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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:30 pm 
Hi, I got my FZ200 in the mail today. I bought it mainly for shooting video for my youtube channel so I don't need to fight the wife over who's going to use the camera. I chose this camera because of it's high frames per second.

Not being a pro photographer I am wondering what I can do to increase clarity during high speed recording. At 120 fps 720p the picture is mild and a bit blurry. At 240 fps it is dark and grainy with some motion blur. (See youtube link below)

I understand that for a sub $500 camera I'm not going to get professional high speed video quality but i would like to learn how to utilize the maximum potential of this camera. I also realize lighting is key here, at least I think it is. Besides lots of light are there any settings of functions that a person might configure to help? Any tips would be appreciated, in the meantime I'll hit the books and do some reading on the matter.

Ultimately I want my viewers to see what's going on, and that doesn't necessarily mean clarity or smoothness, but that would certainly be nice. The video below was shot at 640x480 240fps then slowed down an additional 4x in my editing software. I find the video satisfactory but wish it was sharper and less grainy. I was using a halogen work light.

Thank you!

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:20 am 

Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 2:29 am
Posts: 755
Short answer: a) yes, I think more light should help reduce the grain/noise. b) Unfortunately, the "blur" actually looks like "mud" aka "codec breakdown" to me, and if that's the case, I don't think there's much you can do about that.

Long answer:

a) normally, film is shot at 24fps with a 180 degree shutter. i.e. 1/48 shutter speed. When shooting at 240fps, obviously the longest possible shutter speed is 1/240 (each frame exposed for the entire 1/240th of a second) which is ~2.5 stops slower, and remember that each stop doubles (or in this case halves) the amount of light. So you need 5 times more light to achieve the same exposure at 1/240 than you would at 1/48. (And this assumes that the FZ200 uses a 1/240 shutter speed at 240fps; it may or may not actually be faster. i.e maintaining the typical 180 degree model would mean a 1/480 shutter.) So if you need 1 halogen lamp to properly expose when shooting 1/48, you will need 5 lamps to properly expose at 1/240. If you don't have 5 lamps, the other things you can do--and I suspect the camera was doing automatically--is use a larger aperture and/or increase ISO. But each of these have trade offs--a larger aperture (smaller f number) will mean thinner Depth of Field, so focus will be critical (which could be why you feel the image is soft) (and I suspect the camera was shooting at its max aperture of f2.8, already) and increasing ISO means more noise/grain. Which is why/how more light will allow the camera to use a lower ISO which should translate to less noise/grain.

b) "mud" is caused when the compression codec is overwhelmed. The two ways to get rid of it are to increase the codec bandwidth (which is primarily what the "hack" for Panasonic's GH series cameras does) or shoot without compression (or with less compression). i.e. MJPEG instead of AVCHD. Unfortunately, I don't know of a way to do either on the FZ200.

{edit}now that I think about it, there could indeed be some motion blur in that video. If the FZ200 allows you to choose a shutter speed when shooting high speed video, you could test this by choosing something in the thousandths of a second range. Of course, as noted in part "a" above, this will cause the video to be underexposed--i.e. noisy and grainy--(and it may also appear "jerky"--think Saving Private Ryan) but it shouldn't have much, if any, motion blur. So anything leftover is probably "mud".{/edit}

HTH - Mark

P.S. Also looks to me like you're using a little too much trigger finger. Have you tried a T-grip?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:41 am 
Thanks, that's exactly the type of response I was hoping to get. You explained those features very clearly and I now have an understanding of the functions I am dealing with. I'll report back after working with this information.

Again, thank you.

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