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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 16th, 2007, 03:46 PM   #1
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Buying the A1 this week but more question

I'm letting myself convinced that I want the A1 over the DVX100b. I never own a DVX but I've used one before.

Of course I want the extra resolution, but not at the expense of not being able to focus correctly. Can I use my Dell 1920x 1200 to assist focus? I'm primarily shooting a film and all my scenes are controlled and I will have power everywhere.

I have a lot of night scenes. Compare to the DVX 100b that I've used before, isn't it going to be a head ache to lit for the A1?

Can I have as much color tweaking with the A1 that I could with the DVX?

I have a scene where somebody is filmed running. Is the GOP going to hold or I'm going to have artifacts?
Thanks for answering all those points, if you can
Larry
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Old September 16th, 2007, 04:33 PM   #2
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You can connect via component and see what the camera sees on the Dell monitor.
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Old September 16th, 2007, 04:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Secrest View Post
I'm letting myself convinced that I want the A1 over the DVX100b. I never own a DVX but I've used one before.
I don't own either, but have used both. Hopefully an A1 expert can come on here and verify (or refute) my comments:

Quote:
Of course I want the extra resolution, but not at the expense of not being able to focus correctly. Can I use my Dell 1920x 1200 to assist focus? I'm primarily shooting a film and all my scenes are controlled and I will have power everywhere.
As the previous poster noted, I'm 99% certain you can. If you're a PC user, or have Windows for your Mac, you can do a lot more than that if you buy Console.

Quote:
I have a lot of night scenes. Compare to the DVX 100b that I've used before, isn't it going to be a head ache to lit for the A1?
Close. The A1 is probably about a half-stop to a stop weaker than the DVX100b. The Sony's seem to be better than other cameras (The Z1, and PD170 that is, the new V1 has a gorgeous picture, but is a stop weaker than the A1). Having worked on quite a few crews over the years, using all sorts of cameras, and working at a TV station, I can tell you this: It's a LOT easier to have a scene that's a bit on the bright side, and darken it down in post, than it is the other way around. It's also a lot easier to increase contrast in post than cut it down (hence, crush your blacks in your nighttime scenes).

Quote:
Can I have as much color tweaking with the A1 that I could with the DVX?
More. Way more. You can probably do more with the Canon's than any other camera in this price range, or anything close to it.

Quote:
I have a scene where somebody is filmed running. Is the GOP going to hold or I'm going to have artifacts?
Depends on who you ask, though 97% of the people say you won't have any problems at all, including me, even after staring at footage of people running through wheat fields and such. Some people however have scrutinized footage from HDV pretty closely in scenes like what you're talking about, and don't like what they see.

One of the coolest features of the Canon, in my opinion from using it, is the optical image stabilizer is definitely better on the new Canon's than any other camera I've ever used. It's very impressive. I also like the iris on the lens. I also like the 20x lens, with it fairly wide at the wide end.

It may sound obvious, but in the end it's up to you. Perhaps the biggest question is this: Are you going to need HD within the next few years, or is SD okay for you? Because it's likely you'll have the camera that long.
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Old September 16th, 2007, 05:00 PM   #4
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Never tried Console, but I think it "feeds" via FW and there is a 1-2 second delay. Some say that focus/panning etc. is not good in Console. When I capture in Vegas (preview on laptop) via FW there is the delay and focus will not work, onless you filming very "dead things" that do not move.

As previous poster says - there is a lot of settings. The value can be questioned, but it's there for those that like to do it in "pre" rather than "post".
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Old September 16th, 2007, 05:12 PM   #5
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"Some people however have scrutinized footage from HDV pretty closely in scenes like what you're talking about, and don't like what they see."

Ah ha! What do we have to say about this?
And about the audio? Is it more than adequate for dialogues?
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Old September 16th, 2007, 07:45 PM   #6
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I've shot all sorts of things, including some kids on bicycles going round and round on a track, at 24f, and never saw any of those artifacts people like to talk about. It's sort of like the early days of DV--people complained about artifacts, but with properly shot footage, you don't see any problems.

I find the mic-in audio quality better than on the company's DSR500, although conventional wisdom tells us that it can't possibly be as good because it's compressed. We shot some regional TV spots with a Z1 last year for a festival and its audio sounded great on the big screen--same kind of audio as the XH A1. I have a festival preview running now on 3 theater screens, shot with the XH A1, and there is no funkiness in the audio at all. The mics I use are either a Sennheiser MKH60 or a Sennheiser G2 wireless lav. The shotgun sounds better, obviously.

Nights scenes shouldn't give you any problem. I did a quick test between my XH A1 and a DSR250, just shooting some cardboard boxes under a table in the shadows. Both cameras were practically the same, maybe 1/4 stop difference. However, the 250 was at 1/60 for 30fps, and the XH A1 was set at 1/48 for 24fps. But then I noticed I had the Canon at -3db, so the -3db probably evened out the difference between the slower shutter speed. I was in a hurry and just did it to answer a question for a friend, so it wasn't a really good test. When I first got the camera, I shot outdoors at night in the deck at home, with one of those 60 watt yellow bug lights. Shooting at zero db, it looked the same in the camea as it did to my eye.
When compared to the Z1, the XH A1 seems about 1/2 stop better under these conditions, maybe even a little more.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 12:25 AM   #7
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Ok

This movie, which link is below, if really shot with the A1, shows me that there's no artifacts when a subject is moving. Really nice.

http://www.morningnapalmfilms.com/desolate.htm

It's getting more and more obvious, I'm going to use the A1 for my project.
I'm still wondering, though, why I haven't seen footage shot with the A1 as "filmic" as stuff I've seen shot with the DVX100b? Any idea why? Of course I've seen the DVX stuff on a computer screen, no idea how it'd look on a big theater screen.

I have a Sony Pro monitor, 14 inches, but it's SD. I intend to use a Dell 1920x1200 to assist focus. But do you think the Sony monitor could be of any use to check color?

By the way, is component the best way to connect the A1 to the HD Dell monitor?
Thanks
Larry
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Old September 17th, 2007, 01:50 AM   #8
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The XHA1 would be my clear choice, as the custom presets, 20X lens, numerous exposure modes, and tweakability to the nth degree are all tremendous assets.
Now add to that, the HDV capability. I have been shooting my daughters' soccer team lately, 1080/60i and the footage looks GREAT on my 50" plama monitor. So very crisp, it does not go soft at that size, like SD can.
It's an awesome cam.
I use mine mostly for producing a cable TV show, and it's just great in that application. The customer always rave about how nice the color is. And she's right.
So I would recommend the A1 over the DVX. I think Canon's design and execution in this cam is just spot-on.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 10:32 AM   #9
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I've seen both on the big screen, and both look good. Lots of the clips you see posted are just grabshots people do when they first get the camera. There's very little being posted with good lighting, composition, moves, etc.--ie., no clips out of real productions. I put some out of a documentary up some time ago but I can't find them now. If I do, I'll post the link. They're all the more typical low key lighting you probably want to see.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 02:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
...There's very little being posted with good lighting, composition, moves, etc.--ie., no clips out of real productions
The Canon H1 demo movie itself is pretty filmic, and very pro:

http://usa.canon.com/app/html/See_Th...ce/index.shtml

Kudos to Morning Palm Films. I don't completely get it, but what a cool looking piece. Nice use of the long end of the lens, and great color and contrast control in a unique location.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 06:00 PM   #11
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I've actually *tried* to break 24F to find its limits. Its pretty awesome. Flash photography isn't even a problem for it. People running is cake for this camera.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 06:06 PM   #12
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I agree totally. The anti-HDV comments you see on certain boards are almost always from people who are just speculating from what they've read and have never seen the camera in operation. Or, they saw something shot at the wrong shutter speed, etc.
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