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Ed Ng
Trouble with picture quality
on Jan 19, 2011 at 12:18:50 am

Hello everyone,

I am very new to FCP and using the HPX170 but I just completed a video and the quality is very poor. These were the basic settings of the HPX and FCP workflow.

HPX was set at 1080P30 with 6 db gain and shutter set at 1/60. I believe the lens was wide open at F2.4

I used the log and transfer then exported to H.264 at 720P.

Here is a link to the results





It looks like my college editing on Hi-8 with the Sony editing station from the mid 90's.

Could someone please help me to understand why I could not get a clean video such as this one.





Are my settings wrong or is the lighting very poor?

Thank you for any help.

Cheers

Ed


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Michael Sacci
Re: Trouble with picture quality
on Jan 19, 2011 at 3:03:39 am

With the HPX170 or the HVX200 I would shoot in 720p mode unless I was matching other camera at 1080p, these chips are 720p chips. Also never use gain unless you obsolutely have too. Bring the lights in closer before going to 6dB.

But If you are talking about the shallow dof of the second you are just using the wrong type of camera if you need to be that far away from the subject. You need to be shooting on something like the new AF100, a DSLR or Red camera with very fast lens. All his shallow dof is with the camera right up against the focused subject. It also looks like he spent some time with color correcting.

I don't think your stuff looks bad, it looks like something that was shoot in a expo room with very flat lighting. If you want something more dramatic you have to light and shoot it differently. Also it doesn't look like the focus was spot on, that maybe the compression.

my 2 cents.


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Ed Ng
Re: Trouble with picture quality
on Jan 19, 2011 at 3:21:10 am

Hello Michael,

Thank you so much for the reply. I am not concerned with the DOF but do know the limitations without an adaptor so I have the Brevis MP.2 with some Canon glass.

I come from the photography world and understand lighting but with video I am very novice. I have tried to look around for the ISO of the HPX 170 because I like to meter my subjects.

Yes, this was an interview at the Las Vegas Convention Center at SEMA. The lighting was not the best but I did not think it was unbearable. As for the focus, I can not remember if it were manual. I only use manual for photography but video work is new to me.

I will set up the camera for 720 but Pn,P 24, 30? Are there any other things I should watch for?

Thank you so much again!

Cheers

Ed


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Kevin Randall
Re: Trouble with picture quality
on Jan 19, 2011 at 5:13:27 pm

Be aware that deciding whether to record to 1080 or 720 on the HVX200 or HPX170 has absolutely nothing to do with the pixel size of the CCDs. ALL image capture on these cameras is at 1080p, no matter what format/resolution you are recording to. Repeat--ALL image capture on these cameras is at 1080p. If you are recording at 720, the original image is actually being DOWNSAMPLED to 720. I have heard on some discussion boards that some people have even had better results recording at 1080 in camera, then downrezzing to 720 in their NLE, vs. recording at 720 in camera.


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Michael Sacci
Re: Trouble with picture quality
on Jan 19, 2011 at 8:40:27 pm

Sorry, I'm pretty sure it is the other way around. The camera up-samples to 1080, but it does a good job at that. But if you are doing to distribute as 720p it makes no sense to me.


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Michael Sacci
Re: Trouble with picture quality
on Jan 19, 2011 at 8:40:33 pm

In 720p I would always shoot pN for 24 or 30, 24p is most like film, but you can also shoot 60p with just gives you a smoother action. There is no right or wrong here is it what you like. You have to play with the settings and develop your style.

On these cameras there is no ISO, it is gain and for the most post you are locked into a single setting. You can gain up but because of the small chip you get noise right away, you don't have the latitude that a DSLR has.

You would want to use manual focus on a shot like that, to make sure you are the sharpest you zoom in all the way, focus and then reframe the shoot. Always recheck focus in between shoots. And I don't think your focus was bad, just it may not have been spot on. The flatness of the lighting will alway take away from the dramatics of the scene.

If you do not have Barry Greens book on the camera get it. It a users manual with the why behind every aspect of the camera. Best thing you can get. He gives you settings that are better in low light and have less noise to mention a few.


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Ed Ng
Re: Trouble with picture quality
on Jan 19, 2011 at 9:37:56 pm

Hello and thank you all so much for the support and assistance.

From what I have gathered from Panasonic and another member, the ISO is set at 500. This helps me use my meter. I use my meter a lot in the field for photo work but very new to video work so I am trying to adapt the same flow from photography.

Panasonic states it is 1080p to the chip and then converts down into all formats. I have dual 64 gig cards so should I just use 1080/30P or just use 720/24Pn?

I will be testing out some shots this week so I will compare. My only question now is about exporting from FCP. Does everyone use H264 for Apple Pro Res!

Thank you everyone again and cheers

Ed


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Michael Sacci
Re: Trouble with picture quality
on Jan 19, 2011 at 11:41:03 pm

[Ed Ng] "Panasonic states it is 1080p to the chip"
I think this is where the confusion is (and the confusion maybe on my part) The Chip is not a 1080p, it is a 720p chip (1.1 mill pixel) but it scans this at 1080p and then converts it to whatever the settings are.

So I will rephrase my statement. Most people that I know and have read consider 720p @ 60p or 24pN to be the sweet spot for the HVX200 and HPX170. One advantage to shooting at 720p24pN is the record time is increased 2.5x.

[Ed Ng] "Does everyone use H264 for Apple Pro Res!"
Not sure what you are asking here.


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Kevin Randall
Re: Trouble with picture quality
on Jan 20, 2011 at 4:43:23 pm

Michael: The "chip" is not a 720p chip. The CHIPS each have about 520,000 photosites (960x540), with the green chip slightly offset from the red and blue. The image is taken from the CCD block as a 1920x1080 image. It is recorded at either 1280x1080, 960x720, or 720x480, depending on the recording format chosen. There is no "uprezzing" done to record a 1080p image. ALL images start out as 1080p, then are processed according to the recording format chosen (1080i, 1080p, 720p, 480i or 480p).


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Ed Ng
Re: Trouble with picture quality
on Jan 20, 2011 at 9:44:35 pm

May I ask your thoughts on shooting 1080/30p? I have enough memory so would it be the best quality to use.

I hear so many people say that 720/24Pn is the best but why?

Sorry but still new and need some advice and yes I am buying Barry Greens book!

Cheers

Ed


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Michael Sacci
Re: Trouble with picture quality
on Jan 20, 2011 at 11:31:53 pm

Call it what ever you like, pixel shifting instead of up-rezing but one thing the chip is not is a 1080p chip. I'm a fan of these cameras so I'm not knocking them.

I will restate my claim - "Most people that I know and have read consider 720p @ 60p or 24pN to be the sweet spot for the HVX200 and HPX170"

If I'm "technically" wrong about my description of the chip and camera record fine I can live with that but I would always shoot these camera as 720p in either 60p or 24p UNLESS I was using footage with another cameras that shooting 1080p.

Ed, in the end you need to do the testing, shoot the same thing at 1080 and 720 which do you like better. Shoot 30p and 24p which do you like better. The only other people that should matter to you is your clients.


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Kevin Randall
Re: Trouble with picture quality
on Jan 21, 2011 at 12:09:36 am

Pixel shift is not the same as uprezzing; they are two entirely different things. The HPX170 takes the image off the CCD block as analog data, and it is quantized at 1080; all processing is done at 1080, and recording is downsampled from that. "Uprezzing" normally refers to taking a digital image and interpolating new data to reproduce that image at a higher pixel rate.

It has been reported, repeatedly, by people such as Barry Green (who literally "wrote the book" on the HVX) that recording at 1080 gives sharper images, with less compression, than recording at 720. This would probably be why some people have said that they get better 720 results by recording at 1080 and converting to 720 themselves, vs. recording at 720.

I'm not doubting that you're a fan of the cameras, Michael. But it is not helpful to give out erroneous information.


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Ed Ng
Re: Trouble with picture quality
on Jan 21, 2011 at 12:31:38 am

Hey there!

Thank you again! Kevin, I now understand what people are saying about 720p. It is the same in photography as my clients will never get my raw file in which I edit the images but I give them a smaller jpeg corrected. It is better than shooting in a small jpeg format because there is much more information to work with in raw.

It has helped a lot and I will show everyone so new video very soon!

Cheers

Ed


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Jim Sharp
Re: Trouble with picture quality
on Dec 7, 2011 at 2:41:34 pm

Don't know if this discussion is still alive or not, but here is the info I found regarding the HVX200:

The AG-HVX200 is a fixed-lens hybrid camcorder released in December 2005 for 60 Hz market and April 2006 for 50 Hz market. The camcorder allows file-based recording onto P2 cards, as well recording onto traditional MiniDV cassettes.
The imaging section employs a 3CCD system with 1/3 inch sensors, each having about 520,000 photosites. High definition resolution is achieved by both horizontal and vertical spatial offset or pixel shifting, though the effective resolution does not exceed 600 lines either horizontally or vertically.[4]
The camcorder is capable of recording in several standard-definition and high-definition video formats. The image is always scanned progressively at 1920×1080 resolution, then is downsized to target frame size.
Recording formats:
DVCPRO HD: 720p (960x720), 1080i (1280x1080 for 60 Hz regions, 1440x1080 for 50 Hz regions) at 100 Mbit/s
DVCPRO50: 480i for 60 Hz regions, 576i for 50 Hz regions at 50 Mbit/s
DVCPRO: 480i for 60 Hz regions, 576i for 50 Hz regions at 25 Mbit/s
DV: 480i for 60 Hz regions, 576i for 50 Hz regions at 25 Mbit/s
All formats can be recorded onto P2 cards. Only standard DV video can be recorded to MiniDV tapes. In 720p mode the camcorder offers variable shooting rates for overcranking/undercranking.
The updated model, AG-HVX200A, was released in late May 2008. Among other changes, the HVX200A features improved CCDs and an adjusted lens. These changes improved image quality in addition to providing a wider angle of view.

Maybe this will shed some light....


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