Question Sony HDR-CX450 please help with settings

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Making Forum' started by verhoven, Jan 15, 2017.

  1. verhoven

    verhoven
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    Hello Guys,
    I am a total noob and require help [​IMG] Just baught my first handycam for shooting video tutorials. For 2 years was doing it with iphone 5. Main reason of purchase: video stabilization (shoot a lot from hand) and autofocus (on iphone had to constantly adjust manually during recording). Camera choice was done based on external mic jack availability.
    So, i made my first videos and got dissapointed greatly with the results. Image is not crispy clear as was on iphone, its somewhat grainy and not smooth, when i move hands, its sometimes shows pixels or whatever it is...
    Videos were done on tripod, table is covered with black felt, lots of colourful cards on it, two softboxes with E27 105W lamps directed on the table.
    Camera settings tested:
    50i with all types of High Quality options (HQ, FH, FX) with both XAVC S HD & AVCHD
    50p with AVCHD
    Auto white balance; one push white balance; inside white balance (latter was the worst)
    Now, there are 4 settings: Exposure; Focus; IRIS; Shutter speed - all auto; if i change one to manual, set another to manual, previous will be turned back to auto...In any case i tried to change one at a time (without understanding what am i doing), but did not see any big difference in the picture...
    I export videos via usb straight to imovie on macbook.

    Please advise which settings should i try.
    Many thanks in advance!
     
  2. 12harry

    12harry
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    Try to film at the highest quality settings ( ie shortest duration given in User Guide for yr SDHC card ).
    Your table set-up reads like it's perfectly OK - but watch that the CF tubes are photo-phosphor and giving a broad spectrum . . . you could check with a "known painting" under this light and Outdoors on cloudy-bright daylight.
    Those settings, may be confusing - RTFM....as always.... Set everything to Auto and the camcorder "should" try to produce the best it can.
    When you plug-in ext mic that should cancel the internal - and usually you'll have better control over the audio, esp if the mic is close to the presenter ( you). Lead-length can be an issue - some folks buy "Wireless" - which allows you to move about freely.... but batteries can be a pain.
    Again RTFM, to see if you can set the Audio-level in Manual - this is often the best option, although you'll need to practice yr speaking-level, to keep well away from Clipping.

    How are you viewing these movies? Whilst you should get a fair quality from this model, with its fast data-rate; it has a small sensor, so expect low-light to be an issue ( although it reads like you've fixed that? ). Also, do you know the flicker-rate of these lamps . . is it possible you are getting a strobe effect? Try the same hand-movement in daylight and see if it vanishes. You can add a tungsten lamp for indoor shoots to reduce any flicker-effect, but it needs to be a fairly high wattage, something over 100w ( like those floodlights - available cheaply ( See Az under DIY or Photo ) . . . but then for somewhat more you can get LED versions that don't get hot ). There are many multi-LED lamps available for on-camera use (or better on a stand).
    I'm not sure you can compare this with the iPhone ( which sell in Millions, keeping cost/performance exceedingly good ). The CX450 is almost a bottom-end consumer model, the way I read the spec..... although that high data-rate may say otherwise, the price-level tells its own story...IMHO.
    I'd be inclined to rely on you being steady with the camera, rather than expecting the camera to fix it. Try turning SS "Off" and learn how to hold it. Time spent learning this can be very useful into the future.
    "More light" nearly always helps.... provided it's in the right places . . . you might like to join a local movie-making club to "learn the Art." - there will be plenty of advice and maybe someone that shares yr other hobby...
    +Let us know how you get to grips with this...
     
  3. Terfyn

    Terfyn
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    To reinforce Harry's comments.

    Grainy suggests not enough light. I use two Neewer LED308 lamps as my basic indoor set up. Both these have, as the name suggests, 308 very bright LEDs. These are both too big to camera mount but will stand on a table or screw to a tripod. Plus there is no mains flicker.
    Back lighting should also be considered. There are some good books on basic lighting techniques.

    Always switch off any steady shot or optical stabiliser when the camera is on a tripod.

    AVCHD 50p is considered to be the better quality option. I always leave my camera set to this but try 50i to see if this is smoother.

    Your video editor will give you some control over picture quality, brightness and contrast can be boosted, but only if the video information is there in the first place. I have had some success with enhancing very dark shots. (on a train with minimal lighting) You will also have the advantage of adding voiceovers and music to the original video audio.

    I use mainly wired mics but I do have a BOYA BY-WM5 basic wireless mic which works well provided the area is clear of extraneous wireless signals, Wi-Fi for example. I keep my Wi-Fi switched off. My DECT phone does not seem to affect it.
    As Harry says, video from a distance but keep the mic close. Separate mics mounted on the camera are IMO just as bad as the built in mics. So a wired mic can be the best option.
     
  4. rogs

    rogs
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    As the others have said, there's not enough light....
    The sensor in that Sony camcorder is less than 1/3 of the area of the iPhone camera sensor (1/5/8" v. 1/3.2"). Unfortunately, 'low light' (indoor) sensitivity is very much tied to sensor size..

    To misquote the famous line from 'Jaws' - "You're gonna need a bigger light" :)
     
  5. verhoven

    verhoven
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    Thank you Gentlemen!
    it is really sad that i did my research only after I bought it. Harry kind of opened my eyes saying this was the bottom-end camera...and then i found its sensor is only 1/5.8. So as Rogs said I need a bigger light indeed :) (btw, love the movie and appreciate the quote!)

    So you think if I pump up the light to the ''right amount'' I can get crispy picture?
    Can I pick your brain Gents for a while more? What am I looking for in terms of ''right amount'' of lights? I have 3 softboxes with E27 105 W (5300-5500K). So far I used 2 of them, lighting the table from 45 degree angle from left and right. I will try the third softbox to sit straight above the table. If it does not improve the picture, what should I be going for in terms of wattage and Kelvins, given the sensor size I have?
     
  6. 12harry

    12harry
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    Good to now the situation's improving . . . . I think you should try the set-up outside, since daylight is very bright. Having then established it is "Light-level" that's the problem, then you can try to improve yr lighting Indoors.
    Bear in mind that a plain light-source at 3metres will be a quarter the brightness compared with just 1.5m . . . adjusting positions may provide "enough" to start yr project . . . and then get more/brighter lamps in good time.
    With lamps today of different types it's difficult to suggest a suitable "power" ( even without knowing the studio Set-up ), so I guess you just have to experiment with what's to-hand, and then buy whatever you need.
    As so often the case, throwing money at it fixes most situations.

    Tripod:
    There is a myth perpetuated by mfrs, that you should switch-off Stab when using a tripod . . . the truth IMHO is that if the camcorder isn't moving the Stab makes no difference, but if you do move then it might.
    It also teaches you to Pan Slowly, particularly at the end of a Pan... otherwise there is a lag-return effect where the Stab catches-up . . . I think this is why Mfrs suggest it's not used... to avoid complaints! Slowing at Pan endings, also helps the audience.

    Yet, I suspect you aren't too worried by these niceties.... at least until the light-level is fixed....
    Can you Beg/Borrow a Builder's light? Typically these are (about £20 with a tripod) and 400/500 W Halogen lamp . . . they do get HOT; but also very useful for wallpapering/painting the ceiling. The light is 3200K
    - but it will be bright - and you can bounce it of the ceiling (if White ) to give a very soft light. Mixing light-sources used to be a No-No with film, but digital sensors don't mind - and you can say it's Art.

    Good luck.
     
  7. Terfyn

    Terfyn
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    If your camera has an A/V Out or HDMI then you may be able to monitor the picture on a TV. (This usually works when the camera is in "standby" mode but may cut off while recording.) Monitoring the picture will give more info on light positioning and brightness.
    I am not keen on any filament type lamps now. They do get very hot, need trailing mains leads and can be dangerous. The Neewer lights I suggested have two sets of LEDs in them giving a variable light temperature from 3300K to 5500K plus I can vary the light intensity. They can be battery driven (usually Sony camcorder batteries) or mains through an adapter, this means they can be positioned anywhere without trailing mains leads. They also have a remote control so can be located away from the scene and still be adjusted.
    My choice would be to add LED lights to the soft-boxes you already have. One use I put mine to is when filming some animation scenes on a tabletop. The lamps can be located on a mini tripod directly above the scene and, with the intensity control, can be set to a level that will give a sharp picture. Plus the variable temperature can give either a daylight feel or a warmer indoor feel.
     
  8. 12harry

    12harry
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    Agreed halogens run hot, as I mentioned; but OP may be able to obtain Builders' lights Free/cheaply - it was just a "Temporary" thought. Also, we never worried about wires in the past.

    OP needs to establish the correct lighting before spending money.... just in case the problem lies elsewhere.
     

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