View Full Version : Camcorder zoom question


CHamburger
08-02-2011, 08:40 AM
Hey guys, just a quick question. I took a test video of the camera I have. Nothing special just something to mess around with for now. It all looks okay in solid light like when the sun shines through the window and lights up the room. As soon as its slightly dark, the footage is grainy(Not really sure what that means but I assume its where the footage appears more pixelized almost as if static is trying to break through the images). I assume by setting up a couple lights to capture footage in darker areas is the remedy, correct?

My question is how can I capture darker footage while not getting that grainy effect?

The topic question about zoom is probably pretty simple but I just wanted to know, how can I make the zoom smoother? I press it over to zoom all the way in and it jumps in one measure then shoots in smooth. How can I get rid of that initial jump? Same thing when I zoom out... do other, better, cameras have a smoother zoom?

And just a quick thing about light. I was on someone(camera not me physically) that was sitting in front of the window where the light that made everything appear fine was coming in. When I was looking back at the footage he appears to be glowing white. Is this a white balance issue? Too much sunlight directly hitting the lens?

And last but not least, the audio... I can hear myself or who ever is holding the camera fine but as far as a couple feet in front of the camera, the voices are inaudible. Would setting up a mic or audio recording fix that? Are there any cameras that have great stock audio capture?

I know its long but I appreciate any responses. Thanks.

gpforet
08-02-2011, 08:52 AM
What camera?

CHamburger
08-02-2011, 09:20 AM
Thats the thing, I don't know. Its a generic HD camcorder. My dad got me off ebay to mess around with. It doesn't even have a brand on it. But like I said its captures fine video in sufficient light, shitty with lots of noise in low light, you have to be on top the camera for audio pickup, a few feet and the voices are lost. If too much light is let in then the subject becomes a glowing religious icon.

Basically do any of the issues I listed in my first post occur with other brand name cameras? What did yoo to fix those issues? So I can try on this camera...Thanks.

Cracker Funk
08-02-2011, 09:21 AM
Sounds like you've got your camera set to auto-exposure. Graininess happens when your camera turns up the gain on the image. Yeah, you need more light. You also need to control your exposure manually. If your camera doesn't have this option, you should find one that does.

As for zooming, in-shot, unless you're making an homage to 1960's B-movies, I'd stay away from zoom, completely. It looks cheesy and amateur, and just reminds the audience that they're watching a movie. Some directors, lately, are making use of an ultra-fast whip zoom, but that's kind of a different thing. Otherwise, zooming is something that is probably best to stay away from.

As for your friend who glows in the sunlight - my first guess is that he is a vampire.

CHamburger
08-02-2011, 09:36 AM
It does let me do manual exposure. I'll mess with that now. But how can I shoot in low light and get good looking footage? Is there ways around the "noise" or "grain" issue? Or just need a better camera? Is there anyway to shoot the same footage I shot in the same light without getting the noise? Basically how do you add light to get rid of the noise and grain but still keep it a dark shot?

I didn't really plan on using zoom, I just was curious as to why it jumps at first then shoots in smooth.

Thanks.

Cracker Funk
08-02-2011, 04:56 PM
There aren't that many cameras that can effectively shoot in low light, and it doesn't sound like you've got one. There are plenty of ways to get enough light on your subject, while keeping a dark feel. Sounds to me like you should work on your lighting techniques, learn and practice the basics. Off the top of my head, it sounds to me like what you want is low-key lighting. I'm not a cinematographer, so I'm afraid I'm not the guy to help you learn how to do that, but I'm pretty sure that's what you want to learn how to do.

escher
08-02-2011, 08:30 PM
One of the big reasons I'm going with a DSLR for my feature attempt (and all the pain that entails) is that the camera does very, very well in low light.

Also, unless you have really high-powered lights you're going to get some grain no matter what. I've been using NeatVideo (http://www.neatvideo.com/) to help minimize the impact of grain, and in a lot of cases it's able to remove the grain entirely -- I shot some test footage lit only by candles and had the camera set to its most light-sensitive mode (meaning lots of grain) and I was able to get some decently smooth video thanks to that filter plug-in.

(NeatVideo (http://www.neatvideo.com/) works with FCP, AE, and Premier, and a few other programs.)

CHamburger
08-03-2011, 08:38 AM
Thanks for the advice. Cracker,. I am learning about lighting, I figured that generally the picture on the camera always appears darker than what the eye sees so in order to get any kind of effect my eye will see I'll need to light any scene unless I shoot in sunlight. The camera honestly isn't grade A but its what I got for now and its what I'm gonna learn with. I googled a couple cameras that have test images and footages with lowlight settings, so I have an idea of what to get in the future. I just wanted a fix for teh camera that I have. I'll look into low key lighting. Thanks.

Escher I'm gonna check that out..thanks. Is it and any program its compatible with free? Thanks.

rayw
08-03-2011, 09:17 AM
The grain is caused the computer inside trying to "improve" the overall lightness.

Test 1 - What does a recorded image look like with the lens cap on?

Test 2 - Then try it (lens cap off) from inside a closet or any room without windows, overhead lights turned off, door closed and outside-of-room light peeking under the door.
How does the door look? Zoomed in? Zoomed out? Still pretty grainy?

Test 3 - Crack the door open a little, let a little light illuminate something in the room, and record the dark + low light (as opposed to test 2's high contrast) image. Grain city?

You may have to accept the camera just can't handle it. (You gotta say that like Scotty from Star Trek, BTW) and plan accordingly.

You may have to tinker with your darks via brightness and contrast in post.

The zoom is controlled by a motor controlled by a computer, which controls the electricity sent to the motor, which is sent a signal from the physical/mechanical toggle switch of your camera's manufacturer's design.
The toggle may be "less than elegant".
The computer may be... doing the best it was designed to do.

Again, gotta learn the limitations of your equipment and plan accordingly.

As CF stated in post #4 you pretty much won't ever need to zoom while recording, it looks like monkey sh!t. But if you're trying to get something framed right then... d@mn. Just keep messing with it.


The light and glowing subject thing may be either white balance thing, an aperture thing, a shutter speed thing, and is definitely a high contrast thing.

If it's super bright outside then you're going to have to pour on the light inside on your subject to bring CMOS grade parity between the two.
The human eye is phenomenal.
Electronic sensors in many consumer camcorders is not much better than what a horseshoe crab is working with.

Audio - That's what camcorders come with. Three feet out and it's a sharp capability drop off.
Has almost nothing to do with your make and model.
Most all of them are like that.

To keep the bubble vision down on your two-shot images you really gotta back out and zoom in - this places you well outside the quality audio range of the camera's onboard mic.

External mic on a cord jacked into your camera (if you're so lucky) goes a long way.
Word around the water hole is that the mini jacks are notorious for creating pops and sparks on the audio, which just means more clean up in audio post.

XLR jacks (the three pin thingie dingies) are best, but that's a whole class ahead of me.
http://www.dv247.com/assets/products/25438_p.jpg


I'm honestly a guy with a barely decent camcorder with some adjustable features.
I have little equipment and a whole lot of creativity.
You gotta go to war with the tools you have, not the tools you might want or wish to have at a later time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jPgljRvzQw



GL.

CHamburger
08-03-2011, 10:16 AM
The grain is caused the computer inside trying to "improve" the overall lightness.

Test 1 - What does a recorded image look like with the lens cap on?

Test 2 - Then try it (lens cap off) from inside a closet or any room without windows, overhead lights turned off, door closed and outside-of-room light peeking under the door.
How does the door look? Zoomed in? Zoomed out? Still pretty grainy?

Test 3 - Crack the door open a little, let a little light illuminate something in the room, and record the dark + low light (as opposed to test 2's high contrast) image. Grain city?

You may have to accept the camera just can't handle it. (You gotta say that like Scotty from Star Trek, BTW) and plan accordingly.

You may have to tinker with your darks via brightness and contrast in post.

The zoom is controlled by a motor controlled by a computer, which controls the electricity sent to the motor, which is sent a signal from the physical/mechanical toggle switch of your camera's manufacturer's design.
The toggle may be "less than elegant".
The computer may be... doing the best it was designed to do.

Again, gotta learn the limitations of your equipment and plan accordingly.

As CF stated in post #4 you pretty much won't ever need to zoom while recording, it looks like monkey sh!t. But if you're trying to get something framed right then... d@mn. Just keep messing with it.


The light and glowing subject thing may be either white balance thing, an aperture thing, a shutter speed thing, and is definitely a high contrast thing.

If it's super bright outside then you're going to have to pour on the light inside on your subject to bring CMOS grade parity between the two.
The human eye is phenomenal.
Electronic sensors in many consumer camcorders is not much better than what a horseshoe crab is working with.

Audio - That's what camcorders come with. Three feet out and it's a sharp capability drop off.
Has almost nothing to do with your make and model.
Most all of them are like that.

To keep the bubble vision down on your two-shot images you really gotta back out and zoom in - this places you well outside the quality audio range of the camera's onboard mic.

External mic on a cord jacked into your camera (if you're so lucky) goes a long way.
Word around the water hole is that the mini jacks are notorious for creating pops and sparks on the audio, which just means more clean up in audio post.

XLR jacks (the three pin thingie dingies) are best, but that's a whole class ahead of me.
http://www.dv247.com/assets/products/25438_p.jpg


I'm honestly a guy with a barely decent camcorder with some adjustable features.
I have little equipment and a whole lot of creativity.
You gotta go to war with the tools you have, not the tools you might want or wish to have at a later time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jPgljRvzQw



GL.

Thanks Ray. I'm not planning to use zoom in shot, its just something I noticed and bothered me. I don't have any mic jacks on the cam but I am looking to get that rodemic with the recorder to capture audio while separately capturing video. i figure I can just splice the two as best as possible on a later program. If I capture audio while I'm capturing video it shouldn't be that hard to line up the two tracks.


What's bubble vision though? What do you mean by step out and zoom in? I would assume that by zooming in I'd be degrading the image quality and it won't look as crisp as if I were to just pan in. Did you suggest that so I DIDN'T capture the audio on the camcorder mic?

I am also going to check out starter lighting kits on ebay, saw a couple last week for 10 bucks. Not sure how good they are but the investment isn't that risky considering the price. Besides I feel like everything has a use.

rayw
08-03-2011, 11:27 AM
Bubble vision is the distortion created by being zoomed all the way out to 1X telephoto and physically close enough to place two people in a normal conversation (a two-shot).

Composes a shot of that and record a few moments.

Now, step back twelve feet (outside for all this is gonna be best), zoom in for THE EXACT SAME composition.
Ah!!! Looks a little different, don't it?!
A lot of the distortion should be gone.
Record a few moments.


Step back to twenty feet out or max telephoto (10X is most common) and compose the exact same shot.
Now, a whole new set of distortions come into play.
Record a few moments.


Go back to your 'puter, edit these three together (good practice) and watch it a few times.
Let the principles you observe really bake into your noggin'.

Up close, within effective mic range = bubble vision.
Looks like dookey.
But you don't have to record audio with separate gear, so...


Yeah, good lookin' video is going to be out of effective on board microphone range, indoor or out.
External mic is the only way to go.

CHamburger
08-03-2011, 11:33 AM
Haha thanks, Will try get to work on my homework