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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 26th, 2010, 02:51 PM   #1
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Anyone Using a Vixia HF series for Professional work?

I really like the quality of the Vixia HF S200 and want one but is anyone using that series for professional paid gigs? commercials? music videos? or anything else paid.

if so do clients ever ask about it? since it is so small? I consider my self a professional and not sure if that would hurt showing up to film with one of them cameras
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Old May 27th, 2010, 12:39 AM   #2
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You may want to check out this article regarding "professional" usage of a similar type of camcorder for the movie Crank 2;

Digital Media World - Canon?s HD Camcorders Capture The Action
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Old May 28th, 2010, 02:01 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Dave Morgan View Post
I really like the quality of the Vixia HF S200 and want one but is anyone using that series for professional paid gigs? commercials? music videos? or anything else paid.

if so do clients ever ask about it? since it is so small? I consider my self a professional and not sure if that would hurt showing up to film with one of them cameras
I've recently bought an HFS11 for use as a B camera alongside my Sony EX1. It's really just for a few drop in shots where I don't want to put a larger camera at risk or a large camera is impractical.

The Vixia/Lergria HFS11 is nothing approaching a professional camera, merely a high end domestic camera, but I have put some thoughts online here:

The Canon Legria HFS11 | Media2u Video Production Blog

I do like the camera and it's doing a super job here, but there is no way on earth I'd want to use it for full shoots. The lack of a proper focus control and that custom wheel make it a fiddly and the lens is what you'd expect of the price point.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 03:27 PM   #4
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Great review Marcus - much more realistic than some over-enthusiastic reports I'd read. I unwittingly acquired one of those grey imports you mention but decided to keep it. I was concerned about performance under 50hz lights but doesn't seem to be an issue. Apart from workflow inconveniences what is your main concern with 60i / 30p incompatibility as a professional these days?

Also - other reviews from respectable sources suggest that low-light image quality is better in 30p mode than in 60i, but if it's not natively progressive as you suggest then how is this possible?
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Old May 29th, 2010, 05:29 PM   #5
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Great review Marcus - much more realistic than some over-enthusiastic reports I'd read. I unwittingly acquired one of those grey imports you mention but decided to keep it. I was concerned about performance under 50hz lights but doesn't seem to be an issue. Apart from workflow inconveniences what is your main concern with 60i / 30p incompatibility as a professional these days?

Also - other reviews from respectable sources suggest that low-light image quality is better in 30p mode than in 60i, but if it's not natively progressive as you suggest then how is this possible?
The progressive mode issue is odd. I'm using Final Cut Pro which automatically transcodes footage before you can edit it. Thinking about it I can't be sure if it's not down to the fact the camera might be flagging the video as being interlaced which is then confusing Final Cut Pro during the transcoding process. I believe the ProRes codec needs to know if the source is interlaced or not. If the source is flagged as interlaced when it isn't then that might be causing issues. It needs some investigation.

My main issue with 60i/30p is the fact you are going to have to get it to 50i/25p at somepoint during the edit while retaining not only the timing but the quality of motion. Sods law says you will eventually hit problems with lighting causing flickering as well. I've shot NTSC for American clients in this country. You'll always find yourself fighting against some fluorescents at some stage.

[Just had a look online and have found that the camera does indeed record it's progressive output as interlaced. I'm wondering if this also causes artefacts at the point the camera encodes the footage]
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Old May 29th, 2010, 05:54 PM   #6
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Just loaded up a "progressive shot" of a field of oil seed rape in flower into VLC direct from the memory card rather than looking at it via FCP.

I can confirm there are interlacing artefacts all over the flowers as they move in the wind. However inspecting other footage it's not a uniform effect. But basically the effect is exactly the same as I see in FCP.

My hunch is that the problem is originating from the fact that the cameras output is always encoded as an interlaced image regardless of whatever mode you shoot in. We're not looking at a camera artefact as such, we're looking at at encoding problem. It amounts to the same thing though.

Shame really. Joe Punter won't even notice but for me it will be a problem. However I can always de-interlace in Compressor. As I say in my review, the full 1080 output doesn't quite cut it for me anyway, but at 720p and SD it looks great.
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Old May 30th, 2010, 04:14 AM   #7
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Interesting. Do you not see any obvious low-light performance benefits in "progressive" mode?

I guess some flourescent lights will always be an issue, even recording at 50hz. There was some speculation that changing the shutter speed helps on these occasions. I'm told modern lighting has increased latency (or something) which is much less likely to cause visible flickering effects.

I'm still interested to know why you need to output 50i/25p these days. It is true that LCD/plasma monitors handle both standards isn't it? Web is similarly standards agnostic. My experiments with converting 60i/30p footage to 25p using Adobe Media Encoder look seamless to this - admittedly untrained - eye. I also can't help thinking that those extra 10 fields and 5 frames per second might contain very valuable visual information, and the thought of paying 300+ more for a region-specific unit which is hobbled in that regard was galling. I understand that converting 25p to 30p is technically simpler and more efficient than the other way round however.

Of course using a 720 timeline with 1080 footage also has the advantage of being able to crop into the image which I'm finding very useful for wildlife footage when the lens doesn't naturally have the reach or minimum focusing distance to fill the frame.
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Old May 30th, 2010, 04:37 AM   #8
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There is no improvement in low light performance in the progressive mode. However you can take the shutter speed down to 1/25 without creating the stuttering effect you would get if in 1080i mode. That gives you a brighter image however be aware the image will blur on movement.

As for the need to output 50i/25p, I'm working professionally and therefore adhere to standards. People expect their finished DVD's to work. If I'm producing a sell through DVD that might be duplicated into a few thousand copies, what the client doesn't want is returns from customers because I've inexplicably produced a DVD in NTSC rather than PAL.

Of course you can convert the footage but it is an utter pain in the backside to have to do that. The extra effort of doing a proper conversion would cost far more in my time than the saving on an imported NTSC model.

Also remember I require this footage to drop into an existing edit timeline. I'd have to frame rate convert it before I could drop it into a 25p/50i timeline. Again this just wastes time and by the time you've had to do it a few times the price differential becomes insignificant because time is money.
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Old May 30th, 2010, 09:21 AM   #9
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Yes - understood. As a B camera I see it's a larger issue. But if you followed the workflow convenience argument to its logical conclusion you'd shoot in 720p or SD to begin with wouldn't you? Or do clients explicitly specify "Full HD 1080" for delivery these days?

Transcoding for FCP is another workflow bottleneck by the sound of it - I love being able to import the AVCHD straight into PPCS4. Editing it smoothly on the other hand...
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Old May 30th, 2010, 10:41 AM   #10
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Yes - understood. As a B camera I see it's a larger issue. But if you followed the workflow convenience argument to its logical conclusion you'd shoot in 720p or SD to begin with wouldn't you? Or do clients explicitly specify "Full HD 1080" for delivery these days?

Transcoding for FCP is another workflow bottleneck by the sound of it - I love being able to import the AVCHD straight into PPCS4. Editing it smoothly on the other hand...
No, I've been shooting HD for SD delivery for a few years now. In fact the EX1 doesn't even offer SD shooting options. I've found not only do I get great results but you can deliver a very good 576p for final delivery. Downconverting HD to SD is fairly trivial, removing 5 frames per second and doing it well isn't.

The transcoding is pretty seamless and makes the actual editing process far more smooth as Prores is a very high quality frame based codec. Yes the file sizes are large but for what I'm doing it's a non issue. But you nailed on the head the whole editing smoothly issue. Prores lets you edit it almost as snappily as DV.
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Old June 21st, 2010, 04:55 PM   #11
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Dave,

I dabble in Wedding Videography and some live club performances by local bands. I use two Sony V1U cameras but use my Canon consumer HV20 as my B roll back up camera locked on a wide shot.

It has saved my butt several times either for the audio I capture with it using a Rode Videomic or for the nice wide shot to cut to if by chance my steadicam / spyder handheld shot and my tripod or crane shot are both bad at the same time. The only thing I have to do is a little color correction as the Canon "look" is a little different from my Sony V1U's. It is amazing how good these consumer Canon cameras pictures are. When I replace my HV20 it will be with the HFS21 or whatever the current model is at that time.
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Old June 26th, 2010, 08:58 PM   #12
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I agree 100% DJ. I do the same thing with a couple of HF10's. They are placed on sticks locked down on wide shots. Using 'em in this manner, they intercut very very well with DSLR's and pro cams.
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Old June 26th, 2010, 09:27 PM   #13
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I am a corporate communicator and I use the HF10 for intranet videos. I think it looks great and is easy to use when the event, story, situation or budget don't allow for a real crew.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Morgan View Post
I really like the quality of the Vixia HF S200 and want one but is anyone using that series for professional paid gigs? commercials? music videos? or anything else paid.

if so do clients ever ask about it? since it is so small? I consider my self a professional and not sure if that would hurt showing up to film with one of them cameras
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Old June 27th, 2010, 04:45 AM   #14
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I use the HF10, HFS100 and a Sony Z1 for corporate gigs with no problems whatsoever. The weakest link quality-wise is the Z1...
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Old July 4th, 2010, 03:40 AM   #15
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I use the HF10, HFS100 and a Sony Z1 for corporate gigs with no problems whatsoever. The weakest link quality-wise is the Z1...
As good as my HFS11 is, it doesn't touch the Z1, especially in low light. A single chip camera is never going to beat a 3 chip camera with larger sensors.

The HFS10/11 is doing an awful lot of image sharpening internally. Don't mistake that for "quality".

I used to do shoots using a Z1 in SD mode and a PDX10. On the surface in good light the PDX-10 looked more pleasing until you did some close analysis and realised just how much sharpening was going on and where detail was being lost. On a broadcast monitor it was quite obvious.

The HFS10/11 is a good camera but the Z1 still gives a far better image containing more detail and with no artificial enhancements.
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