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Color Sample Rates


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#1 Rebecca Varni

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 10:45 AM

I've been in the market for a new camera, my Canon GL1 doesn't give me any control at all.
I'm hoping to shoot an indie feature with it, and make some money doing commercials and music video stuff on the side (like most students).
What I'm hoping to get here is some general and more specific information regarding color sampling rates. For instance, what does 4:4:4 HD really mean? I have been having a tough time wrapping my head around the idea. I'm sure that a larger sampling rate is going to give a more realistic look, but I'm not always going for realistic.
So, any information on this topic would be helpful, as well as some general suggestions for what to look for in a not super expensive camera (around $5,000 preferably).
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 11:13 AM

In very crude, imprecise layman's terms, color subsampling is when the red and blue channels are reduced in resolution compared to luminence (which contains the green information) in order to reduce bandwidth / data requirements in recording.

"4:1:1" therefore means that red and blue have been reduced to 1/4 of their full resolution compared to luminence/green. "4:2:2" means that red and blue have half the resolution and "4:4:4" means that each color channel has equal resolution.

Color subsampling can be applied to a standard-def or high-def signal.

Now for a more accurate description, read this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chroma_subsampling
http://www.nattress....omasampling.htm

$5000 would be considered a super cheap camera compared to broadcast video equipment...

All the cameras in that range would be 4:1:1, whether DV or HDV. You're probably looking at a Panasonic DVX100B or Canon XL2 in standard def (assuming you want 24P), unless you want an HDV camera.
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#3 Daniel Smith

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 01:56 PM

I'm sure that a larger sampling rate is going to give a more realistic look, but I'm not always going for realistic.

Actually, I think the larger sampling rates have the opposite effect. I often link realism to the cheaper, soap opera style video. And higher sampling rates to rich expensive Hollywood video.


So if it's realism you want stick with your GL1. But if it's production value you want then use the more glossy tools.
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#4 Rebecca Varni

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 02:19 PM

Actually, I think the larger sampling rates have the opposite effect. I often link realism to the cheaper, soap opera style video. And higher sampling rates to rich expensive Hollywood video.


So if it's realism you want stick with your GL1. But if it's production value you want then use the more glossy tools.


Yea, I really don't want it to look realistic. I want to create my own version of reality!
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#5 Rebecca Varni

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 02:45 PM

$5000 would be considered a super cheap camera compared to broadcast video equipment...

All the cameras in that range would be 4:1:1, whether DV or HDV. You're probably looking at a Panasonic DVX100B or Canon XL2 in standard def (assuming you want 24P), unless you want an HDV camera.


Thanks for all the information. I think it's starting to make a bit more sense to me.
And as far as cameras go, what do you think of Panasonic's HVX200? It's relatively cheap, so I worry about picture quality, but I like the idea of the P2 card.
And, even though I'm a student, I really am possessive and want my own equipment. So, I'm considering buying a camera as opposed to a new car. In that case I think I'm leaning towards the HDX900. Any problems with that? I've read through the forum talk around here, and people seem to be pretty pleased with it all around the net. But, as always, money is an issue and that really does mean no car, just a camera.
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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 04:45 PM

> And as far as cameras go, what do you think of Panasonic's HVX200?

I think it's soft and fuzzy, but other people like it.

It pretty much has three standard-def CCDs slightly offset so they can sort of kinda maybe make up some of what might maybe possibly have been a hi-def picture. Sort of. In a manner of speaking.

Phil
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#7 Michael Nash

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 09:23 PM

And as far as cameras go, what do you think of Panasonic's HVX200? It's relatively cheap, so I worry about picture quality, but I like the idea of the P2 card.
And, even though I'm a student, I really am possessive and want my own equipment. So, I'm considering buying a camera as opposed to a new car. In that case I think I'm leaning towards the HDX900. Any problems with that?


You're talking about radically different cameras here; comparing a Honda Fit to a Lexus sedan. What kind of "new car" were you thinking of buying?

HVX200 $6,000 US (without cards, $900 ea.)

HDX900 $26,500 US (lens $10-25K extra)

The HVX is a popular camera for "entry level" HD production. That means it holds up fairly well for standard def broadcast acquisition, but falls short of more professional gear when viewed in full HD.

The HDX900 is a terrific camera that's becoming an industry workhorse. It also records to DVCPROHD tape, which means you may have to invest in a deck or an external firestore drive unless you want to always play your tapes out through the firewire connection. An alternative to the HDX900 is the HPX2000, which is basically a P2 version of the same camera.

The HPX500 might be a compromise for you, essentially an HVX200 but with 2/3" chips, again lens is extra.

Then there's a tripod, monitor, light kit, audio gear, etc.; -- oh, and a car to transport this stuff to your shoot!
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#8 Trevar Cushing

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 04:22 PM

In very crude, imprecise layman's terms, color subsampling is when the red and blue channels are reduced in resolution compared to luminence (which contains the green information) in order to reduce bandwidth / data requirements in recording.

"4:1:1" therefore means that red and blue have been reduced to 1/4 of their full resolution compared to luminence/green. "4:2:2" means that red and blue have half the resolution and "4:4:4" means that each color channel has equal resolution.

Color subsampling can be applied to a standard-def or high-def signal.

Now for a more accurate description, read this:
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chroma_subsampling" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chroma_subsampling</a>
http://www.nattress.com/Chroma_Investigati...omasampling.htm

$5000 would be considered a super cheap camera compared to broadcast video equipment...

All the cameras in that range would be 4:1:1, whether DV or HDV. You're probably looking at a Panasonic DVX100B or Canon XL2 in standard def (assuming you want 24P), unless you want an HDV camera.


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#9 Trevar Cushing

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 04:34 PM

In very crude, imprecise layman's terms, color subsampling is when the red and blue channels are reduced in resolution compared to luminence (which contains the green information) in order to reduce bandwidth / data requirements in recording.

"4:1:1" therefore means that red and blue have been reduced to 1/4 of their full resolution compared to luminence/green. "4:2:2" means that red and blue have half the resolution and "4:4:4" means that each color channel has equal resolution.

Color subsampling can be applied to a standard-def or high-def signal.

Now for a more accurate description, read this:
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chroma_subsampling" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chroma_subsampling</a>
http://www.nattress.com/Chroma_Investigati...omasampling.htm

$5000 would be considered a super cheap camera compared to broadcast video equipment...

All the cameras in that range would be 4:1:1, whether DV or HDV. You're probably looking at a Panasonic DVX100B or Canon XL2 in standard def (assuming you want 24P), unless you want an HDV camera.



Michael,
Is it possible to up the Chroma or anything similar when shooting in 4:1:1 (because of miniDV). I'm just trying to figure out how to keep the reds from bleeding so much. Is there anything that can be done so that the reds don't look like they are crawling. I have a Panasonic PVGS500 and don't know what to do about those reds getting crazy looking.
Reason being is that the footage from the Panasonic PVGS500 is going to be edited together with footage from a HVX200. Is there any preparations that can be done to the PVG to get the reds close to the HVX??
Thanks,
Trevar Cushing
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#10 Michael Nash

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 05:09 PM

"Bleeding" and "crawling" sound like analogue phenomena to me, like when the analogue signal is too hot or the color is turned up too much on a CRT monitor. Let's rule out that that's not what you're talking about. How are you viewing this footage?

But if you're seeing the artifacts of color sub-sampling, there's probably not much you can do with that camera. You're probably better off reducing the red saturation in post.
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