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Issues with my new 7D (grain and noise in video)

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Ali Hassan
Issues with my new 7D (grain and noise in video)
on Jun 13, 2013 at 10:01:41 pm

Hi everyone.
I was hoping I could get some assistance from you guys. I have been reading a lot on this and other forums and I'm only getting frustrated.

So I recently bought a Canon 7D, which I had heard was a great camera for both photography and video. I know it is quite a jump to start off with a 7D if you haven't touched DSLR's before.

My photographs are quite nice in quality without too much noticeable grain or noise. I have understood the relationship between ISO/AP/SP and I am still experimenting and learning. However, when it comes to video, no matter what lens I use, there is this weird layer of grain/noise and distortion in the picture. I have tried on both Manual and AV and keep getting the same results. Some of my video-shots in daylight were quite good, but there is grain apparent in the background on darker items/objects/backgrounds.

The picture is generally not sharp. When I search up "Canon 7D video quality" on YouTube and look what other people are getting, it's unbelievable how bad image quality my videos have. My shots in low-light are horrible. The impression that I have so far is that Canon 7D can only shoot in daylight.

When other people on youtube give examples of ISO's like 1250, that's how grainy/noisy my videos are at ISO 200, in addition to not being sharp and some distortion. I am shooting at 720p 60fps at the moment, with Standard picture style.

Lenses that I use: Canon EF-S 55-250mm & Canon EF-S 10-22mm. So far, I notice more distortion and bad quality on the wide angle 10-22mm lens.

Any clues?


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Steve Crow
Re: Issues with my new 7D (grain and noise in video)
on Jun 13, 2013 at 10:39:13 pm

Try this as an experiment and I think you will be quite pleased:


1. Put your camera in full manual mode for video

2. Go outside

3. Select 1080p 24fps as your video shooting mode

4. Set your shutter speed to 1/50

5. Set your ISO to 200

6. Set your aperture to 2.8 or below and focus on something.

7. Now use the exposure compensation dial to get the exposure indicator in the middle of the scale. (If it still too bright and your indicator is off to the right, then either move to an area outside that has more shade or attach an ND filter to your lens.)


I can almost guarantee you that there is nothing wrong with your camera. I haven't addressed custom picture style settings here only because I assume that if you have turned your camera sharpness down manually then you would already be aware of that and know that you can turn it back up but that gets us into a whole other topic.

Steve Crow
Crow Digital Media
http://www.CrowDigitalMedia.com


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Ali Hassan
Re: Issues with my new 7D (grain and noise in video)
on Jun 14, 2013 at 12:02:29 pm

Thank you so much for your time and answer.

I tried what you said, and I got good results. What would you recommend for low-light shooting? However, I didn't quite understand what you meant by exposure indicator, I know what it is and I know it is below the battery icon on the information screen on top. However, it didn't move at all even when the scene was too bright. I changed the shutter speed to decrease the over exposure.

(My wide angle lens can't go below 4.0 in AP.)

Shutter speed
One other thing I noticed was that the shutter speed stopped at 60, but could go lower if I was in a brighter environment. I didn't know this was possible.


Focus

Another problem that I don't understand is focusing. Why do I need to focus at all? What If I don't want a shallow depth of field, but want everything in the image to be equally detailed and focused on? I know the aperture must be higher, but what then do I need the focus for?

For example, I am highly inspired by this video and will hopefully learn to master these kinds of projects in a couple of years:

I know this timelapse is made up of individual photographs and not video, but still, even in the photographs he had to focus on something? My point is that the entire image in this video is equally detailed.



I know this all sounds incredibly noobie, and it is. I will try uploading my videos as soon as I get time and show you more precisely what I get.


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Steve Crow
Re: Issues with my new 7D (grain and noise in video)
on Jun 14, 2013 at 3:00:00 pm

"(My wide angle lens can't go below 4.0 in AP.)"
I don't understand your acronyms ...what do you mean by AP? Are you meaning aperture priority? How far open or "low" your lens can go is a matter of how it is constructed, not by what mode your camera is in. The less expensive kit lenses will often only go down to an aperture of 4.0 - that's part of what you are paying for when you buy more expensive, "faster", lenses - they will have apertures that can down to 1.4 or in some extreme cases even lower.

"I know what it is and I know it is below the battery icon on the information screen on top"
Judging by your description of the information screen and where the exposure compensation meter is it sounds like you are talking about being in still photography mode, not "movie" mode. In movie mode the exposure compensation meter is more in the bottom middle, right after the aperture indicator (I am talking about viewing the LCD screen not using the smaller viewfinder window closer to the top of the camera).

See page 152 of your user manual.

" I changed the shutter speed to decrease the over exposure."
For a more filmic look , it is highly suggested that you KEEP your shutter speed at twice the frames per second, so if you are shooting 24fps video then the shutter speed should be KEPT at 1/50 which is as close as you can get to 48 (2 x 24=48)

I consider my shutter speed LOCKED at 1/50th and never move it...I don't use shutter speed to control exposure but rely on ISO, aperture and ND filters to do that. Newbies always want to do what you did...changing the shutter speed for video is only done to achieve special effects - like what was done for the movie "Saving Private Ryan" - but save that for later, right now stick with the basics is my advice.

"shutter speed stopped at 60, but could go lower if I was in a brighter environment."
This indicates to me that your camera is not set in full manual mode for video, read page 153 and make sure your mode dial is set to M

"Why do I need to focus at all?"
In theory if you set your aperture to anything higher than 22 you would have pretty deep focus and everything should be more or less in focus...however that is one of the major hallmarks of what separates old school video of the 80's from cinematic style videos which are more like movies. The reason to focus is that it tells the viewer what in the frame they should be focusing on and plus it makes for a more pleasing image in most cases. Since you are just starting out consider it a firm and fast rule that can never be broken that you must focus your camera on something...trying to use a DSLR like a handicam / camcorder is not the way to go.

"...even in the photographs he had to focus on something?"
Yes, yes. Not focusing is like learning to drive a car and saying to the driving instructor "well why do I have to turn the steering wheel, if I keep to straight roads can't I just keep my hands on my lap instead?"

Steve Crow
Crow Digital Media
http://www.CrowDigitalMedia.com


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Ali Hassan
Re: Issues with my new 7D (grain and noise in video)
on Jun 15, 2013 at 4:18:49 pm

Hi again, and thank you so much for your time.

I tried your recommendations, and it worked out very good. Thank you so much for your advice. The quality overall is great. I didn't change the shutter speed from 1/50 and only played around with the ISO and aperture to get the right exposure, and switched to manual focus on the lenses.

I do have some questions though, for example, why would you recommend shooting at 24fps 1080p instead of 30fps 1080p? If i shot at 30fps on 1080p, then I should set my shutter speed to 1/60, but when would I choose to shoot at 30fps instead of 24fps?

Why I wanted to shoot in 720p at 60fps in the first palce was because of a super slow-motion effect I wanted to apply to the clip later and because the file sizes are smaller. Would you not not recommend shooting at 720p 60fps, 125 shutter speed on the entire project, instead of cropping the 1080p clips to 720p afterwards? In terms of image quality itself, there should not be any too noticeable difference between 1080 and 720p should it?

One other thing I would like to know about, is shooting in low-light outdoors and indoors, and how much of a difference these picture styles make. I know both of these subjects are quite heavy.


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Ali Hassan
Re: Issues with my new 7D (grain and noise in video)
on Jun 15, 2013 at 5:59:31 pm

Thank you.

What I meant by picture styles was, does these affect the image quality itself? I really like the Cloudy option in setting the white balance, but this same effect can be applied in After Effects if your original shot is taken with auto white balance.

I noticed that you turned everything all the way down without tone. I tried this, and I thought the difference was not that huge. I might just be too inexperienced to notice the differences. So far, I have the impression that you could change a shot taken with standard picture style and Auto white balance to anything of the other picture styles and white balances that are available, in After Effects later. Is this true?

I have some experience with After Effects, so my priority first and foremost is to get the best video quality possible and least amount of grain and noise. Changing the looks, warmth, contrast, color and so on of the picture would be easier for me to do in After Effects.


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Steve Crow
Re: Issues with my new 7D (grain and noise in video)
on Jun 15, 2013 at 6:16:36 pm

Yes, since what you are talking about are the white balance options they do change the quality of the captured image. Picture styles are a separate control and so are not the same thing. You can change the white balance in editing as you point out. I often use automatic white balance but I have also on occasion done custom white balances.

The custom picture style that I wrote about (which was first highlighted by Philip Bloom and other well known DSLR video gurus) are intended to create a "flatter" image, with less noise that color grades better in editing. So the desired outcome is to give you the best possible footage to work with in After Effects or whatever editing/color grading tool you are using.

The in-camera sharpening algorithms in particular are considered to be too aggressive and once that in camera sharpness is "baked in" to your footage, it's hard to work around that. You may or may not notice any differences if you are relying on the LCD screen, on your computer monitor the differences should be much more noticeable.

Steve Crow
Crow Digital Media
http://www.CrowDigitalMedia.com


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Matty Films
Re: Issues with my new 7D (grain and noise in video)
on Feb 17, 2015 at 5:20:33 am

I Recently shot some clips in a dark room with vague lighting for a boxing scene, I have a Canon Rebel T5i and used a Canon 70-300mm Lens. I uploaded the files to my computer and watched them and there is noise, how can i get rid of the noise if I shoot it again in darker to almost black setting with vague lighting?


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Steve Crow
Re: Issues with my new 7D (grain and noise in video)
on Feb 17, 2015 at 3:56:32 pm

You are having noise because there isn't enough light reaching the sensor. You can try raising your ISO but I assume you are doing that and high ISO itself can also introduce noise. So if you want to shoot in a dark setting like that then you have to get a camera with a sensor designed for low light situations....the Sony A7s is a very good example of that, you could shoot that camera in a cave lit only by a candle and still see something.

If you have to stick with the Canon I would suggest shooting the boxing scene under more well lit conditions then seeing what you can do in post to bring down the overall exposure - that will get you around the noise problem, but it's not a perfect solution.

Steve Crow


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Matty Films
Re: Issues with my new 7D (grain and noise in video)
on Feb 17, 2015 at 10:28:24 pm

Thank you, That can definitely explain it, I appreciate your help. Also what are good settings to shoot with for my Canon Rebel T5i? I noticed some noise in well lighting? Such as when I shoot Scenes in a house with good lighting or outside during the day?


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Steve Crow
Re: Issues with my new 7D (grain and noise in video)
on Feb 17, 2015 at 10:51:52 pm

Every scene requires custom settings so I can't give you one that will work for all situations. Some basic tips:


Keep your ISO as low as possible and for Canon try to use multiples of 160 (so 160 or 320 or 480....etc etc)

Be careful not to overexpose any part of the image, once a part of the image reaches pure white it can never be recovered - technically photographers call this "protecting the highlights" - you can look at the histogram and make sure that there is nothing at the far far right of the graph. I typically try to underexpose my image by a small amount.

Look online and you can find the Philip Bloom recommended settings for shooting video with a Canon - they are very easy to use. Basically you are turning the sharpness and contrast down within the camera (you can bring those qualities back up in post and it will be a better result than what the camera by itself does)

The lens is so important in the final look captured by your camera. I am not familiar with the zoom lens you mentioned but I suspect it's not a constant aperture so you will notice the image darken as you zoom in, and a darker image like that is also going to give you a greater chance for noise in the shadow areas.

When you can, stick with lenses that are always at a constant, single aperture, ideally 2.8 or lower but if it's a 4.0 aperture, no worries.

I tend to shoot almost everything with a 50mm prime lens and I just use my feet to get closer to a subject if I need to, first I had the 1.8 version from Canon and then I bought the 1.4. The 1.8 is around $100 and is a great great deal. The 1.4 at closer to $320 is even better if you can afford it. For a zoom I'd recommend the 24-70mm from Canon as a fantastic starting point.

Steve Crow


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Matty Films
Re: Issues with my new 7D (grain and noise in video)
on Feb 17, 2015 at 11:24:18 pm

Yes, very true, thank you for the tips and lenses to check out. I will also check out what Philip Bloom has and such. I appreciate your help.


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Ali Hassan
Re: Issues with my new 7D (grain and noise in video)
on Jun 17, 2013 at 10:10:06 pm

I tried shooting at night time today and got pretty bad results. It is kind of strange, because there is more noise on the blue sky than on the darker trees. I have uploaded the videofile so you can see here:
http://f1.creativecow.net/6156/lowlight-shoot


Videofile information:
Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon EF-S 55-250mm
1920x1080 24fps, Shutter 30, ISO 200, Aperture 4.0


Picture
The photographs also had noise. Link to one of the photographs: http://tinypic.com/r/33b1tax/5


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