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Petition for Samsung NX1 hack

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There are still some blown out highlights, but looks like an awesome amount of shadow detail can now be recovered without macroblocking, so that is good. So I guess protect the highlights and then pull up the blacks in post.

NX1 Edit 4.png

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10 minutes ago, Geoff CB said:

Did a similar test. Ridiculously over and under exposed. I'm astounded. Given the lighting source I'm guessing we are looking at 800 iso or higher.

origional.jpg

underexposed.jpg

overexposed.jpg

This is what I am referring to, increase the HEVC bitrate and suddenly the info is all there, HEVC is notorious for destroying details, I have been working with the codec from time to time since the day it became available as the X265, specially when it comes to anime and I notice it completely annihilate any form of details in flat surfaces in order to save bitrate, the older HEVC codecs also applied a form of sharpening to the image automatically, I actually wonder if this is the case with NX1 because of the overly super sharp image. 

You would have to increase HEVC bitrate more than the H264 bitrate is in order to have similar details and at this point the file sizes were similar so there were no need to use HEVC, its only useful for non-grain content like animation and low bitrate video files distributed over the internet, its also an excellent streaming codec which is generally what it was designed for. Internet streaming and broadcasting use, not to be used in a small powerhouse of a mirrorless camera to capture video, Samsung made a good choice but a bad choice at the same time, appealing for run and gun people who just want a camera that does it all and they do not edit their videos or apply grades on it. But completely useless codec for people like us who work in the industry and do grading.

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You would have to increase HEVC bitrate more than the H264 bitrate is in order to have similar details and at this point the file sizes were similar so there were no need to use HEVC, its only useful for non-grain content like animation and low bitrate video files distributed over the internet, its also an excellent streaming codec which is generally what it was designed for. Internet streaming and broadcasting use, not to be used in a small powerhouse of a mirrorless camera to capture video, Samsung made a good choice but a bad choice at the same time, appealing for run and gun people who just want a camera that does it all and they do not edit their videos or apply grades on it. But completely useless codec for people like us who work in the industry and do grading.

Thanks for that perspective.  I can relate in experience.  I wanted to like the camera with all my heart, and shooting on it was a joy, but any time it came to grading footage I just could never stand how black levels specifically responded to any kind of push in luma.  I'm willing to go through a larger workflow to handle larger bit rate files if it means a cleaner, more flexible image if it's coming from the nx1.  The codec is the only thing holding it back (like a lot of prosumer cameras).

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Guys thank you for your work, it's amazing! 2 question/request about... Is there any chance to fix annoying NX1 auto iso setting in your hacks? I mean when you enable it and set the limit to 1600 for example, it's not working in video mode, it allways grows up to 6400. And white balance shifts in auto/kelvin mode... :) any chance?

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44 minutes ago, j_one said:

Thanks for that perspective.  I can relate in experience.  I wanted to like the camera with all my heart, and shooting on it was a joy, but any time it came to grading footage I just could never stand how black levels specifically responded to any kind of push in luma.  I'm willing to go through a larger workflow to handle larger bit rate files if it means a cleaner, more flexible image if it's coming from the nx1.  The codec is the only thing holding it back (like a lot of prosumer cameras).

The higher bitrate has definitely seemed to help quite a lot, I also noticed less banding in blue sky with -10 contrast in GammeDR with 1.40 after they increased bitrate, which means banding issue can indeed be fixed with higher bitrate, now imagine what it would look like with 200mbps+ bitrate, the higher bitrate usually has quite a lot to say but I am still in favour of using the MJPEG codec in the camera over the HEVC one, the MJPEG is far less CPU intensive compared to the HEVC which is extremely CPU intensive, and the NOISE grain in the pathetic 480p MJPEG mode seems to have more details than the 2160p HEVC with 3200ISO does.

Now you might be asking why the hell would anyone want to use MJPEG over HEVC and the answer simply is that MJPEG is better at retaining finer details in images than the HEVC is and this is JPEG stills we are talking about, well somewhat. HEVC will still try to destroy details in images even at insanely high bitrates, its just how the codec works sadly whereas MJPEG will have better details at higher bitrates and this still is true with Canon old ancient cine line which shoots with MJPEG codecs and 4k, there is just more info in the images and they can be pushed around more. 

Sadly the Motion JPEG 2000 is not available in the camera as far as I can tell, if there was a way to implement that it would be king of king cameras, there probably would be no need for raw video, with high enough bitrate the MJPEG2000 is quite a beastly codec supporting RGB444 and even RGBA4444

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Just now, Chant said:

This is more along the lines of what I am working on. The bitrate mod that they did should be good for most. But I am diving deep into the fw, Still a good time away until my end shows any gains. But like I said a few posts ago the more I find the more excited I get. I can look at the mjpeg encoder cpp and see if things can me modded to allow a higher frame size. But again thats just adding to the list of things. But at least things have moved up! Maybe samsung will have an official word the more news of these mods get better known

 

Thanks I would appreciate if you could look into the MJPEG codec, its quite an interesting thing they added for low fi video.

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I don't understand why Samsung didn't implement these changes to start with. I can understand why Sony and Panasonic hobble their consumer models as to not compete with their PRO camera lines, but Samsung had nothing to lose. They could have made the NX1 into an absolute monster, and even charged another $1000.

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Just now, pressland said:

I don't understand why Samsung didn't implement these changes to start with. I can understand why Sony and Panasonic hobble their consumer models as to not compete with their PRO camera lines, but Samsung had nothing to lose. They could have made the NX1 into an absolute monster, and even charged another $1000.

One can just hope they see what the community has done knowing that the nx was at end of life I probley just bought one of the last ones that were at adorama has 1.32 firmware on it. Make them rethink the choice and maybe come back with the rumored lx version. I think it was called. But now that I have one the discovery and research time into firmware is going to go up. And as much as things moved the last week I think things will happen much quicker than with the other cameras that have been modded. ;) Good bye sleep haha

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Oh my god, the news on this thread is so exciting - I can't express it in ASCII/UNICODE.  How awesome, you guys made my week!  'm a lurker who finally signed up here, just to post a reply:

So, I'm a 'prosumer' camera user who purchased my NX500 around christmas (the 'big gift from family') based on the specs & price.  My idea was to shoot unattended from an unattended tripod, then crop (& potentially stabilize handheld footage) from 4K to FHD in post.  Sadly, once I started using the camera I was pretty disappointed.  The 15-minute/4GB limit (still an issue @ 4K if I understand correctly?), and for me especially the lack of manual video white balance control in the NX500 made my results horrible, even worse than my cheap old Panasonic TM-90 (which I know well and still love).

This 'forced auto' white balance on the NX500 is killing me!  It's tolerable outdoors but absolutely horrible indoors, resulting in unusable orange-on-yellow garbage that's pretty much uncorrectable since the auto-white-balancer is constantly shifting the white balance around...  (It seems like such a deal-killer, could I be missing something here?)

Having spent the evening reading this thread (I should have taken notes!), I was wondering if anyone has tried running the NX1's .BIN apps on the NX500 camera yet?  'IF' the NX1 video capture app could be made to run on the NX500 that would give us it's manual white balance control (among other things) and to me that would be HUGE.

I didn't return the NX500 because it's supposedly a quasi-open-source device and I was hoping something exactly like this would break open.  (Plus the fact that raising kids I can't justify spending more... anyway...)  Then when Samsung discontinued the product and left us in the lurch, just looking at it sitting on my shelf was kind of depressing.  It looked like a device with great potential, intentionally hamstrung for marketing purposes that was going to be a dead-end and a big wasted investment.  I was left monitoring developments by searching for 'NX500 firmware' every few weeks...

And now these developments...  I am super excited and want to contribute however I can.  Actually I'm a career software developer with over 30 years of experience.  Haven't done much low level hacking lately but know (some) Linux / (a lot of) C++ down to binary optimization (mostly windows) / etc and could probably do some heavy lifting, time-permitting...  Not much image processing background, but I think I understand at least the basics.

So, from my N00B perspective, and not wanting to brick my (now increasingly valuable!) NX500, I'd like to help (in descending order priority) 1) figure out how to get the camera to boot from the SD card, 2) get the camera to run NX1 firmware (more on this in a moment), and 3) remove the 15-minute 4K video recording time.

On the NX1 firm(ish)ware on the NX500 proposed project, the core question seems to be whether the camera is running the same FPGA or if Samsung fabbed different ASIC's for the different cameras.  Information seems conflicting on this, with FCC screenshots indicating they're different chips but FFMPEG reporting the same compression engine metadata.  So which is it?  It seems there's a good argument for both approaches (transistors are cheap vs. FPGA implementation battery run-time might be bad) If anyone can clarify this it seems this would determine whether this NX1 firmware on NX500 project is viable...  OR am I missing something here?  Admit I've had a few beers tonight...

On the 15-minute 4K time limit, it seems like the idea posted earlier of pre-allocating the MP4 files on the SD card is a viable pathway, since probably closing / flushing / opening a new file while straming is problematic and why the limit exists.  (Samsung - you could have just supported NTFS, duh!)  Or we could somehow just hook the '15-minute-limit-reached' event and re-initiate recording, it wouldn't kill me to lose a few frames (hundreds of frames is more likely :-p).  Or at least if the camera could beep a few times to let me know it's stopped recording, that would be a big improvement.  Or we could implement NTFS as a supported filesystem, that would be awesome!)

One last thing, SAMSUNG - IF YOU ARE READING THIS:  Look, you kinda screwed your customers by discontinuing your product line.  Sure there are business realities, but I think your sales could have been 50X if you had just completely open-sourced the firmware...  Seriously, this hardware has awesome specs and enthusiasts could have made this the cult camera of all time if you had just forked over the crown jewels...  (Probably IP licensing issues aside)  You could still do that and help compensate your shafted customers.  Or at least get your devs to push one more release out, removing all these silly caps.  If you're exiting the market, you're not cannibalizing higher-end or newer products!

All this being said, I want to end by thanking the guys who have contributed to unlocking the potential this camera holds.  Set up a paypal, I'll contribute as well as code!  I'm looking forward to seeing how this develops and to contributing as I can.

...  Interesting, it looks like the price of this discontinued camera is going UP!  If this pans out, folks might want to stock up on Samy cameras before they're gone...  ;-)

 

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Premiere doesn't like the default "data levels" of the H265 "fish tank" file. There is actually more dynamic range available in the shadows than what has been posted. In fact, DaVinci Resolve really brings the image to life if you input the file utilizing "data levels." Maybe I don't know Premiere well enough. Or, I'm just frustrated with Adobe?

Have never seen/graded NX1 footage before. Really excited to see this development take place and also frustrated to think how much tech is in the NX1 / NX500. Why is this tech being laid to rest by the manufacturer. Strange times, right!

From what I gather, this new bitrate is producing a natural response from the lens-sensor-processor-codec combination. It looks like it was shot at about 1600 ISO. Professionally speaking, this new bitrate may enable a new standard for accurately capturing an image without having to deal with random processing variations in the shadows/midtones/highlights. Hopefully, right.

Personally, I used to have quite a lot of issues with the GH4; specifically with regards to the lens-sensor-processing-codec algorithm. Eventually, I just went back to 1080 P DNG.

I'm impressed with render times with H265. First time for exporting an H265 image. Woohoo! DaVinci is exporting this 4k footage at nearly the same rate as the BMPCC 1080 DNG. It's possibly 1 - 2 frames faster with 1080 DNG pushed to the max 13 stops of DR and a light application of noise reduction. Then again, it's also only 1 - 2 frames behind 1080 DNG without the noise reduction. Kind of a nice balance, one with a serious bump in native image resolution. Does the footage need noise reduction? That's kind of what I'm thinking about here. It might actually need a fine layer of grain placed on top to reach a truly great image. But, who sees that stuff anyway?

Based on what others have written, over the past few pages, in regards to how h265 transcodes an image, I see the noise floor appear and also slightly disappear in this footage. It's nothing serious. IMO, I'm over analyzing the image. I feel that this was shot with contrasty glass set to a 5.6 in a room that reads somewhere closer to a T2.8 at ISO 800 on a LOG picture profile. Quite frankly, this combination is a challenge for any camera, especially when shooting with standard picture profiles, right?

Anyway, thanks for posting the "fish tank" video.

Also, it's not just the bit rate that's gone up, it's the heart rate too! I think the heart rate is closer to 100 BPM! LOL

Cheers,

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31 minutes ago, levisdavis said:

Premiere doesn't like the default "data levels" of the H265 "fish tank" file. There is actually more dynamic range available in the shadows than what has been posted. In fact, DaVinci Resolve really brings the image to life if you input the file utilizing "data levels." Maybe I don't know Premiere well enough. Or, I'm just frustrated with Adobe?

Have never seen/graded NX1 footage before. Really excited to see this development take place and also frustrated to think how much tech is in the NX1 / NX500. Why is this tech being laid to rest by the manufacturer. Strange times, right!

From what I gather, this new bitrate is producing a natural response from the lens-sensor-processor-codec combination. It looks like it was shot at about 1600 ISO. Professionally speaking, this new bitrate may enable a new standard for accurately capturing an image without having to deal with random processing variations in the shadows/midtones/highlights. Hopefully, right.

Personally, I used to have quite a lot of issues with the GH4; specifically with regards to the lens-sensor-processing-codec algorithm. Eventually, I just went back to 1080 P DNG.

I'm impressed with render times with H265. First time for exporting an H265 image. Woohoo! DaVinci is exporting this 4k footage at nearly the same rate as the BMPCC 1080 DNG. It's possibly 1 - 2 frames faster with 1080 DNG pushed to the max 13 stops of DR and a light application of noise reduction. Then again, it's also only 1 - 2 frames behind 1080 DNG without the noise reduction. Kind of a nice balance, one with a serious bump in native image resolution. Does the footage need noise reduction? That's kind of what I'm thinking about here. It might actually need a fine layer of grain placed on top to reach a truly great image. But, who sees that stuff anyway?

Based on what others have written, over the past few pages, in regards to how h265 transcodes an image, I see the noise floor appear and also slightly disappear in this footage. It's nothing serious. IMO, I'm over analyzing the image. I feel that this was shot with contrasty glass set to a 5.6 in a room that reads somewhere closer to a T2.8 at ISO 800 on a LOG picture profile. Quite frankly, this combination is a challenge for any camera, especially when shooting with standard picture profiles, right?

Anyway, thanks for posting the "fish tank" video.

Also, it's not just the bit rate that's gone up, it's the heart rate too! I think the heart rate is closer to 100 BPM! LOL

Cheers,

If you have speed grade you can push the file much further there by dynamically linking it. Love Resolve, but don't have money to upgrade to pro right now, otherwise I would do so for the color chart support alone.

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2 hours ago, EOS_Lurker said:

Oh my god, the news on this thread is so exciting - I can't express it in ASCII/UNICODE.  How awesome, you guys made my week!  'm a lurker who finally signed up here, just to post a reply:

.."

I removed teh rest due to the size of post. But no you cant just put the nx1 bin into an nx500. Now what Im doing it may be possible to change the type of encoding that will happen. As the current progress is more to do with scripts modding the front end to greatly simplify terms.

But the nx500 is after the nx1 firmware mod wise.

And we will see whats possible. Pandoras box isnt opened yet, but we found the map if an analogy works

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Even before this hack, the shadows could be brought up quite a bit. Even in higher contrast situations than this. When you set the PP levels to 16-235 it actually shows, that the contrast here it no so harsh.

What I'm really interested in is testing these new things against the old things in the same conditions.

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Hope these images sit within reason... May need to convert the H265 4k to something like a CineForm / ProRes / DNxHR 2K. These codecs might actually edit / process quicker than H265 and/or H264; particularly ProRes.

The grade is a single node:

  1. Shadows at 50. (Kinda pushing it far... But, not too much to create halos.)
  2. Highlights down to -25.
  3. Midtone Detail is set to 40. (Kind of far here, too.)
  4. Saturation at 70. (Need the extra with raised shadows IMO)
  5. I threw in a simple curves adjustment, particularly aimed at the midtones.

1. Data Levels.

Data Levels_No Grade_1.1.2.jpg

2. DaVinci Grade.

DaVinci_Grade_Data Levels_1.1.1.jpg

3. Video Levels.

Video Levels_No Grade_1.1.3.jpg

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