3200FPS?! Getting the most from the Nikon 1 Series cameras

The new Nikon 1 series has the distinction of being the only camera in its price range that can shoot 400FPS at 640×240. Now that doesn’t sound like much resolution, but for web delivery – it can be usable.

The way the camera comes stock, you wouldn’t want to use the high fps mode, the sharpening makes the image look like it came out of a barbie cam. Aliasing and Moire are present as well -but there’s a cure. Take advice from other video shooting large sensor consumer cams, and lower the sharpening. It not only reduces the sharpening artifacts, it also lessens other artifacts as well. No its not perfect, I wouldn’t even say that its pretty, but its the only option for $599.

Here’s the methodology of my madness. First, we have only 640×240 pixels to work with – we need to make the most of them, so shooting around it in anamorphic, or cropped 16:9 is a must. Secondly, we need to get those few pixels as accurate and neutral as possible. Fortunately, the sharpening setting fixes this perfectly. It makes a usable image from something once unusable.

Next we need to add information. At best this footage is going to look like DV transferred 16mm film. I’m ok with that, so were going to need to add grain in most cases – and evaluate how much on a case by case basis. Were also going to need to add a bit of diffusion. Both of these will be added in a 1080p timeline, so that the downsampled footage will have more information.

Workflow if more FPS needed: Add to 1080p timeline, and use twixtor. Render grading and effects on footage on a second pass so you have more options to work with. Additionally, you never want to add a grain effect before using a program like twixtor, especially with footage with so little information.

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