Video Comparison: The Panasonic TM900 and LX7 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 53 Old 01-20-2013, 05:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Almost exactly one year ago I shot a video at the Union Square Market in NYC using the TM900. It demonstrated the low-light and good-light abiltities of the camcorder, and has as of today over 6,300 plays on Vimeo.

Yesterday, I shot a video at the same place, under the same very bright (but more windy) conditions.

It is interesting to compare the two videos to see how they differ and what they tell us about the two cameras (same time of day, year, place, sunlight, photographer, use of ND filter (internal on the LX7)):

The TM900 video:


https://vimeo.com/21552224

(outdoors shots begin about 1/4 of the way from the start)


The LX7 video:


https://vimeo.com/57774112



Both were edited without conversion (only the title part and the two audio fades in the LX7 video required rendering besides the merges), and the originals can be downloaded.

Here is what I see:

1. The sharpness of the TM900 is really impressive, and outdoors the colors pop. There are no hotspots (because that is the way it was shot). However, you can see the limited dynamic range so that blacks are crushed and some colors (red/orange) are bit much.

2. The LX7 video also has color pop and no hotspots but more shadow detail; it appears to have superior dynamic range under the same harsh sunlight, somewhat better color accuracy, and is less sharp. The shallower dof in some shots also helps give it a more pleasing look.

With the LX7 I could have used 'natural' film mode to get even better dynamic range, but at the expense somwhat of color pop - and fruit, flower and vegetable markets are all about color.
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post #2 of 53 Old 01-21-2013, 06:35 AM
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I feel bad for the LX7 next tho the panny lol
Not even the DOF could make it look half as good. I have more pleasure watching the footage from the TM900 no doubt.

How do you compare the LX7 to the RX100 and specially to the GW77?
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post #3 of 53 Old 01-21-2013, 08:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedest View Post

How do you compare the LX7 to the RX100 ....
@Mark: I'm looking forward to this! When I tried to start a RX100 thread, it died quickly. Since my wife now owns a LX7, it will be fun to learn differences. She says its for still only.

@thedest: You should know that a German organization called slashcam says the RX100 is crappy for video: http://www.slashcam.de/artikel/Test/Kompakte-und-guenstige-Super-16-Digitalkamera--Sony-DSC-RX100--alles-.html. Google Chrome will translate the German to English.

My results, and other reviews, suggest it might not be that bad. The RX100 has been out long enough that there are more than enough YouTubes and Vimeos that make it appear to be useful at shooting video. But, I suspect that under specific settings and conditions, the RX100 video can be ripped apart. The strength of the RX100 is that it is a pocketable camera with a relatively large sensor that can shoot RAW photos. The sensor on the LX7 is not as large, I think the LX7 zoom is greater and it will shoot RAW too.

My hunch is that, for video, a more interesting comparison would be the Sony HX20V or HX30V to the Panasonic LX7. Those two nearly identical Sonys have a strong reputation for video.

I suppose I could bolt my RX100 and my wife's LX7 on the same tripod and try to identify differences. But, she doesn't let me near her cameras, it would be a lot of work and I would get frustrated.

If you have any RX100 questions, I may be able to answer them.

Bill
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post #4 of 53 Old 01-21-2013, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
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The RX100 and the LX7 have much better dynamic range than the good camcorders. This is a major advantage for the look of the video, apart from shallow dof possibilities and low-light performance.

One can also change the video look by choosing among film types, by changing contrast, saturaion, sharpness settings etc. In short, much more creative control than on any consumer camcorder apart from manual control of shutter and aperture and iso.

I would bet the Hx20v has somewhat higher resolution than the RX100 and LX7, but there is no manual control of video and low-light performance really degrades (resolution, dynamic range and color) given the slow lens and high pixel count on a small sensor. It would not have the dynamic range even in good light.

Those slashcam.de charts are disheartening, but remember that the DSLRs (Canon in particular) used by pros for video look just as bad if not worse on those same test charts - resolution is not everything, evidently.

I would really like to see some RX100 video too, not of test charts or pets sleeping on sofas, but real videos of places and people.
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post #5 of 53 Old 01-21-2013, 08:42 AM
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With 8 bits you cannot have more than 8 stops (give or take, I don't remember how it is calculated) of latitude. All that "I see more near blacks" voo-doo comes from gamma correction, but you still have only 8 bits, so if you get more near-blacks and near-whites then your midtones suffer. Until we will be getting 10-bit or 1-bit recording formats, all this "dynamic range" difference will be a mere result of gamma correction setup.
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post #6 of 53 Old 01-21-2013, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
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I do not understand what you are saying. There are tests of dynamic range that I have seen (I am not speculating). For example, the Sony NEX is supposed to have 12-13 stops of dynamic range.

Here are examples of dynamic range tests:

http://www.techradar.com/us/reviews/cameras-and-camcorders/cameras/compact-cameras/sony-rx100-1083683/review/5
http://www.techradar.com/us/reviews/cameras-and-camcorders/cameras/compact-cameras/panasonic-lx7-1089288/review/5#articleContent

So, what is going on? Could you explain this.

Whatever the theoretical maximum, different cameras are going to have worse or better achievements of dynamic range (below that maximum), as seen in the charts linked above, and dynamic range also depends on the amount of light, with dynamic range falling as ISO increases (thus another reason for keeping iso low with a fast lens).
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post #7 of 53 Old 01-21-2013, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markr041 View Post

......I would really like to see some RX100 video too, not of test charts or pets sleeping on sofas, but real videos of places and people.

I'll start a thread here: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1453377/rx100-real-video-of-people-and-places

Bill
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post #8 of 53 Old 01-21-2013, 10:37 AM - Thread Starter
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I'll start a thread.

Bill

Great. Thanks.
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post #9 of 53 Old 01-21-2013, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsprague View Post

@thedest: You should know that a German organization called slashcam says the RX100 is crappy for video: http://www.slashcam.de/artikel/Test/Kompakte-und-guenstige-Super-16-Digitalkamera--Sony-DSC-RX100--alles-.html. Google Chrome will translate the German to English.
Bill

I know them, and I've already seen most charts from camcorders, dslr`s and compacts. And I asked that because I know that in the past mark has said that the RX100 is not a good camera for video. I agree with him, but I dont understand why he is so excited about the LX7, because I dont think it can be that much better than an RX100.

Just check out the video of the TM900 and the one from the LX7. The TM900 just blows up the LX7. Not even some DOF could hide how worse it looks. If you do a simple color adjust in the TM900 video you can make a blockbuster with it.
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I suppose I could bolt my RX100 and my wife's LX7 on the same tripod and try to identify differences. But, she doesn't let me near her cameras, it would be a lot of work and I would get frustrated.
Bill

I would love to see that, mate! Please do that, if possible!
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Originally Posted by markr041 View Post

The RX100 and the LX7 have much better dynamic range than the good camcorders. This is a major advantage for the look of the video, apart from shallow dof possibilities and low-light performance.

Yes, in theory. In the videos I cant see that, specially because you are talking about cheap compact cameras. If you are shooting in 12-bit RAW in a BlackMagic, THEN you have a dynamic range that can make a difference. In the case of the LX7, at least in the samples (and I believe that It'll always be like that), I cant see great advantages.

In the videos I cant see a great advantage in dynamic range in the LX7 compared to the TM900, and I dont think that its low light performance is better enough to make miracles. DOF is nice for artistic videos, but its not something to discuss, since it has its specific applications.
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One can also change the video look by choosing among film types, by changing contrast, saturaion, sharpness settings etc. In short, much more creative control than on any consumer camcorder

Thats only useful for some people. I like do edit my movies. I can do that in a software, I dont need it in the camera.
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manual control of shutter and aperture and iso.

Thats nice.

@markr041: Can you please tell whats your opinion about the LX7 against the GW77? I really like what you say about cameras, and considering you have both, It`ll be even better.

Consider that im a person who knows how to edit videos. For a person who do that, is the GW77 a better camera?

And about the dynamic range, you guys can not confuse AVAILABLE dynamic range with APPARENT dynamic range. I guarantee that I can make the TM900 video look better with a few editing clicks in the "dynamic range"department
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post #10 of 53 Old 01-21-2013, 11:17 AM
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post #11 of 53 Old 01-21-2013, 11:32 AM
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" I suppose I could bolt my RX100 and my wife's LX7 on the same tripod and try to identify differences. But, she doesn't let me near her cameras, it would be a lot of work and I would get frustrated.....

I would love to see that, mate! Please do that, if possible!"

I would love to do that for you, but marital relations don't allow for that. We've shared most everything for 44 years, but NOT cameras or computers!
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post #12 of 53 Old 01-21-2013, 12:20 PM
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just an observation: videos from camcorders usually dont look as exciting as dslrs and compact cameras videos, and that usually deceive people. That happens because those cameras use some software tricks, and thats BAD! When you try to edit those videos, they tend to limit your work. The camcorder videos look dull because the camera keeps things real, without tricks. Once you put the footage in the editor, you can do wonders!!

so it depends on how do you use it. those creativity options, for me, really suck, because I cant edit them later. They mess up the video.
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post #13 of 53 Old 01-21-2013, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsprague View Post

" I suppose I could bolt my RX100 and my wife's LX7 on the same tripod and try to identify differences. But, she doesn't let me near her cameras, it would be a lot of work and I would get frustrated.....

I would love to see that, mate! Please do that, if possible!"

I would love to do that for you, but marital relations don't allow for that. We've shared most everything for 44 years, but NOT cameras or computers!

LOL I understand!
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post #14 of 53 Old 01-21-2013, 12:32 PM
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Although the TM900 footage is sharper, it has that "camera is wearing a pair of sunglasses look" that is a deal breaker for me. Another TM900 example of this "camera is wearing a pair of sunglasses look": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXxvbbBZiKU

I much prefer the bright, lively, film like images of the LX7. Here is some beach footage (that will play in 720p) I shot yesterday west of Los Angeles with the LX7 set in the Scene - Landscape photo style mode and with the sharpness and saturation set at +1. https://vimeo.com/57868507

That LX7 footage looks more like what the human actually eye sees (when not wearing a pair of sunglasses). Maybe the ultimate video camera at the moment (for those of us who hate the "camera wearing sunglasses" look) is the GH3 because it appears to combine the image brightness and punchiness of the LX7 with the sharpness of the TM900.
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post #15 of 53 Old 01-21-2013, 01:06 PM
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lol thats what I just said!

If the user knows NOTHING about editing (like your daughter shooting your dog), then yes, he should go for an LX7, because the software makes some adjusts for you to make the image look good.

If you know how to take the most of your video in an editing software, than the less the camera messes with your video, the better. Just watch a RAW footage from a 20,000USD camera and you'll see that it looks dull like a camcorder. But that DULL look is what gives you the opportunity to edit the video the way you want. That way you have more RANGE in both directions to make your video look like a million dollar blockbuster. In a camera like the RX7 you cant do that with those creativity settings, because they mess up with the possibilities.

It all depends on the user. Its like RAW vs JPEG+camera (stupid) effects
If you know how to edit, RAW is better. If you are an amateur who wants to shoot cats and show the pictures to your family, than you should go for JPEG and use those crappy effects
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post #16 of 53 Old 01-21-2013, 01:09 PM
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I'll download the MTS from mark's video from the TM900 and I'll play with it a little in an editing software. Then you can tell me if it looks like the camera is wearing a sunglass
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post #17 of 53 Old 01-21-2013, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
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"If you know how to take the most of your video in an editing software, than the less the camera messes with your video, the better. Just watch a RAW footage from a 20,000USD camera and you'll see that it looks dull like a camcorder. But that DULL look is what gives you the opportunity to edit the video the way you want. That way you have more RANGE in both directions to make your video look like a million dollar blockbuster. In a camera like the RX7 you cant do that with those creativity settings, because they mess up with the possibilities."

Actually, you have the right idea but your thoughts on camcorders like the X900may have this backwards.

What the pros do is adjust the camera settings to reduce sharpness, contrast, and saturation to get a dull image that they can work with in post. They get the dull by fiddling with the camera (I am not talking about RAW cameras - RAW footage is RAW so it is not dull or sharp).

The point is you cannot adjust the settings of the X900 or any amateur camcorder to do that. You are stuck with the settings, which are not ideal for post-editing.

The LX7 has a 'Natural' mode, and with contrast and sharpening turned down in that mode it is perfect for editing - you get a DULL, maximal dynamic range video that you can sharpen and color to taste in an editor.

The LX7 has the PRO features that the X900 lacks, and thus is better for editing.

The X900 video is slightly oversharpened (there are halos) - you cannot correct that in post. The LX7 videos can be sharpened in post with less of a problem.
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post #18 of 53 Old 01-21-2013, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markr041 View Post

I do not understand what you are saying. There are tests of dynamic range that I have seen (I am not speculating). For example, the Sony NEX is supposed to have 12-13 stops of dynamic range.
It is considered that human eye senses difference in brightness if it increases 1% or more. Gamma-corrected still and video is designed so, that increment or decrement of 1 from current brightness/color value changes brightness about 1%. With this in mind, 8-bit video/photo gives only about 5 stops. With knee and black compensation you get about 8 stops of video that looks relatively smooth from black to white. If you want to spend more values for blacks or whites, then your midtones suffer, and you get what is known as "banding".

So it does not really matter whether a chip or optics can resolve more than 8 stops, when you compress this raw stuff into 8 bits you get no more than 8 stops, unless you are fine with some banding. It is a tradeoff: banding vs. dynamic range. This is limitation of a codec, not of optics or sensor.

Although having imaging section with wide latitude can be beneficial if the camera can wisely cram all this data into 8-bit Procrustes bed. Canon camcorders have Cinema Mode that allots more values for whites and blacks. Panasonic cams have Digital Cinema mode too, but I don't know what it entails aside of boosting color.
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post #19 of 53 Old 01-21-2013, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are frame grabs from the LX7 that illustrate the effects of the settings on the look of the video:

The first is a frame grab from a video in 'Standard' color type, all settings centered except NR, which is set to -2:




[you can enlarge this by clicking it]


The second is a frame grab from a video clip in which the color type is 'Natural' and all settings are -2 (contrast, sharpness, saturation, NR):




[you can enlarge this by clicking it]


This is what some videographers prefer to work with if they are editing in post, as they can push the sharpness and set the color (color grade) as they see fit. It is dull out of the camera.

Changing the color of the first video would be more difficult as the color and contrast are baked in.

Only in pro camcorders can one change the settings to create "dull" videos that allegedly work for editing. You cannot do this much customization with the X900, TM900. You can do this with even more parameters using the AG-AC90, and, of course, the LX7 (and the RX100).
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post #20 of 53 Old 01-21-2013, 04:24 PM
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Yes mark.

But with compacts, most of the users use those creative tools (thats why everybody says that point and shoots videos look better than camcorders), and they are horrible for post. The camcorders are naturally dull. Of course if you use the compact potential, it can be used for post too.
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post #21 of 53 Old 01-21-2013, 06:26 PM
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Just a quick video to show something. People complain about the amount of grey and lack of black and colours in camcorder videos. So with just a few clicks I raised the black and the colours to show the flexiblity of a camcorder. I know its not great, its just an example.

Keep in mind that this video is rendered in low quality and has been compressed twice.
And remember I did that in like 10 min.

https://vimeo.com/57897416

all credits to mark
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post #22 of 53 Old 01-21-2013, 06:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markr041 View Post

Only in pro camcorders can one change the settings to create "dull" videos that allegedly work for editing. You cannot do this much customization with the X900, TM900. You can with the AG-AC90, and, of course, the LX7 (and the RX100).

Indeed, consumer Panasonic camcorders do not offer much in terms of image setup. Older models seem to have produced flatter look, but current models seem to produce more punchy look, because raising contrast makes image sharper, of which Panasonic boasts all the time. Most Canon camcorders have been offering video adjustment setting for quite some time, for example the venerable HV20 from 2007 has the following options, quoting CCInfo.com here:
Quote:
Custom Image Effects include:
* Image Effect Off (default),
* Vivid (boosts contrast and color saturation),
* Neutral (lowers contrast and color saturation),
* Low Sharpening (lowers in-camera sharpening),
* Soft Skin Detail (softens edges in "skin toned" areas),
* and Custom.

The Custom setting allows you to adjust several parameters on a three-point -1, 0, +1 scale. These parameters are: Color Depth, Brightness, Contrast, and Sharpness.

There is also Cinema Mode, which can be engaged independently of 24p frame rate.

No wonder that most videographers who want to preserve shadows and whites traditionally prefer Canon camcorders for its flatter look with cinema-like whites cutoff and for decent tweak-ability.
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post #23 of 53 Old 01-22-2013, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedest View Post

Just a quick video to show something. People complain about the amount of grey and lack of black and colours in camcorder videos. So with just a few clicks I raised the black and the colours to show the flexiblity of a camcorder. I know its not great, its just an example.

Keep in mind that this video is rendered in low quality and has been compressed twice.
And remember I did that in like 10 min.

https://vimeo.com/57897416

all credits to mark
Fascinating! Thanks for doing that. I played them side by side and watched the "mood shift".

I have a distinct memory of the recent movie "Hugo" (in 3D) where a mood is set with the tonal quality. You showed me how I was duped by the colorist!

You've given me something to learn and try!

Be careful though! Suggesting post process editing can improve the quality of picture perfect 1080p24/50/60 can get you run out of this forum on a high speed rail with bullets whizzing past!

Bill
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post #24 of 53 Old 01-22-2013, 12:32 PM
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And thats my point Bill

People complain a lot about the "mood" of camcorder videos. I just wanted to show how high can you go on the blacks and in the colors, so people can understand that this "mood" difference between camcorders and compact/DSLR's has nothing to do with video quality, its just a software adjust. If you want quality, you gotta search in other aspects. And for editing, the camcorders videos are sooo much better. When you use those pre-sets from compact cameras you mess with the video.

And we cant be afraid of post processing. Life would be very boring with only raw videos. People would sleep watching your videos.

To make your life easier, here is a side-by-side. Here you can see how nice is your range with the camcorder. My editing was crappy. I just raised some bars. With more time, using masks and stuff, you can take advantage of all of those lows, mids and highs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIvZ4keBu8w
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post #25 of 53 Old 01-22-2013, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
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I just wanted to show how high can you go on the blacks and in the colors, so people can understand that this "mood" difference between camcorders and compact/DSLR's has nothing to do with video quality, its just a software adjust.
You cannot adjust if you have not enough bits. When you push it, it will start looking ugly. If you had only 5 values for blacks instead of say 20, the best your app can do is interpolate, which is a time-consuming and non-exact process. At worst you will see banding and noise.
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post #26 of 53 Old 01-22-2013, 12:47 PM
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LOL you sound like a boring manual

Yes I dont have 12-bit RAW in a camcorder, but yes, I have some space to edit. I have enough bits to make some adjustments. I dont try to make miracles.
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post #27 of 53 Old 01-22-2013, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
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"When you use those pre-sets from compact cameras you mess with the video."

This is pejorative and misleading. All the cameras and camcorders "mess with the video" - they all have settings for color, contrast, etc. For some, though the user cannot change them. The manufacturer picks the settings; those are choices and thus "messes" of the raw video.

Users of the GH2 and Canons who do a lot of editing and color grading prefer to use 0,0,0,0 for the settings, as opposed to the defaults 5,5,5,5 so the video from the camera they work with is neutral. They "mess" with the settings. Messing in the camera or messing in post is no different.

The "compact" cameras also allow you to change settings to get a particular look. To say that "dull" camcorder videos are better to work with is just saying the default settings in camcorders are more neutral than the *default* settings for cameras. But, as was shown, you can make even more neutral ("dull") out of camera videos from the "compact" cameras if you want to that are even easier to work with in post.

Your point about how editing can alter the look of videos is fine; the point is that the "compact" cameras can also alter the look (by changing contrast and saturation (which really is mostly what you did) *or* by using settings that make even duller videos that are optimized for editing (as you and others appear to believe - duller is better for that).

You "messed" with my videos in your editor, which you believe to be for a good purpose; "messing" with the settings in the camera is exactly the same. Messing is the essence of creativity.

Actually, your other post suggests you agree with what I am saying - that cameras can alter the settings to make them good for post-editing. But they also can make the videos look interesting in camera, though you believe that editing does this better (perhaps more controls).
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post #28 of 53 Old 01-22-2013, 08:41 PM
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Yes. My point is that FOR ME, thats better. The more neutral and the less interference from the camera the better. In the editing software the adjusts are more refined, you can make 10 diffent adjusts in 10 different parts of the same scene. In the camera is everything or nothing. And when the camera makes too much adjusts, then you can end up with a video that even in the editor you cant go the way you want. If the values in the camera are too high, sometimes you cant go back to get the looks you want.

What I did was just an example to show people tha the dull look can easily go away, its not a defect.
And not every still camera can make dull videos. You say that because you only buy great cameras.
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post #29 of 53 Old 01-23-2013, 05:32 AM - Thread Starter
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I agree with you except for when you say "In the camera is everything or nothing." Some cameras, as you know, have many adjustments of many parameters.

High-level editing software likely has more possibilities than hardware can provide.

Pros argue over whether one should get it right in the camera, or do it all in editing.
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post #30 of 53 Old 01-23-2013, 06:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markr041 View Post

.........Pros argue over whether one should get it right in the camera, or do it all in editing.

I would suggest a "Pro" will do what it takes to get frequently paid. A wedding pro will find a way to minimize the bride's flaws. It would be an "artist" that insists on doing it with an always consistent technique or method. An artist will use the bride's flaws to enhance "character" and may never get paid.

Bill
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