Filming in the Garden with the Canons in HD + SD

Before I get started on the next podcast visuals (some macro videography to support the upcoming Josh Johnson / Rewind This! interview) and editing Marilla Wex’ Lost and Found performance (taped in SD, using a JVC BY-110U), here’s some sample frame grabs from the garden footage shot this past week using the Canon VC-50 Pro Saticon video camera (SD) and the Canon SX-220HS (HD).

I’ve adjusted the contrast levels for the SD footage as there’s one problem that affects this level of consumer / prosumer grade cameras outfitted with either Saticon or Newvicon tubes: they have a *very* narrow range of tolerance for bright light.

In plain terms, bright light gives you three choices when adjusting the manual aperture: 1) slightly darker tones and muted colours to get some finer detail; 2) more natural colours with hot whites; and 3) vivid colours with unavoidable hot spots. In the case of the latter, cranking open the aperture will overload the sensor, turning all bright areas black & white, which isn’t awful if you want to create a half-colour / half- B&W image as an in-camera effect, but is useless if you want natural, properly illuminated objects with vivid colours.

When the separate SD garden video is cut, I’ll add a related featurette on this problem, but you can see the kind of blown-out images that occur in this test video of the Sharp QC-54, which uses a Newvicon tube and an auto-iris sensor that can’t handle bright spots on leaves.

Here’s the SD footage, shot with the VC-50:










And here’s the unaltered frame grabs of the HD footage, shot with the SX-220:









Note the difference in colour, detail, and contrast in the last images for each camera. It’s the same plant from similar angles, but you can easily see how the Saticon tube offers a pastel spectrum of colours.

When the Rewind This! podcast’s done, I’ll include the usual making-of blog with stills.





Mark R. Hasan, Editor
Big Head Amusements

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