Monday, July 6, 2015

Samsung NX300: Video

I'm not the best one to come to for video because my knowledge is limited to just the basics and I prefer photos to video.  But I figured that since this blog was helping others to learn I can learn along with you.  This did take me longer to put together so apologies for taking so long.

While playing around with the Video feature I found out, to my surprise, that I could add the Picture Wizard feature and Smart Filters to my videos in camera (although not both at the same time).

I won't discuss anything in the videos, but will give the descriptions and so on here.  Just a quick note, you can start recording a video at any point by pressing the red record button top right of the camera (red circled surrounded by silver).  To stop recording, press the red button again.

Samsung NX300 Video

To start, the settings:

PAL or NTSC?

NTSC stands for National Television Standards Committee and the standard format for DVD players and in broadcast television in America and Japan.

PAL stands for Phase Alternating Line used for broadcasting and DVD players in Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

PAL DVD players are said to play both PAL and NTSC while NTSC DVD players can't play PAL.

Choosing either will depend on your region and your audience e.g. I'm in South Africa so my region's format would be PAL and wouldn't be able to play on a DVD player in America.  So check what your region's format is and go according to that.

Movie Size - I used the highest for my region which would be 1920 x 1080 (50p) PAL to play around with.

I thought that visually, this example might be easier to understand regarding frames per second: Frames per second

The more frames per second the smoother the movement in the video.  24p is considered the "film mode".  The less fps the more choppy the video will look, as if you took multiple photos and put them side by side in a fast slideshow.  It can lead to a creative video so don't overlook it.

Take a look at this article and examples: FPS

The size 1920 x 1080 is 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels tall and provides more definition than say 640 x 480. The smaller size you select, the more pixelated (blocky) the video will be when you try to view it on a bigger screen.  But, a bigger size will also depend on the screen or TV you will be viewing it on as older and/smaller screens and TVs might not be big enough to view the entire video at 1920 x 1080.

The 1920 x 1080 resolution just fits on my computer monitor.  So when taking a video keep in mind the resolution of the screen.

Here is an article on resolution.

A quick note here, in your manual you may have noted that some Smart Filters can only be used at 1920 x 1080 (15p) but the settings under movie quality don't go lower than 1920 x 1080 (24p) in NTSC and PAL.

In order to use the Smart Filters with quality 1920 x 1080 (15p) you will need to activate the Smart Filters under the camera icon under Menu.  If Smart Filters is greyed out then you need to change your photo Quality (under the camera icon) to JPEG (I chose Super Fine) and Drive to Single.

Smart Filters won't work if RAW and Continuous Drive is selected.  You can get more details on Smart Filters here.

I will get back to using Smart Filters with videos shortly.  For now we will carry on with normal videos.

Movie Quality - I have 16GB memory cards so prefer to use the best settings and set HQ (High Quality).

Multi Motion - This setting....well I was laughing all the time.  Sounds is cut off when anything higher or lower than x1 is selected.  I can just see this feature being used in a comedy (attaching a music file in a video software) as the video speeds up so when using Multi Motion, make sure to take at least 15 seconds of video for 5x and longer for anything higher than the speed.

For slow action you can go lower than x1 but only if Movie Size is set to 640 x 480 or 320 x 240 for x0.25 (really slow and funny) or x0.5 when set to 1280 x 720 (30p), 640 x 480 and 320 x 240.  x1 is for normal recording and is the only one where you will have sound.

Fader - handy feature for a gently fade in, out or both.  I have this on off but examples will be below.

Voice - enables or disables sound, I left mine on.

Wind cut - cuts down on wind noise.  I left mine off.

Mic level - how sensitive the microphone is, I left mine on high although the sound can be a bit tinny.

Aperture and ISO work in the same way as photo but Shutter Speed is calculated according to degrees or angle.  Working with this principle helps to create a realistic looking video.  But unless you intend creating videos for sale etc then it might appear complicated to you.

If you want to take video recording more seriously, here's an explanation of how the 180 degree works: 180 Degree.

But if all you want to do is just take some videos, whether it's a family event, something funny your pet got up to etc, then take a look at this article/video example: Understanding shutter speed.

The slower your shutter speed the more blur you have.  But, the shutter speed usually won't go lower than the frames per rate selected e.g. if I chose 1920 x 1080 (24p) the frames per rate would be 24.

But since the shutter speed doesn't allow for 1/24 the shutter speed will be 1/30 and won't allow you to go lower.  There is an option for 1/25 but the camera chose 1/30 instead (the shutter closest to the frames per rate is usually selected).

This low shutter speed will cause quite a blur with any moving object e.g. propellers of a plane. You can increase the shutter speed as high as you want (I went up to 1/6000) but this is going to make your video darker to a point that you won't be able to see anything unless you have a large amount of light available.

A faster shutter speed will also "freeze" the movement so instead of a blur of propellers you will be able to the see the movement of the blades clearly.

While taking video I will admit I was oblivious to all of this, and yet, the video came out pretty good lol.  So if I can play around and not make a total mess up without any knowledge, you shouldn't have a problem lol.

Now let's go through the video tests.  I tried to keep it fairly short just to give you an idea.  You can also view a video of the Annual Zwartkops Airshow used with the Samsung NX300 and 18-55mm lens here: Airshow

Samsung NX300 video examples

I tried out different light settings to see how the video handled noise.  As the video says, all but the waterfall (in the video examples of the movie) was recorded handheld.  Throughout the rest of the video, recordings were handheld.

The Aquarium: there was backlighting in the aquarium but I had zoomed in to 55mm which wouldn't let me open my aperture further than f5.6, so less light allowed in and I because of my video settings I couldn't go lower than 1/50 shutter speed.  I had increased my ISO to 3200-6400 and could have increased further for more light but as you can see, the noise was becoming pretty evident.

The video of the fish in a smaller tank meant the lighting was stronger so I could get a brighter video.

Now in video software like Premiere Elements (not free) you can lighten the video, add more saturation etc.  There is also a free program called MPEG Streamclip where you can to basic editing.  I created the videos in Premiere Elements 10.

Movement is good, maybe a little slow at times and if you noticed, the camera kept adjusting the focus.  I haven't yet found a way to stop the Continuous Focus other than to go to Manual Focus.

Zooming in and manual focus created a very feint sound, which might not be evident at an event where there is plenty of sound but with something quiet it might present a problem.  If sound isn't needed then it's better to turn off the sound.  Turning the Jog Dial (for changing aperture/shutter speed etc) while shooting a video is picked up by the mic and you can definitely hear it.

You could try an external mic to reduce the noise but as I don't have one I can't comment further.

Zoo - Full Sunlight

Not the most exciting of videos but here the ISO was at 100 because of the amount of light, I could also increased my shutter speed and aperture without having to worry about light issues.

Waterfall - Shadow

The waterfall was in the shadow of a mountain, but there was a decent amount of light although I had to increase my ISO to about 400 but I could also increase my shutter speed enough to capture the movement.  As I zoomed in you couldn't hear the mechanism (but some wind as I didn't have the Wind Cut feature on).  I used a tripod for this, could have used handheld or leaned on the wooden railing but there were too many people moving around and bumping the railing that it was easier to grab my ground with a tripod.  You know, a sign to say to them, "my space".

The light was consistent even when I zoomed in so I didn't have to change anything while zooming.
I used the Manfrotto, which I discussed here: Tripod

Fader Feature

This is pretty much self explanatory, the Fade In feature fades the video in at the beginning when you press the record button (red button near top right) but doesn't fade out when you press the button again to stop recording.  The Fade Out feature is the opposite, doesn't fade in at the beginning but fades out when you press the record button to stop recording.

With the Fade Out feature there was a very slight fade in at the beginning of recording, almost unnoticeable. The Fade In feature was a bit hard with the fade in whereas the Fade Out was softer.

Fade In and Fade Out is where both features are used, so your video fades when you start recording and fades out when you stop recording.

Oh and if you notice the slight shifting now and then, that's me bumping the camera accidentally or pressing the stop button.

Picture Wizard

I chose 3 features (but all work fine), Retro, Classic and Landscape.  In Video Picture Wizard can work in RAW, Drive set to Continuous High etc.  I.e. if you use these camera settings for taking photos, they won't prevent you from using Picture Wizard, unlike Smart Filter where certain setting need to be turned off.

Retro

I like the Retro feeling, especially for the Airshow showcasing some very old planes.  As you will notice, Little Anne didn't come into focus immediately until the plane had reached the area I had selected as my focus point.  Now, the cool thing about the touch screen on the Samsung NX300 is that you can can place your focus anywhere you want while recording, just touch the area.

I didn't do that with the plane but later in the video I show an example of changing focus while recording.

Retro is nice and clear, no banding (those lines you see when blending isn't done well).  It also kept up fine with the speed and unlike Smart Filter I wasn't limited to 15fps.

Classic

Classic is basically Black and White.  Even though the jet was fast, it passed an area of sky that was blue and all colour is removed from this feature.  Also, no restriction on frames per rate and this could be used very nicely for an old black and white film, but with a lower frames per rate (e.g. 24p) for a more authentic look.  Adding a little more contrast in software would bring out the Black and White better as it looked a little bland.

Landscape

Landscape, as with photos, is used more for scenes with blue and green. I chose to use Landscape because of the blue in the sky.  The blue wasn't enhanced greatly, just very gently and if you wanted something with more punch then Vivid would be better.

As said above, Picture Wizard doesn't restrict the same way Smart Filter does, so you have a little more freedom for creativity here.

Smart Filters

Smart Filters can be interesting to use and the effects they produce are fun although I'm not certain how often a video with these effects would be created.

Take a look at my post about Smart Filters here: Smart Filters

Smart Filters will be greyed out unless Picture Wizard is set to Off, Drive is set to Single and Quality set to JPEG.  So you need to make those changes in order to use this feature in video in the same way as with photos.

Some of the Smart Filters are also limited to 15 frames per second (15p) whether it's 1920x1080 or 640x480.  You may have seen that when selecting Movie Size under the Video Menu, 25p (if you are using PAL) or 30p (if using NTSC) will show up as an option. Even if you select 25p/30p, the camera will change to 15p for certain filters.  Below are the filters I've tested and which work with 25p/30p and which with 15p.  Note, I tested out in PAL but the same applies to NTSC.

Vignetting - 25p
Miniature - 15p
Coloured Pencil - 25p
Watercolour - 15p
Wash Drawing - 15p
Oil Sketch - 15p
Ink Sketch - 25p
Acryl - 15p
Negative - 25p
Red - 25p
Green - 25p
Blue - 25p
Yellow - 25p

Vignetting

Corners are darkened, this is meant to bring attention to the subject in the center.  Slight banding (in a circular way) with frames per rate being 25p.  Not too bad.  The reason the video took so long to upload is because I wanted to use the highest quality save in order to show the original videos instead of degrading the quality for a smaller file.

Oil Sketch

Colourful, different but slow and creates a lot of banding.  It almost looks as if the jet was mirrored towards the end.  Speed 15p.

But I didn't want to give it a bad rap because I don't think it works well with fast objects.  Still life on the other hand looks pretty good which is why I added in a video example of a little house and a flower.  The more detail and definition there is, the better this feature seems to work.  If you look at the house, colours are well defined, lines easily visible but with the flower contrast is lost.

Negative

Heavy, visible banding here.  Speed is 25p.  Another interesting effect which can be cool, but might be best used with objects that are dark in colour to be more visible in the video.

Colour: Yellow, Blue, Red and Green

These filters are meant to filter out the said colours.  Sorry for the fast movement, didn't realise until afterwards how fast I was moving around.  Speed for these filters is 25p.

Colours showed up well and stood out clearly.  Shades closest to the said colours (e.g. pink showed up in the red filter) also showed up but while the colours in these videos were clear and defined, when I played with a desk (with different grains of wood) in low light, the filters struggled.  It looks like light plays a part in whether or not the filters in Smart Filters can pick up the colours clearly else they will be patchy and continuously shift over the area if you move your camera.

Out of the filters, Blue seemed the lightest in the video but I had adjusted my settings and set the exposure a little too high.  I didn't seen any banding here.

The banding in the features of Smart Filter seem to affect areas where there is differnt shades of colour blending into one another.

Multi-Motion

Ah, now here is a good feature to have a laugh with.  x1 speed is normal and you will have sound but decrease it to x0.5 or x0.25, or increase higher than x1 and sound will be turned off.

While recording, everything will look normal but when you playback the video it will speed up or slow down according to the setting.  For x0.5 and x0.25, you don't need to record for long (even 5 seconds is good enough) but for x5 and up, don't go below 10 seconds because the playback is so fast it will be over before you can blink.

Here your only restriction for frames per rate is when you want to use x0.5 and x0.25 where you can only select the highest of 1280x720 (25p/30p) for x0.5 and highest of 640x480 (25p) for x0.25.

You can also use Picture Wizard or Smart Filters with Multi-Motion. I only played with Retro and Watercolour just to test it out.  I also changed the aperture and shutter speed while recording.  Because sound is turned off when higher or lower than x1 you won't hear the dial turning.

There was a bit of banding evident in the slower video, you don't really have time to see it in the faster speed.

Changing Focus during recording

If you find that your focus area isn't where you want it to be and have already started recording, simply touch the screen over the area you want in focus and the camera places the focus point there.  It's pretty efficient, quiet and doesn't create that much disturbance as the camera refocuses.

For now that's it on video.  I'm still going through info so will add more as I go along.

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