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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 October 1st, 2007, 10:16 AM   #1
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Getting the perfect video, advice needed!

Hello,

I've read the entire manual for the XH A1, several times. I'm going out to spend the entire day shooting and then i'll come home and see how different things worked, and figure out how i can get the best footage. I'm fairly new to this amount of control over video.. Mainly going to be videotaping weddings.

If you could give me some advice, it would be very appreciated.

1) ND filter, what I can find out it's Noise Deduction? So this would be helpful if in low light and you crank the gain up to 12db? Would you ever suggest using it past the 1st setting? But you have to be careful if you're making quick movements because of ghosting.

2) I'm using Steve's preset and I'm loving it, anymore anyone thinks I must have? I've tried all the ones here, but yet to find one I like as much.

3) Zebra! I believe i read i should use a 70% zebra and when it appears on the cheeks of a white skin person that's the right exposure? 100% outdoors and if you get any zebra then you're overexposing?

4) Gain, -3 for indoors, low light and low contrast, 0 for lifelike scenes under artificial light, and 3+ for lowlight, etc. How do I know which one to use? I've noticed it can produce quite a bit of noise and really ruins the shot, are there any rules or suggestions I can get?

5) Apeture controls, in shooting weddings and the such, do i need to adjust this? Besides trying to change the field of depth?

Any other advice for how to get a good shot with a Canon XH A1, i'm going for a warm feeling in my shots.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 10:22 AM   #2
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the best way to warm up the A1 image is to use the custom white balance feature (instructions are in the manual, which is sounds as if you are using)...use a monitor to dial it up, though. the LCD is not always a reliable representation.

also, if you're moving from in- to outdoors, you gotta be extra careful using this function. you can end up with some sickly looking humans in the wrong lighting...but used carefully, it's awesome.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 10:25 AM   #3
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I don't have a monitor or the money to purchase one right now? Any rules of thumb or anything? i might just have to get some of that warm feeling in post ;)
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Old October 1st, 2007, 10:57 AM   #4
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Jordan, I think you read the manual too many times. :-)

ND = Neutral Density. Think of it as a "light attenuator" cutting down the amount of light reaching the chips. It should not be confused with Noise Reduction.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 11:03 AM   #5
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Use the preset white balance controls on the top of the camera to create a warmer feeling.

Hours behind the camera is the best way to get the perfect video.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 11:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordan Berry View Post
1) ND filter, what I can find out it's Noise Deduction? So this would be helpful if in low light and you crank the gain up to 12db? Would you ever suggest using it past the 1st setting? But you have to be careful if you're making quick movements because of ghosting.
ND means neutral density, see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutral_density_filter

it's a grey filter that reduces light equally for all wavelengths, it doesn't affect polarization. It does not affect focus depth like changing the aperture does, so you can use it as alternative to changing shutter or aperture to get the right exposure. I would prefer it over negative gain because it is applied before light reaches the sensor.

I can't figure out what factor they are indicating, but on canons site they write: "The 1/6 option takes down the exposure by 2 stops, while the 1/32 option reduces the light intake by 5 stops." So, it appears not to be the ND factor, nor f-stop, nor transmittance... The 1/6 should correspond to -6 dB gain - I think.

Cheers, Erik
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Old October 1st, 2007, 11:14 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone, i see my mistake now.

Anyone want to comment on my other issues of interest?

2) I'm using Steve's preset and I'm loving it, anymore anyone thinks I must have? I've tried all the ones here, but yet to find one I like as much.

3) Zebra! I believe i read i should use a 70% zebra and when it appears on the cheeks of a white skin person that's the right exposure? 100% outdoors and if you get any zebra then you're overexposing?

4) Gain, -3 for indoors, low light and low contrast, 0 for lifelike scenes under artificial light, and 3+ for lowlight, etc. How do I know which one to use? I've noticed it can produce quite a bit of noise and really ruins the shot, are there any rules or suggestions I can get?

5) Apeture controls, in shooting weddings and the such, do i need to adjust this? Besides trying to change the field of depth?
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Old October 1st, 2007, 11:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik Norgaard View Post
I can't figure out what factor they are indicating, but on canons site they write: "The 1/6 option takes down the exposure by 2 stops, while the 1/32 option reduces the light intake by 5 stops." So, it appears not to be the ND factor, nor f-stop, nor transmittance...
It appears they indicate 1/ND, and that 1/6 does not correspond to two stops but rather something like 2.4?
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Old October 1st, 2007, 12:31 PM   #9
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Gain:
-3 dB for least image noise
0 dB for Canon's take on best compromise between dynamic range, noise, etc.
+n dB when needed to provide adequate image brightness after running out of adjustment range using aperture and shutter settings

Auto setting if you just cannot spend the time managing gain.

For wedding receptions you may find your are spending a lot of time with +6 to +12 dB of gain if you are not using external lighting, so spend some time with presets to work out methods to best manage the image noise associated with higher gain settings.

Note that 1/30 shutter with 0 dB gain is about equal to 1/60 shutter with +6 dB gain.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 01:10 PM   #10
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24F or 30F

If you will be shooting mostly weddings (and the dim lighting that comes with them), use the 24F or 30F modes. This will allow more light on the CCDs, reducing the need to bump the gain.
You'll need to plan your shots ahead a bit more than shooting in 60i because you want to minimize camera movement at those frame rates.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 09:53 PM   #11
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Good advice everyone, thanks a lot.

I was going to go with 30fps, and i've noticed you do need to be careful on movement. I think i'll use 60 when i'm doing lots of glidecam shots in the sun.

Any more advice welcome!
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