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-   -   GL2 / XM2 Frame mode (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-gl-series-dv-camcorders/3415-gl2-xm2-frame-mode.html)

David Bohn October 16th, 2003 10:24 PM

Good guestion, because that would equal the decreased resolution claims that I've found here, but the frame captures I've seen here from frame mode look way better than my interlaced frames.

Barry Goyette October 17th, 2003 11:01 AM


The canon manual is confusing on this point. The 1.5x increase refers to a still frame comparison of one interlaced field with one frame mode field (vertical resolution only). In this case the manual is correct. In practical use, the temporal resolution created by two interlaced fields per frame is double that of one interlaced field, and thus is 25% greater than the two indentical frame mode fields that make up a frame...thus the correct claim that frame mode causes a slight decrease in resolution.

In actual use, especially with the gl2, this loss in resolution is barely, if at all, visible on an SD NTSC monitor. I play my footage on an HD set, and except for the jaggies that plague all DV footage, the resolution in frame mode is substantially better than any SD broadcast source.


Corey MacGregor October 17th, 2003 01:54 PM

Who really cares about all the specs on paper. Frame mode looks rad. The person watching your video doesn't care about lines of resolution, vertical lines, etc... You should spend more energy on shooting, lighting and the message that your trying to get across, let the engineers worry about all that tech stuff! Just my opinion.


Alex Dunn October 17th, 2003 02:04 PM

That's true Corey, but then we wouldn't have anything to argue about. You can't shoot ALL the time.

The fact is, Frame mode clips look better than any deinterlaced clips I've seen. I've personally done HOURS of tests with my GL2 and several software de-interlacers. Some are obviously better than others, and I can't afford to even talk about Magic Bullet ($1000), but so far I'm happier with Frame Mode.

I shoot EVERYTHING frame mode.

Nicholi Brossia October 17th, 2003 06:36 PM

I agree with you guys. I tried frame mode once right after receiving my camera and didn't like the way it looked all strobed on the lcd (which I later found out doesn't apply on computer or tv). Then, after reading all the hooplah about loss of resolution, I completely ignored that feature... until last week. I finally figured I'd give frame mode a try, thinking it would be okay. As soon as I saw the result on my computer, I was hooked. For starters, its a great picture. And to top that off, I don't have to settle for fuzzy or stair-step looking de-interlaced video... not to mention the render times.
There are probably uses when interlaced will provide an advantage over frame mode (slow motion maybe?), but I'll deal with that when the time comes.
Sure folks can analyze this feature to death, and probably make some pretty good points. While they're doing that, I'll be out making movies.


Rosie Young October 19th, 2003 09:22 AM

I shoot alot of surfing (in the water) and I thought that frame mode didn't work well if you were shooting fast moving objects. I does look like a strobe effect when I look in the lcd. So u guys are saying that it won't look strobe-like on the final outcome?


Barry Goyette October 19th, 2003 09:57 AM


This is typically the biggest discussion area surrounding frame mode...if you do a search you will find an abundance of opinions, pro and con.

Here's mine: Footage shot in frame mode (30p) has 50% less of the temporal moments per second of interlaced video(60i), so yes, it will be less smooth than standard video. On the other hand it has 25% more than standard 24 fps film, the standard for theatrical release worldwide, so thus it is significantly smoother than than what most of us see in the theater everyday.

The strobiness that many people complain about is usually more a factor of innapropriate camera movement, rather than the speed of the sport being filmed. It is typically seen when panning across high contrast vertical elements (for instance a backlit telephone pole against the sky). This type of movement will cause a very jarring, obvious type of strobing, so it's a type of movement that is to be avoided (as is also stated in the leading cinematographers handbook for film cameras). A second situation that causes a problem is the minute rotational camera movements that come from hand holding a small camcorder like the gl2. I've found that a shoulder mount eliminates this problem.

Surfing, as a sport, doesn't have any of the elements that should give you a problem. Make sure you have your camera on manual or TV mode so that you keep your shutter speed at 1/60 (faster speeds will cause strobing even when interlaced). Try shooting some footage alternating between interlaced and frame modes and see which you like best. You can also try doing a custom preset with the sharpness turned down a notch or two, I've found that this trick can virtually eliminate all kinds of strobing, and give you a very film-like look.

Here's a clip with lots of subject and camera movement shot entirely in frame mode (gl1). I think it looks fine.



Chris Yi October 19th, 2003 12:19 PM

I'm just wondering, but if I wanted to use my Gl2 to shoot a fight scene, would Frame Mode be a good choice? I know that slow motion should be filmed interlaced, but from what I've seen of frame mode, it gives you a very "Saving Private Ryan"-esque jerky look. Would an action scene look better if filmed interlaced (with a shutter speed of 250 to get the aforementioned look)? Or would frame mode be ok for this purpose?

Barry Goyette October 19th, 2003 01:31 PM


I think the best way to answer your question is to shoot a test using both methods, and see which you prefer. No, Frame mode won't give you the saving private ryan jerky look all by itself, you would need to crank up the shutter speed a bit to make it look jittery like that. Remember, frame mode is in fact slightly smoother than typical 24fps film.

I'm not sure, based on you post, whether you are going for the jittery look or not. Using a 1/250 shutter will almost certainly give you a choppier look whether you are in frame or interlaced, if you want it to be smoother, then keep your shutter at 1/60.


(I shoot everything in frame mode)

Chris Yi October 19th, 2003 10:28 PM

Thanks Barry! I am actually going for the jittery look. I was just concerned that maybe filming that jittery look with frame mode might be bad for a fast moving scene (maybe motion blurs, excessive choppiness, etc.). I guess the best way is to try both methods and see which gives me the look I want.

You say that you do EVERYTHING in frame mode though. What kind of filming do you do? My basic understanding was that frame mode is only great in a controlled environment.

Rosie Young October 20th, 2003 08:42 AM

Thanks Barry, that was lots of info. But know I'm really confused, as I think I've been doing this all wrong. I have been shooting in manual mode, but as the days have been extremely sunny and bright, my shutter speed has been averaging around 600, f-stop 8, with no gain. If I was to lower the shutter to 60, or 30, I'd have zebra pattern all over the place. What's the solution here? Is it the ND filter? Should I be using that? Also, I have been using a tripod, but in order to follow the surfer on the wave, I have to pan faster. I think my pans are smooth though, and I do have the stabilizer turned off. Thanks again. Any tips on this for me?


Guest October 20th, 2003 10:10 AM

whatsup you guys

im filming surfing too and although my gl2 is at the canon factory being repaired right now i had the same concerns.. that frame mode when panning fast and zooming would make the image too jittery, i dont have my camera here so i cant test it out but if rosie wouldnt mind letting us know how filming surfing with frame mode works i would be most appreciative.

Barry Goyette October 20th, 2003 10:24 AM


Yes...the neutral density filter is a must in any bright sunny condition...this will get your shutter speed down to where it needs to be..1/60....I would also recommend a circular polarizer, as this will cut your f number another stop and a half..plus give you some control over reflections coming off the water.

Regarding your panning, a fast pan of a surfer on the water should present no problems in frame mode...if you think about it your subject matter (and your main point of contrast) is remaining relatively static in the frame, so its not creating the kind of situation that would create a problem...again testing should answer any doubts you have.

The only time I might see a problem in your situation would be a surfer shooting the pier at sunset, when you'd have a lot of vertical high contrast lines moving horizontally through the frame.


I think that testing is your answer. Shooting at 250 or higher in interlaced will give you a similar look to frame mode at the same shutter speed, so I don't think one or the other will cause substantially more choppiness (they'll both be choppy). If you think of Saving Private Ryan they were running 24 fps with a 90 degree shutter which I think is about a 1/100 shutter speed (my memory may be wrong on this, but its in the ball park)..so frame mode's 30p at 1/125 to1/250 should probably give you a similar look... the key here will be to avoid sunny high contrast situations, as these will increase the choppiness of the image...I'd experiment shooting in overcast, magic hour or controlled indoor lighting situations to see which makes the best use of the technique.

Good luck to you both!


(oh...on my comment about shooting frame mode on everything...I was trying to say that it is not some "special technique"...I have shot with it for about 5 years now on everything...short films, music videos, travel and home movies. It is probably the reason that I have been so interested in these prosumer cameras of Canons. Simply put, I detest the look of interlaced video...unless you are trying to make something that looks like "news" it does nothing for me. Interlaced video has an immediacy and clarity that puts the viewer too close to the material...it's too real...so for me, I choose Frame mode...and now...progressive recording on the DVX100... for a look that feels more cinematic, timeless...artistic, if you will. In addition, I think the "problems" that are often discussed at length in this forum are inconsequential if one uses good technique (frame mode does require more discipline and practice than does the interlaced mode).

Rosie Young October 20th, 2003 01:53 PM

jerry, I am planning on going this afternoon and filming some surfing in frame mode. I will also use the HD filter to see if that cuts out some light so I can shoot at 60. Will let ya know soon.


Guest October 20th, 2003 03:09 PM

cool rosie, im excited to hear how it works out...

where in SC do you film/surf?
im moving out to cali this summer.. probably to san diego in hopes of working with poor specimin...


ps did you mean ND filter ?

Rosie Young October 20th, 2003 06:14 PM

ok...so, I went down to shoot, again, bright sunny conditions, but a bit later in the day so the sun is not as intense. I used frame mode, shutter at 60, f-stop at 4.5, or something. no gain, and the ND filter. I had to go to 4.5 because 8 was too dark. I really liked the results, especially with the back spray of the water during a cut-back. I noticed when I took the shutter down to 30, the footage looked really strobe like. I'm still a little confused tho. I think I'm going to start shooting like this for a while and see what happens with it. I also have an av filter and polorizing filter on as well. I wonder if I should remove the polorizing filter when shooting in this frame mode? Thanks heaps Barry, for the heads up on this. Oh, and Jerry, I shoot whatever spot the waves are best, and where my 12 year old little ripper son is surfing. Usually it's the Lane, Steamers Lane, but also Mitchells, John Street, Swift Street and up north at a spot called Ano Nuevo. Yesterday would have been perfect to try this because we had macking waves at 15 foot all lined up perfectly with offshore winds. and, for an fyi, there's a beautiful spot to film surf near San Diego called Trestles (Lower Trestles). It's near San Clemente, unfortunately, opposite a Nuclear Power Plant, and a little bit of a hike, but well worth it. It's a summer break and works on a south swell.


Rosie Young October 20th, 2003 06:18 PM

one other question barry, at the end of your post, u say that frame mode takes more discipline and practice. I'm curious about that. More discipline in learning how to change settings appropriately? can u please elaborate, because you've turned me on to something and I want to learn more very much.

thanks again.


Guest October 20th, 2003 06:58 PM

15ft and juicen? geez.. its ankle biters here right now, im jealous.
ya trestles is sick, ive been there once, just stopping by though.
what kind of ND filter do you use?

Rosie Young October 20th, 2003 08:42 PM

jerry, the only ND filter I was using was the one in the GL2.

Barry Goyette October 21st, 2003 10:47 AM


I would remove the UV filter when you are using the polarizer..it's doing nothing but causing potential flare and reflection problems. Regarding the polarizer it's up to you... depending on your angle to the sun it can be a great way to control reflections and increase color saturation...rotate it to get the desired effect. The F4.5 f stop is fine, although I would avoid shooting at 1/30 unless it gets too dark. While I haven't noticed any more strobing...it will typically cut your sharpness noticeably...remember the strobiness you might see on the LCD isn't necessarily transferred to the actual footage. Try running through your settings on some footage and calling them out as you switch...then view on a regular TV to see the results.

Regarding the discipline thing...this refers to my earlier comments regarding camera movement.


Guest October 29th, 2003 12:17 PM

to deinterlace or not to deinterlace?
hell all,
after reading up on and learning more about shooting in frame mode on my gl2, ive decided to give it a shot and i am impressed with the results.
my question applies to both frame and interlaced modes:
should i deinterlace my footage in either mode? if so, what results should i expect and lastly can i do this in premiere?
basically all im looking for is to increase the quality of my footage on the web and on tv screens (HD excluded)
i hope my ramblings made a little bit of sense


Mike Ostracky October 29th, 2003 05:06 PM

Frame mode...
Frame mode is already deinterlaced, so no, you don`t have to (nor shouldn`t) deinterlace it.

For max quality/ efficiency I would go for frame mode rather than post deinterlacing - but note, this is coming from a person that in past (before buying this great cammie) ALWAYS deinterlaced. So for me, frame mode all the way.

Hope this helps.

Marco Leavitt October 29th, 2003 10:46 PM

I would say for the Web, definitely use frame mode. After compression, the loss of resolution you get with frame mode will be irrelevant. Might as well save yourself a step. Most televisions have such low resolution the softened look of frame mode isn't really apparent either.

Ken Tanaka October 29th, 2003 11:17 PM

The answer to your question is actually not quite so clear-cut as it might seem. For starters, creating the best image for the "web" and for "tv" are two very separate targets that require different considerations and strategies.

Indeed, Frame mode is basically a progressive, non-interlaced format so deinterlacing would seem unnecessary. But I've actually gotten some good results using "smart" deinterlacing with some Frame mode footage.

The type of shooting you plan to do will also partly determine what's appropriate. Shooting dramatic, controlled work will be conducive to different techniques than shooting live uncontrolled events.

The bottom line: experiment. Shoot some short clips typical of the type of work you plan to do and try various combinations of techniques. One tip: if you experiment with deinterlacing be sure not to simply use a "dumb" field-copying deinterlacer as is normally found built into most nle's. Use one that has some intelligence such as the one in the DV Film product or Magic Bullet.

Good luck and have fun!

Guest October 30th, 2003 10:57 PM

thanks alot for your help, i really appreciate it guys

Andre De Clercq October 31st, 2003 05:26 AM

Ken, could you give some more information in what sense the results are better when deinterlacing frame mode footage even with "smart" deinterlacers. The only thing what I see is applying some slight vertical filtering in order to reduce interlace flicker on (interlaced) TV's. Of course at the expense of vertical resolution.

Justin Morgan October 31st, 2003 05:40 AM

Sorry - another 'Frame Mode' question
I have been shooting some footage in both Frame mode and Normal Mode. From my footage the only difference I can see is that the Frame Mode has a jerky staccato effect on the footage. Why is this desirable?

At present I am only viewing footage on my computer screen (in FCE) and was wondering whether Frame Mode actually makes footage appear vastly better when viewed on a television due to the de-interlacing and this is why it is good to use Frame Mode (and the fact that I haven't yet viewed it on a TV is why I can't see the benefit) - my footage is eventually intended for viewing on a TV (via DVD).

Is this the case - otherwise I can't see the benefit of using it? Can anyone shed some light on this. Thanks.

Frank Granovski October 31st, 2003 05:51 AM

Frame mode gives the video a different look. Bruce Johnson of dv.com describes it as "thicker." You will only get a "jerky" look if you keep this footage in frames. When you output via AV or S-video out, it will look much smoother, but not as smooth as with footage shot in interlaced. Maybe someone else can answer your last question about DVD to TV viewing.

Justin Morgan October 31st, 2003 06:32 AM

What do you mean by:

"... if you keep this footage in frames"

Mike Ostracky October 31st, 2003 08:31 AM

This is my view...
Frame mode is perfectly suited for people making independent films - for home video and other field related shootings it`s a big no- no.

Obviousely if you`re making a short film, or an independent feature you`ll plan it toroughly. Right ? You will be shooting in properly lit and very much controled enviroment. When shot profesionally (great lighting, skilled direction and camera work etc.) frame mode is a big help in achieving the "film look".

I`m always shooting in controlled enviroments and that`s the key. Like I said, don`t use it for hand held home video and dynamic field work.

With regards, Mike.

Justin Morgan October 31st, 2003 08:59 AM


I'm making a short film (a creative piece of fiction - not handheld).

The thing is that the only difference I can see on my computer screen (in a FCE window which is only about 3 inches square in size) is that the Frame Mode has a slightly staccato effect. Would I notice an improvement on a TV screen - because at the moment when I watch Normal Mode footage it is perfectly smooth whereas the Frame Mode footage looks staccato so hence I'm currently favouring Normal Mode. Am I making an error in judgement with this viewpoint?

Mike Ostracky October 31st, 2003 10:34 AM

There are no "error in judgements" when it comes to "frame mode" it`s a matter of taste :)

Firstly, which GL are you using, one or two ? GL2 has more fluid "frame mode".

Stacatto effect usually appears when doing fast pans (or on very contrasty shots for example over exposed light moving in front of black background) - you should plan your shots and avoid such circumstances. Fast pans shouldn`t be a problem because you`re doing a short film, and I assume you`ll avoid these.

Now this is my opinion - frame mode looks extremely well when material is shot right. You have an instant "film look", ofcourse some color correction wouldn`t hurt, but that`s another story ;)

Experiment before you move into production, take a day or two to test frame mode in different circumstances.

And yes, it will look unimaginably better on TV and when projected - I`ve done quite a lot of shorts which were projected on a 4 meter screen in a large auditorium and it lookd sweeeet :) Add to the experience 5.1 surround ;)

Best regards.

Justin Morgan October 31st, 2003 10:50 AM

Thanks again for the help and info.

I'm using an XM2. The staccato appears on movement - not just camera movement but movement of the subject within the frame. The faster and closer to the camera the movement the more noticeable the staccato effect is. The short I'm making requires quite a few close-up shots (with movement but no over-exposed light). So will it be fine on a TV or are these kind of shots not ideal for Frame Mode or am I just losing my mind?

Mike Ostracky October 31st, 2003 10:58 AM

My experience...
I`ve done all kinds of shots and all using frame mode ! From action (you have to be really carefull here, just like you would if you were using a film camera) to drama (and it looks gorgeous ;)). XM2, even better, that`s the one I`m using.

My observation is that it will look much, much better on TV (or projected). Once more, I cannot stress enough the importance of good lighting.

The reason why it looks more fluid when interlaced (normal mode) is clear - i assume you understand what term "interlaced" describes. Frame mode is the kind of motion you see in non-TV productions (and lately in better TV productions) - it`s rough, it`s raw and It`s a killer :) I`m biased here...

So when you shoot in frame mode your imaging device records 25 full frames (which is the main reason for using it), and while you shoot normal mode you get 50 interlaced frames which can be later deinterlaced but I still prefer the look of frame mode (again, I`m biased).

Mark Newhouse October 31st, 2003 11:24 AM

Your shutter speed can also influence the staccato look of your video. Do you know what your shutter speed was?

Justin Morgan October 31st, 2003 11:37 AM

I've been using fairly fast shutter speeds. It's just that when I compare (in FCE) the Normal Mode footage and the Frame Mode footage - Normal Mode looks much smoother and I don't really see any improvement in image quality of the Frame Mode footage. The staccato effect is quite subtle it's just noticeable when comparing the same footage in Normal Mode.

Mike Ostracky October 31st, 2003 11:42 AM

A Word Of Advice
Don`t stray above 1/50th shutter speed when doing films. Pumping up the shutter makes jerky motion, that simple. 1/50th and no more, except when it`s specially required.

Adjust the lights around shutter, not shutter around lights - if you know what I mean.

Ken Tanaka October 31st, 2003 12:26 PM

I have no hard rules or methods in this regard. Just personal observations I've made relatively recently. It seems that wide shots, in particular, can be enlivened and sharpened with deinterlacing.

I recommend giving it a whirl to experiment for yourself. I know it may not make technical sense. But forget the technical jazz for a moment and let your eyes be the judge.

On the cheap, you can download a free copy of that DVFilm Maker utility (linked above) which features a pretty good "smart" deinterlacer. Shoot some short clips in Frame mode and run them through the utility at full DV resolution. Then take a look at the results. You may be surprised.

Back to Jerry's initial inquiry, I was just recommending that he not necessarily follow others' "rules" and/or technical logic for making such decisions.

Ken Tanaka October 31st, 2003 12:36 PM

Setting a shutter speed of 1/50 is applicable for (25fps) PAL. For an NTSC (30fps) camera the standard shutter speed would be 1/60. It's my experience with the (NTSC) GL2 and XL1s that fast camera/subject movement in frame mode gets dicey above the 1/60 number, although dimmer shots with slightly lower contrast can sometimes work up to 1/100.

Just my personal observations.

Mike Ostracky October 31st, 2003 12:48 PM

Quite so...
Your observation is correct, I agree.

Regarding PAL/NTSC, I am aware of that but Mr. Morgan is using XM2 which means he is on PAL standard and therefore his standard shutter is 1/50th.

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