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Is this amount of EX1 noise normal?

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Navarro Parker
Is this amount of EX1 noise normal?
on Dec 24, 2009 at 7:20:17 pm

I've been fighting noise on two EX1s for over a year.

I've posted an example on Vimeo (please watch in full res or download original QT)

Native XDCAM: http://www.vimeo.com/8372158
ProRes Converted: http://www.vimeo.com/8372033

Converting to ProRes seems to alter the gamma, which makes the noise even more noticeable.

Is this amount of noise considered normal for EX1 and/or XDCAM EX? Or are my early models noisier? Maybe I'm more sensitive to artifacts, but I think the amount of noise they are giving me is ridonkulous.



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Craig Seeman
Re: Is this amount of EX1 noise normal?
on Dec 27, 2009 at 6:28:50 pm

It's hard to know what's "normal" without knowing your Picture Profile or your gain settings. Some PP settings can stretch the blacks and others compress them. Other PP settings may also impact noise.

Your Quicktime Animation file shows a lots of compression artifacts so I'm not sure you're workflow is valid for verification. Maybe poor scaling.



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Navarro Parker
Re: Is this amount of EX1 noise normal?
on Dec 28, 2009 at 11:27:08 pm

That amount of compression is what I get out of my EX1. I'm using nearest neighbor scaling at 400%, so there are no additional artifacts from interpolative scaling. Everything out of my two EX1s has been a compressed, noisy mess. So I'd appreciate any tips or further help anyone could provide.

Here are my PP settings:
CineGamma 1
Black -4
Detail -8
Crispening +20
Frequency +30
Cinema Matrix at +35

These settings are meant to reduce noise according to this post here: http://www.xdcam-user.com/forum3/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=338&sid=523f2986b8956...



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Michael Slowe
Re: Is this amount of EX1 noise normal?
on Dec 29, 2009 at 7:14:03 pm

I follow exactly what Doug Jensen suggests in his Vortex Media DVD on the EX 1 and the pictures are perfect.

Sorry can't remember all the details but if you can't find them I can look at the DVD or my camera sometime.

Michael Slowe


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Navarro Parker
Re: Is this amount of EX1 noise normal?
on Dec 31, 2009 at 10:09:09 pm

I would really appreciate any settings help you could provide.



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Rafael Amador
Re: Is this amount of EX1 noise normal?
on Jan 1, 2010 at 2:26:57 am

Hi Navarro,
The PP is from Alister Chapman I'm using it since a couple of months and I think is really good.
However is intended for shooting in exterior with bright light. Not sure is that is the kind of PP for Chroma Key. I don't think that Cine Gamma will be much appropriated.
Rafael




http://www.nagavideo.com


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Michael Slowe
Re: Is this amount of EX1 noise normal?
on Jan 1, 2010 at 11:58:12 am

Navarro, for what it's worth these are the settings I use following Doug Jensen's video. This is for daylight with a Kelvin setting of 5600. I'm not talking about chromo work or anything very clever, just normal HD video. Film making is hard enough without complicating things - it's what you are doing with your images that matters. I would stress that there are very many on this forum (most) who are far better than I on technical matters.

The changes I made to the factory settings are:

Matrix: High Sat
Gamma: Cine 4
Black:-3
Black Gamma:-2

and where possible I have the gain at -3 in common with most people. I have noticed however that there seems to be no obvious increase in 'noise' if I have to increase the gain even up to +9. I don't understand why you are getting noise providing you are manually setting gain, shutter and aperture, these cameras are giving us brilliant images.

Michael Slowe


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Michael Slowe
Re: Is this amount of EX1 noise normal?
on Jan 1, 2010 at 5:00:53 pm

Sorry Navarro, I also should have said that under the Matrix setting I also have the level set at +3 in addition to having High Sat on. I just looked at Doug Jensen's Vortex Media EX workshop to check his suggested Picture Profile.

Michael Slowe


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Paul Crowe
Re: Is this amount of EX1 noise normal?
on Jan 6, 2010 at 9:40:41 am

Does anybody have a good pp or tips regarding settings for Handheld fly on the wall styled night shooting? Think COPS style reality TV with EX3/1s.

Will have an on-board light and a few lights to pop up when possible but apart from that I'll be using (un) available light.

Cheers
Paul



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Navarro Parker
Re: Is this amount of EX1 noise normal?
on Jan 7, 2010 at 5:34:16 pm

Thanks everyone! I'll try these settings and post my results.



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Navarro Parker
Re: Is this amount of EX1 noise normal?
on Jan 7, 2010 at 11:49:35 pm

Hey Michael.

I followed your settings and here's what I got. I hate to say it, but it looks actually worse. I connected my EX1 via SDI to a Decklink SDI, so this is purely what my camera is giving me (and not added XDCAM EX compression)



Seriously, is this what other EX1 users get? Am I more sensitive to noise? What's going on?







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Rafael Amador
Re: Is this amount of EX1 noise normal?
on Jan 9, 2010 at 4:46:21 am

Hi Navarro,
The picture looks horrible.
You can not try to make CK with a Cine Gamma 4 setting.
Cine Gamma 4 is good for a cine look and when shooting in low light conditions. Aside that any Cine Gamma will make more difficult to tweak the picture in post.
With all my respect, the "Doug Jensen's Vortex Media EX DVD", is very useful for somebody that never have put his hands on the camera, but that's all (when they released the DVD, the EX-1 wasn't yet for sale, so no real time to know the camera).
His PP is bad and anyway, if you intend to use an "all-weather" PP, you better stick with the Standard PP with some tweaking. I've made CKs with the EX-1 with very poor lighting and they look much better than your.
For a good PP for CK, you can find your answer spread among many post in many different forums.
or you can contact the few people that have been tweaking the EX PPs with full understanding of what they were doing.
Cheers,
rafael


http://www.nagavideo.com


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Michael Slowe
Re: Is this amount of EX1 noise normal?
on Jan 10, 2010 at 12:25:52 pm

Hey Rafa, I'm amazed to see what you say about Doug Jensen's PP for the EX. He seems to be a very experienced cameraman and I followed his advice. I've never used personal PP's before so was a bit in the dark. I'm not doing CK and my pics are good with Jensen's settings (particularly daylight at 5600K), the contrast and colour look better than with the factory default which Jensen reckons are set neutral to await PP's. I shoot with gain at -3 whenever possible. A suggested PP (wherever it differs from the default) would be appreciated.

Michael Slowe


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Rafael Amador
Re: Is this amount of EX1 noise normal?
on Jan 10, 2010 at 2:24:06 pm

Hi Michael,
Sorry if did sounds as I dismiss Douglas or his PP, that was not my intention.
The Vortex DVD was the only thing we have two years ago and I used is PP too, but I think that now there are some more "scientific" formulas.
The beauty of the PPs is that you can set your camera up for each situation, but you can not get that with just one profile.
Cheers,
Rafa-el

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Alister Chapman
Re: Is this amount of EX1 noise normal?
on Jan 10, 2010 at 7:15:16 pm

The cinegammas work best when material is going to be graded. They are compressing the highlights starting at around 70 IRE and getting more and more compressed the higher you go. This doesn't suit all shooting scenarios and can lead to picture straight out of the camera that look very flat.

If your not grading heavily or have control over your lighting you are going to get an image with more punch by using the standard gammas. Stay well clear of standard gamma 1, it is very noisy.

For a situation where you have full lighting control I would use Standard Gamma 2 and turn the Knee off. If you don't have control over your lighting and are not going to grade the image then try std gamma 2 with the knee set to 85 and slope set to 10. If you want to make the image a little more contrasty then set the black gamma to -20 to -35. I normally run with black level at -4.

Chroma Key with a 4:2:0 camera works best when shot progressive. If you use a 180 degree shutter you get a tiny bit less noise, but it's not a big difference. Capturing to ProRes with a Decklink card does tend to add noise, not sure whether this is the decklink card or ProRes, but I find I can key very cleanly off the EX material if I shoot progressive. I would not use the high sat matrix as this will increase chroma noise, just use the standard matrix, raising the low key sat level should help with the noise in the blacks and crispening at +30 to +40 will also reduce noise in shadow and low contrast areas.

Alister Chapman
http://www.xdcam-user.com


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Rafael Amador
Re: Is this amount of EX1 noise normal?
on Jan 11, 2010 at 3:56:11 am

Hi Alister,
For exteriors I'm using your "Low-noise" PP with different CINE Gammas and I have to state that works great.
Thanks for sharing it and if there is any convenient tweaking, please let us know.
Cheers,
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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