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Image trouble

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ryan loetscher
Image trouble
on Aug 30, 2010 at 8:41:40 pm

Changing up to these DSLR's has had more considerations than I anticipated! I'm having some image issues that are probably due to some workflow issues I've overlooked.

I shoot on the 5D MII. Not sure if it matters, but I'm mostly using the 24-105 4L IS USM. I'm transcoding to ProRes via streamclip and editing in FCP.
On to the issue. Much of my footage (right out of the camera, no transcoding) has bad compression artifacts. When I first looked into the DSLR's I was worried about the H.264 situation, but looked at footage online and saw some magnificent stuff, like everyone I'm sure. Saw the famed House episode. I thought to myself "well I guess as long as you know what you're doing it shouldn't be a problem"... apparently I don't know what I'm doing. I've done professional video for years, and in my arrogance I guess I figured I would just make it all work.

So I'm not sure if anyone has any suggestions for me... It seems, like any heavy compression, there's issues in movement, out of focus areas in shallow depth shots... I thought maybe I was having problems because I had my ISO all the way to 6400 for the dark area I was shooting, but I found some artifacts on footage shot in some bright outdoor environments where everything was shut down tight. One thing to note is that I realized I was shooting on a custom color setting that was super saturated and contrasty, but still found a few artifacts when i realized this and changed the setting (but there was noticeably less issues.)

Maybe I've answered my own question... but I wanted to get some feed back on workflows.



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Richard van den Boogaard
Re: Image trouble
on Aug 30, 2010 at 10:26:40 pm

First of all, the 24-105 F4 is not the greatest lens you can get. F4 is already pretty deep focus. Instead, get the 24-70mm + 70-200mm F2.8; that'll help (if you're into zooms). Better yet, get those fast F1.2/F1.4 primes; it's simply better quality glass.

The camera's sweet spots in terms of ISO seem to be multiples of 160 (320, 640). I rarely go above ISO 1000, as it tends to generate noise.

Instead of stopping down and get deep focus (F5.6 to F22), you should consider using a VariND/FaderND filter in bright light situations so you will not get as much detail in the whole frame (just keep focus on the subject) whilst changing to F2.8 (or whatever your lens can handle).

As for User Profiles - it's better to shoot flat and then color correct in post afterwards. If you record with a lot of brightness and contrast, you're likely missing detail and your colors are fixed to the extend that you can't do much in post anymore.

Hope this helps (and makes sense).

Richard van den Boogaard
cameraman / editor / video marketing consultant

Branded Channels
W: http://www.brandedchannels.com


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Michael Sacci
Re: Image trouble
on Aug 30, 2010 at 11:07:32 pm

f4 is a "deep focus"????? that is a great lens for video and not his problem. The lenses you list are great but there is nothing wrong with the 24-105 f4L it is highly recommended lens by a lot of the big wigs in this movement.

Totally agree with the shooting flat.

Also if you read up on what the House team did with the footage you will see that a lot of work went into processing the footage.


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Richard van den Boogaard
Re: Image trouble
on Aug 31, 2010 at 12:41:51 pm

@Michael: Ok, F4 is still quite shallow... however I still prefer the shallowness of F2.8 and up/below.

Also, since it's a full stop from F2.8, you loose half of the available light, which may be why Ryan had to go up to those higher ISOs to get exposure. A faster lens would have given Ryan more light to play with. Hence, a nicer image with less noise and even shallower DoF.

Richard van den Boogaard
cameraman / editor / video marketing consultant

Branded Channels
W: http://www.brandedchannels.com


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ryan loetscher
Re: Image trouble
on Aug 31, 2010 at 4:33:21 pm

Thanks guys, you confirmed pretty much what I already suspected. I just broke some of my own rules (well everyone's really) about shooting flat. Everything just looks so flippin phenomenal in the camera's view finder (don't have a field monitor) that I didn't even think of it.

The 24-105 has been an amazing lens for me, most the time its fine, but this time it was a bit dark... but it really wasn't the "noise" I was worried about, I understood that was the cost of shooting with such high ISO, I'm worried about the compression artifacts. Maybe the high contrast and saturation compounded by a high ISO caused the artifacts as well as the noise.

@Michael, do you know where I could find a link to where I can read up on what the House team did with their stuff? I always like learning more.



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Michael Sacci
Re: Image trouble
on Aug 31, 2010 at 6:29:25 pm

Noise makes it harder for a codec like H264 to work well. To be effective there needs to be portions of the scene that do not change. When you have movement or a lot of noise there is nothing in the frame to frame that is the same so the compression has to work harder and things break down faster. Add saturation and sharpness and you are in the Danger Zone pretty quickly. The goal is to always look for ways to help out the compression, going soft, less saturation, lower ISO all help.

I just got that lens also and love it, it best lens for 90% of the time. Would love to have 2.8 at times and I do have NIkon primes for that but the range and IS make this just a fantastic lens for stills and video.


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Richard van den Boogaard
Re: Image trouble
on Sep 2, 2010 at 8:37:24 am

@Ryan: if I may answer that ;-)

Have you listened to the interview with the producer of House on Philipbloom.net? That pretty much discusses most of the challenges they've had...

Good luck.

Richard van den Boogaard
cameraman / editor / video marketing consultant

Branded Channels
W: http://www.brandedchannels.com


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ryan loetscher
Re: Image trouble
on Sep 2, 2010 at 9:53:30 pm

Thanks, I'll look that up!



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Michael Sacci
Re: Image trouble
on Aug 31, 2010 at 6:22:54 pm

Don't agree that 2.8 is better for the reasons above but that is different from stating what sounded like the f4 didn't have the ability to do shallow DoF. We have to be careful when we say things that are not really correct, or at least overstated. That was simply my point.


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