My first wedding with the A1 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 March 30th, 2008, 06:53 PM   #1
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My first wedding with the A1

Ok,
So I did my first all HDV wedding yesterday, and here are my impressions. First of all, all of the arguments over presets on this camera faded away for me as I don't think I checked but once or twice to see which preset I was using. It is not something that I am going to stress about at all from this moment on. I have to answer the low-light question I know everyone is asking, and here is my opinion. This camera was considerably darker than what I am used to, but in real world application, I saw no unusable situations even in a very dark reception hall. The image was dark, but the images were fairly clear and detailed. The color was retained fairly well, and the noise was not as big of an issue as I thought. I have tested boosting levels on a few clips and it appears to handle boosting the levels very well. The other thing I noticed was that being able to dial in a Kelvin white balance really helped me to retain a proper white balance. Just looking at the clips initially, I would say that my white balance is a lot more consistant that it ever was on the Sony. That is going to save me alot of heartache in the long run. This was a catholic ceremony with a relatively short :45 I had my 2 A1s as A and B cam, and my HV20 as wide. With 5 total tapes, 1 being only about :36 minutes, I am sitting on 51GB for the raw footage. I also shot this one without a wide angle adapter, but even though the lens was wide enough, I got used to the effect that the Canon wide angle on my sony used to give me with the cool barrel distortion you only get with a wide angle lens. This felt odd, and I felt like my creativity was off because of a lack of the distortion. I don't know if this makes any sense to anyone, but I am ordering the Canon WD-72 in the morning so, that is a recommendation to anyone who is used to shooting with a wide lens, even though it is wide enough without it, it doesn't retain that magic wide angle thing. I ran into 2 major obstacles with this camera and neither (shockingly) was low light performance. Number one is that this camera is alot more complicated than the VX2100. I felt myself getting a little frustrated over all of the different switches and buttons I had to fiddle with all day. Going from inside to outside to inside was more complicated. The other thing was that true handheld shooting transfers alot more bumping and bobbling than the SD. I will work out those 2 things though.
Also, the little HV20 served well as a third cam. I am amazed at its ability to keep up with cams that are 3 times the chips, and 3 times the price I couldn't be happier with my decision on this cam and am sighing a huge sigh of relief. Now until I start editing, I will not know how things really are, but so far, they look really good.
Bill
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Old March 30th, 2008, 07:33 PM   #2
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Hey Bill,

I don't want this to sound weird but I was thinking about you a lot yesterday. I swear we are the same people with the same company, you are just a week ahead. Everything you said totally resonates with me.

My wife and I have our first wedding with the A1s this coming weekend. We have used the VX2100 and PD170 up to this point shooting with the WD-58 all day long (I guess I better put an order in for the WD-72 with rush shipping). We also bought an HV-20 for a third cam and capture deck.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your first day. It makes me feel a lot better about this coming Saturday.

Couple questions: Which preset did you end up sticking with all day? I am still trying to decide on this one. Did you end up shooting in 24F?

Thanks again for your post! We shall overcome!
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Old March 30th, 2008, 07:59 PM   #3
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Hey Brian,
I ended up using one I got from a user here at dvinfo. It is, from what I can tell, a modified VivdRGB. I don't really know, but anyway I actually used what I consider to be a low light preset, and only because I kept forgetting to check it, and change it. The footage looks fine to me, so I guess no harm done, but the preset thing totally went out of my mind once I started shooting. Good luck this weekend, and don't stress, these are great cameras.
Bill
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Old March 30th, 2008, 09:03 PM   #4
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VividRGB is fine. I havent had any complaints in relation to colours from my clients. The colours are alive, if a little too alive for some skin tones.
Truecolour being developed by Paulo Ciccone could be the best yet but I, like some, experienced the blue cast yesterday ( an almost identical look to a photo from a Nikon D70 in auto WB mode) and quickly went back to VividRGB. I'll wait and see what happens in relation to that.

But as for the A1 & HV20 for weddings. I find it an excellent combination. My HV20 footage cuts in with it quite well. Some minor tweaking in post required.Since my final output is to SD, both cameras far exceed the max quality an SD screen can display, making both shots appear equal.The gap is probably far more noticeable with HD.

At first I was all for using the gain but more and more these days Im opting for 1/25th shutter speed instead, especially if there isnt much camera movement required. I sometimes get blown away by the boost in light to the shot when i knock it down.

As for all the buttons Bill, its like texting with a different make of mobile phone eh ;)
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Old March 30th, 2008, 09:13 PM   #5
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Cool! I plan on staying late at the reception and playing with the low light presets. I would be a lot more excited if we weren't also doing a Same Day Edit. Fun Stuff!
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Old March 30th, 2008, 10:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Grant View Post
Hey Brian,
I ended up using one I got from a user here at dvinfo. It is, from what I can tell, a modified VivdRGB. I don't really know, but anyway I actually used what I consider to be a low light preset, and only because I kept forgetting to check it, and change it. The footage looks fine to me, so I guess no harm done, but the preset thing totally went out of my mind once I started shooting. Good luck this weekend, and don't stress, these are great cameras.
Bill
I've been doing weddings for a year now with my A1s. I have used the Vividrgb (or a close version of it for many of those) last year. When outside I loved the footage. Inside when the lights weren't really bright I have gotten to dislike the look. On a recent wedding I edited some of the skin tones got all messed up when the lights went down even though I had a light on. They seemed a little pasty. I have since gone to a fairly blah preset. I basically took the factory preset and tweaked it a little to remove some of the magenta bias inherent in Canon. I figure it is somewhat flat but will allow me to fix more in post. WIth the VividRGB setting I had been using I couldn't fix the skin tones in bad light to make them look better. Perhaps I don't know what I am doing that well but I just couldn't get looks that I like.

I am thinking of using the trucolor preset from here and see how it goes. It is more balanced than the stock settings and even if it has a slight blue bias it is super easy to fix in post. I will shooting some play around footage soon and edit it right away and will try the truecolor setting to see how it goes.

I just don't like the Vivid preset anymore as most of my shooting is indoors and I just don't like the look. If you want to see the look I am talking about check out the DeLeon Highlights on my website.

The camera is much more capable than most think at a reception if they will just learn how to use it. BTW...all those buttons will get better after a couple of shoots. Now when I pick up a PD or VX cam I can't find the buttons on them and they were second nature when I had them.

Philip

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Old March 30th, 2008, 11:18 PM   #7
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I forgot you shot with the A1s as well.

Yeah, the VIVIDRGB seemed a little off when I tested it. The TruColor is nice but I can see the blue cast.

Do you use an HV-20 for capture for your SDEs?
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Old March 31st, 2008, 02:50 AM   #8
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Recheck your settings on Truecolor. There was a mistake in the preset file. So go in and edit it by hand. I don't get the blue bias with the fix.
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Old March 31st, 2008, 08:09 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Brian Morris View Post
I forgot you shot with the A1s as well.

Yeah, the VIVIDRGB seemed a little off when I tested it. The TruColor is nice but I can see the blue cast.

Do you use an HV-20 for capture for your SDEs?
Last year we had the HV20 as our third cam and capture cam for SDEs. It worked great for that but I could just never match the colors between HV20 and A1 in post no matter how much I white balanced first. It worked well other than that. We got a small inheritance recently and got another A1 so now we have 3 A1s and the footage will match much better.

Yes...the HV20 is a nice little capture device and a really good backup if needed (or a 4th cam for special shots.)
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Old March 31st, 2008, 08:11 AM   #10
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Recheck your settings on Truecolor. There was a mistake in the preset file. So go in and edit it by hand. I don't get the blue bias with the fix.
I checked the updated blog and the only change was to modifiy the original -9 Pedestal setting to -7. That didn't change any of the blue bias for me. It is very subtle and should be easy to clean up in post but I still have the bias. I'm afraid to mess with it too much as I don't understand everything in the settings and I know it is really close to being right....I will just screw it up.
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Old March 31st, 2008, 09:49 AM   #11
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Recheck your settings on Truecolor. There was a mistake in the preset file. So go in and edit it by hand. I don't get the blue bias with the fix.
Same here Doug. Is there something that Philip and I are missing?
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Old March 31st, 2008, 07:55 PM   #12
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I also do weddings with one A1 and two HV30s. The first HV30 is for b-roll wide shoots and the second HV30 is mounted on Merlin for flying shoot. Works pretty well so far. The color needs to be tweaked a little to match but so far so good.
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