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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 12th, 2007, 02:58 AM   #1
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Going crazy. Need to get a camera.

Hello. I want to start shooting some extremely low-budget horror films, but there is a problem: I am torn between two cameras. Should I wait for however long it takes and get an EX1, or should I bite the bullet and get an XH-A1? That is what I have been asking myself lately. On one hand, I want the EX1 because of it's 1/2 inch sensors, improved low-light capability, true 24p etc. But on the other, I can't find one single shop here in B.C. Canada that either carries or is about to carry them , and the lack of a viable long-term data storage solution at the moment is quite frustrating. I want to shoot something so badly. Part of me wants to rush into the local camera shop and just pick up an xh-a1 for $3700 but I am not sure. One thing I like about hdv is the fact that I don't have to risk archiving my video on hds, but am uncertain whether that should be a deciding factor.

Bottom line, if I knew it was going to take another 3-5 months for the EX1 to be available, I would go out tomorrow and pick up the XH-A1, but I would hate to drop $5000 (Including taxes and requisite peripherals) and then find out a cam with better specs is finally available.

Sorry for the rambling nature of this post. I don't know how else to express my frustration, a significant part of which comes from the fact that I have had an 8-core mac pro with 8 gigs of ram sitting on my desk since September with little to occupy it other than some music experiments. My initial plan was to buy the mac, then buy an A1...but right after I ordered the Mac, I learned of the EX1, and decided to wait until it got released before I made a purchasing decision. It has now been released for around a month and I still haven't found very many in-depth reviews or know how long it will take to get my hands on one. There is also the potential issue of vignetting that worries me. Arg...
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Old December 12th, 2007, 04:58 AM   #2
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Hi Spencer.............

My immediate diagnosis in this case is one of ultimate penis envy - his is bigger/ better than mine etc.

In the case of low/ zero budget horror flics, it would seem that shooting it on Super 8mm would, in fact, not be a disbarment from audience enjoyment. But no, the patient is obsessed with the latest, greatest, most expensive piece of technology going, and in doing so, he has completely missed the point!

That being?

The number of people capable of being reached with this super, all singing, all dancing, latest piece of electronic wizardry is so minimal, so infintesmal, that it's place in the totality of the project is an utter nothing.

Rather than concentrating on the message, the writer has gone for the means of delivery, and failed utterly to see the irrelevance of it.

In other words: You don't need CinemaScope to do low budget horror flics, in fact one of the things that made them so good was the Directors use of the subtleties of good 'ol Black & White (Monochrome).

You hardly need the latest piece of kit to do that - do you?

Er, do you?


CS
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Old December 12th, 2007, 05:06 AM   #3
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Man...you made a good point. I love your "diagnosis". Hilarious! In my defense though, I'm just trying to get my money's worth. At this point, my dream is simply to make a living doing low-budget horror films. As a single guy with no major financial-burdens and a low-key lifestyle, I hope it is not too difficult a prospect. I just want to make sure that whatever camera I buy is capable of shooting video good enough to satisfy the average fan of low-budget films. One concern of mine regarding the XH-A1 is its low-light performance. Obviously I plan on lighting my shots, but I want there to be some shadows and areas of darkness. If there is noise/grain in said shots I would be quite unhappy.
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Old December 12th, 2007, 05:16 AM   #4
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I should mention that though I said I want to make "Extremely low-budget horror films", I in no way meant that said films would be bottom-of-the-barrel. I want to make good quality films whilst using as little money as possible.
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Old December 12th, 2007, 05:34 AM   #5
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Money's worth?

For what?

Spencer, I'm lost.

You've a computer system from hell sitting in your room doing squat.

You have no idea whatsoever about shooting a movie, else you'd be out there doing it, with the cheapest bit of workable junk you could get your hands on.

If this come across as a bit harsh, I appologise (most humbly).

If you really (AND I MEAN REALLY) wanted to be making movies, you wouldn't have the computer from hell in your bedroom, you'd have a pile of practically extinct cameras instead, and be shooting anything that moved, and begging, borrowing and, yes, probably stealing, every second you could on someone's editing system to turn them into something worthwhile.

In short, you can throw as much moneyy as you like into what you think you want, but, guess what?

If you don't really want it, all you're doing is becoming a technology junkie and collecting fantastic stuff you'll never, ever, use.

Think seriously about where you're going with this. Sounds like you're not exactly short of the odd dollar. Is this REALLY where you want to be going, or just something to play with?

Now, I could have got this completely wrong, you could be the phantom film maker from wherever, and have a string of successes behind you, in which case I'll go out, kick the cat and say "Oh dear, whoops".

It is, however, irrelevant, only you know.

As for a super, dooper, whiz bang camera to shoot "low budget horror" why TF would you bother? Sure beats the sh** out of me. But then, I'm just a country boy.


CS
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Old December 12th, 2007, 05:39 AM   #6
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Hi Spencer. Buy the A1 and go and make your movies. Re-evaluate after a year or so. Either the EX1 and its workflow will have matured into a viable alternative by then, or else there will be other latest and greatest cams for you to consider.

Regarding the low light performance - if you are lighting the sets then it shouldn't be an issue. You will be able to set the camera gain, which is the biggest noise maker, to minimum.

Richard
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Old December 12th, 2007, 05:42 AM   #7
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Whoa..............

Spencer............

There seems to have been a small communications error here - When I wrote that last post, all I had was the first (and only, according to my system) sentence of your resonse to my first one.

Having sent my response I discover not only the missing part of your's but the subequent one as well.

Am re- eavaluating all correspondance to see what is workable here.


CS
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Old December 12th, 2007, 05:43 AM   #8
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You guys rock. Really, you do. I love honesty.

Oh, Chris, in case you are wondering why I have such a computer...I also do music, on a daily basis, so it isn't JUST an editing system. It's an all around media-hub. I have Logic running most of the day.

About me knowing squat about shooting a movie: That is actually a fair assessment of my current knowledge of filmmaking. I don't, however, want to shoot a script I spent a long time writing with a vhs-c camera. That would seem counterproductive.
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Old December 12th, 2007, 05:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spencer Dickson View Post
One concern of mine regarding the XH-A1 is its low-light performance. Obviously I plan on lighting my shots, but I want there to be some shadows and areas of darkness. If there is noise/grain in said shots I would be quite unhappy.
Only wedding/event videographers need to be concerned about low-light capability. These folks film in dim reception halls where it would be intrusive to use a camera-mounted light or crank up the chandelier...

If you're a filmmaker, you NEED to appropriately light your shots. Pick up a good book like Lighting for Digital Video and Television by John Jackman. Trust me, it will make all the difference. You don't need to become the world's best LD, but learning the basics of 3-point key lighting takes all of ten minutes and will improve your camera work beyond measure.

cheers, Daniel
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Old December 12th, 2007, 05:59 AM   #10
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I'll have to pick that book up, Daniel. Thanks for the input man. That is another bloody thing I need to invest in asap: a half-decent set of lights.
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