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Old January 4th, 2005, 07:20 PM   #1
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Another aspiring indie filmmaker purchases an Optura XI!

After studying these forums and information all over the internet, I finally purchased my first camcorder since an old VHS model that I had back in the 80's. I was heavily involved in video production in college (filiming on High8 and editing on an old Matrox NLE), and have dreamed of getting back involved. Well, here I am!

I had circled around between the wonderful DVC-100, the VX2100, the GS400, the HC1000, and the GS120 or 200. I discounted the first two because of price -- My $2500 budget for everything, including editing software, would have been blown right away. I leaned towards the 400, but couldn't find one to look at in Denver -- with a purchase that expensive I needed to "feel it." I also was scared off buying online with the known defect. I liked the look and feel of the HC1000, but felt it was too expensive for what I was getting. And, while they were 3 chip, I wasn't that impressed with the clarity of the picture on the GS120 and 200.

And then I discovered the Canon and knew it was exactly what I wanted. Good price and good features to permit me to learn and grow with the camera. Once I found it in a store, held it, and looked at the picture, I knew I was sold.

Anyhow, just wanted to say hello, and introduce myself to the board. I also would love suggestions of what VIDEO EDITOR I should think about. I'm probably going to download the Vegas Demo and play around, but I'd appreciate any suggestion as to which one brings out the full potential of this camera.

Seth
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Old January 5th, 2005, 07:07 AM   #2
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As far as PC editors are concerned, I use Premiere Pro exclusively. Never had any problems connecting the Optura Xi. I've edited a number of short 30 sec spots to 110 minute features with no problems with audio sync or video drop out, etc (but my 600 GB of storage is constantly defraged and only used for video).

I'm formally trained in Apple's Final Cut Pro, but I feel it's sooooo over priced (hardware and software) when compared to Premiere Pro on a PC. Premiere Pro's integration with Photoshop and Illustrator really help in compositing if you don't have After Effects.

Premiere Pro is remarkably similar to Final Cut (some of the same bugs exist in both programs!!! scary!). I haven't used Vegas, but I think Sony's marketing hype is what gives it so much respect and value. I have yet to see a high-end production company endorse Vegas as the tool of choice (I do see a lot of hype for FCP and Avid though)

I think the bum rap Premiere Pro gets is it's relation to Premiere 6.5. Premiere Pro is completely new and doesn't even compare to Premiere in any way (other than it edits video). Just an FYI, I've been using Premiere since 4.1, so I'm a quite an Adobe junkie (thanks to my graphic design days).

I would like to try AVID's DV editor just to see what the most respected name in video editing has to offer, but I don't see myself switching from Premiere Pro any time soon.

But just to let you know, it's the editor, not the software that makes the editing decisions. I work with several independent editors that actually edit with Apple's iMovie and their stuff looks really good. It's all about understanding technique and timing, not who's software is the latest craze of the day.
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Old January 5th, 2005, 08:58 AM   #3
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<<<--

But just to let you know, it's the editor, not the software that makes the editing decisions. I work with several independent editors that actually edit with Apple's iMovie and their stuff looks really good. It's all about understanding technique and timing, not who's software is the latest craze of the day. -->>>

I agree with this. there is a tendency to scoff at imovie, but it is an incredible tool, really, and in the hands of the right editor/filmmaker can produce some fantastic results. A lot of its low end inflexiblity can be worked around by someone who knows how to use it.
For instance: imovie 3 has only two audio tracks. Not a lot. If you need more though, you can always cut your project, lay in the the two tracks you have, export the project back to tape and then import it back into imove, and viola you have all you audio on the video track and you have two blank audio tracks...

I'm learning fcp right now, but I'm always temtped to just drop everything into imovie and do it there.
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Old January 5th, 2005, 09:25 AM   #4
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I can vouch for Vegas Video. I've been using it for several years after trying Avid, Premier (haven't tried Premiere Pro), and Ulead Video Studio.

Vegas seemed to work just the way I expected, probably because I am also a Sound Forge user, and it also has Sound Forge integrated into it. It’s really easy to use, and seems to have all the powerful tools I need when inspiration strikes.

I also found a free plug-in for it that is VERY useful. It’s called Smart Smoother. I think I found the link for it in the Vegas forum. It does a fantastic job of removing grain in low-light video without (remarkably) affecting much of the detail that you want to keep. I’ve been going back and using it to make some older shots I took look great. It makes the camera very usable for indoor shots without video lights.

I’ve also just recently purchased the Vegas Magic Bullet LookSuite plug-in. If you color balance correctly with the Xi (highly recommended) you might not need it that often, but if you are going for a certain as-seen-at-the-movies look, oh my God, it can make an amazing difference. Many shots actually look like they have much cleaner, better resolution on DVD after processing with those two plug-ins, compared to the original raw footage. Fun, fun stuff.
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Old January 5th, 2005, 07:05 PM   #5
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Seth,

Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the purchase of your Xi.
I have one and love it. Try shooting at 1/30 sec for a "progressive" look. It's not true progressive but both interlace fields are the same so when you pause the video on a video monitor, you don't see the interlace flicker.

Another thing I like, and the main reason I bought it, is because of its true 16:9 aspect ratio. No other camera in it's price range that I know of, can bost that feature.

As for NLEs, I a Mac user so Iwould recommend getting a Mac and Final Cut Pro HD. Macs are not as expensive as people make them out to be. I've actually used Macs LESS than windows, about 3 years now, but have saved money in less downtime due to viruses and hardware conflicts.

Any way, I don't want to start a Mac vs. pc debate.

Have fun with your Xi.
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Old January 13th, 2005, 10:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Another thing I like, and the main reason I bought it, is because of its true 16:9 aspect ratio. No other camera in it's price range that I know of, can bost that feature.
Actually there are quite a few true 16:9 cams (from a 4:3 CCD) in the Optura XI's price range.

Sony DCR-TRV70- TRV80 - PC350 - PC110 -PC109 - HC1000 etc..

Panasonic PV-GS400

JVC also has a good many cams that utilize their megapixel CCDs to extract a complete 16:9 frame with no resolution loss.
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Old January 13th, 2005, 12:05 PM   #7
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Not sure if the Canon Xi is what we here in Europe know as the MVX3i, but if it is then the 16:9 mode is only a half-hearted attempt to use the full chip area to get wide-screen footage.

Graph-paper-filming tests show that the 16:9 mode uses 20 per cent fewer vertical CCD pixels than in the 4:3 mode but seven per cent more horizontal pixels. Canon’s widescreen solution is a small step in the right direction and better than simply losing 25 per cent of the vertical resolution - as was typical about two years ago.

Disregard all the above if the Xi is a different (NTSC) beast.

tom.
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Old January 13th, 2005, 12:10 PM   #8
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Tom,

It's the same camera but the NTSC version handles 16:9 natively rather than the way the PAL version does. NTSC version has no resolution loss.
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Old January 14th, 2005, 01:14 AM   #9
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Dave, how do you know? Have you tested it? The Canon advertising brochure published over here would have you believe that it's a zero loss 16:9 system, but testing proved otherwise.

tom.
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Old January 14th, 2005, 06:15 AM   #10
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Tom,

I did test this and compared it to a test done by someone else in a thread very similar to this one. The PAL version definitely seems to "fudge" a bit when doing 16:9.
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