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Best PAL Camera Settings

Discussion in 'Zenmuse H3-2D GoPro Gimbal' started by GadgetBen, Nov 27, 2013.

  1. GadgetBen

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    Hi,

    Can anyone please advise on the best camera settings for filming with a GoPro 3+ Black edition in PAL.

    I will need to edit footage on location for broadcast news using Final Cut Pro (version 7) on a timeline set for 1080 HD 25fps PAL with tight time deadlines, so I need to limit any post-processing time as far as possible. I am unsure of the merits and processing time trade-offs in using Superwide, Protune or 50fps modes to try and get the best quality video on my FCP timeline in the shortest possible time. I chose the Zenmuse H3-2D gimbal because of its great stabilisation, removing the need for any time-consuming digital stabilisation processing.

    Also, does using the GoPro studio fisheye reduction processing decrease quality or significantly add to processing time?

    Grateful for any advice.

    Regards,

    GadgetBen
     
  2. The Editor

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    If you are supplying footage for broadcast the station should have given you strict parameters that you must stay within.

    Things like bitrate, wrapper, codec, file structure etc. Closed or open GOP. The footage must also be within broadcast safe criteria.
    Also, I assume you are working in an 8 bit environment rather than 10?
    You say you are working on a 1080 25fps timeline - has that been stipulated by the station? Is that interlaced or progressive?
    If you are working interlaced you will lose circa 20% vertical resolution due to the kell factor. This can be overcome by recording at 50fps with the gopro and using the footage in a 25fps timeline. If the delivery is interlaced it means you will double each frame for each field and this will give you smoother motion.

    The best thing to do if they have not done so already is to get an exact delivery format the station requires. This will dictate your workflow.
     
  3. GadgetBen

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    Hi,

    The final footage is actually supplied to the broadcaster (the BBC) via IP over a mobile 3G data link using the BBC's own proprietary ingestion software (which we call JFE) which down-scales to SD video. However, we edit and I archive in HD on Final Cut Pro and the timeline is set to XDCAM EX MPEG-2 1080i50 VBR, 16bit 48khz Audio, which it needs to be in for my main professional Sony HD camera. We export from Final Cut Pro to the ingestion software in this 1920x1080 XDCAM format, which then creates a down-scaled SD version to send to our newsroom sever for broadcast and leaves the HD version locally for later archiving.

    The above workflow cannot be changed, but I am trying to find the best settings for my GoPro 3+ which will give me the best quality HD video with the minimum amount of post-processing time. I am fortunate in that currently I can experiment prior to going live (I need to complete a CAA approved BNUC-S course for commercial operation first).

    At the moment I am using the GoPro set to PAL 1080p 25fps Protune with wide FOV. I then use the GoPro Studio software to decompress the source files and convert them to the Cineform (CFHD) intermediate format, removing the fish eye effect. Then using the CFHD files I apply the Protune preset (sharpens and increases colour saturation) and output in 1920x1080 CFHD to my Final Cut timeline which plays back well for editing.

    Thanks for the advice regarding shooting at 50fps to avoid the kell effect, I will set the camera to that frame rate from now on.

    I guess to be more specific, my questions are;

    How does using the GoPro 3+ Black edition set without Protune compare to using Protune and then adding sharpening and colour correction in post? (Quality is the highest priority, but saving post-processing time is the next priority). I know that Protune saves the files with less compression so perhaps it is better to use Protune for this reason alone.

    Are there any quality advantages in using a higher GoPro resolution if no post stabilisation is needed and the final post-processing video will be 1080 25fps? If so, is there a significant post-processing time trade-off?

    Are there any quality advantages between the three GoPro field of view (FOV) modes if shooting in 1080p 50fps? I am thinking of switching to medium FOV (instead of wide).

    I hope this clarifies my questions, an example of my maiden flight test video is here: http://vimeo.com/user22890381/mk1maiden

    Thanks for any advice :)

    GadgetBen
     
  4. The Editor

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    Ahhh... ok. got it now.

    By the sound of it you are using one of the Sony EX1R's or EX3's as your main camera. They use long GOP Mpeg2 at 35mbps (from memory). Will you be mixing XDCAM EX footage with the GoPro Mpeg4 footage on the same timeline or providing just your GoPro footage as an individual file? Are you saying once you have edited your GP footage you then export it as long GOP mpeg2 XDCAM?

    OK - the first thing I would check on your GP 3+ is that the serial numbers on digits 6-9 are not in the range 0913. These cameras are known to be affected with the close focus problem and you will not be getting the sharp image you would want for distance if your camera is one of these :shock:

    Assuming you have an 'OK' GoPro, since you are going through GoPro studio to remove the fisheye and decompress I do not think there will be much time saved going another route. You could remove the fish-eye in Virtual Dub but it's another step in the workflow.
    By using Protune you can at least lock the WB which is not possible with PT off. If the WB drifts (as it can on the GP) then you have to sit there and key-frame the bloody thing. Also since you start the GoPro on the ground and stop it when you bring it back down, it's all one shot which you can apply a rough grade to it in one go. Then chop it up and fine tune the individual 'shots'

    Obviously 4k is a gimmick and not worth using. I have found the best setting to be 1920x1080p 50fps Medium FOV. I then edit on a 50i timeline (since 25p or 50p are not within Blu-Ray spec at 1920).
    Both Medium and Narrow FOV still give 1920x1080 since the sensor on the black is 4000x3000 (from memory) so it's just cropped and uses less of the sensor but still at full HD (admittedly it's debayerd but then so are all single chip cameras).

    It's a pretty remarkable camera for it's size and weight -it's never going to give you 14 stops of dynamic range and it's never going to give you TRUE 4k - that's just a marketing gimmick (but who want's that anyway since the human eye cannot resolve it at normal viewing distances?)
     
  5. GadgetBen

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    My primary camera is a Sony PMW-500. We edit in the field and so any material we ingest, HD or SD will end up output locally as XDCAM 1080i MPEG-2 as set by our engineers and which matches the primary camera files.

    I am concerned to say my 6-9 serial number digits do indeed start with 0913. I have (yesterday) updated to the latest firmware and I did read somewhere that this was a firmware issue, but I am somewhat confused as to why what sounds like an optical issue can be fixed by firmware. In-camera electronic sharpening to conceal an optical issue is not an acceptable solution. Does anyone know on the current status of this issue? What causes it, and how GoPro propose to deal with affected customers?

    Thanks for the other advice. Having tested GoPro studio it does seem fairly quick at applying the fisheye removal while converting to Cineform and it does a fairly decent job with its Protune preset before export, so my standard shooting format will probably be 1080p 50fps Protune on Medium FOV.

    I agree it is a great camera for its size and price and as long as GoPro deal acceptably with fixing the focus issue it will be a great bit of kit.

    Regards,

    Ben
     
  6. The Editor

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    Oppps - Sorry to 'downgrade you' to the EX1R ! As soon as anyone mentions XDCAM EX my brain goes into EX1R/EX3 mode :shock:
    Sorry to disappoint you but no matter how many batteries you connect, your phantom wont lift your PMW-500 :lol:

    You're right - it can't be fixed with firmware as it's an optical issue. I started a thread about it here ---> http://www.phantompilots.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3818
    Maybe they have updated the firmware to give a bit of edge sharpening in the hope that a lot of people will go away!

    Sorry to hear yours is one of the one's affected. GoPro are definitely aware of the problem (it's all over the GP forums). Stick to your guns and get it replaced if I were you.

    Yes - if you stick to that format, with some careful grading some artistic vignette here and there you can get really half decent results. Unfortunately the Zenmuse does not allow you to put any ND's on the GoPro which it can clearly benefit from so we have to make do.

    Probably one thing you will get fed up with the more you play with the Phantom and the H3-2D is the **** yaw wobble that is inherent in small spans quads. The Zen does such a great job of ironing out the pitch and roll that the yaw drift just hits you in the face :evil:
    To that end I have just ordered myself a 3 axis GoPro gimbal and I've just been told it's dispatched and on it's way. :D I will have itchy fingers when it arrives so I will have to give it a go on the Phantom but I am keeping it for my Hexa build which when coupled with the 3 axis should give VERY stable results even in gusty wind.
    This hobby is just one big money pit !! (But fun).
     
  7. GadgetBen

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    Ok thanks Editor.

    My GoPro was bought from the Apple Store so I have today arranged a return, relatively painless process it seems as they will bring a new one and collect the old in two days. I have specified that I will not accept a camera in the affected serial number range.

    I am interested to know what 3-Axis gimbal you are using on the Phantom and what results you get. Weight permitting it would be interesting to see if a retractable legs solution could be employed to give a 360 degree pan on a 3-axis gimbal.

    And I know what you mean about the money pit, but fun it is! :)

    Regards,

    Ben
     
  8. rilot

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    Be careful. If you are creating footage for the BBC this could be classed as filming for reward by the CAA. If you want to to do that you need permission to undertake aerial work from the CAA which requires that you pass the BNUC-S certification.
    The CAA are getting really hot about unlicensed fliers and are handing out some hefty fines.

    Just a friendly warning.
     
  9. GadgetBen

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    Rilot,

    Yes I am aware of BNUC-S requirements (read my second post above).
     
  10. rilot

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    Gah, sorry. I read everything but my eyes must have skipped that bit.
     
  11. GadgetBen

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    No problem :)