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-   Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-xh-series-hdv-camcorders/)
-   -   The answer to better low light = custom settings! (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-xh-series-hdv-camcorders/79133-answer-better-low-light-custom-settings.html)

Steve Nunez November 8th, 2006 03:40 PM

You guys are awesome- how the heck did I miss that?
Thank you!

Brent Graham November 8th, 2006 04:38 PM

something about TOTAL USER CUSTOMIZATION just puts us all in a state of confusion!!!

It's a good thing, I'm sure I'll get back into the country and find out you guys have figured out how to toast bagels with this thing!

Any suggestions for the most 'filmic' colors and contrast?

I've heard people like cinegamma 2, but canon says this is for film out. While cine1 is for tv viewing, what do guys think.

I like a more contrasty image, so I prefer cine2. But I've yet to see my A1 footage on a tv. (I should just shoot some test footage and burn it)

Ash Greyson November 8th, 2006 10:42 PM

I shoot mainly XL2, XLH, HVX, SDX900 and Varicam these days and all those cameras need lots of tweaking to get the best picture. Remember you can save presets, not need to dial them in during run and gun even though at my level I can adjust them in seconds.

What I would really like to see is a text edit based program for these new Canon cameras like the one I use for Varicam. Basically, you can use your laptop to tweak the settings and save that to an SD card to load on the camera. Not only is this easier than navigating the menus in front of clients but it allows us all to share a general pool of knowledge. In any compressed codec, like DV or HDV, you should, IMHO, get as close to what you want for the final, IN camera.

In general, better low light performance will come by setting the gain to +6db, increasing saturation, decreasing sharpness, increasing coring, decreasing the master pedestal, decreasing the setup level (unless you intend to retain lots of shadow details) and engaging the NR function on 1 or low. If you go to +12dB, you just go a little more extreme on the saturation, coring, and sharpness, I generally press the blacks at that much gain as well.

It is personal preference but some people prefer to lower the shutter to 1/24 in 24P or 1/30th in 30P or 60i to avoid have to go to +12db gain.

In general I agree that the Sony cameras are better in low light out of the box but they lack the flexibilty that the Canon cameras have. If you were buying a camera for the SOLE purpose of shooting in low light, the Sony may be the better way to go but all this talk of the Canon producing a poor image in low light is nothing more than operator error or ignorance. I surely dont mean that in any rude way at all, I just dont think people are aware of all the options there are to help low light performance.



ash =o)

Ash Greyson November 8th, 2006 10:47 PM

I am not sure about these cameras but the XLH and XL2 are set up completely FLAT from the factory to retain maximum detail thru all ranges and maximum chroma resolution in a VERY clean image. This can look milky and flat with pastel like colors but all the INFORMATION is there and easily tweaked in post. As stated above, unless you are working in an uncompressed timeline, I think it is better to get as close as possible in camera.

For the record, the Sony F900 is set up just the same from the factory...milky, flat, clean and max detail.



ash =o)

Adam Reuter November 8th, 2006 11:03 PM

Re:
 
Sorry for making that semi-ignorant post yesterday. What I meant by my words was CCD sensitivity matters a lot. Perhaps the Canon is tuned like 100 ISO film is..."finely grained CCDs" that can be "pushed" for more extreme conditions. As I have not been fortunate enough to use this camera myself, I'm just speculating on past experience when it comes to camera sensors and such. Yes...in camera tweaking is very helpful, but a trade-off usually comes with it. To what degree that trade-off affects image quality is what ultimately matters.

If the engaged NR1 low setting at +12 dB does indeed achieve PD170-quality sensitivity/noise level as someone in this post ( http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=79138 ) stated...this camera is my dream come true ;-)

I've been waiting for a low-cost, versatile (wide lens that has a good zoom range, multiple frame modes, SD/HD, supported by multiple NLES), high quality (optically) camera since the HDV format came out. This lowlight capabilities is the one last hurdle that I need to see before taking the leap!

Ash Greyson November 9th, 2006 01:40 AM

PD-170 is the unrivaled champion of lowlight, you will not get that from any HD camera with 1/3" or smaller CCDs. When you pack the pixels in tighter, you lose some low light performance. The PD-170 is really an event camera and can actually make things look more lit than the naked eye while adding minimal noise. At this point, I just dont think these low end HD cameras are right...or even needed for most event shooting.

If by low light you mean natural and available light under normal conditions...then you will be fine... if by low light you mean, can get a clean image in a candle lit room... then the PD170 or a 2/3" CCD camera is the only way to go...


ash =o)

Bill Doyle November 9th, 2006 06:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ash Greyson
I shoot mainly XL2, XLH, HVX, SDX900 and Varicam these days and all those cameras need lots of tweaking to get the best picture. Remember you can save presets, not need to dial them in during run and gun even though at my level I can adjust them in seconds.

What I would really like to see is a text edit based program for these new Canon cameras like the one I use for Varicam. Basically, you can use your laptop to tweak the settings and save that to an SD card to load on the camera. Not only is this easier than navigating the menus in front of clients but it allows us all to share a general pool of knowledge. In any compressed codec, like DV or HDV, you should, IMHO, get as close to what you want for the final, IN camera.

In general, better low light performance will come by setting the gain to +6db, increasing saturation, decreasing sharpness, increasing coring, decreasing the master pedestal, decreasing the setup level (unless you intend to retain lots of shadow details) and engaging the NR function on 1 or low. If you go to +12dB, you just go a little more extreme on the saturation, coring, and sharpness, I generally press the blacks at that much gain as well.

It is personal preference but some people prefer to lower the shutter to 1/24 in 24P or 1/30th in 30P or 60i to avoid have to go to +12db gain.

In general I agree that the Sony cameras are better in low light out of the box but they lack the flexibilty that the Canon cameras have. If you were buying a camera for the SOLE purpose of shooting in low light, the Sony may be the better way to go but all this talk of the Canon producing a poor image in low light is nothing more than operator error or ignorance. I surely dont mean that in any rude way at all, I just dont think people are aware of all the options there are to help low light performance.



ash =o)

Ash brings up a good point with regard to a computer-based solution for editing and saving presets. Does anybody know if Canon's Console will do this? I have been trying to decide whether dv Rack or Console would be better for me and certainly the ability to easily manipulate custom settings would be a big factor. Once people start to post custom settings, I think we'll really see the ability of this camera. I pick mine up next week and coming from a GL-1, I don't think I'll be disappointed.

Don Palomaki November 9th, 2006 07:08 PM

Laws of physics apply, smaller pixels means less output for the same incident light. And if I recall correctly, dsired image output goes up with the area of the pixel, while noise increases with the square root of the area, so larger pixels will have better signal to noise ratios, other things being equal.

More pixels in the same physical area means worse signal to noise ratio. Signal processing tricks can mask the noise to a surprising extent.

Ash Greyson November 9th, 2006 11:47 PM

Correct Don but it is interesting to note that the XL2 packs in many more pixels than the DVX but it has a MUCH cleaner image... like you said, there are ways to mask the inherent issues.



ash =o)

Bruce S. Yarock November 10th, 2006 07:18 AM

Ash,
Here's the low light preset I was using on my XL2.I transfered it to the H1,and it doesn't cut it. The factory preset is better than this. I'm thinking that it's because on the XL2 (if I remember correctly-mine is sold and shipped)) the range is from -5 to +5, while on the H1 it's -9 to +9. And I basicaly copied the same numbers from the XL2 to the H1 (eg. master ped at -4 on the XL2 to -4 on the H1). Any thoughts on this problem?
Bruce S. Yarock
www.yarock.com

My previous low light preset (contrast needed in post).
Gamma = 1
Knee = 0
Black = 2
NR = 0
VDetail = 0
Color Matrix = 1
Color Gain = 2
Color Phase = 1
Red = 0
Green = -1
Blue = 1
SetupLevel = -4
Sharpness = 0
Coring = +2
MasterPed = -4

Howard Kalodner November 10th, 2006 07:59 AM

Console Control
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bill Doyle
Ash brings up a good point with regard to a computer-based solution for editing and saving presets. Does anybody know if Canon's Console will do this?

From the Canon web site:


"CONSOLE software lets you control gamma, master pedestal, color phase, custom presets and AE metering. The interface even includes a wave form and vector display for measuring and adjusting video and phase parameters. The software also allows you to control your XL H1's zoom, focus, white balance, shooting mode and frame rate, as well as its iris and shutter speed."

Brice LeCarre November 10th, 2006 10:33 PM

I need help Ash please
 
<<If anyone needs help with custom settings for specific situations, I would be happy to help. Once you understand how they all work together in different situations, it is pretty easy to tweak for any situation.>>

Here is the situation. I have been hired to shoot a training video for a group of professional next week during their annual convention in Portland, OR. I have limited time on the XL2 especially on the custom preset department. All I changed so far is Gamma and color matrix to cine.
I'll be shooting in a hotel with ambient light for the most part and with a light kit during formal interviews.
In a nutshell, I don't know where to start with the custom presets. I am afraid that I might make things worse. I don't want to screw up the shoot (i'll be the editor as well) because there might be more work if I make the grade.
My gear includes a sturdy tripod with fluid head. My background is in still photography so I really like beautiful images however, I do not know really what a beautiful video picture should look like and what are the capabilities of the XL2.

Any pointers would be helpful

Brice

Michael Padilla November 10th, 2006 10:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brice LeCarre
I do not know really what a beautiful video picture should look like and what are the capabilities of the XL2.

There is software available for the xl2 presets that work well!
I do weddings so I used the wedding preset.. go figure..
here is some "beautiful" footage IMHO (however incredibly downresed for the web) that show off some xl2 capabilities:
http://visualmasterpiece.com/quickti...rospective.mov

I will second this though Ash
<<If anyone needs help with custom settings for specific situations, I would be happy to help. Once you understand how they all work together in different situations, it is pretty easy to tweak for any situation.>>
As the presets from the xl2 to the A1 don't relate.. and the menu is more confusing and elaborate than before.. and I'm filming tomorrow for the first time with the A1! I'm bringing the xl2's just incase though.. :)

Brice LeCarre November 10th, 2006 10:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Michael Padilla
There is software available for the xl2 presets that work well!
I do weddings so I used the wedding preset.. go figure..
here is some "beautiful" footage IMHO (however incredibly downresed for the web) that show off some xl2 capabilities:
http://visualmasterpiece.com/quickti...rospective.mov


Michael.
Beautiful footage great pace great music creative shots in good taste and beautiful picture. Did you do any color correction in post or is it "native" XL2?
Thank you for sharing.
Brice

Michael Padilla November 11th, 2006 12:53 AM

no color correction in that video just the xl2 presets


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