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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 August 11th, 2009, 12:31 PM   #1
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Hind Sight is 20/20

Got caught up in the craze and went out and purchased a new HFS100. Like the camera, but what can I use it for? It shoots great HD footage, but, to my understanding I can't transfer that great footage to a DVD. DVD's (except Blue Ray) are all Standard Definition. So I have to down res anyway. I can put great snippets on Vimeo or You Tube, but that's about it. So unless I am going to telecine to film what the heck is the use of purchasing a nice HD camera?
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Old August 11th, 2009, 12:53 PM   #2
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I think its overall primary use is for creating HD video that you can watch on your own HDTV.

Also, generally speaking, HD downconverted to SD for web or DVD delivery will look *much* better than SD-originated material.
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Old August 11th, 2009, 01:10 PM   #3
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G. Lee,

Assuming you have video editing software, there's much more you can do with it. If your software package authors to Blu-ray disk, burners for that format are coming down in price. But some of us are "bypassing" the Blu-ray thing altogether.

Media players, some with internal hard drives and others with USB inputs you can plug in almost any mass storage device have come on the market. I have the latter type, Western Digital's WD TV. It's a small box with 2 USB inputs and one HDMI output (also composite output for those whose TV does not have HDMI.

I edit my video (I use Pinnacle Studio 12.1) and when done, from the same timeline I render standard def DVD's if I have to provide that format, and then I render to an HD WMV format and copy that over to a USB "thumb" drive (I have 4GB, 8GB, and one 16GB). This "thumb" usually has many video files on it (all edited) and all I need to do is plug it in to one of the USB inputs, turn the player on with the little remote, and after the TV screen indicates it has finished reading the list of titles, move the highlight (cursor I guess you'd call it) over the wanted title and click.

I'm watching my video in HD on my 42" LCD TV. From a little "thumb" drive.

The player, power cord, and HDMI cable will all fit in a small camcorder bag for transport.
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Old August 11th, 2009, 07:00 PM   #4
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You can always make your HD master and downconvert to SD and make your DVD. Simple work flow. Get good results.
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Old August 11th, 2009, 09:16 PM   #5
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You guys are reinforcing my dilemma. The only practical use for these cameras is for home video use.
For pro use, Doc's, Music Vid's and movie's. WHat is an HD work flow? Are they being telecined? How are movies being mass produced in HD?
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Old August 12th, 2009, 01:14 AM   #6
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Workflow is the series of steps you take to get from camera to your finished product. HD workflow for me is everything I do from pulling the media card out of the camera and using the computers media reader to copy the MTS files to a folder where I review and rename them (to filenames that give me a clue to what the clips are. Makes editing much simpler). In the editing software I lay out the clips on the timeline, trim them and add any correction effects needed, add transitions. Then render to both SD DVDs (as needed) and render to whatever HD video file formats I may need.

That is my "workflow".

These cameras are suitable for more than just home video use. I teach Defensive Handgun and provide each of my students with a DVD that somewhat parallels what I teach out on the range. For now this is in SD because that is still the format of player in most homes. I don't know what format folks who use these cams for documentary or serious short movies put them out in. That will depend on what their distributor will require and with HD growing on the consumer market that may not be a standard yet.

Amazon is now selling independently produced movies that they burn to DVD on demand, I read up on that but have forgotten what format you have to submit yours in. They do it on a certain amount charge per disk. But even if that format is still SD for now those products still benefit in looking better for having been shot with a Canon HD cam rather than miniDV.

I purchased a copy of "Turquoise" from amazon.com because it was advertised as the first full length western produced on miniDV. The image quality was soft, indicating to me that it was probably done in the early days of miniDV (the Panasonic PV GS500 I used to have produced sharper video) but the story, acting, camera work and editing looked pretty good.

I'd say just start using it, learn what to do with it, consider joining in the "challenges" hosted on this website. Everyone I've seen do this has seen their skills increase progressively, it's like free film school. Forget "hindsight" and look ahead. You've got an incredible videomaking tool.
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Old August 12th, 2009, 08:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Foreman View Post
I'd say just start using it, learn what to do with it, consider joining in the "challenges" hosted on this website. Everyone I've seen do this has seen their skills increase progressively, it's like free film school. Forget "hindsight" and look ahead. You've got an incredible videomaking tool.
Alright Bruce, I'll stop my pity party :)

But when I asked about HD workflow I should have been more specific. I watch a lot of History channel and those types of shows, all being shot in HD. How are they being delivered to the station? In what format?
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Old August 12th, 2009, 12:28 PM   #8
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Pro use for a consumer camera

The original poster is expressing some conflicting thoughts. HF-S100 is a consumer (Sub- $1,000) camcorder. It is a great one; most likely, the best in its class and price range. However, its primary purpose is still children's birthdays, family vacations, etc. Yet, he is not sure how to use it in a professional application.

Many independent filmmakers are using these new consumer HD camcorders for their full length feature films. Canon's HV line (HV20, HV30, and now HV40) seem to be disproportionately popular among them, most likely due to the simplicity of tape-based workflow.

I have no doubt, with some careful planning and plenty of forethought, HF-S100 can be used for "pro" work with impressive results. You could certainly shoot corporate video, wedding video, TV commercials, short (and full-length) features on it, with proper equipment, talent and crew. You also need to know exactly what you are doing, what your camera is capable of, how to overcome its limitations, and you need to be thoroughly familiar with all the other necessary tools (software and hardware) in order to complete a project like that.
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Old August 12th, 2009, 12:42 PM   #9
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Pro use workflow

Quote:
Originally Posted by G. Lee Gordon View Post
For pro use, Docs, Music Vids and movies. WHat is an HD work flow? Are they being telecined? How are movies being mass produced in HD?
For pro use, you have several options for HD workflow. Most Windows-based packages can work directly with AVCHD files. For that, you need a super-fast PC. On Mac, Adobe Premiere/AfterEffects is currently the only one working directly with AVCHD.

The other alternative is to transcode AVCHD files into a different, less compressed codec that a desktop computer can handle more easily. Apple's Final Cut Studio (as well as iMovie and Final Cut Express) do exactly that. They transcode to Apple Intermediary codec (or ProRes, for FCS), which is much easier on the processor.

Once you finish your edit, you have various options for delivery, depending on what the final purpose is. If it is a standard DVD, you bring the video into DVD authoring tool, which will in most cases do the down-conversion and encoding into MPEG-2. If you need to deliver HD, you have options depending on the target audience. If you need Blu-ray, you can author into full Blu-ray format and burn on an Blu-ray disc. Alternatively, you can author in Blu-ray compatible AVCHD, which allows you to build full menu system like a regular Blu-ray dics, but compresses the video using AVCHD, taking much less space. The result can be burnt on an ordinary DVD-R (about 30 minutes on standard disc, one hour on dual-layer). This disc is fully playable in majority of Blu-ray players, and it will remain in HD. This is what I've been doing with my home videos. They look spectacular, in full HD, blank discs are less than $1 each, and I burn them on my regular Mac.

Finally, you can deliver a HD file for a film-out if you have a feature film that needs to be released in movie theatres. Your HD file will be printed to standard 35mm film.

All in all, options are the same as for all other HD or SD camcorders, except the quality is significantly better than with SD.
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Old August 12th, 2009, 06:29 PM   #10
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If you're considering doing professional quality video projects lighting and quality audio become a big factor also. Although my HF-S100 doesn't handle low light as much as I'd like it does a great job otherwise. As with all consumer camcorders, the audio abilities are lacking. You can, however use a XLR adapter and use pro mics to boost the audio quality. I use the Juicelink Cx-231.Camcorder XLR Audio Adapter/Preamp: Buy Direct and Save - CX231
Add some lighting for indoors and you're ready to go.
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Old August 12th, 2009, 07:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G. Lee Gordon View Post
Alright Bruce, I'll stop my pity party :)

But when I asked about HD workflow I should have been more specific. I watch a lot of History channel and those types of shows, all being shot in HD. How are they being delivered to the station? In what format?
Most likely they are delivering @ 59.94 on HDCAM or HDCAM SR. I currently work at NBC and shows deliver at that spec. I know for sure some cable networks (Discovery HD) will restrict what kind of acquisition gear you use. i.e. Sony F900 and above. Other networks are similar but there are other HD formats like D-5 so they could be different.

Also dramas originating on film and HD post at 24p but up convert to 59.94 for air. We have dramas shooting film, RED and Sony F23s + more (!) and we just shot an national spot with a Canon D5 MII.

Things are changing fast in acquisition, but quality still matters. For TV dramas the QC standards are high and film is still preferred. For docs/reality there's a lot more wiggle room so a HF-S100 could be doable.

TV Workflow:

Vixia AVCHD > transcode if needed > editing platform > master out to HDCAM
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Old August 12th, 2009, 07:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Predrag Vasic View Post
For pro use, you have several options for HD workflow. Most Windows-based packages can work directly with AVCHD files.
I want to clarify this: I own a $10,000 Avid Media Composer system (PC based 2.8) and cannot natively work with the Vixia's MXP AVCHD files without transcoding them first. (I use NeoScene MXP = 24Mb/sec) Same with Premiere Pro CS3. Not all AVCHD files are created equal.
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Old August 12th, 2009, 10:31 PM   #13
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Thanks David! Maybe I worded it wrong, but that's the info I was looking for.
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Old August 13th, 2009, 12:19 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Predrag Vasic View Post
I have no doubt, with some careful planning and plenty of forethought, HF-S100 can be used for "pro" work with impressive results. You could certainly shoot corporate video, wedding video, TV commercials, short (and full-length) features on it, with proper equipment, talent and crew. You also need to know exactly what you are doing, what your camera is capable of, how to overcome its limitations, and you need to be thoroughly familiar with all the other necessary tools (software and hardware) in order to complete a project like that.

Bingo, you need to know what you are doing with your camera. I just posted a thread
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/canon-vix...sapointed.html about the video image quality I got out of my brand new HF200. Your HF-S100 is probably very similar to mine.

So I will be the first to admit, I haven't learned how to best use the camera, so the fault could be mine (I just got it!). But I can tell you for a fact if I was using my Sony PDX10 or a Sony PD150/170, I would have got great footage under the same conditions.

There is a book that Canon put out on how to use the Vixia line of HD cameras. Is it any good in teaching us how to best shoot with what camera settings?
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Old August 13th, 2009, 07:45 AM   #15
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Ronald,

The HF200 and HF S100 have different sensors and I believe the HF S100 can use a higher bitrate. The HF200 is an update on the HF100. I'm not really sure what they changed over the HF100 in the HF200 but the HF S100 incorporates some major changes.

I posted a suggestion in your HF200 thread that may help.

One mistake a lot of us make is switching the LCD screen to the "brightness boost" mode and then forgetting to switch it back before making any exposure judgements.
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