PD150 to XH A1 jump 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 February 4th, 2008, 06:00 PM   #1
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PD150 to XH A1 jump

Hi all,

My first post and apologies for wide ranging questions.....

I am very interested in the A1, particularly seeing examples of the A1 with Letus Extreme - I have background in 35mm slides (an old Canon FX) - and so love the film look. I'm starting SD and looking to ease into HD (need hardware upgrades before alble to edit).

First query is to those that may have jumped from the pd150/170 to the A1, as that's the only semi-pro camera I've used. I loved the low light benefits of the pd150 and hope a1 will be similar. How does the performance compare between the two? - I've read comparisons of other SD cameras (XL1 etc) but not pd150. I'm going to do low light shoots outputting to DVD (cooking instructional videos, live theatre & musical performances)

Second query is aspect ratios, I've seen some Letus examples with ratios similar to cinema (2.39:1) - is this an NLE solution or does the camera/Letus enable this?

3rd query - any A1 users with Premier Pro 2/ HP xw8200 - with any capture/output issues? I'm thinking of future update with LaCie Two Big, but on LaCie Australian website there seems to be no eSATA connectivity, only Firewire (wouldn't SATA be more stable than Firewire for editing?).

Last query, I like good clean audio & I notice that the A1 looks a little short in pro audio - what separate audio recorders are recommended? - I haven't used a separate audio recorder in conjunction with camera and wonder what are the sync issues with that set-up - do you need timecode on audio tracks?

Thanks!!
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Old February 4th, 2008, 11:04 PM   #2
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I have both the PD170 and the A1 and I was pleasantly surprised. I wouldn't say they are equal but the A1 is very usable. I taped an outdoor wedding at dusk and the reception following a couple of weeks ago. I did a lot of trial and error testing at home before the gig. I also downloaded the lowlight12 and VividRGB presets available in this section. I used the VividRGB outdoors and the Lowlight12 inside. I never ran above 9db gain and used my Sony HVL-20DW2 light with a diffuser. It all looked good except the Lowlight12 is a little unsaturated so I have since bumped up the color a little.

You can read other posts on the gripes about the A1 but the small LCD is the most annoying to me. I ended up using my Hoodman H300 (with magnifier) that I used with my PD170 so I can focus the A1 while on a tripod.

I found that the 30f actually appears brighter than the 60i and the old Premiere 1.5.1 Cineform HD edits 30f using the 60i preset so I have been using it so far. At the reception I also used the 1/30 setting which helped on the low light and even the dancing footage looked fine.

Lastly, I imported the final HD edit into TMPGenc 4.0 and output MPEG2 720x480 wide screen and the authored DVD looked as good as any Hollywood DVD on my 42" HDTV.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 12:08 AM   #3
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Thanks Steve,

Any chance you could have a go at comparisons with A1 & PD170 (lens, image sharpness, ergonomics etc)??

One fiming session involved a talking-circle of 15-20 seated people, with 2 moderators. For that instance I was going for mid shots/close-ups of each talker (sometimes from 1 side of the circle to other in quick succession) I would tend to zoom on subject, auto focus on and then off, going back into manual focus. Is there an issue with this on A1 with that style of focussing?
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Old February 5th, 2008, 12:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Cairns View Post
Second query is aspect ratios, I've seen some Letus examples with ratios similar to cinema (2.39:1) - is this an NLE solution or does the camera/Letus enable this?
The camera does have 2.35:1 aspect ratio markers as an option, so you can shoot knowing where your framing will end after you snip the top and bottom, but I don't know of any anamorphic solution with the Letus combo -- yet.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 02:03 PM   #5
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The XH-A1 audio is good for a camcorder, if you select appropriate microphones. This has been discussed in many posts.

Whether or not to use separate sound recording is a mater of the project needs and your available resources. Will you have a sound person/crew, etc.

Obtaining accurate sound sync from separately recorded audio is fairly easy if you have in-camera sound as well to help with fine adjustment, even without precise time code on the audio

I've used both MiniDISC and more recently a M-Audio MicroTrack 24/94 as a portable audio recorder when I need separate audio. Ther re a variety of options in this area, depedning on your budget.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 11:36 AM   #6
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Matthew, I'll give it a go on lenses. The PD170 comes with a wide angle adapter. It makes the video a little softer but otherwise it is OK. The A1 seems a little wider at the wide end and can 'almost' do without an adpater. The Canon adapter is expensive but I plan on getting one because I do weddings and things get crowded in receptions.

Lens sharpness is hard to compare because the A1 resolution is so much higher it can only be much sharper overall.

The autofocus on the A1 works great with good lighting/contrast although I hear it hunts some while zooming (I havn't seen it myself). It has a momentary button like the Sony to let it find focus while in manual mode. The A1 also has peaking and a quick zoom feature for focusing but in taping events we leave the cameras rolling to sync up in post and the quick zoom (Maginification) feature is not available while recording.

The other anoying thing about the lens/controls is the zoom rocker is way more sensitive than the Sony. I have accidently zoomed too fast with very little change in pressure. The solution is to set the rocker to a fixed speed or use an external LANC controller.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 05:26 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=Steve Sobodos;821346]Lens sharpness is hard to compare because the A1 resolution is so much higher it can only be much sharper overall.[QUOTE]

Thanks Steve,

Are you working SD or SD and HD? I guess your comparing sharpness of lens for xh a1/pd 170 in SD?
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Old February 7th, 2008, 11:47 PM   #8
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I do not have blu-ray yet so I compared the results on both DVD-RW and the camera playing back an edited project. The camera stuff looks amazing. The HD downrezzed to DVD looks very fine grained like a Hollywood movie, the PD170 looks like video - even though the DVD is 720x480 wide screen.
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