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Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 11:33 AM   #16
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Re: F3K for miniseries (recording options)

Hey Steve, (echo echo echo :)

What is your PP settings where you see LESS noise on the higher bitrate Pro Res encoding? My EX3 and EX1 are really noisy and my nanoFlash recordings only show more of the noise. I always use -3db and crispening and frequency are adjusted to soften the image a bit (supposed to reduce noise). I have been trying this with greenscreen and I find the extra noise to hurt my keys a bit.
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Old February 26th, 2011, 02:20 AM   #17
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Re: F3K for miniseries (recording options)

Steve , what IRE do you put your green screen at when shooting with the EX?
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Old February 26th, 2011, 11:59 AM   #18
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Re: F3K for miniseries (recording options)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonard Levy View Post
Steve , what IRE do you put your green screen at when shooting with the EX?
About a stop below or above the talent, usually below. Here is a screenshot with very quick test to show my producer/talent something I can do; so, understand that this clip isn't exactly how I usually set it up. I use 2 Kino Barfly 200's for the GS and 2 Diva 401s for the talent, but for this shot, I forgot to remove the louvers from the Diva's. And I didn't have time to setup a SolaENG 3 for backlight and I haven't received a new gel pack yet so I can use magenta.

I did fine tune the PP settings and noise has been reduced a good amount. Rather than large blocks of noise, its more like mosquito noise but I have only checked 50Mb 422 L-GOP vs 35Mb.
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Old February 26th, 2011, 02:24 PM   #19
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Re: F3K for miniseries (recording options)

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Originally Posted by Mike Marriage View Post
I did a test between Prores HQ and XDCAM EX which may be of interest:

Prores vs XDCAM EX
Mike, by contrast, I am really surprised by how big the difference is. Detail and micro-contrast in the tree branches is immense in comparison with the native EX footage and makes it look like a far better camera. I know the 4:2:2 is essential for a good Croma-key and helps with grading, but I did not expect to see this for 'everyday' footage.

Thanks for doing this!
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Old February 27th, 2011, 01:27 PM   #20
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Re: F3K for miniseries (recording options)

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Originally Posted by Nick Wilcox-Brown View Post
Mike, by contrast, I am really surprised by how big the difference is. Detail and micro-contrast in the tree branches is immense in comparison with the native EX footage and makes it look like a far better camera. I know the 4:2:2 is essential for a good Croma-key and helps with grading, but I did not expect to see this for 'everyday' footage.

Thanks for doing this!
Hi Nick,

The shot of the trees is quite a torture test and almost a worst case example. I would say that the difference was slightly less noticeable on a moving image. On most shots the difference would be less, more like the other example where I introduced some controlled movement into the frame.

The only time that MPEG artifacting has annoyed me whilst editing was when using 12dB of gain and the noise makes the encoder choke. I have also had issues with the 8bit nature of the codec but as most delivery is 8 bit it is often hard to avoid stairstepping in certain cases.
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Old February 28th, 2011, 02:04 AM   #21
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Re: F3K for miniseries (recording options)

Well my experience is this. The use of a better codec than the 35Mb/s EX codec always results in a better image. BUT the difference is far from night and day.

Compared to 35Mb/s EX..........

Using a NanoFlash at 100Mb/s produces a cleaner image with fewer artefacts and less mosquito noise. The lower noise level allows me to push my images further in post before I get issues with banding etc. Viewing un-touched interlace material on a large screen you can see the difference in the chroma sampling between 4:2:0 and 4:2:2. The 4:2:0 produces some very fine banding on highly saturated edges. With progressive material that banding disappears and the difference between 4:2:2 and 4:2:0 is extremely hard to see.

Recording to ProRes HQ via a decklink card on my MacPro appears to introduce additional fine noise to the image that is not present in the cameras HDSDi output. The ProRes recordings are very good otherwise, again with less mosquito noise and blockiness than the EX codec. However the additional noise is noticeable and can get exaggerated during post production. I have not tried a Ki-Pro mini so don't know whether this same noise gets introduced by the Ki-Pro.

Recording uncompressed onto the MacPro produces a very clean image, no additional noise. This is easily the best image and grades the best, as you would expect. I find the NanoFlash 100Mb/s footage to be closer to the uncompressed than the ProRes HQ due to the additional noise I see in the ProRes content.

Having said all of the above, the 35Mb/s footage from the F3 has noticeably fewer artefacts than I get with an EX1. This is almost certainly due to the lack of noise from the camera. I think the 35Mb/s footage looks remarkably good and would have no qualms personally about using it for my own productions and stock footage. However, as I don't set the tech standards I will have to tow the line as much as possible, so for external projects and stock footage I will continue to use my NanoFlash at either 50 or 100 Mb/s.
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Old February 28th, 2011, 02:19 AM   #22
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Re: F3K for miniseries (recording options)

Hi Alister,

Which PP settings in an EX3 are the best for lowering noise? As a new nanoFlash owner, I am finding much more noise encoded in the 180Mb L-GOP and 280Mb I-frame; so, I have dialed in the frequency and crispening quite a bit to reduce noise. I want to reduce as much noise as possible without causing other problems with the image quality by adjusting certain settings too much.

Thanks
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Old February 28th, 2011, 08:50 AM   #23
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Re: F3K for miniseries (recording options)

Raising the crispening to a positive value around +35 will help prevent detail correction from being applied to noise. Using slightly reduced detail level also helps a little at say -10. Overall these only make a small difference. Always avoid Std Gamma 1, very noisy. I also like to raise the frequency setting to around +40 which can help a little.

Crispening is an odd setting. Raising to a positive value above +35 will help reduce overall noise. However going the other way to -45 will add detail correction into flat parts of the picture, in particular grass and foliage and shadow areas which tends to make the pictures look less "muddy" in these areas. A trade off is to run crispening at -60 and then turn the detail level down to -18.

Sadly there is no magic noise eliminating setting for the EX1/EX3.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 01:39 AM   #24
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Re: F3K for miniseries (recording options)

Sorry, a bit confused here. I was about to go for the KiPro mini. But now with all this technical discussion and positive comments about the Nano Flash I wonder which one is a better option for the F3 considering price, practicality when transferring to FCP, and image quality. Anyone who has experience with both maybe?

Thank you!
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Old March 1st, 2011, 01:56 AM   #25
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Re: F3K for miniseries (recording options)

Martin,

There may be a few people here that have a Ki Pro Mini... maybe. I have only seen a couple of references in forums to people who actually have them. It is going to take a while before you hear credible "battle field" tested reports on the Ki Pro Mini.

One thing the nanoFlash has going for it over most other outboard recorders is it works reliably and consistently.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 02:04 AM   #26
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Re: F3K for miniseries (recording options)

True, but the Ki Pro has been out for over a year. I have one and use it regularly. Excellent quality and easy to use. I've never used a Nano.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 05:31 AM   #27
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Re: F3K for miniseries (recording options)

Interesting information Alister, thank you.

I'm going to hire in an F3 shortly and it was going to be used with a KP mini, but I will explore options.

You may be able to clarify: output via SDI is currently 4.2.2, but there is a lot of talk (or is it fact?) about an additional card or firmware upgrade to give the 4.4.4, near-RAW output. Has this been officially announced and are there any guide prices?

Thanks.

/Nick
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Old March 1st, 2011, 05:47 AM   #28
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Re: F3K for miniseries (recording options)

Currently single 1080/30p 4:2:2 or dual link 1080/60p 4:2:2 via HD-SDI. Not sure if 3G single 1080/60P is working?

Latest twitter from CineAlta: PMW-F3 firmware upgrade, Dual Link RGB / S-Log / 3G / Pre-Loaded 4 LUTS & 5 User LUT's for monitoring in S-Log mode, approx $3500.00
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Old March 1st, 2011, 05:50 AM   #29
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Re: F3K for miniseries (recording options)

Thanks David,

Specs sound enticing and the pricing is realistic (at least in USD).
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Old March 1st, 2011, 10:34 AM   #30
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Re: F3K for miniseries (recording options)

Nanoflash vs Aja Mini:

1) Hot swap - ONLY recorder with hot swap which means your record times can be unlimited.

2) Files automatically close and continue recording onto other CF card. With the Aja, you must STOP recording before the CF card is full and then switch to the other card.

This issue with the Aja is big enough for me not to ever want to use it. Just imagine yourself during a shoot. You must constantly check the Aja to see how much space the CF card has left and you must make sure you are not shooting something that will take more time than the CF card has available. There are many instances where this can rear its ugly head: shooting an interview or corporate client. Most of us are already performing multiple jobs during a shoot; so, remembering to check constantly could be a PITA. Because the Aja records 220Mb/s, you get far less record time per clip.

3) 50Mb 422 Long-GOP on the Nano is very similar in image quality to the 220Mb I-frame on the Aja; thus, considerable amounts of space can be saved when recording. (this is according to Mike Marriage's test)

4) The Aja is MORE expensive with equal recording times than the nanoFlash because it uses more than 4 times the space. And even at the nanoFlash's 100Mb Long-GOP, the Aja is still slightly more expensive. This is including the cost of CF cards.

5) the nanoFlash uses very little power when recording. I know the Aja Mini can't come close; thus, you would need more batteries for the Aja.

6) The nanoFlash is a PROVEN and RELIABLE tool.

7) New features are added to the nanoFlash multiple times a year for FREE thru firmware updates.

For FCP workflow: both can import directly. You set the nanoFlash to record into MOV instead of MXF. There is also a convertor from MOV to MXF if you need to share files with non-Mac users.

I look at the whole 10bit issue this way: most of us don't need it and for the once or twice a year I might need it, I can rent the Aja. Also, if you don't have a 10bit pipeline, then how will you see the benefit? I have a 10bit pipeline with Adobe CS5 on a PC and a 10bit Eizo but I understand the 8bit nanoFlash works for 99% of what I do.

However, after seeing the quality of the internal 35Mb, I don't even know if us in America really need an external recorder.

Last edited by Steve Kalle; March 1st, 2011 at 11:19 AM.
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