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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 December 2nd, 2007, 07:02 PM   #1
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A1 Footage from HD to Stnd. Defintion

Hello Everyone,

This is my first post to this forum and it's nice to be invited. I'm contemplating buying the XH-A1 to use for video deposition work as well as "event" work. My idea is that I'd have a camera that could do double duty. For deposition work I'd need to have a final output as a stnd. def file and burned to a stnd. DVD disk. I'll be using Adobe Creative Suite 3 for editing.

Are there any issues I need to be aware of in regards to any equipment? I'm using an Intel iMac OS X for my editing. I'm not clear about how the file is downsized and if the picture is degraded in any way. Also, what advice do you have for outputting an HD file if I want to burn it to DVD (I know the format war hasn't settled yet)?

Best regards,
Jack
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 12:01 PM   #2
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The A1 will give you a lot of flexibility in shooting, capturing, editing, and delivering your work. You can:

--Shoot, capture, edit, and deliver in HD
--Shoot capture,and edit in HD and deliver in SD
--Shoot in HD and capture, edit & deliver in SD
--Shoot in SD and do everything else SD as usual.

For the deposition work, it would be just fine to shoot in SD and edit the footage as you normally would. You can still get spectacular results, even in a total SD workflow. And you still have the option to shoot in HD if you ever need or want to.

As far as delivering HD footage, you'll need to ask around. It's still kind of cutting edge, and there is no standard way accepted by any large number Joe Q publics. Most of them don't even realize there is a difference between SD and HD dvd's

Adobe CS3 should let you burn to a Blu Ray disc (if you have a blu ray burner) and it will also let you render out to a variety of HD computer files. I've had great luck rendering to WMV HD which are playable on my Xbox 360 (they look beautiful)>
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 03:39 PM   #3
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If the client wants the delivery in SD, shoot SD to save the conversion time, and provide a simpler audit/evidence trail (if that issue is material). And I believe the original SD image will look as good (or possibly better depending on content) compared to most moderate cost down converts from HDV to SD.

Are depositions edited rather than dumped continuous from start to end of the interview?
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 04:13 PM   #4
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I agree, for depositions it's probably best to shoot SD.

For HD, if you want to author an HD disc, you just export from your timeline as a reference QT, then do the authoring in the HD mode. Of course you have to be able to get that to whichever HD format disc you are going to use, meaning you have to buy the appropriate burner. For a standard DVD, you just import that reference QT into DVD Studio Pro, or you can do it through Compressor.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 07:15 PM   #5
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Legal video is formatted to MPEG-1 OR MPEG-2

Thanks, Bob, Don, and Bill for your input!

For legal purposes, the footage is not edited. Ever. When there is a tape change (1 hour point, usually) you have to instruct the attorney on audio that there will be a tape change.

I wasn't clear if the XH-A1 was actually capable of capturing in stnd. definition, or if it's always in HD mode; then the file is altered to stnd. definition? The final output can be to MPEG-1 (for CD-ROM) OR MPEG-2 (for DVD ROM) which are very low bitrate files (1.5-3 mbit/s) playable on most PCs.

Bottom line: Is the XH-A1 a good purchase for what I'm trying to do (deposition and "event" video) or should I stick to, perhaps, a GL-2 to shoot in stnd. definition?

Thanks,
Jack

P.S. I know there will be many opinions, but that's okay. I should mention that shooting short films is also a consideration.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 08:36 PM   #6
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Yes, the A1 can shoot in HD or SD. And if you shoot in HD, you can downconvert to SD from the camera, or you can downconvert after you edit. The possibilities are too numerous to completely list.

For the deposition work, the A1 may be a slight overkill, though no one could ever fault you for not having a professional enough camera. And for film-making, it is a spectacular choice.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 09:55 PM   #7
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I am sooo behind on how this works...

So IN CAMERA, I can shoot in HDV/06i and when I use the XHA1 to capture, it'll downconvert for me before pushing the footage thru the firewire?

Is the degradation of quality less using the camera or using FCP to downsample?

Sorry for piggybacking my question in this thread! Thanks in advance.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 10:44 PM   #8
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Yes, you can shoot HDV and set the camera to downconvert, and it will do so as you capture your footage into an SD project. It will still be 16:9. If you want 4:3 you have to shoot SD. I shot some HDV footage and did the in-camera downconvert when transferring to DVCAM tape and it looked very good, no problems at all. Normally I shoot HDV, edit HDV, export as a reference QT, which is still HD, and then do the conversion when going to DVD.
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Old December 4th, 2007, 03:25 AM   #9
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Have to add that the SD quality XH-A1 delivers is better than what I have seen from any prosumer SD camera. Especially 16:9 mode is really sharp ("native" widescreen).

Shooting in SD might give slightly better quality than downconverting from HDV as the original is not so heavily compressed. This is theoretical, I have not done any tests.
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Old December 4th, 2007, 07:55 AM   #10
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Jack,

If you care to, download the XH-A1 manual from the CanonDV web site and read the details at your convenience.

For event work I think it will top the GL2 in SD mode, and give you the HDV option for when you need it.

However, it is a much more capable, and thus complex, beast in terms of nooks and crannies filled with features. You can generally shoot acceptable/usable video out of the box, as you can with the GL2, but learning to optimize camera settings for the situation at hand will take a bit of time and effort. The many threads here will give you a flavor of the task ahead of you.
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Old December 4th, 2007, 08:11 AM   #11
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These posts run in sharp contrast to others I've read stating that the native SD mode of the A1 is of terrible quality, and to always shoot HD even if you know you're going to distribute SD only. Looks like it's time to do some testing...

cheers, d.
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Old December 4th, 2007, 11:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Park View Post
These posts run in sharp contrast to others I've read stating that the native SD mode of the A1 is of terrible quality, and to always shoot HD even if you know you're going to distribute SD only. Looks like it's time to do some testing...

cheers, d.
I just shot a wedding in SD 30p 16x9, and it looked great.
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Old December 4th, 2007, 12:55 PM   #13
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Dan "native" SD is fine as SD goes, but keep in mind that out of the box the image is not optimized for all shooting environments. You see this in many threads wherein people are much happier once they learn to use custom presets to better match the camcorder to the lighting, scene, etc.

In any case, SD will look lame compared to HDV on a HD screen, and it is hard to go back once spoiled.
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Old December 5th, 2007, 05:34 AM   #14
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I shot a full event in 4:3 SD 60i and I loved the footage (I believe it was with VividRGB) even @ 12DB gain.

I really need to try shooting with HDV...
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