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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 May 28th, 2008, 07:26 PM   #1
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Xh A1 for shooting surfing

Hi guys, I just recently got a xh a1 and I am pretty new to all this stuff and I was wondering if any of you guys could help me out and give me some tips on some settings for my camera. I dont quite know what settings I should use for shooting surfing and so far the footage doesnt look as sharp and as good of resolution as it should be....if any of you guys have any answers and tips I would really appreciate it.....Thanks and aloha
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Old May 28th, 2008, 10:54 PM   #2
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Hi John,

I did a search on the keyword "newbie" in the XH-A1 forum, and it returned 87 topics.

That's the best tip.
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Old May 29th, 2008, 01:44 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cambell View Post
Hi guys, I just recently got a xh a1 and I am pretty new to all this stuff and I was wondering if any of you guys could help me out and give me some tips on some settings for my camera. I dont quite know what settings I should use for shooting surfing and so far the footage doesnt look as sharp and as good of resolution as it should be....if any of you guys have any answers and tips I would really appreciate it.....Thanks and aloha
If you see specific things you don't like, you can fast some still frames from the video. People will comment on what's wrong and/or what things to do or work on to get the pictures looking more like you want.
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Old May 29th, 2008, 10:35 PM   #4
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A good tripod/head will be important because you're going to be zoomed way in most of the time and that's when the slightest movement makes the shot too jiggly. Check out the custom preset looks you can download onto an sd card and then upload into your camera. There are some real nice ones. I think the easiest mistake newbies make is to shoot on auto gain- don't do it!
Custom preset thread:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=81071
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Old May 29th, 2008, 11:05 PM   #5
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thanks for your help...ya ive been trying to find good custom presets but I havnt found any that I love but some that seem alright. I just switched my camera to AGC off and to the lowest setting. Im going to try to use manual setting (ive been using auto) at 30f HD AGC off to -3 and white balance set to outside. I do have a pretty good tripod but I think its a lot better if I use the Image stabalizer. You think that these settings sound good. I want to try to get the most proffesional look like things you would see in surf movies.
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Old May 29th, 2008, 11:15 PM   #6
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You shouldn't have any trouble getting enough light at -3 gain when you're shooting outdoors during the daytime. I'd probably go with 60i myself but that's a personal preference. Highly recommend using manual exposure mode. I set the zebra to a hundred so I have a good idea of what's blown out. The trick is getting familiar with that lcd so you know what you think is there... is really there.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 04:02 AM   #7
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From what I have read and understand now is that 60i makes your footage look more like video and 30f looks more like film and kind of movie. Is this right or am I just totally wrong. If it is then why wouldnt all people want to use it because the movie and film look is much better? Also if I shot in full Manual mode wouldnt that also give me manual exposure or is there a better reason to use manual exposure mode then complete manual mode? Thanks for all your help.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 06:29 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by John Cambell View Post
why wouldnt all people want to use it because the movie and film look is much better?
Interlaced is better if you want to slow the footage down.
Here's a surfing example (I'm not a surf video dude, was just experimenting at the local beach) done with an XHA1, Letus Extreme and a 300mm F2.8 lens:

http://vimeo.com/646232

A good solid fluid-head tripod is a must in my opinion.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 08:08 AM   #9
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You are right about manual mode- we're talking about the same thing.
Regarding the framerate- it's a personal preference as far as the look goes except for what Dennis just wrote:
>>Interlaced is better if you want to slow the footage down.
From what I've learned, fast action is usually shot in 60i and with 1/120 shutter speed. That will require more light but outdoors in Hawaii it should still be no problem.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 09:41 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by John Cambell View Post
. I do have a pretty good tripod but I think its a lot better if I use the Image stabalizer.
don't use the image stabilizer on a tripod. i have ruined a few shots by inadvertently leaving it on. the shot can go all twitchy, thus creating the problem it is meant to solve.
not being able to assign IS on/off to a custom key is painful. one has to stop recording, access the menu, scroll around, etc. etc, when the push of one easy to access (and remember!) button would be so smooth. in the heat of the battle, it's the one thing stabs me the most...
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Old May 30th, 2008, 12:59 PM   #11
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Once you get a particular shot set up, if you are not on manual (M), you are going to have to use the exposure lock. Otherwise you will have the exposure change constantly as the camera responds to both whitewater and blue/darker areas. I had this happen shooting water shots in TV mode once and it totally blows the shot. Manual is really the only way to go.

I live at the beach and shoot boats, ships, surfers, etc. The A-1 is very good for this. You have to use the viewfinder in bright light, not the flip display. You will also almost always have the ND filter on 1/64 (max) to keep the f/stop below F8 at the beach. Learn the camera before you consider a CP.

Like others say, a very good tripod/head (and practice) is essential for good pans at long focal lengths. Those pro surf video guys are probably using $4K & up tripods.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 02:07 PM   #12
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thanks for all the help guys I think im gona go test out some settings later today and try and put it on vimeo and put it on here so you guys could give me a few other tips. Jeff what settings do you use to shoot surfers with?
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Old May 30th, 2008, 04:57 PM   #13
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heres a little movie I put on vimeo of some footage I got on the xh a1. I used auto mode for all this but some different presets. If you guys could check this out and see what I could to do get better footage I would appreciate the help. I used fce to edit and I outputted it to vimeo using there example for HD uploading.

http://vimeo.com/1093204
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Old May 31st, 2008, 12:25 AM   #14
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hey john,
i checked out that video. not bad! however, as a surf filmmaker, i cannot stress enough how important smooth panning is (echoing what others have said). also, i'd recommend shooting manually, to achieve the best/most favorable settings, and doing some minor color correcting in FCP. but otherwise, fun video, good choice with lyrics born, and keep pecking away at your xh-a1 until you've got your setup dialed.

(and boy would i kill for that size or water temp right now, it is flat and cold here)
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Old May 31st, 2008, 02:54 PM   #15
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ya that was actually my freinds filming and they suck we all take turns haha...Morgan you say you do surf filmmaker also. Do you use the A1. If you do what are the presets that you use? ya its flat on Maui also..the waters still warm though haha..yesterday we had small waves and I for the first time tryed out shooting in Manual but I havn't looked at the footage yet. Hopefully it looks good...Thanks for all your guys help.
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