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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old February 12th, 2009, 03:51 PM   #1
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Don't Be Afraid To Turn Off The Detail!

So I almost sold my Ex1:

I always loved this camera in 720p60 or 1080i modes, but every time I shot 1080p24, I got not "judder" but rather a crazy drop in resolution during movement and pans that was very "off-putting" to say the least.

I am gearing up to shoot a film and cannot have those super-soft pans, so I was going to get rid of the EX in favor of something else, when I read the BBC engineering paper quoted in an earlier post in this section that recommended turning the detail way down or even off while shooting "film-like" video. So I tried it....

WOW! Not only is that weird resolution flux gone during movements (there is now just natural motion blur or judder one would expect), but it gives the image a much more organic, less video-y feel to it. And the great thing is, you can always add sharpening in post later if you feel you need it, but shooting well-focused 1080P I don't think it needs it.

So if I am shooting 720p60 or 1080i for corporate, video-y video, I will use sharpening so you get that "looking through a window" look. But for film-y video, its detail off for me, baby.

Anyone trying out this camera for an evaluation, definitely try detail off or at least way down (-25 through -40 or so).

With this camera, the Devil is in the Detail...
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Old February 12th, 2009, 03:58 PM   #2
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And sorry for the triple post - it kept saying "gateway timeout error" so I thought the posts weren't going through. My bad!
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Old February 12th, 2009, 06:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Brian Mills View Post
And sorry for the triple post - it kept saying "gateway timeout error" so I thought the posts weren't going through. My bad!
No problem Brian. Our guru is on it as we speak. You aren't the only victim of that message today.

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Old February 13th, 2009, 12:15 AM   #4
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I never have detail on, I don't trust a digital detail enhancer, even if it is "in-camera". If someone can correct me on this (that it is actually better) I am happy to see evidence.

But good advice none the less.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 02:26 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Glynn Morgan View Post
I never have detail on, I don't trust a digital detail enhancer, even if it is "in-camera". If someone can correct me on this (that it is actually better) I am happy to see evidence.

But good advice none the less.
I think digital detail enhancer is probably a fancy name for edge enhancement. If that's true, then you don't want it for a couple reasons, one, it tends to reduce resolution, and another, it's harder to to encode well at a given bit rate.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 03:11 AM   #6
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This camera captures enough detail on its own that I just keep the detail options "off".
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Old February 13th, 2009, 04:49 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Brian Mills View Post
But for film-y video, its detail off for me, baby.

Anyone trying out this camera for an evaluation, definitely try detail off or at least way down (-25 through -40 or so).

With this camera, the Devil is in the Detail...
I recently spent some time with my EX3 and resolution chart in an attempt to get the 'best look' out of 1080 25P.

My tests concur with your evaluation in that -30 detail level setting was about the same as running the camera with the detail off.

Even with the level at 0, the display on the waveform monitor was full of artificial spikes.

With the above setting, I have found that the camera offers a very nice image (in conjunction with Matrix set to Hi-Sat although some may like a little less chroma saturation, -3 black level and Cine 1 Gamma setting). This works well for me.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 05:07 AM   #8
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I run detail on but at about -20, that way i still have the other options available to me such as crispening and frequency, if detail is turned off then the the other detail options get greyed out.

Paul.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 05:29 AM   #9
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I think detail off should be default. I cannot imagine a real world situation that would actually benefit from it. If anything the contrasty edges would make the codecs job harder and result in more compression artifacts. There were tests ages ago that showed the difference between on and off. It was like video vs film (well okay, not quite), worlds of difference though. I forget that many new people visit here all the time and wouldn't have seen them. Electronic detail is evil and should be banished forever...

In general manufacturers are forced to make cameras to be used in situations where there is no post (ENG) hence having all these image modifications in camera. However if you're using it in post workflow then you just want to capture the best you can and work on it afterwards, not in the field. So i leave everything aside from shutter speed, aperture, gamma and white balance - that's all i worry about and it serves me fine.

cheers
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Old February 13th, 2009, 02:46 PM   #10
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Hi... following this with interest. Would someone mind telling me how to turn the detail down to minus-twenty or minus-thirty? Is it in the menu?
Also, if I have to shoot some footage in PAL, 1080 25P, should I go to the Flicker Reduce setting in my camera menu, and change from 60Hz to 50Hz?
Thanks,
Malcolm
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Old February 13th, 2009, 03:31 PM   #11
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I've shot with Detail off for about 1 year based on posts here and my experience is that the EX it's sharp enough and pleasing without it on. If one desires more 'crisp' picture quality that can be added easily and controllably in post. I think the non-intuitive setting of "0" has messed up a lot of people, as a "0" setting isn't neutral but quite a severe enhancement.

I appreciate Brian's input about it affecting pans or frames with movement, it's good to know this in case I ever see the need to use it.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 03:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm Hamilton View Post
Hi... following this with interest. Would someone mind telling me how to turn the detail down to minus-twenty or minus-thirty? Is it in the menu?
Also, if I have to shoot some footage in PAL, 1080 25P, should I go to the Flicker Reduce setting in my camera menu, and change from 60Hz to 50Hz?
Thanks,
Malcolm
its in the picture profiles menu setup under detail. switch detail on so you can access the menu items. go from there. save your pp with an appropriate name. before shooting anything, test your settings to ensure that it is acceptable for you.

i have spent a long time adjusting and re-adjusting my pp settings until i found my favourite settings.

flicker reduce is to minimise flicker from flouro lights. i have worked with it on and off whilst under flouro lighting that could not be turned off for reasons that i fdo not remember and i cannot see any difference. possibly other have seen a difference.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 04:58 PM   #13
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thanks David,
I'll get into the picture profiles and get rid of the detail.
Appreciate the help. Malcolm
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Old February 14th, 2009, 07:04 PM   #14
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I don't see this specifically stated in the posts above, so I'll add a little. When sharpening is "on" during camera movement (e.g. pan) motion blur means the image contains no well defined edges and the sharpening algorithm has nothing much to work with. The algorithm "springs into action" (so to speak!) when the image is steady so at the end of a pan the image "pops" into sharper focus. This is quite visible.
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Old February 14th, 2009, 09:05 PM   #15
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OH! That description helps A LOT!!! I've been wondering what was happening when it snapped into focus. A long time ago when the EX1 first came out Barry Green did a review of it and seemed to think that that "popping into focus" was the cause of the CMOS sensor. I didn't think there was anything you can do about it. Now I can't wait to turn the Detail off.

Thank you very much. (It's amazing how a simple description like that can clear things up)
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