July 26, 2016 at 2:45PM, Edited July 26, 3:07PM

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Improving Video Quality

Hello everyone!

First post here at NoFilmSchool.

I've been shooting on a Canon 70D I picked up about eight months ago, and lately I've noticed more "noise" in my footage even in optimal lighting conditions.

Here is a link to a test I did recently: https://vimeo.com/163509328
(I feel like this shot is just a touch underexposed)

I'm shooting on:
- Canon 70D with a Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 lens
- Technicolor Cinestyle Profile

After the shoot is over, I'll plug my SD card into my Macbook Pro, and open up the files straight into Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

On one hand, I feel as though this might be the best quality I can get out of this camera. On the other hand I lack experience.

It was recommended to me by a filmmaking friend to upgrade my glass, and start with a better lens.

Ofcourse the story is the most important part of the film! I feel as though the noise I'm experiencing takes away from the story(My friends have even commented about this).

What do you guys think? Am I being too picky?

Settings:
24fps at ALL-I
ISO: 100
Aperture: F/1.8
Shutterspeed: 50
Time of Day: Sunset

Thanks for reading!

19 Comments

Looks like compression noise.
It is hard to give you details since you uploaded the video in 720p.

July 26, 2016 at 3:10PM, Edited July 26, 3:10PM

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Cary Knoop
Member
2213

Thank you for the reply Cary!

I didn't realize I exported that in 720p

I'm going to re-upload in 1080p this evening.

July 26, 2016 at 3:22PM, Edited July 26, 3:23PM

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Use a bitrate of at least 20-25Mb/s.

July 26, 2016 at 4:17PM

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Cary Knoop
Member
2213

Definitely underexposed. If you really care about the craft of filmmaking, you need some basic tools, such as a waveform monitor and/or a false-color exposure LUT. You mention that you have Adobe Premiere Pro, which does have a built-in waveform monitor. Using that monitor you can see what you did wrong after the fact. Production monitors (such as SmallHD, Atomos, TVLogic, etc) are available that have waveform monitors you can use while you are shooting, which means you avoid errors before its too late.

There are many, many tutorials on the web regarding how to use a waveform monitor to set exposure correctly. There are also many, many resources about what exposure levels should map to what IRE levels, using false-color exposure LUTs as a guide.

The most important thing to remember about using any exposure tools: you cannot meter you way out of an impossible lighting situation. If your contrast range is too large for your image sensor / bit depth / whatever, you need to add or remove lights until the highlights and shadows are within a reasonable range for your system. But without proper exposure tools, you can never know where the real problem lies, and therefore you cannot really address it correctly in the first place. Use the tools to identify the problems. Using camera settings, lighting, and creative composition to fix them.

July 27, 2016 at 8:55AM

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The Canon 70D actually has a waveform monitor built in. I'll check on some tutorials for setting exposure with a waveform monitor.

I'll try this today, and see how it goes.

Thank you for taking the time to help me out, Michael!

July 27, 2016 at 2:24PM, Edited July 27, 2:24PM

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Hi Jonathan, I think you mean that it has an exposure "histogram" on the LCD display, as I am pretty much 100 percent certain it does not have a built-in waveform display. ( as far as I know only pro level ENG or cine video cameras have a built-in waveform display )

July 28, 2016 at 7:17PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32291

That's correct Guy! I didn't see this until now, but I figured it out after taking a second look. :) I'm sorry for the misinformation guys.

July 30, 2016 at 12:30AM, Edited July 30, 12:44AM

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Solid advice from Micheal Tieman!

Some further, very easy tips that might help you for quick shooting:

1080p and IPB:
Record at 1920x1080 24fps. If available (not sure on the 70D) use IPB (which is High comp) instead of ALL-I (which is Low comp), which gives it a slightly better quality overall.

ISO:
Use ISO 160 instead of ISO 100. ISO 160 actually has LESS noise than ISO 100 on many Canon DSLR's (including the 5DMII for example).

HIGHLIGHT TONE PRIORITY:
Disable it, as it will give you more noise when enabled.

PICTURE STYLE:
Try using the following settings, to insure the highest dynamic range possible. Your image will look flat and unsharp, but this will give you more room in grading your shots in post-production.
To acquire this ‘flat’ look, first set your Picture Style to ‘Neutral’ (you can create a User def. if you want, something I personally recommend).
Next, set your Neutral Picture Style as follows:
Sharpness = 0
Contrast = -4
Saturation = -2
Color tone = 0 (on occasion you could try it on 1. You could create a User Def. number 2 for this one)
You can use these same settings for the Technicolor CineStyle Profile.

And obviously shoot in Manual mode (M) and at 50fps :)

Hope this helps!

July 27, 2016 at 1:21PM, Edited July 27, 1:26PM

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Jaap Ruurd Feitsma
Director • Cinematographer • Photographer • VR creative
179

Hello Jaap!

On the 70D, I do have the option to use 1920x1080 at 24fps.
I'm using a SanDisk 64GB Extreme Pro so I can afford to go with ALL-I.

I thought that ALL-I provides a higher quality picture than IPB?

Canon on compression options:

"However, if you are in need of the highest quality video and file size is not an issue, use ALL-I compression. The main benefits to ALL-I include less computer processing power which results in smoother playback and easier, faster editing."

https://learn.usa.canon.com/resources/articles/2012/ipp_ipb_all_i_compar...

I wasn't aware that 160 was better than 100.

It turns out the Technicolor Cinestyle profile documentation instructs users to set the ISO in increments of 160 for the best results. I think this solves the issue I originally posted about. I'll test tonight and post my results!

I found a video demonstrating the difference in ISO settings, and WOW what a difference:

https://vimeo.com/23082874

Thank you for taking a moment to help me!

July 27, 2016 at 3:41PM, Edited July 27, 3:47PM

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Just checked it and you're right on the IPB vs ALL-I :) Must have switched them for some reason! I own a 5DMIII myself, but haven't used it to shoot any video with for three years or so, just photography. I've been shooting with the GH4 for low-budget stuff and various RED camera's for the bigger budget projects.

Looking forward to seeing your next test results! :) Good luck and have fun!

July 27, 2016 at 5:15PM, Edited July 27, 5:22PM

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Jaap Ruurd Feitsma
Director • Cinematographer • Photographer • VR creative
179

Found an old NFS article mentioning increments of 160 you can check out.

http://nofilmschool.com/2011/05/lets-settle-this-shoot-isos-multiples

July 28, 2016 at 5:40PM

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Here is a test video I shot today.

https://vimeo.com/176699943

It turns out, I don't have a waveform monitor on the Canon 70D, but I tried to use the Brightness Histogram for better results with exposure. I definitely need to look for a production monitor like Michael mentioned earlier for consistency.

I shot this close to sundown with a diffuser.
ISO was set to 160.
I did a quick grade in Premiere pro, and this time I exported the file correctly.

Overall a much better picture, but I've got some more practice to do.
I am so pleased to be making progress like this in such a short time.

I can't thank you all enough.

What do you guys think?

July 29, 2016 at 12:40AM, Edited July 29, 12:47AM

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Was interesting to watch, and I replayed a few times.

Couple suggestions:
-Might be just a tad too much post sharpening
-Highlights are crushed, in that there is no pure white in the frame; maximize your waveform to have tonal contrast in the frame, unless you are going for a flat look.
-One thing that I see many people do, and I myself am still working to get past, is that just because you can stop open to a f/1.8, doesn't mean having that shallow depth of field is adding to your image. The closeup worked better for me, but I found that the shallow DOF in the medium shot had me distracted and paying attention to the out of focus background more than the insect.

-For color, I don't know what monitor you are using, but having a color calibration tool that measures, and creates a baseline color profile for your screen is immensely helpful for making sure you get a fairly consistent look when others view it on their screens. I personally use a Colormunki Display.

Hope that helps.

-Dan

July 29, 2016 at 3:24PM

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Dan Hoene
204

Just to clear up some confusion: if you have a slow computer: use All-I no matter what (unless you want to transcode to ProRes before you start editing). If you've got a fast computer:
a) Use all-i for fast-moving scenes, or really anything not locked down on a tripod.
b) If the scene is static, like the cicada, you can actually get better results from IPB, and of course save some storage space.
Another thing: I personally love the colors from cinestyle, but the codec(s) in canon dslrs really aren't meant to be used with a profile that flat, so if a super clean image is all you're after, try using the "prolost flat" settings that Jaap mentioned instead. I think you'll be surprised how much cleaner it is. The trade-off is of course a little less dynamic range and what I consider slightly less pleasing colors.

July 29, 2016 at 9:08PM, Edited July 29, 9:47PM

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I appreciate the feedback Dan!

I agree with you on the sharpening, and dropped it down just a bit.
I bumped up the contrast level just a bit.

I'm working on a 2015 Macbook Pro Retina Display.
I haven't even considered color calibration.

Does this one look any better? https://vimeo.com/176818368

July 29, 2016 at 9:42PM

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That shot is really not very useful to gauge the video quality.

July 30, 2016 at 9:24PM

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Cary Knoop
Member
2213

Don't use technicolor cinestyle, it's what makes your footage noisy. Use vision color, it's the best I know and it's advice by the magic lantern comunity : http://www.vision-color.com/visioncolor-for-canon-eos/ if you want to go whithout spending money prolost flat is fine http://prolost.com/blog/2012/4/10/prolost-flat.html

July 31, 2016 at 6:38AM

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AvdS
1148

Thank you for the advice AvdS!

I'm going to experiment a bit with the Canon profiles, and I might go ahead and try out Vision-Color. $9 is not a bad price point at all! Especially if it's better than Technicolor's Cinestyle profile. :)

August 1, 2016 at 2:25PM

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Film convert is awesome, and will help the look of your film

August 2, 2016 at 7:35PM

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