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Canon XH A1 - Grainy footage with good light

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Ian Lautsch
Canon XH A1 - Grainy footage with good light
on Feb 6, 2009 at 11:08:02 pm

I have a canon xh a1 and I have owned it for a while and never had a problem with grain except on night shoots. Last night I shot some comercial spots. Basically I had talent speaking to camera in front of a white back drop. I was lighting the back drop with two Arri 650s and lighting the talent with two 1000 watt starlights with soft boxes. The set looked phenominal and on cam it looked good, and light was even. I was running a 22" HD monitor to look at the footage when shooting.

So it looked a little grainy in the monitor when shooting and thought when I imported it may look better, but it didn't, it looked worse. And as it turns out, the encoded footage (FCS 2, PRO RES HQ) is still pretty grainy and the white is not as bright as it was on the monitor or camera lcd.

I was shooting in 30F HDV, with a manual white balance, AGC off and set to -3db, auto exposure off (I normally let it set in auto then turn it to manual to fine tune), everything was in focus but it still looked grainy. It's still usable but just not what I wanted, or expected for this type of set up. I have done this before with a panisonic SDX 900 in SD and it looked awesome.

Could it maybe be the sharpness setting needs to be turned down? Is there a "grain setting" on the cam that I am missing? I am also using a preset I got off DV user forums, one of the standard ones. I don't think that is it though.

Any thoughts on how to avoid this in the future, or get better results?

Ian Lautsch

Multimedia Specialist

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Neil Weaver
Re: Canon XH A1 - Grainy footage with good light
on Apr 7, 2009 at 2:51:40 pm

Hi ian,
Can't help with any solutions I'm afraid but I was wondering if you'd found anything yourself since posting? I've run into a similar problem with my A1 showing a bit of grain under certain conditions. Tis a pain to be sure...

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Derek Rae
Re: Canon XH A1 - Grainy footage with good light
on May 11, 2009 at 1:08:20 pm

Hi Guys,

Was checking this post for some solutions too... Using an XH-G1, No difference rather than SDI...

I'm only shooting weddings and a few corporate jobs here and there on an amateur level, but this has just happened to me at the weekend there,.... spoke to a professional photographer friend who suggested two things to me...

Do you have the camera set on a 'super-fine' sharpness setting? (I do actually) He explained that when shooting with one of his camera's on Super fine, he was getting this overload of grain throughout the photos. His solution was to change to the 'fine' setting and hey presto, perfect! The sharpness was over-compensating

The other thing he mentioned, was using different brands of tapes, or tapes that have been previously used before.

The contamination of lubricants from different tapes can seriously interfere with the playheads causing drop-outs, and underlying footage on a tape you are re-using in the camera can cause grain and colour distortion...

I've only used a different brand of tape through suggestion (and yep, got the drop-outs, during the vows of all things, very angry at that!)

I'm going to try a few tests (once I clean the tape heads and get the best suggested brand of tape for the xh-g1 ??) to see if I can sort this mess out.

Also, the thing that really got me was...
In good light, filming in superfine we have the guys in kilts with the black prince charlie jackets - camera didn't like it... everything else looks fine, but when I get these guys in shot, the grain goes mental on the black jackets!

It's a great camera otherwise, but I'd love to be able to get rid of this grain problem!

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