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Noisy video on outdoor shoot

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eldrin flores
Noisy video on outdoor shoot
on Mar 25, 2009 at 9:09:01 am

I am just wondering why I still have a noisy video even in an outdoor shoot. My gain was set to -3db, gamma and black gamma were both at -10. I am previewing the footages at mac monitor.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Noisy video on outdoor shoot
on Mar 25, 2009 at 2:03:25 pm

Without a source codec picture and more details it's almost impossible to tell.
Since the is not a common problem with the camera:
1 There is something wrong with your camera
2 There is something wrong with your monitoring setup
3 There is something you're not telling us about the shooting environment as "outdoors" really doesn't describe the lighting.
4 There is something else about your camera setup you're not saying. You don't mention what all you picture profiles were.




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Brian Barkley
Re: Noisy video on outdoor shoot
on Mar 25, 2009 at 2:04:12 pm

The term "noisy" is subjective ... what may be noisy to you may not be to someone else. I have no idea as to a suggestion . . .



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Michael Palmer
Re: Noisy video on outdoor shoot
on Mar 25, 2009 at 2:42:23 pm

I would suggest you use the display feature on the viewfinder at all times to ensure you have the setting you want. I can't help but wonder if you accidentally hit the Full Auto button.

Good Luck
Michael Palmer


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Stephen May
Re: Noisy video on outdoor shoot
on Mar 25, 2009 at 11:00:45 pm

on the otherhand - maybe you should do a RESET to factory settings and also do this:

If you're outside, and it's 'nice' - another relative description...

Set your ND filter so that you are well out of blooming range. White Balance to white, and shoot a moment with your settings, and then DO shoot going FULL AUTO.

The way I see it, if it's a nice day and you have engaged the necessary ND filter, and white balanced, then by going FULL AUTO, you should be able to bring back a very good image; at least one that begins to point toward some possibility that there is something wrong with your camera.

You must be sensing that we're all a little surprised so far at your issue, and without knowing some needed details, the folks here who are very able to help, can not begin to lend a hand. Try what I've asked, it doesn't need to be more than two seconds, and you should be able to post a clip that small for us to see your 'noise'. From there we can start to see what may be going on. -s

Stephen May
Keystone Media Productions
Freelance Videographer


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eldrin flores
Re: Noisy video on outdoor shoot
on Mar 26, 2009 at 6:15:11 am

Thank you so much guys, I'll try that. :)


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Mitch Lewis
Re: Noisy video on outdoor shoot
on Mar 27, 2009 at 1:36:55 pm

I've been told that most HD cameras are always going to be noisier than SD cameras. There's a thread on another forum about a guy shooting beaches in Hawaii in full sun that's noticing some noise in the blacks. I haven't noticed this myself, but I thought you'd like to know you're not alone. :)

I've noticed some noise issues when the detail is turned on. Have you tried shooting with it turned off yet?

Sony EX3, Letus Ultimate, Nikon lenses, Sachtler tripod
20 years as a videographer/editor - HD and 35mm adaptor newbie
Experienced with Apple products, Final Cut Studio, Adobe Creative Suite, MOTU Digital Performer, Flip4Mac, etc...


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Stephen May
Re: Noisy video on outdoor shoot
on Mar 31, 2009 at 12:58:43 am

Mitch - the reason that in some cases HD cams are more noisy than SD cams is simply that the sensors for HD cameras are loaded with more resolution than the sensors for SD. In some cases you have a SD camera with 3 CCD's handling 740 x 480 pixel resolution (or thereabouts) and then you have a camera that has the same size sensors recording 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution!

The new Canon D5 Mark II DSLR camera shoots HD onto a single 36 x 24mm CMOS sensor, and even though it's only a single sensor, the fact that it's roughly 1.4 inches x almost an inch (0.9 in.) it is able to capture clean, rich black levels. Compare that size sensor to the Sony PMW EX1 sensors which are 1/2, less than half the size, and add in compression, and the task of rich dark blacks becomes challenging.

I think it is good for the industry that we are always demanding more from the products, but at the same time, I notice we don't dole out credit where it is due. I've seen all these cameras over the years and the tech has gone from VHS which basically sucked, to S-VHS which was considerably better compared to VHS, then to Hi8, Digital8, (I love to skip 3/4 U-Matic simply because it was just a beast in size), and talkiing about beats, the most amazing Sony discovery, spanning all of these cameras; Betacam! Betacam was always pretty nice, but lug a Ikagami Unicam around or any Sony camera docked to a Beta back, and you'll have to begin to appreciate inventions like the EX1, HVX200, and many more. When the cameras started to record 24p in a tiny lightweight camera, I thought everyone was going to cheer for a week. We didn't. We got used to the breakthrough, and began demanding more.

I'm not saying I am not looking forward to even better than the EX1, but let's face it: Tapeless workflow, smaller lighter bodies, progressive recording, larger more sensitive sensors (CMOS instead of CCD), higher resolution, and LOWER PRICES! We spent $10k on our SD Sony DSR370 DVCAM - (which I didn't mention in the evolution above). My EX1 blows the doors off of my old 370 simply because the DSR 370 is always interlaced. I'm not saying it didn't get amazing shots on good days, but again, it's huge, heavy, and expensive, and STILL compressed.

We should continue to expect more, but we should realize how far it has all come, especially in the last three years! I am so grateful that I can go out and shoot great looking video with almost everything I need in a padded backpack! Now, lets get the black levels to look glossy! :-)

Stephen May
Keystone Media Productions
Freelance Videographer


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Mitch Lewis
Re: Noisy video on outdoor shoot
on Mar 31, 2009 at 1:48:11 am

Thanks for the repy Steven. Very informative. But I thought I'd make one minor correction. At a recent trade show a Canon representative talked about the 5D. He said that everyone thinks that the entire sensor is used, when in fact it's only a small part of it that is used to record video (I think he said 20%, but I can't remember for sure.

My interpretation of this is that only 1920x1080 is needed to record high def video, so they used a portion of the sensor in that size. (or something like that).

Just thought you'd find that interesting. Thanks again for the great explanation. Makes sense to me! :)

Sony EX3, Letus Ultimate, Nikon lenses, Sachtler tripod
20 years as a videographer/editor - HD and 35mm adaptor newbie
Experienced with Apple products, Final Cut Studio, Adobe Creative Suite, MOTU Digital Performer, Flip4Mac, etc...


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Michael Palmer
Re: Noisy video on outdoor shoot
on Mar 31, 2009 at 3:59:02 am

Hi Mitch,
This doesn't surprise me as the Red scales down the active use of their sensor if the resolution setting is reduced. Soon enough we will know how many Bayer pattern pixels are really needed by these sensors to interpolate the superior 4:2:2 1080x1080 HD resolution. I'm sure some here know this answer, but my point is that it will help those who want another measurable specification when judging between any camera.



Good Luck
Michael Palmer


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Don Greening
Re: Noisy video on outdoor shoot
on Mar 31, 2009 at 4:10:23 am

You may find this interesting.

There are 2 things Sony does to reduce ambient noise on the EX CMOS chip.

1. Each photosite has its own amplifier and the micro-voltages from each one are sampled twice for every field/frame. The first time is with no light hitting the photosite so ambient voltages can be measured i.e. picture noise. The second time is when there is light hitting the photosite. The first set of values is then subtracted from the second set to get rid of the noise.

2. The A/D converter is actually part of the imaging chip instead of being on a separate device. This helps to stop noise and EM interference during the A/D conversion. In fact, there is a separate A/D converter for each column of photosites, so in the case of the EX chip there are 1920 A/D converters on each imager.

These are the two major principles behind Sony's EXMORâ„¢ CMOS technology. Cool, huh?

- Don


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Stephen May
Re: Noisy video on outdoor shoot
on Mar 31, 2009 at 4:29:17 am

That is cool - except I can not truly understand it really. And that gets me back to this:

In the end, what does it look like? We use our eyes to judge it, and the "white papers" can go on and on, but if it looks amazing, it's amazing and if it looks not so good, it's not so good. To the point that was made about the Canon D5 - who knows what part of the sensor is being used? But friends of mine at the Keystone Resort shot this on the D5:

http://www.vimeo.com/3534134

It looks great, and there's not much noise in the blacks! And it's true, the tech behind the EX1 is incredible, really - the compression scheme, the SxS cards, the flexibility, it's overwhelming, but the Canon D5 shoots HD that is truly impressive, on a single sensor, that (I am told here) only uses a portion of the chip. I admit that I purposefully talk in terms of look and do not really get into the tech of it - and that's because it's complicated, and I'm not in it for the tech. I think a lot of us are in it to make great looking video. It's fun, it's art, and sometimes there's even a really good point in it; content.

Someone sees noise in the EX1 blacks, and I see it in more than that, I can see it in general, but I'd say it's a heck of a camera for the money, and I also appreciate it's small size, the workflow, etc. compared to tape and weight of former cameras that only shot in SD. I'm grateful for the improvements. But because I love what looks good, I'm baffled by the look of the Canon D5. If they can do that in a still camera, why aren't they making something like that in a full out HD camera with the XLR jacks etc.?

Stephen May
Keystone Media Productions
Freelance Videographer


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Don Greening
Re: Noisy video on outdoor shoot
on Mar 31, 2009 at 4:56:56 pm

[Stephen May] "If they can do that in a still camera, why aren't they making something like that in a full out HD camera with the XLR jacks etc.? "

I'm sure your wish will be granted soon enough. Up until now the reason only 1/3" chips were being used in small handycam-style cameras was because of heat. CCD's use more power and therefore generate more heat than CMOS. So now we have 1/2" chips in a hand-held that generate the same heat as the older CCD cameras.

Onward and upward.

- Don



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Ioannis Kemen
Re: Noisy video on outdoor shoot
on Apr 8, 2009 at 6:15:43 pm

Hi everyone,

I think I will agree with the original poster that the picture from the EX-1 is really noisy. No disrespect to anyone, but especially in the darkest areas things don't look too good.

I don't have your expertise, and I am half your age as it seems, but noisy is noisy.

Maybe Mr. Stephen May is right that we became kind of greedy and demanding and since I didn't start like him 20 or more years back but only 4-5 years ago, I can still tell when I see a noisy image.

I must confess that I am really disappointed with my EX-1 and thinking to sell it already. This is not a camera for low light conditions and natural light.

Of course as someone else has already mentioned noisy image is completely subjective. I do agree with this but within limits. A really noisy image is a really noisy image.

A friend cinematographer (cause I am not a cinematographer but a writer/director with passion for cinematography) suggested that if I'm in low light conditions and the camera 'cannot see' don't be afraid to go up to +6 or +9db with this camera, it's still gonna be OK. Well let me tell you something. It was disastrous.


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