How should the video quality be set on HF-S10? at DVinfo.net

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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
For VIXIA / LEGRIA Series (HF G, HF S, HF and HV) consumer camcorders.


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Old May 24th, 2009, 08:05 PM   #1
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How should the video quality be set on HF-S10?

I just received the HF-S10 I purchased to do some documentary shooting this summer, matching it to my XH-A1. I saw "Crank 2," which matched the XH-A1 with the HF10 and delivered superior results, so at NAB Canon suggested that I pair the HF-S10 with my XH-A1.

Now, the best resolution at which the XH-A1 shoots is 1440x1080, but the tiny HF-S10 shoots at 1920x1080, at a max bitrate of 24mbps ("MXP" mode). The problem with this max rate is that I can only record about 2:50 per 32Mb SDHC or the onboard drive. However, if the XH-A1 can only do 1440x1080, then why do I need to shoot at such a high bitrate and resolution on the HF-S10? Wouldn't I be able to get by with the 12mbps "XP" mode, which is the highest bitrate matching the XH-A1's top resolution of 1440x1080?

Canon's HF-S10 manual is useless in this respect, as it says ZERO about the different video quality settings, except that they are an option, and the higher settings eat more media space.

The bottom line here is that I don't want to unnecessarily exceed the XH-A1's image quality when setting-up the HF-S10, because on the road I won't have the luxury of endless external HDDs to which to transfer daily footage. Since I don't anticipate upgrading the XH-A1 anytime soon, it seems I should bring down the image quality of the HF-S10 to match the XH-A1. Am I misunderstanding something here? Any suggestions?
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Old May 24th, 2009, 10:10 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Ralf Augstroze View Post
I just received the HF-S10 I purchased to do some documentary shooting this summer, matching it to my XH-A1. I saw "Crank 2," which matched the XH-A1 with the HF10 and delivered superior results, so at NAB Canon suggested that I pair the HF-S10 with my XH-A1.

Now, the best resolution at which the XH-A1 shoots is 1440x1080, but the tiny HF-S10 shoots at 1920x1080, at a max bitrate of 24mbps ("MXP" mode). The problem with this max rate is that I can only record about 2:50 per 32Mb SDHC or the onboard drive. However, if the XH-A1 can only do 1440x1080, then why do I need to shoot at such a high bitrate and resolution on the HF-S10? Wouldn't I be able to get by with the 12mbps "XP" mode, which is the highest bitrate matching the XH-A1's top resolution of 1440x1080?

Canon's HF-S10 manual is useless in this respect, as it says ZERO about the different video quality settings, except that they are an option, and the higher settings eat more media space.

The bottom line here is that I don't want to unnecessarily exceed the XH-A1's image quality when setting-up the HF-S10, because on the road I won't have the luxury of endless external HDDs to which to transfer daily footage. Since I don't anticipate upgrading the XH-A1 anytime soon, it seems I should bring down the image quality of the HF-S10 to match the XH-A1. Am I misunderstanding something here? Any suggestions?

You've seem to answer your own question. By all means, dial the bitrate to 12mbps or 17mbps.

But if you ask me, it is silly. I can always use all the bitrate and just downsize or "lessen" it later on if matching is not the same. Also, from where I sit, you have a U$3,500 and a U$1,300 camera but too stingy to get a U$35 16gb or U$90 32gb storage? Or you can opt for any U$150 or so PSD to store your footage. I'd go for a couple of 32gb of which you already have one, so you only one more. And I'll have a PSD with 250gb or so to store my files to clear the SDHC cards. Or most likely, you bring your notebook anyway, get an external 320gb or 500gb external drive and store your files there. An external drive is around U$80-120 if I recall correctly.

But what I won't do is downgrade the bitrate on the hf-s10. Sure, you need to spend more, but then again, you'd ask yourself where you would store all those shots you took with your sdhc cards anyway. Even if your notebook already has 500gb, you'd still need to back up those or have redundant copies. So, why not get a PSD or an external 2.5" HD?

Also, you can't really peg on the quality gains or loss of a 12mbps, 17mbps, or 24mbps. Each scene is different. Lighting is different. Movement is different. All you can be sure of is that you better shoot at the best or 24mbps setting and work your way back if you need to lower the quality.

Personally, I think the output of the A1 and the hf-s10 will be the same as far as resolution goes or at least not noticeable as that 1440 vs 1920 would not be a big factor later. What you would probably see is difference in color matching w/c may not be too hard to match anyway. I'd rather worry about that. Or if any, an low light difference where the shadows or the grain will be obvious with one camera vs the other. But even assuming they should match easily, I would not lower my bitrate if I can. It's better to have more and then downgrade than to have nothing to downgrade or worse, nothing to upgrade if you find that lower bitrates introduces problems that is hard to solve.

Finally, for storage, I'd just get an external HD or a PSD to store my shots. I'd get another 32gb sdhc just so that I can still shoot while the other card is downloading to the PSD or notebook.
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Old May 24th, 2009, 11:07 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Mel Enriquez View Post
...But if you ask me, it is silly... Also, from where I sit, you have a U$3,500 and a U$1,300 camera but too stingy to get a U$35 16gb or U$90 32gb storage?...
Thanks, Mel, for your candor and help. I've already ordered a 32 Mb SDHC card and, perhaps, I will order another one to be safe. I would have no problem in bringing several external HDDs with me, but I'm taking all this halfway around the world and was a bit concerned about volume, weight, etc. when traveling to/around a third world country.

However, doing the math, I could still shoot at 24mbps and transfer up to 88 hours of 24mbps video to a 1 TB external drive - more than enough space, and then let the editor worry about matching footage between the A1 and HF-S10.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 02:46 AM   #4
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As a general rule, you *always* want the best quality you can get in camera. If it's too high (!) you can reduce it in post, but if it's too low, you can't raise it in post.

Anyway, matching the footage from the 2 cameras will be about more than just resolution
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Old May 26th, 2009, 08:43 AM   #5
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1440x1080 is anamorphic( non square pixels) and in square pixel terms is in fact 1920x1080( 1440x1.333= 1920). So the two resolutions are really the same on a 1920x1080 or 1440x1080 timeline when pixel ratio is set correctly. 1440x1080 takes less data space set for recording to tape as HDV. I guess technically 1920x1080 native will give more data per pixel which could translate into higher quality. This difference is likely to be insignificant compared to all the other parameters of different cameras and electronics. The lens, imagers and DSP processing are likely a lot more important than whether the data rate is 16mbps or 24mbps. I would use the highest data rate available to you.

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