and max gain up. Does this make sense?

Hmmm. I also set the AE point down several notches because in normal lighting conditions the camera tends to overexpose for my taste. I have not thought about how this affects low light performance actually... perhaps usually in low light one is several stops under the desired level anyway so the result is the same... anybody else have an opinion about this?
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Old January 24th, 2004, 09:54 AM   #15
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i've had my sony cam firewired to my computer earlier displaying a live image with a full over-scan. I was able to see the full recorded video frame.
I observed -
With "sharp" custom preset at it's maximum (extreme right), There is a very visible white line at the edge of the top frame. probably about 2 px thick. It is also visible at default - middle position, although not as hard. At minimum, extreme left, The line vanishes. It appears again at 1 notch left from default sharpness - middle. Based on this, I've settled on -2 as the best custom sharpness preset on my pd150.
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