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Best video format on a compact camera

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Morten Slemdal
Best video format on a compact camera
on Mar 1, 2015 at 12:05:42 pm

Hi!
I'm using a compact video/photo camera for a travelling project. I will edit the movie in fcpx, and just trying to figure out what setting to use. The movie will be watched on a tv screen, but also on my mac screen.

The Sony RX100 can shoot movies in two different formats, MP4 and AVCHD. All MP4 options are below 1080p resolution though, so I won't get into those. In AVCHD mode however, we get 3 different 1080 options:



50i 24M (FX) (50i @ 24Mbps, Blu-Ray AVCHD disc compliant)

50i 17M (FH) (50i @ 17Mbps, DVD AVCHD disc compliant)

50p 28M (PS) (50p @ 28Mbps, Progressive Scan)



So it seems like we get 50i at 17Mbps and 24Mbps, and we get 50p at 28Mbps, but not really…

The 50i mode is actually capturing 25p images out of the sensor and encoding them as 50i footage, this means that we do end up with interlaced footage, but since it was captured progressively, de-interlacing it will produce a clean 25p image!


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Noah Kadner
Re: Best video format on a compact camera
on Mar 1, 2015 at 4:50:15 pm

Why do you say 'not really' about the 50p mode? I'd go for that considering it has the highest bitrate.

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
Call Box Training


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Morten Slemdal
Re: Best video format on a compact camera
on Mar 1, 2015 at 5:36:33 pm

It's about the 50i mode I write not really - because it shoots in P, and then deinterlace.


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Morten Slemdal
Re: Best video format on a compact camera
on Mar 1, 2015 at 5:41:27 pm

It's about 50i I write not really - because it shoots i p, and then it's encoded.


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Noah Kadner
Re: Best video format on a compact camera
on Mar 1, 2015 at 5:59:08 pm

"It's about 50i I write not really - because it shoots i p, and then it's encoded."

I don't quite get what you mean by that but I would suggest testing both modes and checking the results on a proper broadcast monitor- i.e. not just in FCPX.

Based on the specs you wrote I would recommend the 50p because it has the highest bitrate. De-interlacing footage in post generally produces objectionable motion artifacts and wastes a generation of quality.

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
Call Box Training


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Best video format on a compact camera
on Mar 1, 2015 at 7:46:29 pm

I was thinking about buying an RX100 to take on holiday but after some research the video modes just seemed a little weird so I passed.

My reading was that the 50i mode is actually 25p in a 50i wrapper so essentially 25psf. I couldn't get any definitive confirmation of that though - but if that's the case, then the 24mb mode would be the best choice. The compression math isn't really quite this simple but 25p at 24mb per frame is less compressed than 50p (potentially twice the data) at 28mb.

Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer | Southern Creative Media | Melbourne Australia
http://www.southerncreative.com.au | G+: http://gplus.to/jeffkirkland | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Bret Williams
Re: Best video format on a compact camera
on Mar 1, 2015 at 7:56:34 pm

Is it possible the 50p is actually 720p? That would make much more sense with the quoted data rates if it were 50i 1080 and 50p 720. Should be roughly the same like they are.


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Best video format on a compact camera
on Mar 1, 2015 at 8:41:16 pm

As far as I know (and I didn't end up buying the camera) they're both 1080p modes.

The little Canon camcorders I own (XA10 & XA20) are similar. They record 25psf and offer a 35mb 50p mode but that is effectively less quality than the 25p would be.

Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer | Southern Creative Media | Melbourne Australia
http://www.southerncreative.com.au | G+: http://gplus.to/jeffkirkland | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Morten Slemdal
Re: Best video format on a compact camera
on Mar 1, 2015 at 8:52:29 pm

This is from a forum thread:
we're looking for the best possible video out of the RX100, we should use 50i 24M for 25fps video and 50p 28M for 50fps video.

In theory, shooting 50i 24M gives us the best bitrate per frame in this camera, almost twice as much as shooting 50p 28M.

Shooting 50fps however would have neighboring frames changing less than when shooting 25fps, helping the encoder do a better job, but still the per frame bitrate is lower, and here's a comparison that shows is. If you look at the darker areas in the back where the window is, you'll see that the 50i version is slightly cleaner.


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Bill Davis
Re: Best video format on a compact camera
on Mar 1, 2015 at 8:52:39 pm

Be careful here.

In any shooting situation, you're balancing raster resolution against temporal resolution.

The 50p mode "seems" like it would be the best for pure image resolution, but if you're using that to capture fast moving objects, the time it takes the camera to collect all the lines and write them to the buffer - compared to an interlaced approach that gets to pass along two fields, each with half the data, but twice the temporal pass through rate - might result in poorer picture accuracy in progressive than interlace. At least if smooth motion is a more critical objective than raster density.

If there was "one right answer" that's what every camera would use.

There isn't.

Hope that helps.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Bret Williams
Re: Best video format on a compact camera
on Mar 1, 2015 at 9:02:06 pm

Since supoosedly its 25psf and not reAlly 50i, the temporal would be better in the 50p, but at half the data rate per frame. Sounds suspicious. Or a horrible trade off. And then there's the question of what to do with 50p. If you're editing 25p, you have to throw away half those frames and the increased shutter rate without the extra temporal info is likely not the look one would be going for. Especially on pans or fast subjects.


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Morten Slemdal
Re: Best video format on a compact camera
on Mar 1, 2015 at 9:51:09 pm

Seems like people are happy with the video part of this camera as well. And this is what one recomend:

" I think it's safe to say that the 50i 24M mode, which is in fact 25p @ 24Mbps, will give you best video quality out of this camera."


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Noah Kadner
Re: Best video format on a compact camera
on Mar 1, 2015 at 8:55:39 pm

Yep based on the specs and the age I would suggest getting a different camera for a new project. A 3 year old camera design is a bit of an eternity in terms of how quickly these things improve. A Sony A7s, GoPro Hero 4 Black, Panasonic GH4, etc. A lot of better options for HD and up while still maintaining a reasonably small form factor.

I'd think the stills you'll get out of the RX100 will be a lot better than the video. Heck even a new iPhone 6 Plus, iPad (or the Android equilvalent if you're not an fan) would likely shoot better video than the Sony. More on that option here:

http://www.fcpworks.com/10-must-have-iphone-6-tips/

and

http://www.philiphodgetts.com/2014/12/a-new-production-haiku/

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
Call Box Training


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