Is downconversion not an official feature? at DVinfo.net

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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old September 4th, 2007, 12:46 PM   #1
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Is downconversion not an official feature?

I just called B&H to purchase an XH-A1. But the individual told me there is no downconversion feature in the camera. He said the v1u does this but the Canon does not. I have to either record SD or HD. I could of course downconvert in the computer he told me.

Confused by what I'm reading here vs what B&H said, I called Canon and they told me no such feature exists as well. Am I missing something? Anyone have this experience? I looked through other threads with no luck.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 12:53 PM   #2
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That is totally false information. I just downconverted an entire tape last week, from the camera into a DVCAM deck. It's an option in the menu. If you have the phone number and name of the person you talked to at Canon, it might be useful to post it here.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 01:03 PM   #3
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Here's a pic of the HD Downconvert menu option in the Canon XH A1 for proof... click to see it big...
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Old September 4th, 2007, 01:12 PM   #4
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Good to hear

I remember the name of the person I spoke to at B&H but not Canon. They put me on hold for a while came back and said sorry - this feature doesn't exist. Sorry if it looked as though I was spreading bad info - I was just confused and wanted someone to reassure me the feature does exist before I buy this cam.

The B&H guy said he was looking at the Canon literature and said the feature wasn't on there. I told him that people were posting reviews about the feature on B&H's own website - but he said nope, sorry, get the Sony if you want that feature.

Thanks for the reply Bill. I thought I was losing my mind reading these posts about how everyone's doing yet the 2 best resources are telling me otherwise. I was almost ready to give the guy my card number and got this dropped on me.

Chris - thanks for the pic. Nothing like seeing it.

Is the consensus that the in camera downconversion doesn't work as well as doing it in the computer?

thanks.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 01:21 PM   #5
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I cannot understand why B&h said that, because it is simply not the truth. I also downconvert from HD to SD with my XHA1 the only thing I can think of is that they want you to buy a dearer camera that in the opinnion of a lot of people is not as good as the XHA1. Iwould ring them again and ask to speak with the manager and explain to him or her what has happened.

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Old September 4th, 2007, 01:21 PM   #6
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I've never really found anybody at B&H who knows much about the equipment, but they're reliable and prices are good. On the other hand, the guy at Zotz (Brian, I think) and Tapeworks Texas both know their stuff, and the camera price is the same. It might be nice to let the B&H dude know the error of his ways so he won't put out any more bad information.

I found the downconvert to be perfect. I've only used it one time. I shot some stuff HDV and then had to give it to the client on DVCAM. I did it from the camera into a DSR1800 deck. Looks perfect to me, just as if it had been shot SD originally. I had shot HDV, 60i, and downconverted to DVCAM, keeping the 16:9 aspect ratio.

Normally I shoot 24p, load and edit, keeping everything 24p until the final QT export. Looks great. No need to deinterlace. That QT export from FCP is a big huge HDV Quicktime. From there I use Compressor to get to whatever compression I need, or I import the QT into DVD Studio Pro for DVD authoring. I see no problems with that downconvert either. I prefer to keep everything HDV in hopes the next Mac upgrade will have the Blu-ray DVD burner. Then I could make an HD as well as DV DVD, saving the HD one for when/if HD becomes real in the DVD world.

Thanks for the photo, Chris. I thought about doing the same thing but my camera is at home.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 01:59 PM   #7
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Very helpful

The reason I'm nervous about this feature is because I'm not ready to do any hd editing yet. Workflow is my concern (thanks Bill for your process). I use PP2.0 and want a cam to supplement my xl2/gl2.

Here's a question - probably this is obvious: if I record HDV and downconvert - do I have the option to downconvert to DV widescreen or 4:3? Or how does that work? Bill you said you downconverted keeping the 16:9. I ask since it sounds like you had an option to do otherwise.

The guy's name at B&H was Morris I believe. I need to call him again I guess now that I know whats up. Good advice Alan. He was the same guy that told me the Sony was more expensive due to the downconversion feature. I'm a little concerned by whoever I talk to now.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 02:21 PM   #8
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The HDV image is 16:9, so it you downconvert to use in a 4:3 timeline, you have to letterbox it. I haven't done that but read something about it somewhere in the manual.

A few months ago needed to cut in some HDV footage into a 4:3 SD timeline. I already had the HD stuff loaded, so I dropped into the timeline, and FCP automatically letterboxed it. Then I used motion to enlarge and crop it to fill the 4:3 frame, since I didn't want to mix letterbox with full frame. The resolution was good enough compared to the original SD footage from another camera that it looked better.

One basic rule of dealing with audiovisual equipment salesmen: Never believe a word they say. I've been lied to by more than one local pro dealer in this area. (Although, as I said earlier, I've been very favorably impressed by Zotz and Tapeworks Texas.) When somebody pushes one brand over another and you find out there's some innacuracy there...keep in mind that there may be different commission structures in the company, ie., he may get a better commission for selling a Sony camera. As they used to say on "X-Files"...Trust No One.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 02:38 PM   #9
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More great advice

Thanks for the rules of thumb - I didn't realize they had seperate selling structures for different brands like that. He didn't slam the Canon but claimed it was lower priced for less features.

On the downconversion: I guess what I was really asking is can I go to a widescreen dv timeline or 4:3 timeline or both? I realize if it's 4:3 it will have to be letterboxed (I do this with the xl2). Maybe there's alot about the process I don't understand. What kind of file is produced from the downconversion (is it DV or somekind of MPG2 file)? My inexperience with HDV is showing through here. Thanks for your patience.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 02:40 PM   #10
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I agree that salespersons aren't always accurate.

There may be one difference between the Sony V1U and the Canon, that being the Sony will record to hard drive in HDV and record to tape in DV at the same time. At least this is what I was told by a Sony rep at a show.

Last edited by Jack Walker; September 4th, 2007 at 05:52 PM.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 05:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Spinler View Post
What kind of file is produced from the downconversion (is it DV or somekind of MPG2 file)?
It downconverts to DV.

Bill
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Old September 4th, 2007, 05:53 PM   #12
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Well - I ordered the XH-A1 today from B&H despite my salesman experience. I ordered it online. I get free shipping for being a NAPP member so at least there was a bright spot to the deal! Parting with the cash is never a great feeling for me - but I'm convinced that I made the right decision after reading a number of helpful threads here. Thanks to all who answered my questions! I'll follow up after I receive the camera.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 08:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Spinler View Post
He didn't slam the Canon but claimed it was lower priced for less features.
Less features?! I defy anybody to find a current camcorder under $5k with more features than the XH-A1. Granted, a cast magnesium body would be nice...;)

Down conversion in-camera works okay for me. Some people say you get better results with Cineform and then down converting the final render. I've never used Cineform, so I can't make comparisons. It's got a free trial, so I may give it a go.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 09:33 PM   #14
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Ben--congrats! You'll love it.

First thing: Set it up on a tripod, make a pot of coffee (or open a 2 litre bottle of Pepsi, or whatever your thing is, booze is not a good idea at this point), and spend some quality time with the manual. I found it nice to have the downloaded version on my iBook...don't need a free hand to keep it open.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 11:38 PM   #15
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Plus make sure to disable optical image stabilizer (OIS) in the menu while camera is on tripod. Mounting on tripod always confuses OIS in any camera and you won't be sure if the image is really moving slowly as if the camera wanted to hypnotize you or if it's the beer you're drinking :)

Congrats!
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