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XDCAM EX.... so noisy!

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Navarro Parker
XDCAM EX.... so noisy!
on Jun 30, 2008 at 11:01:58 pm

The footage I'm getting out of my EX1 can't be what everyone else is getting! It's so incredibly noisy, it borders on being unusable. I posted a clip showing 1080/30p HQ footage. Shot at -3 gain, f8, no ND filter. So there's plenty of light. I've posted a 200% portion of what I'm seeing.

(I captured with SnapZ Pro X and exported at Animation / Millions /100 quality. So my screen capture isn't introducing any secondary lossy compression)

Is anyone else getting such dog food footage? Is there a magic button I need to press? :)

Link to Quicktime .mov >
http://www.mediafire.com/?zlydxbyzydq




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Noah Kadner
Re: XDCAM EX.... so noisy!
on Jul 1, 2008 at 12:24:21 am

Yup that's a very noisy clip. I've seen EX1 looking three times cleaner easily. F8 would indicate an amazingly high level of studio lighting so I'd guess underexposure. Should be more like 5.6 4, etc. But then again it's hard to tell what I'm looking at there- settings, lighting ingest method, etc. Looks recompressed/processed somehow. For composites that are totally clean you also have the option of going out HD-SDI. Also I would recommend zero gain, not -3.

-Noah


Noah

My FCP Blog. Unlock the secrets of the DVX100, HVX200 and Apple Color and Win a Free Letus Extreme.
Now featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook and Sound for Film and TV.
http://www.callboxlive.com


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Michael Palmer
Re: XDCAM EX.... so noisy!
on Jul 1, 2008 at 12:58:31 am

-3 is the lowest setting
there is no gain at this point

Good Luck
Michael Palmer


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Juan Martinez
Re: XDCAM EX.... so noisy!
on Jul 1, 2008 at 4:16:33 am

If I'm not mistaken, SnapZ Pro X is a "screen capture" utility. The image is being decoded by some software application and re encoded. My guess is that you are seeing is the effect of concatenation losses. Try capturing to Final Cut directly. I belive that you will not experience the same issue.

Juan Martinez
Sony Electronics Inc.

Juan Martinez


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Navarro Parker
Re: XDCAM EX.... so noisy!
on Jul 1, 2008 at 4:52:08 am

Hi Juan! Great to see a Sony person here! We've had two EX1's for a couples months and we've never been able to get an image any better than this.

I can verify this is the noise I'm seeing *before* I run SnapZ Pro. It's recording the noise accurately and not introducing any more than what I see when I don't run it. That's why I posted a losslessly compressed Quicktime. This IS the problem noise I'm seeing.

We've connected an EX1 to a HD monitor via SDI and live video looks smooth, crisp, and noise free. As soon as we record to the SxS cards, all these artifacts appear when we ingest it into Final Cut (using the latest XDCAM Transfer app).

I want to point the finger at the XDCAM Quicktime codec that the Transfer app installs. It seems like the weak link and not ready for prime time.



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Steve Wargo
Re: XDCAM EX.... so noisy!
on Jul 1, 2008 at 4:44:10 am

What in the world is [Navarro Parker] "SnapZ Pro X"



Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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Navarro Parker
Re: XDCAM EX.... so noisy!
on Jul 1, 2008 at 4:54:06 am

It's a screen capture utility for the Mac.
http://www.ambrosiasw.com/utilities/snapzprox/



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Don Greening
Re: XDCAM EX.... so noisy!
on Jul 1, 2008 at 6:16:24 am

[Navarro Parker] "I want to point the finger at the XDCAM Quicktime codec that the Transfer app installs. It seems like the weak link and not ready for prime time"

Well, it's certainly not the weak link here. Keep in mind that the SDI signal is coming straight off the camera head before any camera compression is applied. So, like you've suggested, there's a problem afterwards, either in-camera during compression or during the transfer process. Although I can't pin down your problem from here I can say that there's an awful lot of people using the Sony Transfer Tool every day to convert their XDCAM EX .mp4 files to .mov files and they're not seeing excessive picture noise issues. The internet is littered with noise-free EX footage.

You'll need to track down the cause by doing some tests.

- Transfer the files recorded by your camera to someone else's Mac.
- Borrow another EX and transfer those files to your Mac.

It won't be long before you've isolated the cause. If it turns out to be a camera issue then Sony will help you and either fix your camera or give you a new one. This last statement is from personal experience.

- Don



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Noah Kadner
Re: XDCAM EX.... so noisy!
on Jul 1, 2008 at 4:01:59 pm

Yeah I'd guess- one of two things:

a- With respect, operator error either in settings or exposure.
b- Faulty camera or ingest procedures.

That's way beyond the levels of noise I've even seen with an EX1 and if that's your normal results there's something wrong with your camera or perhaps a mistake somewhere in camera settings or ingest.

-Noah

My FCP Blog. Unlock the secrets of the DVX100, HVX200 and Apple Color and Win a Free Letus Extreme.
Now featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook and Sound for Film and TV.
http://www.callboxlive.com


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Steve Connor
Re: XDCAM EX.... so noisy!
on Jul 1, 2008 at 6:29:29 pm

There is clearly a problem somewhere as none of the footage we have ever seen with the EX1 has been anywhere near as noisy.

Steve Connor
Adrenalin Television

Have you tried "Search Posts"? Enlightenment may be there.


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Navarro Parker
Re: XDCAM EX.... so noisy!
on Jul 1, 2008 at 8:23:26 pm

Hey guys... I truly appreciate all the comments. I'm not doing anything weird. I'm plugging the EX1 to my MacPro, using the latest XDCAM Transfer app (2.7.0). And that resulting MOV is getting put into Final Cut Pro 6.0.4. And I'm also taking that same file into After Effects 8.0.3.

And all I'm getting is noise noise noise. :(

The problem exists across four Mac Pros, three iMacs and two EX1 cams.

I should be able to turn on a factory fresh EX1, push the record button and get noise free footage, right? There's not any special setting 'reduce noise' function that isn't active by default, right?




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Don Greening
Re: XDCAM EX.... so noisy!
on Jul 1, 2008 at 8:59:05 pm

[Navarro Parker] "I should be able to turn on a factory fresh EX1, push the record button and get noise free footage, right?"

Correct, as long as you haven't pushed the magic button (full auto) and the EX is dialing in picture gain all by itself.

[Navarro Parker] "There's not any special setting 'reduce noise' function that isn't active by default, right? "

Again, you are correct. There is no "reduce noise" button or similar menu item. When my replacement EX showed up a week or so ago I took it out of the box, changed from 1080i to 1080p, set my manual knee point to 80% IN PP1, manual gain to -3 and got noise free footage first time out. I'm using the first version of the Sony Transfer Tool, FCP v.6.0.2 on a MacPro tower running OS 10.4.11.

- Don



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Navarro Parker
Re: XDCAM EX.... so noisy!
on Jul 2, 2008 at 5:10:28 pm

set my manual knee point to 80% IN PP1

I haven't been doing this. I will try it out!



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rene hazekamp
Re: XDCAM EX.... so noisy!
on Jul 1, 2008 at 9:17:31 pm

Well, I did some minor tests and after examining the shots (3), I see your point. Not that I get this horrible results as you got. - maybe that's because of a different background color, light, etc-
But I have to admit that most shots (even older one's I was perfectly happy with) are a tad noisy.
-what does it say about my professionalism ?


The ex + the ex codec might not be the best couple to use when you want to key your shots and maybe only usable after a lot of tweaking. Good for me I only make documentaries (and family films)

-but I have say your shots looked extra extra bad, i don't know why

Rene Hazekamp

portfolio http://www.renehazekamp.com



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Navarro Parker
Re: XDCAM EX.... so noisy!
on Jul 2, 2008 at 5:09:57 pm

Thank you! You're the first person who's acknowledged you are seeing some noise. I'm not crazy! :)


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Bengt-Goran Bengtsson
Re: XDCAM EX.... so noisy!
on Jul 2, 2008 at 8:32:54 pm

I am longing to buy an EX1 but now...? I looked to some footage I shot at a Sony dealer. There is also noise. Compared to HDV Fx1: Almost no noise! Please post some frames with original .mp4 or .mxf file! Please shoot a second outside with sunshine and shadow in same picture! I am using Edius on a PC.



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Tom David
Re: XDCAM EX.... so noisy!
on Jul 3, 2008 at 12:41:27 am

This might sound like a stupid suggestion at this point, but have you checked that your not shooting with the FULL AUTO button on (left side of camera)? If you are shooting at f8, and the camera thinks that this is underexposed, it will crank the gain automatically to compensate which might suggest your high gain in picture.

I haven't had grain issues yet with this camera, so keep fighting the good fight!

Cheers,
Tom

Camera Operator - Editor - Motion Graphics
(http://www.tomdavid.com.au)


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Anders Holm
Re: XDCAM EX.... so noisy!
on Mar 26, 2009 at 9:55:16 pm

Did you solve this issue? Because i seem to be having the same problem. If you solved it, how?

Really hope you can help me out - because this really suck.

Anders


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Bengt-Goran Bengtsson
Re: XDCAM EX.... so noisy!
on May 7, 2009 at 8:47:38 pm

Hello Anders
I did see that you asked if this problem is solved in this old thread. I think Tom Davids comment on full auto is right. I did buy the EX1 myself now in March and it gives tremendous nice pictures if you use it right. And with very low noise. But in low light with lots of gain you need to reduce the sharpness. With standard settings and +18dB gain, the EX1 is mush worse than FX1/Z1. But in normal light... Its very nice.
/BG Bengtsson


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