Thanks for the informative post. Very helpful for new a57 users like me. Your video rocks, too. BTW, can you give some information about the software and hardware you're using to put together your videos. Thanks
Hi I think we've arrived at the problem!
Firstly yes, the camera will have a stronger stills performance indoors whereas because there is downscaling (or downsampling?) for the video its perfomance will not be as strong..plus the bitrate isn't too high for the a57 video but thats another story lol.
And yes using program mode means the camera will select everything for you, and it will usually make bad choices when you have difficult lighting.
Like above me said using the movie mode will be good, although you will have to use manual focus if you want to have full manual control over video.
fbwap, I know what you are referring to and I have the same issue, no matter what video format I shoot in. What lens are you using, the 18-55mm kit lens? My A57 video through that lens is not clear when I shoot wide open at landscapes, etc. Even in the best sunlight and any setting, either in AF or MF and a proper class speed memory card, etc, the video is not clear. Its only when I get close to a subject the video gets a little better, and you can really tell the difference in 60p and 24p), but zoomed out, forget it, its not even usable.
The best way to see the quality of the video is hooking the camera up to your HDTV with an HDMI cable.
I know that if I try to play a movie off my memory card, it looks like crap and will skip. I have to put the file on my hard drive and then it plays beautifully. The card is fast enough to record video, it's just my card reader is not fast enough.
32GB SDHC Memory Card Class 10 UHS-I
32GB Data Storage CapacityClass 10 SpeedMax. Read Speed: 94MB/sMax. Write Speed: 45MB/sUltra High Speed Class 1
I am assuming that this is fast enough
Is it possible that your computer SD card reader cannot handle the UHS-1 format properly? In reading the Rob Galbraith data on high speed still shooting with various cameras, it seemed that the Canon 5D Mark II camera did miserably with that card for buffer clearing. Another user on this forum reported unexpectedly slow results in buffer clearing to that card in continuous hi-speed still shooting mode.
It might be that an SD card rated at no higher than 45MB/sec (Class 10-20MB/sec is OK) might be preferable for both computer and camera compatibility. Or get a new card reader?
Always try setting your movies to the highest quality AVCHD settings possible... Don't ever film with the MP4 setting, it's just sucky.
I respect just about everything you wrote above except this. Most people cannot tell the difference between MTS and MP4 if the shooting parameters are the same. I would very much like to see two identical clips shot in MTS and MP4 that demonstrate the claimed suckiness.
here is a video trailer I made for a buddy of mine. keep it mind it is rap music so if rap isnt your thing then turn down the volume.
i shot this using the kit 18-55mm lens, using a class10 sdcard before I picked up a tamron lens. I let the camera do the work for me. The only thing I did was some manual focusing. the video quality however is still great using 1080p60 avchd (best setting).
This camera is great for video. In low light you need to learn how to manually create a great image. which i am still learning to do as well.
Thank you for all your suggestions. I just got time to try several of them.
My indoor filming (that I was not happy with) was with the 35mm f1.8, Auto mode, ISO 400. Did it again today and was not happy.
Tried Auto mode with Auto ISO (as suggested by Gordon Pritchard) and it made a world of difference. Much better. I have not yet tried manually setting ISO higher to see if that is equivalent.
Tried manual movie mode (Movie-A) at ISO 400. This was much better than my original attempts, also. This was suggested by dka91 and gringoloco.
Thank you again for the suggestions. I will continue to experiment, but this has renewed my enthusiasm.
It might help a lot to let others witness the defects you say you observe. A side-by-side comparison of a video clip, and a still of the same subject, might reveal whether the problem is specific to the a57 video performance or not.
Is the noise bad, are your expectations unreal, or have you picked the devil's choice of scenes? Might the scene be the crypt of a castle in Transylvania at moonrise? If you are shooting in a very dark room with faces in the shadows of backlighting, no camera will win. This is not something that other gear (GH3, 5D MIII, VG900, etc) will solve. It appears you are already using a fast f/1.8 lens. Any tests should use full auto mode as the base. Just make sure you have not selected some program mode or manual setting that may be part of the problem.
The choice of SD card, or whether you play back using the camera or by playing the file on your son's computer, should make no difference. In theory, 24p would be a bit better in low light, but not make any difference if other settings are awry or if the scene is just plain no-win. If the only illumination is tungsten, the WB will not look natural, even if you pick an incandescent WB correction.
Last night I drove out to my father-in-law's house and brought my camera. We hooked it up to his large LCD TV directly with the HDMI-out connector on the camera. All videos looked very good on his TV. And the stills looked fantastic. I couldn't believe how good things looked blown up that large.
I guess I am going to have to do some troubleshooting on my son's computer. I really thought his pretty-new computer should have no issue with video from my camera.
And of course, I will have to replace my "old" computer and buy some adapters so I can get HDMI output into one of my older TVs. Unexpected costs, but at least I know that the video out of the camera is good. And you all gave me some suggestions on how to make it better.
The A57 is definitely a keeper. I will figure out how to post a couple of stills and a video. And start shopping for more lenses now that I will be keeping it.
Sorry about any doubts that I caused about A57 video. Operator error. And thanks for all the suggestions. This forum is great!
Upgrading a computer is easy if you find a component that is your bottleneck. I would recommend newegg.com or tigerdirect.com to purchase the parts. They are reputable companies with easy return policies.
If running Windows 7 the performance index is the best way to check where your performance is weakest.
I have upgraded with previous generation components to get an inexpensive, highly functional computer. I also keep all of my drivers up-to-date!
Thanks for the comment man! As I said, this was pretty much my first time handling it, and for a 700$ camera, it does a pretty good job. Of course the A99 or GH3 is going to blast it over the water, but until someone says otherwise, I'm going to keep on using it for PRO work. Also it's not like the end user is going to say... "damn, this would've looked better if they used a GH3".
Hey man, you're welcome! Glad to help:
This is my work setup:
PC - Windows 7
i7 920 processor (first gen, about 4 years old quadcore processor, now i believe they are in the 3rd gen, so they are basically faster and better to work with). A quadcore processor is generally recommended for video editing, as most of the software enables the use of more cores.
2 video cards, but i only use 1 for video editing: Nvidia Geforce GT240 1 gig. I use the NVidia for editing because it enables CUDA in Adobe Premiere and other Adobe apps... (more on that later). My card is an old model, but still works pretty great. Newer models should be faster to work with, and help you render your movies faster.
12 gb of 1600mhz DD3 ram... a general rule for video editing, is the more you have, the better. I think for FullHD (1080p) work, 12-16gb is a sweet number of GB to have.
Several Hard Drives, basically going from 500gb to 3 tb. My latest acquisition is a 3 tb WD Green drive. I'll definitely but more in the future. Cheap and the massive storage space helps for the large original video files that are recorded. A short recording session, like about 30 minutes of movie files in the recent DSLR's, can easily eat upwards of 30-40 gb of space, so investing in large TB drives is a must. Imagine if you use 2-3 cameras for one video project... the space one "small" project can be immense, depending on what you use.
Those are the basics. But sooner rather than later, you'll have SOUND to worry about, so these are my tips)
Try to get a good sound card for audio editing (like one of the Asus Xonar series), a pair of studio monitors or a good pair of headphones (Grado, Sony, etc, studio series, starting at about 80$ upwards). Don't get those mega 5.1 7.1 surround sound 3d gaming setups with multiple speakers (logitech, creative, etc). Editing audio is not the same as gaming, so don't go that route. If you are a gamer, like I am, I think the best investment for hearing the audio you edit) you can have is buying some good headphones (like these ones: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000AJIF4E/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i00 ) It can make all the difference...
Now regarding the software , well you basically can't go wrong with Adobe's Creative Suite (try to get the latest version, CS6). Industry standard stuff, no questions asked. Tons of free tutorials in Youtube and elsewhere. They are available for MAC & PC:
Adobe Premiere (for video editing, color correcting, has easy to use effects and transitions, easy and fast, uses CUDA: this is the program you're going to use the most)
Adobe After Effects (for more advanced visual effects, like motion graphics)
Adobe Audition (for more advanced audio editing)
ON CUDA: Remember when I said it's important to buy an NVIDIA video card? Not AMD! Why? Because NVIDIA cards have great CUDA support, which is basically a more technical term for hardware rendering in Adobe Premiere... it basically makes editing your FullHD video AKIN to browsing a the internet, fast, in realtime, with no stutters. I think it also makes Rendering your movie file (creating your final video file for everyone to watch and upload to the internet) faster. My 3-4 year old NVIDIA card is pretty fast in that sense, and I'm sure the newer ones will be even faster. Adobe has said that it's working with AMD to implement CUDA for future versions of Creative Suite, but I think it's a longshot. So for the meantime, buy a good NVIDIA card. One more thing, it's not necessary to buy a Quadro series card, just buy yourself a capable gaming NVIDIA card (200-300$, 2gb), and then follow the instructions on this website: http://www.studio1productions.com/Articles/PremiereCS5.htm
These are my basic begginer hardware and software suggestions. For us DSLR'r filmmakers, I think they'll work pretty well. If you have any other questions, let me know! If I don't know the answer, at least I'll try to lead you in the right direction.
Well, I was just referring to the A57's MP4 settings in comparison to it's AVCHD settings. MP4 setting's in the A57 only let you film in 2 resolutions: 720p and 640x480px. The AVCHD setting let you film in FullHD (1080p) 60fps. The AVCHD also has a higher bitrate, so even if you downgrade the video res to 720p to compare it with the MP4, it looks better. Not trolling man, just facts. But yeah, maybe the end user won't notice the difference... but I do.
Before you do anything else, get an HDMI cable and look at the video straight out of the camera on a real TV. Most PC monitors are pretty awful at playing video well. Chances are pretty good that's your big problem.
Secondly, you'll always get better video results by shooting as manual as you're comfortable with. Focus and aperture are no-brainers. ISO isn't a bad idea either. This is true of all cameras and all formats.
Third, the quality of your glass makes a huge difference. The 18-55 kit lens is, quite frankly, a piece of junk for video.
I've only shot a tiny bit of video on my A57 so far, but I was blown away by the quality using a vintage Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4, mounted using an $8 M42 adapter:
Considering you can pick a great manual 50mm 1.4 for $150 or less on eBay, it's kind of a no-brainer purchase, unless you're shelling out for the Sony 50mm 1.4 AF.
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