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December 15, 2009 at 7:10 AM #45805
Im a fairly experienced shooter; however I dont do video work as a profession per se. I am an inventor/product designer/developer and often produce my own DVDs which accompany my products.
I have a PD-150 which I havent used in over a year and with which I plan to shoot an exercise video for a new fitness product I developed. My project partner is to be our demonstration model for the video. Tonight we shot our beta video for case study hand-outs and for several physicians to receive with the product for testimonials. As this was only a beta video, I didnt bother with the arduous task of lighting the room with 4-5 K watts worth of softlights; I merely used the ample available lighting within the room to shoot. As most of you know, the Pd-150 is known for decent low light video acquisition; hence I didnt go to extremes lighting the set.
I also own an almost virgin Canon XL-2, but I chose to use the PD-150 as I am partitioning the DVD 16:9 full screen into windows which will contain info as well as graphics and video simultaneously. Although the XL-2 will shoot 4:3, it looses some resolution; I figured the PD-150 would give me the best 4:3 image of the two for this particular project.
After uploading tonights beta footage to my PC via Firewire, I noticed the footage appears crummy in the timeline and after rendering to MPEG-2 grainy, dark and not fluid looking. I NEVER shoot on auto; for this beta video I set the shutter speed to 1/125 as the motion of the exercise begs for a slightly higher speed. My iris was 1.6 with zero gain. I did a clean manual white balance as well. My exposure was respectable; I verified with my zebra stripes on hot spots with which I am familiar.
Im trying to figure out what the heck could be the problem with this. Could a head cleaning be the problem? Could it be a tape issue? A Firewire issue? Im completely stumped and I need to figure this out before the actual production shoot. The PD-150 should give a very clean image; I bought this baby new in 2002, the operation times are as follows: Operation 64X10H, Drum Run 19X10, Tape Run 12X10, Threading 43X10.
Do the hours indicated beg for a head cleaning or service? Are there any tests I can perform to ascertain where the problem lies?
Id greatly appreciate any insight!!!
Thanks in advance!!
December 15, 2009 at 5:19 PM #189688XTR-91Participant
Have you tried playing back the footage through a variety of places and methods? Do streaming Firewire, displaying on TV via S-Video, composite, or even component output create the same artifacts? This is most likely a playback problem do to worn heads, or a capturing/recording problem with your computer. Does the on-screen camcorder playback pose the same problems?
If the problem occured after rendering to MPEG-2, then there may be a problem with your editing software’s capture system. There’s a good change it’s more like a software problem that might require repair/re-installation.
December 15, 2009 at 6:05 PM #189689composite1Member
Have you checked your video on a monitor? You want to verify if your tape was recorded clean in the first place. I remember instances shooting with BetaCam in nat light situations with good zebras and it look good through the viewfinder but like crap on a monitor. I don’t see why you thought the XL2 ‘would lose resolution’. It’s an excellent rig with great glass. Really, it sounds more like you got bit in the backside because you passed on lighting your set beyond available light.
December 15, 2009 at 11:18 PM #189690
Thanks for the quick replies guys.
I unfortunately have my video-out cables packed in cases which are locked up in a fiberglass roof carrier atop my SUV. I live on top of a mountain in PA and I’m iced up to where I cant get my key in the lock of the carrier. Otherwise I would surely have tried your suggestions of viewing on external monitors. As I await a quick thaw, Im using the on camera LCD. My PD-150 monitor shows footage that looks a hell of a lot better than what Im seeing on the PC. The odd thing about the MPEG-2 renders as well as high quality .wmv is that my 16:9 overlay looks pretty clean, but the video footage looks just ghastly. Perhaps Ill post a link to a brief segment for your examination.
As far as the XL2 goes, Ive found it to be excellent for interviews and shots where you can fix and maintain your focus. The auto focus on that baby from my experience is not nearly as good as that of the 150 for action shots and when zooming. The exercise video will contain a lot of hand-held dynamic shots where Ill be physically moving in, out and around the moving subject. Nothing looks worse than a video with focus issues.
AS well, though not considered a design flaw, the XL2 cannot auto focus while simultaneously zooming. IMHO not the best choice for an exercise video. As well, the 4:3 footage that I need is lower res than the 16:9 on the camera. I am not sure how it will compare to the PD150 at 4:3.
I have only shot a brief beta video for the product thus far. I am worried however that this problem may persist on the actual production shoot. Im really scared!!!! 😉
December 16, 2009 at 2:14 AM #189691arbyParticipant
Ok, We know the camera, and we know the lack of light conditions. What editing program(s) are you using. Have you thought of going back and taking the time to light the set properly. Its better to be sure in practice than to worry about how to fix it after the fact.
December 17, 2009 at 12:02 AM #189692
Using Vegas 5. I’ve done some pretty good work with this NLE and never had any real issues before. Sony (formerly Sonic Foundry) doesn’t support V% anymore and I really don’t need to spend the ca$h for V9 at this point. Besides, the support Sony/SF offered in the past was at best level 1.
Thing is with lighting the set: the set for the beta is my bedroom – we’re going to rent a high end resort suite for the shoot. not the same by any means!!
The 150 is/was a decent camera for low light conditions; the available light in the room was not low enough in my opinion to account for the unacceptably poor image. I was able to get decent zebras at a shutter speed of 125…how bad could it havve been?
I’m going to set up another older PC and try capture on it as well as play video out to a monitor.
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