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Is this noise level normal for BMCC?

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  • Is this noise level normal for BMCC?

    I just got my BMCC a week or so ago and I've been doing lots of test shots/color grading. See the attached still, everything that is not in focus, especially the sky, you can notice this noise (it's somewhat more distracting in video over the still). It's not really a coloured noise so it's not too distracting, but it's not as clear as I thought it might be.

    I'm shooting PRO RES (film mode + 5600k + 800iso) with the BMCC MFT + Speedbooster + Sigma 18-35mm + ND filter (to the point where 95% zebras are not showing) and in post all I've been doing are adding a LUT from Hook or Kholi and then adding a slight s curve.

    VIMEO - https://vimeo.com/96323389

    BEFORE COLOR GRADE:

    stillbefore_1.1.2.jpg

    AFTER:

    still_1.1.1.jpg

    Any feedback would be appreciated. Thank you all in advance.
    Last edited by stephenwm; 05-24-2014, 09:11 AM. Reason: Added Vimeo link

  • #2
    You're using a fader or vari ND, right? That's why your sky is so uneven, and you have it dialed up near maximum - actually beyond what I would consider maximum, given how uneven the sky is.
    In the graded jpeg I see some color banding in the sky - is that the "noise" you are talking about? If so, I would say it's not sensor noise, but an artifact from the vary-ND, possibly combined with some IR contamination. I haven't seen that particular effect before, but perhaps others have. Are you also using an IR cut filter? What brand of ND are you using?

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    • #3
      The "X" of death. Yeh you cant push the vari ND that much. I dunno if that is contributing to your prob but it sure isn't helping. I see lots of banding. Steve are you saying a fader can cause banding? Didn't know that ...if thats the case.
      Darren Scott
      Freelance Director/Director of Photography


      https://vimeo.com/jambredzvisions/videos

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      • #4
        I'm using this Variable ND http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ty_Filter.html
        and my Hoya IR cut filter should be here early next week.

        So you think it's due to the ND and lack of IR cut?

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        • #5
          Here is the Vimeo link - https://vimeo.com/96323389

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          • #6
            Stupid question: What's the proper way of exposing a shot outdoors with a sunny sky?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jambredz View Post
              The "X" of death. Yeh you cant push the vari ND that much. I dunno if that is contributing to your prob but it sure isn't helping. I see lots of banding. Steve are you saying a fader can cause banding? Didn't know that ...if thats the case.
              The banding I'm seeing is a strange warm/cool banding and it follows the "X" from the overly strong vary-ND setting. And knowing no IR cut was used, so some pretty strong CC was involved- maybe from Hook's IR correction LUT - I'm just guessing the crossed polarizers in the fader are playing havoc. I've done other tests that show rotating an entire vary ND can change the look by drastically altering how much reflected light (say from a sunset over water) gets through.

              As far as the right way to apply strong ND to a sunny outdoor shot: Hoya proNDs.

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              • #8
                Ultimately you don't want to be using vari-ND, in an ideal situation you would want a high-end ND set, but understandably there is not always time for that style of shooting. I recently did a documentary shoot on the BMPCC (ProRes) in the Azores and due to the limited time and run and gun nature of the shoot I found myself using vari-ND and pushing it occasionally further than I wanted. Most of the time I would stop down the lens a little instead of pushing the vari-nd too far, but on a few shots I also came into some trouble in the skies. What I did in post: abandon LUT's. No matter how much I tried to feed a LUT a good image, I couldn't get some of that artifacting to go away (no matter what LUT), so I cleared all the nodes and built a power look from scratch and I was able to get a much cleaner final image. LUM vs SAT curves for saturation was noticeably better than RGB channel saturation (to my eye), plus I had to tame the reds quite a bit with qualifier, but it was worth the effort - might be worth a shot for you.

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                • #9
                  Alright, good to know. Hopefully my IR cut filter makes the world of a difference.

                  So that noise that you see in the sky when I pan up in the video is normal then? Do you see the moving noise?

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                  • #10
                    Few things:

                    - The weird effect going on in the sky comes from a combination of polarization and exposing too far to the left. I've seen it before, but haven't since.
                    - The 2.5K camera is a noisy camera when you need to maximize DR. It's normal, and doesn't necessarily look bad at all.
                    - Being that there isn't any denoising in camera, if you want that you have to do it later. Not such a big deal
                    - RE: LUTs, the issue is that not everyone shoots the same. I no longer ETTR, and am currently moving on to actually just nailing exposure in monitor/waveform. That means sometimes I'm literally severely udnerexposed, but when it drops into R10 it's dead on with noise as the compromise.

                    Completely fine by me, as it also seems to be the better image overall, to me.

                    If you're using them, then it's likely best practice to ask how the one what built it shoots. For example: the latest LUT I'm building works best if you start with a warmer white balance for daylight, so instead of shooting 5600 you shoot 6500. I believe it's especially helpful when shooting ProRes.

                    On the flipside, if you aren't using the same NDs and IR cut that I am, or glass, then results will vary. So it's a toss up.

                    Once you figure it all out, it's great. I enjoy the process, personally, and I'm still learning the cameras even after so long usin' em.

                    SKYPE (best way to talk to me): Camera_Kholi | twitter
                    Avery and Pete: Superseeds Feature Film Trailer

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                    • #11
                      Thanks man. I really appreciate the answers and feedback.

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                      • #12
                        The thing that stands out to me is the orange banding in the sky when you tilt up. If you are seeing something else it's not obvious to me - can you describe it better?

                        This is new and strange to me so I don't know what your IR cut will do. It will not get rid of the uneven sky. It might not even get rid of the color banding, but since you will not need to CC so strongly maybe it won't be obvious.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Steve Wake View Post
                          The thing that stands out to me is the orange banding in the sky when you tilt up. If you are seeing something else it's not obvious to me - can you describe it better?

                          This is new and strange to me so I don't know what your IR cut will do. It will not get rid of the uneven sky. It might not even get rid of the color banding, but since you will not need to CC so strongly maybe it won't be obvious.
                          I see that too.. that's really the big problem. I think I'm being a little too OCD about the noise thing, that orangish banding is pretty bad to look at. It must have to do with the vari ND, lack of IR cut and my CC. I'll have to go do some more testing today. I appreciate all the feedback.

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                          • #14
                            Oh i also remember getting banding once using Franks and someone else's LUT when i set up the nodes in a particular way. I cant remember now but try switching around the nodes... Making adjustments before the LUT and after the LUT to see how it responds. Play with it.
                            Darren Scott
                            Freelance Director/Director of Photography


                            https://vimeo.com/jambredzvisions/videos

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                            • #15
                              That's also entirely possible. Try what Darren's suggesting.

                              SKYPE (best way to talk to me): Camera_Kholi | twitter
                              Avery and Pete: Superseeds Feature Film Trailer

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