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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 June 24th, 2008, 08:57 PM   #1
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Any help would be greatly appreciated

I am getting my A1 this Friday. I have been doing Photography for a while and want to make the jump to Video. Rather than bomb you all with lame new guy to video questions, (like below}, I wondered if there was a reference I should be looking for or a Beginners kind of tutorial. You know, something like that?
So far I have read a little from the owners manual and read a ton of stuff here from all of you. Other than that, I am as green to video as they come. From Photography I understand exposure, lighting, and seeing how the camera sees. I know this is a whole new world but some things will hopefullycarry over from Photography.
Can anyone point me to a Basic or beginners soursce for learning? Below is a few things I have already read and have questions on if anybody can also set me straight on them I would appreciate it.
Is Gain similar to ISO?
Zebra patterns? Is that similar to highlight warnings or using a histogram to check exposure?
Okay, I hear the laughing but I am definitely here to learn.

Thanks Everyone,
Tim
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Old June 24th, 2008, 09:20 PM   #2
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Hi Tim, this training DVD comes highly recommended:

http://www.vasst.com/product.aspx?id...a-9d5315f4ee3d

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Old June 24th, 2008, 10:03 PM   #3
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Thank You Pat, I really appreciate the help. I will order that in the Morning.
Any other sources anyone?
Thanks Again,
Tim
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Old June 24th, 2008, 10:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Cee View Post
I am getting my A1 this Friday. I have been doing Photography for a while and want to make the jump to Video. Rather than bomb you all with lame new guy to video questions, (like below}, I wondered if there was a reference I should be looking for or a Beginners kind of tutorial. You know, something like that?
So far I have read a little from the owners manual and read a ton of stuff here from all of you. Other than that, I am as green to video as they come. From Photography I understand exposure, lighting, and seeing how the camera sees. I know this is a whole new world but some things will hopefullycarry over from Photography.
Can anyone point me to a Basic or beginners soursce for learning? Below is a few things I have already read and have questions on if anybody can also set me straight on them I would appreciate it.
Is Gain similar to ISO?
Zebra patterns? Is that similar to highlight warnings or using a histogram to check exposure?
Okay, I hear the laughing but I am definitely here to learn.

Thanks Everyone,
Tim
I'm not laughing. We all got to start somewhere, right?

Having a photography background is really to your advantage and by relating the camera settings to how photography works will make your life easier.

To answer your quetsions:
- Gain is similar to ISO. The higher then Gain, the more grain, but better sensitivity, just like ISO.
-Zebra patters tell you what in the picture is too bright.

Personally, I don't like using beginner guides. You're paying for a visual of your owners manual, but that's just me. My advice, though I dont own an A1, but have experience in video, is to just toy around with the camera. I find the best way to learn is through experience and mistakes. Don't be afraid to toy around with the settings. If you're not too daring to do this, read through the owners manual and play around with the different settings they have. Then go out and shoot shoot shoot.

My most important tip: Never forget to hit the red button. I've done this once in a while and its a huge headache when you play back the tape, realizing that you havent recorded what you thought you have.

Hope this helps.

-Ryan
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Old June 25th, 2008, 07:54 AM   #5
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I think that the important part is to just remember to keep shooting.

You can search these forums for specific key words or phrases like "Beginner" or "How do I."

Get out there with the camera on A (full auto mode) and start shooting. If you run into a problem or think of something you want to do (like manually focus), just pull out the instructions or fire up DVinfo.net and search the forums. People were very helpful to me when I was just starting out.
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Old June 25th, 2008, 08:12 AM   #6
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Thanks for the advice, it is greatly appreciated.
Tim
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Old June 25th, 2008, 08:47 AM   #7
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Congrats on the purchase.

One of the nicest - but most complex - features of the XH-A1 is the massive customization capabilities. I'd recommend you check out the "Presets" thread and find a couple of favorites in there and program them into your camera. One of our members (sorry, the name eludes me) posted a superb video with sample shots of many of the presets, well worth checking out. Don't hesitate to spend some time in Auto mode of course, but do understand that the XH-A1 is a bit on the flat and "safe" side in its stock configuration. Don't be put off if your footage is a bit drab at first, the custom presets will take care of that.


Lets see... some typical new owner issues... turn the auto gain off. Its pretty agressive and you'll end up scratching your head over why your footage looks so grainy.

The microphone is supposed to be loose. Its rubber mounted to help isolate it from shock and jiggles around a bit.

Yes, the mic holder is too large for virtually every microphone on the market. There are threads that address workarounds to using it, I personally just use a shoe mounted shock mount. The built in mic holder works well for snaking mic cables.

If you get a WA adapter or mattebox, remember to turn off the IAF (instant auto focus), as its sensor will be blocked by the accessory.


I'm sure there's more... but anyway, just take the camera out and shoot a lot. There really is no substitute to using the camera. And maybe share some of your footage for us here of course :)
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Old June 25th, 2008, 11:07 AM   #8
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Tim,

I will also eventually pick up an A1. I found an incredible source on basic usage for the A1 is on YouTube.

Just type in xh a1 under your search, and there is a fellow that goes through the different aspects of using the camera, including sound, mikes, alot of stuff!

Whoever he is, and maybe he's somewhere on this forum, great job! and thanks a million!!!

You can't miss the videos, most were shot against an awful yellow background (wall).

And best of all, all that education is free, at least for now.

Let us know if that works.

Jonathan

Last edited by Jonathan Levin; June 25th, 2008 at 02:06 PM. Reason: xh not zh
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Old June 25th, 2008, 01:49 PM   #9
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Hi Tim,

Congrats on the new camera. I got my A1 almost a year ago making the huge leap from only previously owning consumer palmcorders to capture home videos (which turned out mostly like watching my kids star in the Blaire Witch part 10). Like you I had alway been more still photography oriented and continue to do a lot of stills but since getting this camera I've put a lot more time into learning about motion pictures.

I'm a tech geek so all the settings and what not on the A1 was totally in line with my personality. The day I got my camera I read the manual and just started shooting. By reading the manual you'll probably feel more confused than before but it opened my eyes to what I needed to learn about.

VASST makes a great video covering the more advanced features of the A1. It's great after you have some experience with it. One thing I did was get a basic cinematography text book from my library and read about some basics to shooting good videos/motion pictures. I also started to watch movies, shows, sports telecasts, documentaries much more critically. It is amazing how much you can pick up when you're paying attention.

As everyone so far has said the most important thing is to shoot, shoot, shoot. Some very good advice I got was to get a small notepad and write down your settings and take notes for each shoot. That way when you review your footage you can keep track of what your set up was when you liked or didn't like something. This forum is also one of the best resources out there for both beginner and advanced questions.

The best advice I could ever give would be to simply shoot as much as you can and have fun with it.
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Old June 25th, 2008, 01:55 PM   #10
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Some very good advice I got was to get a small notepad and write down your settings and take notes for each shoot. That way when you review your footage you can keep track of what your set up was when you liked or didn't like something.
Along those lines I believe its possible to take a picture to SD card and have all your camera settings recorded to the still image. I'm rather embarrassed however to admit that I actually don't know how to do this :) Need to look it up though, its something I actually would like to do.
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Old June 25th, 2008, 02:05 PM   #11
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Thanks Philip for reminding me of that feature. I have an SD card for all my presets and I knew it could capture the camera info in the still but I never thought about doing that at each shoot. That's gonna save me a lot of hand cramps. Can't throwaway my pad completely though. Gotta still write down the environmental conditions.
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Old June 25th, 2008, 07:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Williams View Post
Along those lines I believe its possible to take a picture to SD card and have all your camera settings recorded to the still image. I'm rather embarrassed however to admit that I actually don't know how to do this :) Need to look it up though, its something I actually would like to do.
I want to thank all of you for such great help. I am ready for the challenges that lay ahead with my A1. Just knowing all of you and this forum exist is a secure feeling to say the least.

Phillip? I would like to know how to use the still image feature to capture my settings if you or anyone who knows would care to elaborate?

Jonathan...I found the You Tube stuff, Thanks for the heads up!


Thanks Again Everybody!!!

Tim
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Old June 26th, 2008, 06:42 AM   #13
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One thing I found, just this weekend, about the custom presets. The simplest way of making the images less "flat" and a bit more colourful is to change just one setting: change "gamma" to "Cine 1". The picture is a little darker overall, but the coulurs are richer. If the dark bits are too dark (I had this problem with a black steam locomotive in shadow), also change "black level" to "stretch". I now have two CPs that I call "normal" and "stretch" which I think will do for 99% of the time.

HTH
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Old June 26th, 2008, 08:23 AM   #14
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One thing I found, just this weekend, about the custom presets. The simplest way of making the images less "flat" and a bit more colourful is to change just one setting: change "gamma" to "Cine 1". The picture is a little darker overall, but the coulurs are richer. If the dark bits are too dark (I had this problem with a black steam locomotive in shadow), also change "black level" to "stretch". I now have two CPs that I call "normal" and "stretch" which I think will do for 99% of the time.

HTH
Thanks Mark, that sounds like a big help. I just read the entire Presets Thread and Man, my head is spinning. Between that and looking around inside my newly installed Vegas Pro I can see I have so much ahead of me it is incredible. I am definitely up to the challenge. Knowing there is such a huge support system here with all of you and the information within this forum sure eases things. Thanks Everybody!!!
Tim
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Old June 26th, 2008, 01:02 PM   #15
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One of the best resources for learning about what the custom settings do is the VASST video specifically for the XH A1. They also make a good series for learning about Vegas. No, I'm not a VASST employee but they are one of the best training videos for this stuff. I got the color correction video and it really helped me out.
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