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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old June 30th, 2008, 09:58 PM   #31
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Here is some information from Sony that might be of interest. It was specifically in response to a question about matching the EX1 to the look of the HVX, but there are aspects relevant to this thread.

"The F-900R and Ex1 do not apply electronic enhancement (sharpening)when the detail is set OFF or when the DETAIL is set ON, but DETAIL LEVEL is set at zero. When the DETAIL is ON, the amount of electronic enhancement increases in proportion to the numerical value as long as you adjust from zero to +99. Setting the level at a negative number (0 to -99)invokes a softening algorithm which Sony calls SOFT FOCUS. The effect of the SOFT FOCUS filter is to increasingly soften the image in correlation with the negative numerical value. This may be exactly what you are trying to accomplish, but bear in mind that it will not be possible to reverse this filter in post production! Judging image quality on-set, using small, screen-size TV screens can be dangerously deceiving. You may recall that Andrew Young shot all of the Ex footage with enhancement OFF. Andrew Young's footage on either the 35mm film-out or 4K projections resolved fined detail and image texture without looking electronic in close-ups or extreme wide angle scenes,

The difference in perceived image sharpness is that the EX has three full raster 2.2 mega pixel 1920x1080p imagers (just like an F-900R or F-23 . On the other hand, the HVX-200 and 500 design are based 1/2 megapixel CCDs with only 960x540 pixels, commonly found in standard definition cameras. Small pixel count inherently leads to image softness which is aggravated by the necessarily strong anti-aliasing resolution cut filter. Aliasing manifest itself as wavy moiré interference superimposed on the image. HVX camcorders use spatial offset technique to ameliorate aliasing. However, it is necessary to remember that spatial offset is not a panacea. It works partially on strong black and white transitions (like a test pattern), but does not work much with natural images and does not work at all if green is missing (such as when shooting a red woven sweater). When designing a cameras that under samples, the designer must add a strong optical low pass filter (resolution cut filter to reduce aliasing).

My recommendation is to shoot with the detail set at zero, this way the image will retain low contrast high resolution detail and image texture and fine detail even in extreme wide angel shooting. You may elect to shoot in 720P mode which has inherently less pixels than 1080 for a softer image. By the way, the EX has full raster 1920x1080P imagers which run from 1 to 60 fps when the camera is set to 720P mode. This means that aliasing is not an issue (thanks to over sampling. Further image softening should be applied in post (where it is reversible)

Best,
Juan Martinez
Senior Manager
Sony Electronics Inc.
Serena Steuart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 30th, 2008, 11:06 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serena Steuart View Post
"The F-900R and Ex1 do not apply electronic enhancement (sharpening)when the detail is set OFF or when the DETAIL is set ON, but DETAIL LEVEL is set at zero. When the DETAIL is ON, the amount of electronic enhancement increases in proportion to the numerical value as long as you adjust from zero to +99. Setting the level at a negative number (0 to -99)invokes a softening algorithm which Sony calls SOFT FOCUS. The effect of the SOFT FOCUS filter is to increasingly soften the image in correlation with the negative numerical value.

Best,
Juan Martinez
Senior Manager
Sony Electronics Inc.
Serena,

I think Juan is wrong about the EX1 on this. Adam Wilt has said that perceptually, detail OFF is about the same as detail ON -30.
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Old June 30th, 2008, 11:12 PM   #33
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Interesting, but I think the specifics are incorrect. Detail off is definitely not the same as detail on, set to zero. Detail on, set to zero has some sharpening applied.

I did some early tests (grabs still posted here I'm sure) that show that detail at -20 at least looks the same to eye as detail off. Not sure if it's mathematically the same, but it looks the same.

Detail below -20 is like a post blur. But it's not a pretty gaussian blur or defocus algorithm - instead it looks suspiciously like a box blur, which are used in visual effects when quality is not as important as computational speed.

When the radius of Sony's "soft focus" blur gets big (detail -99 for example) it is incredibly ugly to my eye. A simple gaussian blur in post looks much better than Sony's box blur.
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Old July 1st, 2008, 03:42 PM   #34
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It's well known and obvious that with detail ON and set to 0, there is sharpening.

Here's the proof.

Turn OFF detail and focus using Peaking.
Now leave the camera focused and turn on Detail set to 0.

Notice how much peaking increases.....To tell you the truth, you don't need peaking to see this. It quite obvious on its own
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