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Drew Veeneman

Production Dairy - Using Hacked NX1 and NX500 on YouTube Channel

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Hey gang, over the last month I upgraded my camera gear to 4K with a used NX1 and NX500 (replacing my old trusty GH2 and a6000). Since I regularly make videos for the Carry Trainer YouTube channel, I thought I'd start a thread here to share my experiences with these two camera's.

First, I tried both versions of the Samsung firmware. The Kino-Seed hack worked on my NX500, but not my NX1. Anyway, I settled on Vasile's nx-on-wake mod... it is worth the little extra work to install.

For the picture profile settings, I am generally following the recommendations from Andrew Reid's guide. For the NX1: Gamma DR, .95 Green 0-255 Luminance Level. On the NX500 I don't see any video controls... the picture profile is set to standard. As Reid suggested, I set resolution to 3840x2160 with a 24p frame rate.

Getting started testing my gear, I found my Fotodiox adapter wasn't triggering the sensor on the Samsung camera mount. Since I only use vintage manual lenses, I decided to just super glue the mount sensor down and avoid any future hassle (see attached photo). The glossy spot with the glue on the bottom of the mount is covered by the adapter, in case you were wondering about my sloppy work.

I did my first shoot with these cameras last week, Dec. 19, 2016... filming a few new Carry Trainer episodes. I work as a one-man band on multi-camera shoots, usually running two or three cameras. The classic Blackmagic Cinema Camera 2.5K remains my A Camera. The NX1 is now my B Camera... and the NX500 is the C camera. Anyway, on set I quickly discovered my NX1 couldn't handle the 210 MB bit rate. I dialed the NX1 back to 180... then it worked flawlessly for two hours. Battery life was good. Surprisingly the NX1 was only down to 50% battery at the end with 100GB of 4K video on the SD card. Meanwhile, the 64GB SD card on my NX500 filled up really fast. I was only able to use that for about half of the filming session.

I'll wrap up this first post with my transcoding experience. I do my editing with the free version of DaVinci Resolve, so transcoding the H.265 is a must. I used After Effects to line-up all the clips and rendered them to HQ DNxHR (I use windows). 98 GB of video off my NX1 SD Card grew into 433 GB worth of DNxHR footage. As a point of comparison, I came away from that same filming session with 370 GB of RAW footage on my BMCC. So serious 4K video eats up a lot of hard-drive space.

In my next post I'll talk about how the NX1 footage looked in the grading process...

camera_glue.jpg

20161219_135749_r1_c1.jpg

20161219_135755_r1_c1.jpg

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Interesting point about the autofocus SMGJohn. In this first shoot I has 180 on my NX1 with an old M42 lens. The NX500 was running at 160 with the Samsung 16-50mm kit lens... it was set to manual and I was tapping the screen for a focus point before recording.

For SD Cards I'm running the classic Sandisk Extreme Pros like on my old GH2. (pictured below)

sd_cards.jpg

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The first video from this shoot is now live. Check it out for a point of reference.

Concealed Carry Belts: 

Please forgive some of the camera shake... I was testing out a dual camera rig. Although it got the job done, the rig needs improvement and... more importantly, I need more skill wielding it. Between the two cameras here I was able to cover most of my mistakes and got some interesting Dutch Angles. The NX1 was simply mounted to a magic arm off the rails.

The tighter shot was the BMCC 2.5K with the 50mm F/1.4 Super Takumar and a cheap speed booster. Stopped down to about F2. With the backlighting it was flare-tastic! ... I should have put on the matte-box, but we were in a hurry.

The wider shot was the NX1 with the MIR 37mm at somewhere around F4. Somehow, although Sang and Mickey where standing next to each other, I really only managed to get Sang on the left in focus. That's user error. I tried to cover the mistake up with Luma Sharpen in Resolve... good enough.

---

Alright, lets try picking up where I left off. Grading...

The Samsung cameras put out a solid image with plenty of detail as you would expect. I used Andrew Reid's Flat LUT on the front end in Resolve as I was setting levels. After that I dropped on Hook's Luma Sharpen... and then the Super Film Stock powergrade from Color Grading Central (oddly I don't see his Luster Grades pack for sale online anymore). I've been using that same powergrade since the beginning Carry Trainer videos. Lastly, from there I tweaked the base colors on the levels layer... nudging the reds and blues a little to my taste.

Coming out of Resolve, I rendered the video in uncompressed 10-bit 4k for finishing on Sony Vegas Pro and final output to YouTube. Vegas is much nicer for audio... and it's just what I'm use to. In case your curious, the opening was done with some simple shots feed into the Prolost Handcrank plug-in in After Effects.

It could just be the lenses, but I did like the image from the BMCC better even though it had less resolution 2.5k vs. 4k, but with 4:2:2 maybe that's debatable. 12-bit RAW still has it's advantages. They were both good, but the BMCC just looks richer with it's own kind of film grain. Once my NXL speed booster arrives, I'll try using the same 50mm Super Takumar 1.4 on both cameras. With the variation in sensor sizes, that should work-out perfectly and be a better grounds for comparison... As you can probably tell that's my favorite lens these days.

Meanwhile, with my amateur shoulder shooting I could definitely see jello issues with both sensors.

The thumbnail/cover image for the youtube video was a Macro shot with my my NX1 and the Canon FD 35-70 Macro zoom. I had the belts inside one of those light tents common for product photography.

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The workflow with RAW video is painful, I rather not go through with that again LOL, NX1 gets the job done for its pricetag and I see a lot of people with even cheaper cameras making amazing videos on YouTube specially those Japanese videographers and photographers. 

Yours is pretty good, these days I care less about quality and more about getting pretty shots.

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I agree, RAW is not the easy road... if you enjoy color grading it has some nice benefits though. I enjoy the luxury of slow turn-around on most of my projects, so it's workable.

Putting the absurd consumption of hard-drive space aside, if you take the RAW straight into DaVinci Resolve it plays smooth and works well. Once inside the editor, I can't tell the difference between RAW and a MP4 as far as playback is concerned... and my computer isn't that fast. I'm running the old 8-core amd and a somewhat modern radeon graphics card.

Camera gear aside... framing your shots and lighting are certainly the most important for good looking shots. Also, audio is more than half the battle. I worry more about audio quality than anything else.

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On a separate note, after tinkering and testing, my NX1 seems to record stably at the 190 bit rate. Again, that's on manual with vintage M42 lenses, so no auto-focus/image stabilization, etc.

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Lastly, I'm working on the next Carry Trainer episode now. The NX1 footage with my Super Takumar 24mm F/3.5 lens looks impressive right out of camera so far. I'll have more on that soon...

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is this a Takumar worth buying? I have a series of Takumars since a Pentax Spotmatic I had in the 90's, one is a 28mm/3.5f and I was wondering if I could find a wider one.

I have an Ensinor 24mm/2.8f, but it has a different rendition than the rest of my Takumars.

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Super Takumar 24mm F/3.5 - I like it but the reviews on this old lens are a mixed bag. Good Center Sharpness, but poor on the corners is what I hear... There is a build quality to old super taks that's easy to fall in love with the first time you hold one. That's what I experienced.

Until my Samsung cameras came along, I used the 24mm on my BMCC with great results. The BMCC has a massive sensor crop factor(i.e. more center sharpness)... so that may have been part of it. Anyway, I'll show the results with the NX1 in my next video.

 

(I'm not familiar with the Ensinor 24mm F/2.8 but that does seem to have a better price.)

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WARNING! :astonished: WARNING! :astonished: WARNING!

I noticed one of my footage files from the NX1 dropped frames today. It was a single isolated incident. At first I thought my non-linear editor was crapping out... but I traced it all the back to the original H265 file from my NX1. I'll describe what it looked like for the good of the community.

It occurred during a 8 minute clip with my camera running at the 180 bit rate. At about 3:45, the white balance jumped in a weird way and then five seconds of frames dropped. I could tell because I had to re-sync the audio and patch the hole with my C camera. Following the glitch, the camera continued recording to the file without anymore issues. The NX1 only did this once during my long shoot with 13 clips and about 100 GB worth of footage.

My conclusion from this is the 180 bit rate presents some risk with my SD cards... My setup is almost reliable. I think I'll dial it back to the 175 bit rate next time.

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10 hours ago, Drew Veeneman said:

WARNING! :astonished: WARNING! :astonished: WARNING!

I noticed one of my footage files from the NX1 dropped frames today. It was a single isolated incident. At first I thought my non-linear editor was crapping out... but I traced it all the back to the original H265 file from my NX1. I'll describe what it looked like for the good of the community.

It occurred during a 8 minute clip with my camera running at the 180 bit rate. At about 3:45, the white balance jumped in a weird way and then five seconds of frames dropped. I could tell because I had to re-sync the audio and patch the hole with my C camera. Following the glitch, the camera continued recording to the file without anymore issues. The NX1 only did this once during my long shoot with 13 clips and about 100 GB worth of footage.

My conclusion from this is the 180 bit rate presents some risk with my SD cards... My setup is almost reliable. I think I'll dial it back to the 175 bit rate next time.

You definitely will get different results with different brands even if they are listed as having the same technical specs. I've had good luck with PNY cards. I had four that were all reliable, recently bought a fifth and it has been giving me periodic problems. So I guess even within a brand there can be variation. Different factories maybe?

 

It's old info now, but this illustrates that speed specs and/or price can't always be your guide:

http://www.cameramemoryspeed.com/samsung-nx1/sd-card-comparison/

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Seems like with autofocus on the camera uses a lot of processing power just for that alone so 140mbps is the most stable but sometimes, just sometimes on the NX500 it will tell you your card is too slow when you enable autofocus with 140mbps bitrate. 

With AF disabled it seems it can do 200 with Lexar's 2000x card, I only have Lexar cards to test so I would not know what the SanDisk can do. 

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Ok gang, I've got a new Carry Trainer video out. There's a different lens on my NX1 here.

This video was shot on my shoulder rig using the BMCC and NX1... again, the wider angle shot is the NX1.

Here the NX1 is using the 24mm Super Takumar F/3.5. At the start focus is soft on the NX1 until... around the 30 second mark on the video when I nail the focus. The NX1 produces a really nice image. Putting aside my shaky shooting with the shoulder rig, I'm really happy with the footage here.

Cheers

P.S. I saw the posts above about sd cards. Good information. If I order another sd card it will be the lexar 2000. 

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Honestly, it is the first time I am watching gun videos, and the funny thing is that I find them interesting! Keep posting them!

Takumar makes a great job there and you are using it completely different than what I used to do (I was going softer and dreamier). A lens with IS would have eliminate those little shakes, and a reason I haven't used my Takumars for more than a year now, is that I can get by with NX lenses and have some sort of stabilization. 

Did you try DIS+Takumars?

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Thanks Kisha, we've got a ways to go but the YouTube channel is on the right track.

I haven't done any digital image stabilization yet... however I plan to do so in next weeks video, applying the trusty After Effects Warp stabilizer. That should do the trick.

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By the way, I took a stills photo with the 24mm Super Takumar lens last week on the NX1. At 28 Megapixels I saw plenty of Chromatic Aberration in Photoshop with the pic below, and that was taken between F8 and F11... so I wouldn't recommend this lens for stills unless your going for character. Pixel peepers beware. The lens seems better with things at close distances as oppose to landscapes.

That said, for video use at 4K this Super Tak lens works well, especially on a crop sensor. I've shot a lot of nice video with this lens.

Chamberlain_Yardsign.jpg

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Luminance Level: 16-235 vs. 0-255

When reading Andrew Reid's NX1 Ebook I thought it was a bit odd he recommended shooting with a 16-235 vs. 0-255 luminance setting on the NX1. 8-bit color is bad enough with the full 0-255. His rationale had to do with clipping in editing software in post.

For my workflow, trans-coding in After Effects to the DNxHR HQ codec to DaVinci Resolve, I saw a very subtle improvement in dynamic range with the 0-255 setting. Additionally, in After Effects with the original H.265 files, I could see about 10% margin on the high and low end before it would start clipping(using a simple Levels adjustment)... and important to note this margin was the same for both Luminance settings.

Test things out for your workflow, but in my case 0-255 yields better results.

- DaVinci Resolve: Say Yes Auto-Save and Export Backups of your Important Projects -

Coming from Sony Vegas Pro, one of the things I've loved about DaVinci Resolve is it's power and stability... relatively speaking that is. Last weekend my confidence was shaken when my huge project file for the Dec. filming shoot got corrupted. At some point every-time I tried to open the project, Resolve would crash. This is a familiar feeling for Vegas Pro users.

Luckily I had auto-save configured to save every 10 minutes and everything was ok. The situation reminded me that no editor or piece of software is perfect, so backup your projects.

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