VIDEO, PHOTO AND VISUAL EFFECTS

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Dark Frame Subtraction Test

Hi,
50D is a great camera for shooting RAW with Magic Lantern hack but, being an old camera, has a bit more noise than competition, which becomes evident in low light conditions.
In additions the noise has a disturbing pattern consisting in vertical and horizontal stripes of noise, making it look digital and not filmic.
So I read many posts about the Dark Frame Subtraction tecnique in photography, which uses two shots one on top of the other: lower one is the original photo, upper is a toatlly dark photo made with same settings but with cap on the lens.
This “dark frame” photo has some light spots, the more evident are the hot pixels, the less evident are the noise.
The dark frame is blended with the original photo in subtraction mode, so where the frame is black the photo is seen correctly, otherwise brighter pixels are brought down with the subtraction procedure, resulting in a photo without hot pixels (at least they are no more bright) and less noise.
In some forums (like Magic Lantern one) somebody claimed that we could do the same for video, making the noise less disturbing.
I decided to make an attempt, but as you can see in the video above adding the dark frame layer is useless: the noise is similar but changes every frame, giving no opportunity with a secon clip to denoise the exact pixel at the exact moment.
The subtraction was made with DaVinci Resolve.

Note:
Youtube did a heavy compression, so if you want to see the video at its full quality download it here:

Dark Frame Subtraction high quality video

scatterbrain 01

One of my best friends is an actor inside, always inventing characters or having fun of famous persons.
As every talented extravagant artist it’s almost impossible to “direct” his ability to do something planned, his performances just happen, and if you are lucky you have a camera in that moment.
This little gem of nonsense is one of the few times that he said exactly what was planned, and so it’s a… rarity!
It was made for a funny contest at www.personal-view.com, a video exquisite cadaver (I’m thinking of making a localized version too here in my hometown).
So, enjoy this pill of madness :)

Shot on Canon50D RAW and edited with Resolve

SoUNdset – inspirational work of a friend of mine

My friend Andrea Trombetta has recorded some clips while following the sound performer Alessandro Sciaraffa in a wind farm.
It was sunset and the location was perfect for some epic shots, but what really boosts the short movie is the music mixed with Sciaraffa recordings of vibrations, all perfectly mastered in a increasing edit which brings you to pure joy of the sense.
Worth watching!

Recovery from high contrast scene with 50D Raw

Hi,
I made this shot to test recovery capabilites of Raw video from high contrast scenes.
I had my hookah standing in front of the window, a big range of f-stops in the shot, something that would lead with normal h.264 compression to a blown sky with visible hookah details or a black hookah with visible clouds in the sky.
With Raw on my 50D I succeded in having both shown, and that was really surprising!
Raw gives incredible space for color correction and I have to admit that it would be hard now to come back to compressed footage, I’m getting addicted to this wonderful quality
Lens used is a old Olympus Zuiko 35 f2.8.

50D extreme lowlight test – Raw VS H.264

This is a test I made to see the difference in quality from Raw to H.264.
With Raw I can get much more detail instead of H.264 compression artifacts (macro-blocking), and also the dynamic range is much wider allowing me to see the wrinkles in the chinese papaer lamp and also the details in the shadow areas.
Thanks to magic lantern for this awesome Raw feature!

Here is an extreme recovery of highlights, just for pushing things to the limit:

crop

Canon 50D Raw first tests + audio sync

Magic Lantern’s Raw is really powerful, one thing that’s missing in 50D version is audio.
This camera had no video capabilities at all when it was released, so obviously has no audio hardware or processing.
So I used an external audio recorder and I performed an handclap before speaking.
That helped in sincronyzing the audio to the video in post editing in DaVinci Resolve.
That’s what the clapper is made for in movie making (sync audio and info on shot/take), so.. back to the roots!

Raw video on Canon DSLR

As many others I’m really excited at the new Magic Lantern features, which enable Raw video recording with normal DSLR cameras.
That’s a huge step, making all other DSLRs and mirrorless cameras way beyond in terms of detail, dynamic range and highlights recovery.
Only high end cameras (like Arri or Red) can record Raw, except the new Blackmagic Cinema cameras serie which gives Raw at a much more reasonable price, at the expense of shorter latitude .
With Magic Lantern cameras like 5DMarkIII can compete with cameras in the range of 30-40.000 $ which is really amazing.
There’s some drawbacks of course.
First one is file size: a movie is a sequence of Raw images!
It means 6 minutes fill something like 32GB of your hard disk!
Second issue is that to write Raw you need a fast compact flash, so this limits HD Raw to 5DIII, 5DII, 7D, 50D.
To summ it up, you can have excellent quality but have to pay quite a lot for fast (1000x) and big Compact Flash cards.
But the Raw was tempting me so much that I wanted to try it going through the cheapest way: I bought a used 50D (400 euro), a Komputerbay 32GB 1000x (65 euro) and an USB 3 card reader.
Testing is going on right now and color correction possibilities are incredible!
I’m converting the output file to a Cinema DNG sequnce with RAW2CDNG and then I open it in DaVinci Resolve just like a normal clip (setting some info on camera raw config).
Things work pretty well, but Resolve has a bad debayering algorithm, leaving some aliasing and chroma artifacts.
So I opened some files in RawTherapee which has some really cool demosaic option, and the result is clearly better.
Blackmagic announced Resolve 10 for october 2013, claiming it will have many improvments, I hope it will have also better debayering!

comparison

Klong

The Klong is a canal in the city.
Bangkok used to be a city full of canals with boats, markets and life on them, but now only a few markets survive and almost every klong has been covered to make new roads.
There’s only one boat service still alive, and it’s well documented in my friend’s great short movie:
http://greenwichplus7.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/khlong-tight-rope-workers-2/
But not only the boats cross the river, there’s also a small number of square floating platforms that cross the canal from one side to the other, their course is guided by an underwater rope which is pulled by a human legs-powered wheel.
Boats are the cheapest way to get to the center of Bangkok.
Boats and platforms stop around 20 pm, so when the sun goes down there’s a few people still using them.
While the city starts to enter the night life the latest travellers, with their thoughts, hopes, emotions, wait in the silence borken only by the sound of the water.
This short movie is my attempt to capture the intense mood that caught me while I was waiting, like all others, to cross the river at dusk.

The Cosmonaut

I’m happy to share the news that an ambitious project has reached its target of making a sci-fi movie with a big support from crowdfunding and it’s going to be screened (and available under Creative Commons!) from the 13th of May.
Congratulations to all of the team and to the supporters.
For more information go to their website:

http://trailer.thecosmonaut.org/

 

Obviously I’ve just become a supporter!


Nex-5N VS Nex-5R video quality quick comparison

Disclaimer: I’m an indipendent artist with no relation or sponsor from the brands involved in this mini-review.

Last week I went to Photoshow in Milano, Italy, and I had the opportunity to make a quick video comparison between the Nex-5N and it’s young brother Nex-5R.

I was interested to see if there are significant differences in aliasing, moirè and lowlight noise.

As you can see in the video, despite the weaker AA filter on Nex-5R, it seems to manage better diagonal lines than the older brother, giving a smooth but sharp transition from black to light blue in the close up of the fence. Other reviewers noted some kind of disappointing aliasing on Nex-6 (same sensor as Nex-5R) but no one did a comparison with the 5N, so it  was more a subjective perception, useful but not exhaustive.

I had another shot in which you can see moirè on Nex-5R, and perhaps I will post it separetly, because I did not take the same scene with the 5N. Anyway the moirè was present but very fine, I would dare to say it was more a luminance moirè than a chroma one.

Regarding lowlight performance I shot with both cameras at 400 ISO and they showed no noise at all, I tried to search for some dark spots to point the camera at, but everything was heavily illuminated and I had no choice of bringing the camera with me to test it in some service corridor.

I assume lowlight performance to be quite on par, for sure it’s not a key point for a comparison.

CONCLUSION

Both cameras performed as we expect from Sony technology, better than Canon mid-ranged DSLRs and worse than Panasonic GHx line, especially regarding definition and aliasing (GH3 is better, even if not as good as GH2).

Dynamic range is one of the strongest features of both cameras, with a slight advantage for Nex-5N, while sharpness of lines goes to Nex-5R.

If you are looking for an upgrade from the 5N I think the 5R  is not worth the extra money for the video department, giving so similar results, instead if you die for the new features, like the Wifi, the apps and the faster autofocus you can go for it without fearing of a step back in video quality.