A music video with the Canon SD960 IS

Glenn “Avene” Thomas is an old timer in the HV20 community, but he lately experiments with the cheap Canon HD digicams. This is a music video with one of these cams.

Shot with the Canon SD960 IS digicam (aka IXUS 110 IS, and IXY 510 IS).

Downloading the original WMV file looks great. Here’s a re-sized still from that WMV:

One very interesting tidbit that I was made aware of just a few moments ago: even the cheapest Canon new digicams now, like the A490 that costs $100 (announced last week), do 29.97 fps instead of the traditional 30.00 fps. This shows a change in the mentality of Canon regarding video, and how they feel that their digicams can play a role in the video market. Happy times ahead for us video geeks. I wouldn’t be surprised if their near-future models also do 24p (23.976 fps), selectable to 25p and 30p.

11 Comments »

Glenn wrote on February 19th, 2010 at 7:58 PM PST:

Thanks for posting this.

I think I forgot the mention the video was shot with the music playing 1.2x faster, and then slowed down to 25fps. When doing this I disable resampling and stretch the audio to the new length of the video, then set the timestretching algorithm to elastique pro which sounds a lot nicer. Lastly I batch render all the files to Cineform 720P at 25fps.

WMV mostly because when uploading MP4’s to YouTube, the audio and video end up out of sync which can make a mess of some the tight edits.


Yanni wrote on February 19th, 2010 at 9:42 PM PST:

Great looking video. Nice job Glenn.


Glenn wrote on February 20th, 2010 at 2:09 AM PST:

Thanks Yanni.


nzo wrote on February 20th, 2010 at 4:52 PM PST:

Beautiful color and crispness!


Joe wrote on February 21st, 2010 at 1:14 PM PST:

Great job Glenn! I’ve enjoyed your work since finding them on hv20.com


Francis Coral - Mellon wrote on February 21st, 2010 at 7:40 PM PST:

That was a really good video. Keeps proving the user skill overrides budget. The cutting on the beat was great.


Glenn wrote on February 21st, 2010 at 9:56 PM PST:

Thanks guys!

I think these cameras are great for music videos providing you’re not after any shallow dof or 1080P. 30P to 25P actually works quite well and the artists have no problem miming to a faster version of the music. For anything with dialog, it wouldn’t be a good option though. 30P and no mic input.

Next I might try shooting something on the bluescreen with it.


zima wrote on February 26th, 2010 at 12:45 PM PST:

I researched Canon A490 a bit, taking special interest in video capabilities of course; particularly in relation to points in Why Canon instead of a Panasonic video P&S digicam

Interesting tidbits from Canon spec
Exposure Control Method … AE Lock
White Balance Control … Custom
Photo Effects …, Neutral, …, Custom Color*
*Adjustment of contrast, sharpness and saturation.

Also from specs at dpreview
AF lock Yes (On/Off Selectable) //!?!
AE lock On/Off Selectable
White balance Custom
Image parameters Custom Color (limited))

So…if those are available in video mode (nobody really care about testing those in such P&S, in video or otherwise) – it would seem this camera has the most basic manual/pseudomanual controls which made previous Canon ones great for video. And also 29.97 fps.

Of course it’s not all roses for such price. Not only it’s 640×480, it’s also…
Movie: AVI (Image data: Motion JPEG; Audio: WAVE (Monaural)); and from Canon specs, the best quality setting is 640×480, 1,932 KiB/sec

I have also found two samples:
sample from A490 (bottom of the page)
sample from A495 (it’s practically identical, with few useless P&S features thrown in)

Conveniently, they show occupied swimming pool; which is a rather demanding scenario from what I understand.
Yes, the effect is somewhat noisy; but seems quite workable (if all those manual controls/locks are indeed there), and comparable to DV.

From the properties (slightly conflicting under different player software here…), audio is some form of PCM at 12kHz and 8bits per sample; giving 96kbps, I guess (fine given the mircophone?). So there’s probably slightly less than 1900 KiB/s for video (considering potential overhead), or slightly more than 60 KiB per one frame of 640×480 jpeg. Not too great, but – at 640×480 when doing photos, this digicam gives sizes F 150 KiB, N 84 KiB; I guess “Fine” and “Normal” – so video frames are not that far from “Normal” photo quality at this res. I’m not sure, but I think that’s not far behind DV – which has, from what I understand, a compression not totally dissimilar to jpeg (though jpeg in A490 should be better…), but with more pixels to preserve than in 640×480.

Finally, there are few videos from A480, the previous model, on Youtube and Vimeo (including one from a year ago mislabeled as A490…); which initially I haven’t even checked (dpreview states, in error, 20fps @ 640×480…). And a swimming pool sample, which looks at least as good as A490…

In the specs of the older A480 there’s already exposure lock, custom white balance & colors (without specifying though; but what else could it be than “contrast, sharpness, saturation”?). The only noticeable differences – 30 fps (but does that really matter for such digicam?) and KiB/s is smaller for A480, in the amount of 12 KiB…exactly the same difference at each quality level (which doesn’t make much sense…). And, for photos, lack of “low light 2mp mode” (but this isn’t even mentioned in pure technical A490 specs, so I guess giving it a fancy name and separate menu position is a just a way of convincing people to shoot in low mp / many sensorpixels per imagepixel when in poor light) – which is a good thing for “web photos”, I guess.

Too bad there’s no mention on HV20.com.

But the crux of the matter is: those lowest-end Canon P&S digicams, while with some serious limiatations of course, offer something not that far, conceptually, from SX200. If I understand correctly how jpeg works, using low saturation and low contrast will help (low sharpness too, of course, but that might want to be avoided…)

Though I can’t help but wonder if in this particular segment, of absolutelly cheapest P&S, there might be something better than those Canons right now (I guess that would be something with similar overall capabilities + better video compression method). There’s a little too many of them to check, with technical specs incomplete and uncertainity when it comes to actual quality…

PS. Oh, and from few videos it seems A480 can do zoom while shooting; it’s reasonable to assume A490/495 can do it too…so they are better at something than usually recommended by you “P&S videocams”! 😉
(the zoom while recording appears to be digital; which might actually work well if implemented properly, considering that sensor has 10mp and video – 0.3)


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on February 26th, 2010 at 3:23 PM PST:

I don’t understand what you’re burbling about. The A series have no HD. And the manual controls you mentioned are ONLY for the still pictures mode, not video. The A series have absolutely nothing in common video-wise than the the SX and SD series.


zima wrote on February 26th, 2010 at 4:51 PM PST:

Hey, you inspired the curiosity ;p (I’m aware of no HD, that was beside the point…)

I was just wondering – why even bother with “proper” 29.97 if few other “proper” technical things are left out? (which are almost a matter of enabling them – mjpeg doesn’t do much more than taking “normal” snaps, at the resolution electronics can cope quickly enough; heck, locking parameters means less work) Seems a bit weird.

You’re well aware that solid data are often lacking for P&S digicams (that’s why people often don’t even consider them, which you want to change; that’s why they bothered you constantly with some Panasonic models). Look at the specs of SX200 for example. They don’t mention “those features can be used with video”, just like there isn’t “this can’t be used with video” for A; the format of both tables is quite similar.

Oh well, there was a slight possibility that those A series are also simply sneezed at (since every footage was “yt stuff”, no solid descriptions of video mode, no mention at all on HV20). Info from you, that they lack “everything”, settles the question (uhm, yeah, I guess I treat your blog as one of few definitve sources in those matters, sorry 🙂 – especially if Vimeo and HV20 lack answers; should I know about any other info hubs?)


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on February 26th, 2010 at 4:57 PM PST:

>I was just wondering – why even bother with “proper” 29.97 if few other “proper” technical things are left out?

Because Canon is going to change the frame rates to 29.97 on ALL their new digicams, it costs them nothing to do so. It seems that this is simply the first crop from their new models that have this feature. All others will follow.

So it’s not a matter “why do this when they don’t have that?”, but it’s more of a matter of strategy, new policy, and costing nothing to do it. I thought all that was clear from the blog post itself, or by simply thinking about it a bit more broadly.


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