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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old March 18th, 2013, 05:39 AM   #1
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Alright, What Did I Overlook?

Took the plunge into live production editing by purchasing the Datavideo SE-500. Our first event was Saturday, but since the switcher was delivered on Wednesday, I had very little time for real world tests.
For the event, I was using a Sony NX70U for a wide angle locked down shot and a Sony CX500V as my close up cam. Both were connected to the switcher using the yellow RCA video outs with lines running under 10' long. The feed was going into a DVD recorder.

While everything seemed to be going smoothly at first, I decided to swap out my 7" preview monitor in favor of a 22" led monitor (the exact same model I was using for the quad preview) about midway through the event. This is when I noticed the problem. The CX500 looked great. However, the NX70U, despite being locked down on an event with very little movement, had a vast amount of pixelation. I checked some of the DVDs the following day and found that the pixelation was indeed there for the wide angle shot. Luckily, I had both cams recording the entire time, so I can always go back to the HD footage for any customers who find it unacceptable. Hopefully, this is one of those things that I see that the customers overlooks, but it bothers me nonetheless.

Regardless, there is obviously a setting or possibly a bad cable that I overlooked. Since my hunch is that it was camera setting, what should I have had the output set to since the cam is HD and the mixer is SD? Is there something else I didn't think of?

Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Rey
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Old March 18th, 2013, 01:19 PM   #2
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Re: Alright, What Did I Overlook?

Not sure if this is what's happening, but where is the downconversion from HD to SD being done? If the camera is sticking out SD for monitor purposes, have you checked this on a monitor - One of my HD cameras has a pretty poor SD output - more suitable just for a confidence output than something that good?
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Old March 18th, 2013, 06:41 PM   #3
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Re: Alright, What Did I Overlook?

Do you have a screenshot of the "pixelation?" That might help narrow down what the problem was. How were the cameras connected to the switcher? Composite video? Firewire in? S-video?
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Old March 19th, 2013, 08:49 AM   #4
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Re: Alright, What Did I Overlook?

The screenshots I have don't really do it justice; they just look out of focus. I did check the footage recorded by the cameras themselves and it looks great. It's just the feed to the switcher and recorder that is problematic.

Both cameras were plugged into the switcher using the a/v out yellow RCA-type plug. Yes, I know that's not the best quality, but it is all I have to choose from since the switcher only accepts BNC or S Video.

I guess my concern comes down to what the camera's output should be set at as far as resolution since the switcher is SD and the cameras are HD.
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Old March 19th, 2013, 06:52 PM   #5
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Re: Alright, What Did I Overlook?

Paul (and everyone),

I did some further tests (realizing that I had the footage on the camera and could just plug it all up the same way to see if I could narrow down the issue. It seems that the component out from the Sony NX70U provides poor quality and degrades even further when plugged into the switcher. If I use the HDMI or R/G/B, directly into the monitor, I get a perfect picture.

So here's the question - Since it looks as if this is indeed a down conversion problem, if I had not been recording this event in HD and set the cam to SD instead, would I be in the same boat? Seems like an obvious question, but I am really not sure of the answer and have no real world way to test that theory at home.
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Old March 19th, 2013, 09:45 PM   #6
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Re: Alright, What Did I Overlook?

Any chance there is an R/G/B input option on your switcher? That should give better quality... not sure offhand if BNC can be adapted to RGB/RCA, but maybe someone else will chime in?

Sonys typically have some output resolution settings buried in the menus, might be worth a poke with a sharp stick - you should be able to set up in any location and "test" to see if there is any change or improvement.

Also might be worth swapping cables, although I think with component it either works or doesn't, I suppose there is a small chance that a "bad" cable could degrade signal.

You mentioned there is s-vid - there are some import cables that plug into the A/V port that also will provide an s-vid output - again this might be worth exploring - the s-vid capability is another of those infamous "undocumented" Sony features, but I believe it should be present on most if not all Sonys at the A/V port - should be able to find such cables on eBay for dirt cheap - I picked up a couple when experinenting with the LANC functions on the A/V port.

Hopefully one of these suggestions will help!
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Old March 20th, 2013, 05:30 AM   #7
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Re: Alright, What Did I Overlook?

Hey Dave,

While I had it plugged into the monitor, I tried every output resolution setting and it made no marginal difference. I also swapped out cables, tried a different input on the switcher, but all with the same result. The RGB cable was the only source that provided usable video. Presumably, HDMI would do the same, but I did not try that.

I can give the s video cable a shot. But if this is a down conversion problem, would that make a difference?
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Old March 20th, 2013, 07:33 AM   #8
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Re: Alright, What Did I Overlook?

Okay. After endless worrying, research, advice and bothering everyone on this board, I believe that I have isolated the problem. It seems that our monitors default to the "overscan" picture setting, leading to artifacts in the video - especially in wide shots where there is less detail.

I took our master DVDs from the event and played them in a Blu-Ray player on a 42" LCD and a cheap DVD player connected to a 32" CRT. NO picture issues whatsoever. Went back to the monitor used during the shoot and checked the settings. Once I hit "standard", all was right with the world.

Now, to get back the few years this took off my life. Ugh.
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