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Canon XA and VIXIA Series AVCHD Camcorders
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Old May 5th, 2012, 03:52 PM   #46
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Re: Canon VIXIA XA10 for stage events? UPDATE

First of all ... thank you to ALL that contributed to this discussion. Everyone made very valid points about this camera. It can take some amazing footage and I have one event that my wife shot in full auto mode for me and it came out great. However, I tried to use it last night for a high school performance and it's just not practical for me. Luckily I had shot the same performance the night before and last night was just a trial run with the camera. I think I could shoot an entire wedding in auto mode and it would look great, but for the stage ... not so much ... at least for me.

I might be a bit too old to change, but it appears I still need my buttons and dials, so once I can get through a couple of crazy weeks I'll be putting my XA10 up in the classifieds and maybe take a look at something a bit more expensive. You'd think I would have learned that lesson years ago, but the thought of taking such a light weighted camera was very appealing.

Thanks again for taking the time to help.

Scott
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Old May 5th, 2012, 11:14 PM   #47
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Re: Canon VIXIA XA10 for stage events?

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Originally Posted by Scott Brooks View Post
I think I could shoot an entire wedding in auto mode and it would look great, but for the stage ... not so much ... at least for me.
Did the problem with the stage shoot involve a spotlight or was it the 10x zoom?
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Old May 6th, 2012, 12:10 AM   #48
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Re: Canon VIXIA XA10 for stage events?

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Did the problem with the stage shoot involve a spotlight or was it the 10x zoom?
You're pretty good Eric. The zoom just doesn't cut it. Even knowing I would be going to DVD with it I just couldn't use the 2x under some dark lighting.

I really have nothing bad to say about the camera. This was just a case of me over-estimating my ability to adapt to something new. I'm still struggling with FCPX as well. Luckily for me I still have my other cameras and FCP.

This was a huge learning experience, but I have no regrets. I would have always wondered ... now I know.

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Old May 6th, 2012, 02:14 AM   #49
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Re: Canon VIXIA XA10 for stage events? UPDATE

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Originally Posted by Scott Brooks View Post
I might be a bit too old to change, but it appears I still need my buttons and dials, so once I can get through a couple of crazy weeks I'll be putting my XA10 up in the classifieds and maybe take a look at something a bit more expensive. You'd think I would have learned that lesson years ago, but the thought of taking such a light weighted camera was very appealing.

Thanks again for taking the time to help.

Scott

Interesting how it turned out for you, Scott. I might be interested when you are ready to sell.

Deborah
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Old May 6th, 2012, 11:19 AM   #50
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Re: Canon VIXIA XA10 for stage events?

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The zoom just doesn't cut it.
Have you considered locking down the XA10 for a wide shot and using your Z7 as the main camera? Then you could retire the FX1, still lighten your load and keep the XA10.
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Old May 6th, 2012, 01:57 PM   #51
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Re: Canon VIXIA XA10 for stage events?

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Have you considered locking down the XA10 for a wide shot and using your Z7 as the main camera? Then you could retire the FX1, still lighten your load and keep the XA10.
I really hadn't considered that as an option. I still don't have my head completely wrapped around the whole AVCHD concept. One problem is that I've been so busy I haven't had as much time to work with it as I would like ... but I must say that it looks like ClipWrap is the way to go, so thanks for that.

I'm going to guess that since I have to convert all footage anyway, that the two would work together without a problem.

I'll consider that suggestion. The only thing is now ... I wouldn't need the xlr inputs and could have gotten away with something less expensive. Lot's to think about.

Scott
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Old May 6th, 2012, 03:39 PM   #52
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Re: Canon VIXIA XA10 for stage events?

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Originally Posted by Scott Brooks View Post
I wouldn't need the xlr inputs and could have gotten away with something less expensive.
It's better to record the good audio on the XA10 because there will be no possibility of tape dropouts. This also allows you to maintain mobility with your main camera.
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Old May 7th, 2012, 05:06 PM   #53
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Re: Canon VIXIA XA10 for stage events?

Scott, something to keep in mind: moving to avchd files may be problematic for you at this point, but millions of people worldwide are edting AVCHD files in FCP or with X.

The problems you are having is related to you NLE, not the files themselves. In Sony Vegas you drag and drop the files onto the timeline and you edit. It is not complicated. It shouldn't be complicated.

I read the about the gyrations that FCP users, etc go through with AVCHD and it just boggles my mind that Apple has made it so freaking complicated to edit AVCHD.

The fact that it needs to create proxies or perform conversions before you can edit blows my mind. At least with Vegas, despite the problems with the new release (crashes, etc) I can at least choose to convert my files or not.

The XA10 has every feature any average event shooter needs. The exposure compensation wheel on the rear of the camera is easy to use, though not as nice as the dials and such on larger cameras, but it works perfectly fine. The audio quality produced by the camera is absolutely second to none, in it's price range.

I'm not knocking the older cameras, but I wouldn't give 10 cents to have my old FX1000 or FX1 back.

The XA10 is very easy to use, but yes it takes a bit to learn with the stupid menus. I hate the damned menus. But for $1899 the video produced rivals some $6K cameras, and that is worth a lot.

AVCHD is what is happening, and people are doing it every day everywhere. The format was designed as a delivery medium, not for editing, which is why it's so taxing on a CPU. I fought AVCHD for a long time, but I eventually realized that for me, on my budget, I couldn't fight it any longer.

I feel your frustration, but you can do it, it's just a real pain to get past the learning curve.

Good luck with whatever you end up doing.
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Old May 7th, 2012, 05:27 PM   #54
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Re: Canon VIXIA XA10 for stage events?

"I'm not knocking the older cameras, but I wouldn't give 10 cents to have my old FX1000 or FX1 back."

No, I'm not looking to keep using my FX1. As a matter of fact I'm probably going to look for a Sony AX2000 which means I'll have the same file issues. BUT ... it does have the manual buttons and a 20x optical lens. I'm not sure what other camera can deliver those features.

I'm thinking that Eric might be correct in that I can use the XA10 as a wider shot for events when needed.

I don't like the way FCPX handles the files, but I use nothing but Macs for everything else in my life and I'm not crazy about learning a new editing system. But I don't know ... maybe Vegas is just drag and drop. It wouldn't kill me to purchase a laptop with an affordable editing system if I knew I could pick it up quickly. (Normally I don't.)

My editing needs are very, very basic. I need to be able to capture and sync two or three audio sources and switch between two cameras. In fact ... the majority of my events are single camera with multiple audio sources.

I have a very simple wedding later this month. I'm going to shoot with my Z7 and have my wife shoot from the back with the XA10. That should give me a good idea of how far I can go with it.

Bottom line ... I'm not ditching it yet, but do have to look for something to use with it.
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Old May 7th, 2012, 05:53 PM   #55
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Re: Canon VIXIA XA10 for stage events?

You know Scott, I hear really, really great things about Edius. Problem is I think it's expensive, and I'm not sure how easy it is to learn.

If you're so heavy into Apple products, I see your problem. I personally would want to stick with with what I have also. Learning a new NLE is not my idea of fun.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 07:13 AM   #56
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Re: Canon VIXIA XA10 for stage events?

FWIW: some MAC users use BootCamp to run more format friendly editing software on a MAC; e.g., Edius.

From what some have posted, sounds like moving from FCP 6 or 7 to FCPX is about like learning a new NLE.

Workign with a freind who switched from Matrox ona PC to FCP6 ona MAc, he is haveing fits due to the propensity of Apple to not play well with others. Getting video to him to include in a project has been difficult. I cannot just send him an AVI or MTS file.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 08:29 AM   #57
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Re: Canon VIXIA XA10 for stage events?

I downloaded a trial version of Edius 6. You can drag and drop files onto the timeline from a windows explorer window, or import them, just as you can with Vegas.

Edius has a very nice multicam feature, and playback of multiple video streams is absolutely perfect, no judder or slowdown of any kind. It really puts Vegas to shame in this regard. It doesn't have thumbnails on the timeline, which I miss, but it may be possible to change a setting to make that happen. Edius really does have some nice features. It runs a smooth as silk. I may try to find time to make a mini movie and see how it works from beginning to end.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 10:03 AM   #58
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Re: Canon VIXIA XA10 for stage events?

I moved to Edius after Avid killed Liquid, in large part for its AVCHD support, and have not looked back. It makes working with mixed formats of video a snap, and it offers a high degree of customization of the inteface.
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Old May 12th, 2012, 08:06 PM   #59
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Re: Canon VIXIA XA10 for stage events?

Glad I found this thread. I am considering the purchase of a HF G10 and have questions about its ability to handle wide changes in light level at stage events.

I have a Sony XR-500V HD camcorder that I am very happy with except for shooting stage events, which I do several times a year at my grand children's elementary school. The lighting is erratic at these events - not so much in colors but in light levels. They have white spot lights that they move across the stage in apparent random fashion (the lights are run by 5th grade school students). Auto-exposure doesn't work well at all for these events (black curtain at the back of the stage fools the meter). So I use manual exposure, but when reviewing the footage at home on a large screen I often find that the faces of the students in the spot light (and only those students) are overexposed and they look like featureless ghosts.

The rest of their body is exposed OK, it's just their faces that are over-exposed. And the faces of the rest of the kids are exposed OK. While shooting, I can't tell that the faces in the spotlight are over-exposed because in a wide shot of the stage with 30-40 students on stage, each student's face occupies such a small portion of the camcorder's LCD screen that I can't see the overexposure (and the Sony doesn't have zerbras.) The only solution I have found is to intentionally under-expose the overall scene so the faces in the spotlight don't overexpose. But then the rest of the scene looks too dark.

I know that no camcorder can duplicate the human eye's ability to handle wide differences in lighting levels, but I would like to be able to minimize these over-exposures and am wondering about the G10's ability to do so.

Two questions;

1. The G10 claims to have 280% better dynamic range (not sure what they are comparing to). Do you G10 owners notice a significantly better ability to handle the the type of lighting that I described, when compared to other camcorders you have used?

2. Will the G10 zebras show up on its LCD screen when only a tiny portion of the overall scene is over-exposed, such as 4-5 students' faces that are in the spotlight while the other 30-35 students are out of the spotlight? Or do the zebras only show up when a larger area is overexposed?

Thanks for any insight you can provide. I'd hate to spend $1,300+ on a camcorder only to find it doesn't do much better than my Sony in these situations.

Last edited by Dale McClelland; May 13th, 2012 at 07:07 PM.
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Old June 1st, 2012, 10:21 PM   #60
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Re: Canon VIXIA XA10 for stage events?

I shot my first "School Play" with my G10 a couple of days ago. At first I tried the "spotlight" setting but it didn't open up when panning to a darker area, which I needed to do, so I used "Program" instead.

I am absolutely blown away by how this camera handles stage conditions. Canon say that fewer, but larger pixels gives wider dynamic range.... and does it ever! It's not quite "HDR" but it's not far off. The footage was gorgeous, with deep blacks in the shadows, and crisp, well exposed highlights on the stage.

Compared to my old XM2, which seemed to want to "average" exposure, the G10 is a huge improvement.

In my experience, the zebras will show up if a small portion is over exposed.
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