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A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer

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Mark Palmos
A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 6, 2008 at 4:12:21 pm

Hello all,
I have never had an HD camera before, and have never worked with material shot in progressive mode.
Today i was doing a few tests, and noticed

1/ i dont think one can set shutter angle AND shutter speed simultaneously... ie if you set shutter speed for 2000th and angle at 180 but leave the Menu Shutter setting saying "angle" then it appears only the angle will be changed, the shutter will be 100th. (pausing in mid pan one could see motion blur - which one would not if shooting at 2000th sec. Conversely, leaving the menu on "shutter" will mean the 180 degree angle will be ignored and it will be a 2000th of a sec exposure per frame.

2/ maybe its my imagination, but shooting at 100th of a second 1080 50i HQ even a very gradual pan shows significant softening of the edges once the pan starts. When it stops again, everything is sharp. At the speed I was panning I wouldnt have expected the softening to be as extreme at 100th of a second. This happens regardless of Interlaced or Progressive.

3/ (a newbie to HD/progressive comment here) but what on earth is so nice about progressive. I mean, ok, when you freeze it looks nicer, ie not interlaced, but when you pan it jerks and looks simply awful... almost as bad as having fields reversed by mistake. If our little EX1 did 1080 50p that would probably be the best of both worlds, but alas. I personally prefer a smoother looking 50i to the jerky 25p. I also know progressive is better for compositing as well as watching on computers, but for watching on a TV monitor, i far prefer interlaced.

4/ odd that you cannot drag and drop copy the folder with MP4 file over to the computer from the memory card, well you can, but fcp and xdcam transfer do not "see" the footage in the copied folder. ODD. So in the field, using a laptop to dump stuff (till card prices come down significantly) I suppose the workflow would be to use XDCAM Transfer in the first place.

catcha later
Mark


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Craig Seeman
Re: A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 6, 2008 at 6:21:41 pm

You're now dealing with the wonderful world of spatial vs temporal resolution and HD formats.

I'll speak in terms of NTSC but the concepts hold true for PAL of course. I'll try to keep the explanation simple.

59.94 Interlace frames per second (aka 60i) means the motion is being sampled at that rate . . . but any given field has only half the full lines of resolution (every odd or even line).

29.97 Progressive frame per second (aka 30p) gives you higher resolution per frame but more space between samples of a moving objects.

One simple way of thinking is 60 lower rez pictures per second vs 30 higher rez pictures a second. Of course I'm not touching on how the mind perceives this or how shutter speed has impact but I'm keeping this simple.

23.98 (24p) and the space between motion is even farther apart! It's upside is that it's sort of a "universal" since you can: go Film out easily, do a slight speed change to get PAL 25fps or add pull down to get NTSC 29.97 frames per second.

________________
Now want if you want the best temporal resolution of 59.94 interlace but the best spatial detail that progressive provides . . . that's 59.94p (aka 60p).

Here in NTSC land the broadcasters themselves have gone in two directions. Some show HD in 720p60 (60 frames) and others do 1080i60 (60 fields which is 30 interlaced frames).

So your choices, all of them, are there in the EX1. That's one reason the camera is SO GREAT. YOU get to make the choice.

Keep in mind the camera, just like the broadcasters, are moving data with limits as to what they can handle whether recording or transmission. 1080p60 might be an ideal but broadcasters aren't pushing that much data and neither is the EX1.

So what might YOU do. It may depend on what you shoot. If it's fast action sports you might choose between 720p60 or 1080i60. Keep in mind you might be thinking about what looks better when you do that slo-mo too. They're both taking "snapshots" every 60th of a second. The eye MIGHT perceive 1080 as higher resolution but you'll be faced with de-interlacing when you do that slow-mo. Take your pick the choice is yours.

If you're shooting "slow moving" drama or talking heads you might opt for 1080p30 since you get the most detail per frame and the subject isn't moving so much so 30 progressive snapshots might suffice compared to 60 snapshots (of either 1080i60 or 720p60).

Now if you're facing the "universal" (film out, xfer to PAL and xfer to NTSC) you might chose between 720p24 or 1080p24. 1080p24 seems like a "no brainer" BUT if you want to shoot and integrate overcranked slo mos of 720p60 without any resolution changes you might stick with 720p24.

_____________
Then there's the shutter. When shooting Progressive one might compensate for the motion blur by shooting at a higher shutter speed (less motion is captured while the frame is exposed. But you may well need more light though to compensate for the fact that the sensor has less time to gather the light. Lower shutter speed - more blur. Higher shutter speed - more staccato motion (the famous "Saving Private Ryan" look). Again the choice is yours. Of course shutter speed affects interlace video too but I mention Progressive because these where one is most aware of the blur vs staccato look.

Data rate. Keep in mind that XDCAM HD (and the EX1) is VBR 35mbps. How those bits are used are dependent on the spatial and temporal resolution. at 24fps you got more bits per frame. Think about how this impacts what you shoot too. It's a VBR (variable bit rate) codec so it does have some flexibility. This is one reason why it's so much harder to "break" XDCAM HD compared to HDV. They're both long GOP but they are NOT the same.

_____________
Choices, choices, choices. You have so many to make. What you do can depends on subject, lighting conditions (shutter speed impact) and what you're delivering it for. That's why, with HD you have to become much more Director of Photographer than Camera Operator because all these resolutions are creative choices (and yes technical too) because they WILL impact the look of your production. There's no "best" choice. What "look" are you going for?


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Mark Palmos
Re: A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 6, 2008 at 7:51:06 pm

Hi there Craig.
Most of our work IS for viewing on computer, or being projected onto a screen via a computer, so progressive 1080 would probably be best.

A question though... wouldnt shooting 1080p be the same thing as shooting 1080i and then rendering the final video to a HQ WMV file 1080 progressive? Or is there a difference?

Thanks for the detailed explanation.
Mark.


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randy Strome
Re: A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 7, 2008 at 2:17:06 pm

Question here that i have always wondered about. With interlaced frames, are the two "half" frames recorded at the same instant but played back one after another, or are they recorded sequentially and played back sequentially?


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Craig Seeman
Re: A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 7, 2008 at 2:42:58 pm

Interlace is recorded sequentially otherwise there would no difference in recorded motion between them. Just watch the jitter on an interlaced frame of any subject or camera movement, on a TV monitor.


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randy Strome
Re: A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 7, 2008 at 2:54:24 pm

"Interlace is recorded sequentially otherwise there would no difference in recorded motion between them. Just watch the jitter on an interlaced frame of any subject or camera movement, on a TV monitor."


Thanks Craig, that was my guess. I was getting ready to type a response to Mark's question below, and realized that I was not 100% sure myself.

"A question though... wouldnt shooting 1080p be the same thing as shooting 1080i and then rendering the final video to a HQ WMV file 1080 progressive? Or is there a difference? "

As Craig clarified above, software would be trying to manufacture a single whole frame from two temporally difffernt halves. More accurately, by software blurring the lines from one half (or one field) into a complete frame. I found this here:

http://neuron2.net/LVG/interlacing.html






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Dean Sensui
Re: A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 7, 2008 at 12:17:01 am

[Mark Palmos] "
1/ i dont think one can set shutter angle AND shutter speed simultaneously... ie if you set shutter speed for 2000th and angle at 180 but leave the Menu Shutter setting saying "angle" then it appears only the angle will be changed, the shutter will be 100th. (pausing in mid pan one could see motion blur - which one would not if shooting at 2000th sec. Conversely, leaving the menu on "shutter" will mean the 180 degree angle will be ignored and it will be a 2000th of a sec exposure per frame."


Shutter angle and shutter speed are two terms for what's essentially the same feature.

Film cameras have a disk-based shutter and the number of degrees the shutter remains open is what determines shutter speed. A 180-degree shutter is open for twice as long as a 90-degree shutter, for example.

Dean Sensui -- Imagination Media Hawaii


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Ron Shook
Re: A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 7, 2008 at 12:42:25 am

Mark,

[Mark Palmos] "2/ maybe its my imagination, but shooting at 100th of a second 1080 50i HQ even a very gradual pan shows significant softening of the edges once the pan starts. When it stops again, everything is sharp. At the speed I was panning I wouldnt have expected the softening to be as extreme at 100th of a second. This happens regardless of Interlaced or Progressive."

I think that I can answer this question adequately, and no, it's not your imagination. Several things are at work here. First of all a shutter speed of 100th of a second is not that fast. It oughta be a bit better at a significantly faster shutter speed.

Secondly, and probably the bigger culprit, you are seeing the limitations of the long GOP Mpeg2 codec. The Sony 35mbps codec is better than it has any right to be, IMO, but it's still compression defined over multiple frames of video. Particularly on a pan of a detailed subject where everything in the frame is changing with each frame, however slowly, it's impossible for the codec to keep up with that amount of change, so the algorythm automatically cuts the detail to avoid blocking artifacts. You hear folks say the codec is nearly impossible to break, but they are essentially talking about blocking and other highly visible artifacts. Some situations, usually involving Pans, the codec has to break down the detail to keep up and avoid the more visible garbage. You'll see much less problem if you have a subject that takes up far less than the whole frame, moving through a stationary shot. There's considerably less to change from frame to frame and the long GOP algorythm is more successful at preserving the detail.

This speaks directly to the Sony/Pany controversy over the relative benefits of interframe (long GOP), v.s., intraframe compression. All other things being equal, although in most instances the opposite is true, the XDCam 35 mbps interframe codec is not going to look as good while panning a detailed subject or in subject movement that fills much of the frame as the DVCPro100HD codec because the Pany codec compresses each frame separately.

Matt Devino's moving shootout footage, illustrates what I'm saying pretty nicely even though we are seeing full res footage that has all been compressed long GOP again for web delivery. In his case, all other things are not equal in that the EX1 has far better native resolution on the camera and in the codec than the HVX 200, yet when you watch the comparison when the respective cameras pan with the skateboarder, there's very little difference in apparent comparative resolution, the HVX holds it's own because of the codec differences. Yet on the wide locked frames of the skate through, the background looks sharper with the EX1, while it's hard to see a lot of difference in the apparent sharpness of the skater himself.

It'd be great to see Matt's tests natively from each camera. Perhaps he could comment on what he sees prior to compression for web delivery.

[Mark Palmos] "what on earth is so nice about progressive. I mean, ok, when you freeze it looks nicer, ie not interlaced, but when you pan it jerks and looks simply awful... almost as bad as having fields reversed by mistake. If our little EX1 did 1080 50p that would probably be the best of both worlds, but alas. I personally prefer a smoother looking 50i to the jerky 25p. I also know progressive is better for compositing as well as watching on computers, but for watching on a TV monitor, i far prefer interlaced."

I gotta say that like you I don't understand the 24/25p or die phenomenon, however things are a little different for us in NTSC land. When 24p goes to TV here pull down or pull up or whatever the heck it is, is applied here to deliver a 1080 60i signal, and that tends to mask some of the judder that you see in 25p but also lowers detail. IMO the most logical way to shoot relatively low action things here in 1080 is 30p where you get some of the best from both worlds.

Ron Shook


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Alexander Kubalsky
Re: A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 7, 2008 at 12:47:17 pm

I would like to see someone do a comparetive test of the EX1 and HVX200 codecs. Set them both in 24p modes, same shutter speed, to film the same pan shot of a jogger going by, then in post, break down a seconds of each cameras footage into the actual 24 frames and see the difference. I've just bought the EX1 after four torturous hours in the store trying to decide between it and the HVX. I wanted the most film like qualities in a camera. Would like to know I made the right decision.


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Mark Palmos
Re: A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 7, 2008 at 6:18:16 pm

[Ron Shook] "First of all a shutter speed of 100th of a second is not that fast. It oughta be a bit better at a significantly faster shutter speed."

Hi there ron,
kinda,
but im comparing a first impression of my ex1 with my lowly XL-1 and with the xl1 i dont see the instant degradation when panning. I will render a bit of the file i am talking about and upload it sometime soon.

i dont think tests which pans WITH the subject is the most useful. A pan OF the subject is more telling... preferably a wide angle shot of a leafy landscape!

speak soon
cheers mate
mark.


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Ron Shook
Re: A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 7, 2008 at 7:06:04 pm

Mark,

[Mark Palmos] "but im comparing a first impression of my ex1 with my lowly XL-1 and with the xl1 i dont see the instant degradation when panning."

I would expect those results when the DV codec on the XL1 is intra frame in SD at 25 mbps while the EX1 codec is inter frame (GOP) pushing 6 times the pixels at 35 mbps. The EX1 codec is certainly several times more efficient than the DV codec, but several times is not 6 times and somethings gotta give, and that would be resolution.

[Mark Palmos] "A pan OF the subject is more telling... preferably a wide angle shot of a leafy landscape!"

This is the worst case scenario for EX1's type of compression. I'd suggest that it probably still matches or comes very close to matching the HVX200's lower resolution to start with, but it's not gonna look as good as when the camera is stable and not moving.

Ron Shook


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Randy strome
Re: A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 7, 2008 at 7:39:12 pm

Really interesting and informative Ron. 720 24P with a smaller spatial and temporal resolution should cut out enough data to allow for detail to be maintained to a relatively high degree even in pans. How well does the codec adjust?


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Ron Shook
Re: A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 7, 2008 at 9:47:47 pm

Randy,

[Randy strome] "720 24P with a smaller spatial and temporal resolution should cut out enough data to allow for detail to be maintained to a relatively high degree even in pans."

Right you are. At 720p you're talking 4 rather than 6 times the pixel resolution of DV and of course 24p data is less than half the data of 60p. I don't have the camera so I can't test, but Mark or someone else should give it a try and let us know. I suspect that panning a lot of detail will not exhibit such a resoluton loss as Mark reports in his initial tests.

If you ever get a chance try the same panning test at 720p60 with a 200 series JVC HDV camcorder. Like the EX1 it's nearly impossible to break the codec into blocking artifacts and such, but you're lucky to get SD resolution out of it in some instances. The JVC codec is the standard 720p HDV at less than 19mbps. It's kind of rule of thumb that with a long GOP MPEG2 codec, small increases in the mbps rates can sometimes result in dramatically better performance and the Sony codec is nearly twice the data rate of the 720p HDV codec.

[Randy strome] "How well does the codec adjust?"

Sony usually does as good or better than anyone else with compression codecs, but really you'll have to tell me. (g)

Ron Shook


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Mark Palmos
Re: A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 7, 2008 at 10:16:26 pm

hi Ron,
i will have to do some more testing, though im working all week and the way things are going, perhaps on the weekend too.. that be looking at a computer screen editing...

come to think of it, the blur i noticed was more on the pan than the zoom out, so it cant be JUST the change of info in the screen, but somehow the side to side motion, slow as it was, caused what was surprising blur.

i will see if its on my laptop. if so, i will ftp it tonight as a mov file. (and will tell you where!)

catcha later
mark.


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Mark Palmos
test footage EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 7, 2008 at 10:50:36 pm

hey there ron
RH mouse click and save link as...
http://www.finalcutpro.tv/748_0025_01.mov

it is now uploaded...
please excuse the shitty shot, no tripod and it was very cold and...

the moment I find telling is the second the zoom is about to stop and the pan starts, look at the white window frame in the middle of the image, see how the white frame blurs substantially when there is even a slight sideways movement.

then see my dirty lens as i pan into the sun (nobody has suggested lens cleaning tools and im VERY suspicicious of putting any liquid on a lens). Permanent polarizing filters anyone?

till later
mark.


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Ron Shook
Re: test footage EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 8, 2008 at 5:35:55 am

Mark,

[Mark Palmos] "hey there ron
RH mouse click and save link as...
" target="_blank">http://www.finalcutpro.tv/748_0025_01.mov"


I did this that and it'll play only audio. QT claims that there is some component missing but doesn't say which one and presents me with a list of 10 or 15 components. QT player says that it is completely up to date. What codec was used on this file?

What gives? Anyone else have trouble playing this file on a Windoz machine?

Ron Shook



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Mark Palmos
Re: test footage EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 8, 2008 at 7:48:09 am

Hi Ron,
Hmm, well I often find strange things like that happening on a Mac, so I have VLC player to play what QT player does not... Try VLC, its extremely handy and free!
Till later
Mark.


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Craig Seeman
Re: test footage EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 8, 2008 at 1:12:12 pm

That video clip is in APPLE XDCAM codec so someone would have to have Final Cut Pro 6.0.2 to play it. I believe one could also play it in VLC.

This is why what one archives is important. Archive off the card and anyone can use Sony Clip Browser (or apparently VLC) to play the video. Archive after using the Sony Transfer Tool into FCP and you have Apple XDCAM .mov file.

Windows Sony Clip Browser will convert to MXF. Apple Sony Clip Browser does NOT do that. But at least with Apple Sony Clip Browser you can do a direct copy.

Sony, you have to change that!


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Randy strome
Re: test footage EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 8, 2008 at 2:11:14 pm

Hi guys,
Thanks for the effort Mark. I get the same error as Ron on Windows, and the same set of options. Downloaded VLC, and although no error is diplayed, no video will play. Would it be possible to post the clip straight from the card?

Best, Randy


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mark palmos
Re: test footage EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 8, 2008 at 3:29:15 pm

Hi
Yeah, i can do that, but am at work now, no camera here, and am going out tonight, so when i get back... late!
till later
mark


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Ron Shook
Re: test footage EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 8, 2008 at 8:01:39 pm

Randy,

[Randy strome] "Downloaded VLC, and although no error is diplayed, no video will play."

Same with me. If he uploads it straight from the card, will it play with VLC or do I need to get the clip brower?

Ron Shook


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Mark Palmos
Re: test footage EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 8, 2008 at 8:32:02 pm

HI guys, good news and bad
i had deleted the clip off the card
good news
change .mov to .mp4 and i managed to play it with windows media player CLASSIC (it must be classic, ie 6.4)
im not sure whether i co-incidentally have some plugin which was pre installed, but classic plays the clip, VLC on windows does not.
the colour was beefed up in the shot i did, but it looks considerably more oversaturated on my pc, or perhaps the codec or whatever on windows.
if that does not work for you, i will shoot something else this weekend.

till later
xmark.


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Mark Palmos
mp4 test clip is up on FTP site
on Jan 9, 2008 at 7:19:20 am

http://www.finalcutpro.tv/748_0033_01.MP4

by some chance, i had been testing the splitting of files and still had this split bit of the original shot, enough to see the blur I mean...


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Randy strome
Re: mp4 test clip is up on FTP site
on Jan 9, 2008 at 1:19:23 pm

IE is choking on the file, so I will try to repost as a link for right click / download:

http://www.finalcutpro.tv/748_0033_01.MP4


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Ron Shook
Re: mp4 test clip is up on FTP site
on Jan 9, 2008 at 7:35:21 pm

Mark,

[Mark Palmos] "enough to see the blur I mean..."

I can finally see your footage. Had no joy before. Yeah you can see the blur, but it's not as bad as I'd feared. Still better than SD.

Ron Shook


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Mark Palmos
Re: mp4 test clip is up on FTP site
on Jan 9, 2008 at 11:32:15 pm

hi ron
the softness is odd though, im not used to seeing something so incredibly sharp, and do a tiny camera movement, and suddenly it is not so sharp anymore... ive never seen that using tape and it s quite disconcerting to me.

i will do more tests sometime soon, but i shot some interview footage last night, looked gorgeous by and large, but occasionally it looked soft just for a fraction of a second, and afterwards I was wondering if the autofocus was on by mistake, but it was not AFAIK... so will do some conscious tests this weekend. Im fearing that 90% of the image has to be static or the image will become obviously softer (please god im wrong!)
catcha later ron
mark.


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Mike Schell
Re: A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on May 29, 2008 at 7:06:11 pm

Hi Ron-
Sorry I missed this post, way back in January. When you have a moment, check out our Flash XDR portable HD recorder, which is based on the Sony MPEG2 hardware CODEC. Flash XDR can record in both Long-GOP 4:2:2 full-raster MPEG2 at 50 and 100 Mbps as well as I-Frame only 4:2:2 full-raster at 100 or 160 Mbps.

We plan to record some panning video footage using Long-GOP and I-Frame only modes (and post on our web site). I do suspect that the I-Frame only 160 Mbps rate will essentially eliminate all these issues you discussed.

Mike Schell
Convergent Design
http://www.convergent-design.com


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randy Strome
Re: A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 7, 2008 at 2:04:01 am

Hi Mark,

I, like you, had never owned a camera with a shutter angle option. Turns out that the terms shutter angle and exposure time define the same thing: How long is the exposure. Shutter angle is a term that was used in film cameras. On the EX-1, it is an electric shutter, so no physical angle is actually changed. If you are already comfortable with considering exposure time in terms of fractions of a second, then there is no need to ever look at the shutter angle option. Here is the conversion chart if you are interested:

http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?t=3079


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Mark Palmos
Re: A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 7, 2008 at 7:31:26 am

Aah, thanks Randy, yep, i could see no difference (probably because there isnt one!) Cheers, Mark.


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Craig Seeman
Re: A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 7, 2008 at 2:48:12 pm

There should be a difference between shutter speed and shutter angle regarding how the camera handles changes in frame rate for example. Shoot at 720p24 at 1/48 and change to 720p60 and the shutter is still at 1/48. Do the same with shutter angel 180


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Randy strome
Re: A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 7, 2008 at 3:54:18 pm

[Craig Seeman] "There should be a difference between shutter speed and shutter angle regarding how the camera handles changes in frame rate for example. Shoot at 720p24 at 1/48 and change to 720p60 and the shutter is still at 1/48. Do the same with shutter angel 180


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Job van Nuenen
Re: A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 7, 2008 at 9:14:26 am

Hi Mark,

As for your point 4-, not beeing able to copy the footage to a laptop computer and import it: This works fine as long as you leave the structure of the folder including the name intact. try copying the folder named 'BPAV' that's on the SxS into a new empty folder with chosen name. Now you should be able to import that folder into the clipbrowser using the 'open containing folder' command.

I personally prefer Sony's XDCAM transfer utility for ingest, because it gives you more logging options, and has less of the 'fisherprice-look' the EX clipbrowser has :) The described routine works fine in this application too.



Media100/after-effects/Combustion/FCP/Flint/Flame/Inferno..
Thank heavens; there's a sign of progress here..


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Steven Thomas
Re: A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on Jan 19, 2008 at 6:09:12 pm

Matthew (from another forum) shows that the EX1 resolution does not change during pan.
http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showpost.php?p=1156481&postcount=14

I believe this really is all about motion blur. I know with myself, this camera produces some of the sharpest detailed images over previous cameras "I've" owned, especially is the sub $10K USD market.

I believe some of this perception is from having this much detail and then moving into motion blur. It's just more noticeable.

Even watching Hollywood HD productions I can clearly see the large diffence between still footage and camera pans adding motion blur.

I first heard about the EX1 going soft from movement from Barry Green's EX1 review. Since then, I performed quite a few tests at higher shutter speeds and frame rates and moving images look fine. If the perceived additional blurring was due to some sort of slowing due to signal processing, it surely would not improve at more demanding higher shutter and frame rates. Also, Matthew's tests show no rez lost during his pans.


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richard ladkani
Re: A few bits about EX1 shutter, blurs and transfer
on May 26, 2008 at 3:56:15 pm

If any of you are interested in a new controversial test comparing the EX1 to the Z7 and the HVX201 visit

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/142/858581


Best
Richard

http://www.richardladkani.com


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