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I have a video, shot with a recent but low-end camcorder (Samsung HMX-Q10) in Full HD 1920x1080/50i.

The problem is that there wasn't enough light (I guess) and the camcorder added some "parasites" to the video on the zones in the shadow (blacks are quite okay, but dark zones are not).
The kind of parasites that you may see on that video (on walls for instance) (this is not a video shot with that camcorder, nor my video).

So, I don't seem to be able to remove them when shooting, whatever the parameters of the cam are. I still need to try with more light, but I'd like to know if it is possible to correct that with a post-production effect on my existing video, especially with Sony Vegas Pro.

Moreover, is there a way to prevent the cam to add those artificial elements to the video ? This looks like some numeric elements added to the video, like the cam tries to correct the lighting. Can't the camcorder write exactly the image it gets from the lens, even if it's too dark ?
Can I achieve this kind of dark image with my cam (or maybe it is darkened in post production ?)

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3 Answers 3

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The parasites you talked about is called noise. The setting you can change to get less is called the ISO. It corresponds to the old ASA value we had before the digital age.

We can't see a thing, we can only see light. That's the way the universe is built up. Same with the camera. It sees the light reflected off surfaces. So white objects reflects all light and dark objects no light. And absence of light, as you know, means darkness. Where it is dark it has to "work extra hard" to figure out what's actually there, because there is almost no information there given from the light. Therefore you will get some noise. A better camera will produce less noise.

  1. Turn down the ISO as much as possible without compromising the aperture or "shutter speed" you want.
  2. Remove the noise left in post.

It is also no problem to edit it away in post on your computer! The only compromise is that you will get smoother edges and blurred images the more noise you remove. I once saw a movie shot entirely by moonlight. It was full of noise but they removed everything in post!

There are two plugins you can use:

  1. Neat Video's Noise Removal. I've never tried this, but you can use it with Sony Vegas. They claim to be the best in noise removal.

  2. Red Giant's Magic Bullet DeNoiser. I've used this and am very satisfied with it. Does a really good job. I don't know if this works in Vegas, but it certainly works great in Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro!

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Wow, Neat Video's plugin work really great ! –  Julien N Mar 3 '12 at 13:02
    
Good to hear! :) –  Friend of Kim Mar 3 '12 at 13:30

Regarding this part of the question:

"Can I achieve this kind of dark image with my cam (or maybe it is darkened in post production ?)"

This looks like post production work and Vegas can do this. There are two things going on in the video to make it look dark. One is the use of a border or frame that is feathered on the inside edge and totally black at the outside (frame) edge. The other effect is a tweak on the brightness and contrast levels of this clip and possibly some color grading.

In Vegas Pro you can get the border a couple of ways.

1) Vega Pro--> choose Video FX (tab) --> choose 'border' --> select 'soft edge' --> adjust size in pop up to suit your need.

2) Vega Pro--> choose Video FX (tab) --> choose 'cookie cutter' --> select 'circle' --> in pop up change the following: set 'shape' to rectangle', set 'method' to "cut away all but section', set size and feather to your need.

The 2nd method will allow you more control of the soft zone of the border.

And to make the overall scene darker.

1) Vega Pro--> choose Video FX (tab) --> choose 'brightness and contrast' --> adjust brightness and contrast sliders to where you want it.

2) additionally: Vega Pro--> choose Video FX (tab) --> choose 'color correction' or '2nd color correction' to tweak the color grade as a part of the overall look of this clip.

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The parasites you are referring to is actually called 'noise'.

Digital noise comes from two main sources. The first being the inherent noise in the camera's sensor. This is exacerbated by heat buildup on the chip from multiple exposures or long exposures, or by having many photosites clustered onto a small chip. This is why dSLRs have less noise than point and shoots. The second source of noise you allude to is from the ISO rating. The ISO setting simply amplifies the signal through the chip, much like turning up the volume on your stereo. With the volume at 3, you can't hear the noise in your stereo, at 10 you hear the hiss through the speakers. This is amplification noise. The best advice for avoiding camera noise. Buy a camera with a larger CCD or CMOS chip (think dSLR), and work to dial in your exposures. Underexposed images always end up being noisier than correctly exposed images. - Jay Kinghorn. RGB Imaging

There is no real way to remove this noise from your image in post. Adobe After Effects may have a Reduce Noise filter (I don't use it so I don't know for sure) but what it could actually achieve would be very limited. I also don't use Sony Vegas so I can't help you there, but I'm going to take a stab in the dark and say it doesn't have a Reduce Noise filter.

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