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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 July 14th, 2008, 08:20 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
Thanks a lot john, that was what worried me about the tiny lcd, it's about the same size of the vx2100 which I always found too small (I also have a vx2100) but once you get used to the dvx100 lcd...

So, not sure if I get this right but I hope you can adjust the iris and the focus on the lens and maintain zoom capabilities on the handle of the camera and have the zebra showing on the lcd or viewfinder?

Also about the focus, does the camera not have a "one push focus button" if you are in manual mode and does it focus accurately then?
Noa,

The A1 has an 'instant focus' button - although I must be honest and say I haven't used it yet.

Cheers,

Matthew.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 08:24 AM   #32
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I'm no guru on the Red cameras but took a quick look at the lenses on www.red.com - they're pretty expensive - like $6k plus expensive.
Not only that but it has lenses that look like they have the same characteristics as a regular photolens and if you want a lens that has an equivalent of the wide and tele of a regular cam you would need to buy 3 lenses, the 18-50, 50-150 and 300mm which would add the sum up to 20.000? or am I seeing this wrong?
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Old July 14th, 2008, 08:28 AM   #33
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I'm no guru on the Red cameras but took a quick look at the lenses on www.red.com - they're pretty expensive - like $6k plus expensive.
The Scarlet should come to market at around $3,000 per Mr. Jannard http://www.scarletuser.com/showpost....9&postcount=30

Considering the dollar and inflation lately, I suppose I'm going to just assume a $3,500 price point and keep my fingers crossed for a lower point.

Scarlet will apparently work "out of the box". I believe the only accessory necessary to actually begin recording are CF cards. Of course one will want external mics, perhaps a larger LCD, extra batteries, etc... all the stuff we want for our HD cams anyway.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 09:02 AM   #34
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the instant auto focus button does work ok, better in 50i than 25p but tbh if you have to rely on that rather than your sight, something is wrong and its slower.
you can up the sharpness of the lcd and use it in black and white which helps however
the camera would be soo much better just with an upgrade to the lcd.
I recently spent six nights filming dance shows and sometimes cursed the lcd because of the focus..to get round the lack of zebra(as i was using peaking) i ran in spotlight mode..
now that is very effective ..almost faultless over the six nights zero noise in the blacks( to my eye) and great exposure on the faces under the hot spots.
i wished i had an ex1 because of the great lcd until the last 2 nights when strobes were used extensively during some dance routines and then the cmos partial exposures would have concerned me.
so prob no camera is perfect but the results were first class (well i think so) just shame that one or two extreem close up shots of singers were ruined by soft focus, which looked fine on the lcd but not on the 24 inch monitor!
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Old July 14th, 2008, 09:49 AM   #35
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Does the price of the scarlet include the lens?
It better include the lens given that the Scarlet lens is not removable.
Consequently the lens range that applies to the RED One doesn't apply to Scarlet.
The best Scarlet can hope for is a wide and telephoto adapter.
Or an external 35mm adapter setup.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 10:52 AM   #36
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Excellent post Phillip.

You are of course correct that the AVC Encoding of Blu-Ray is done with very sophisticated hardware and under supervision of a professional. And yet, some transfers still do come across all that well. That said, as you noted, the fault doesn't lie with the codec necessarily on the camera end. I am willing to bet that with the increased bandwidth of ~24Mbps like in the upcoming Panasonic, things will begin to look better and better. Perhaps not twice as good as the now mature HDV though as you said.

I think the 4:2:0 video issue has been blown out of proportion to a degree. I was very concerned about this decision with the EX1. But it seems that with the true 1080 imagers, the 4:2:0 sampling is just not that big a deal. I am referencing the testing done by Adam Wilt and others, and I am referencing what I am seeing out of my own camera.

In regards to RED's wavelet compression scheme, yes, it can look fantastic. But I've not heard whether Scarlet is indeed going to offer the same RED Raw codec out of Scarlet, or if they are going to do something else. The potential Scarlet buyer may not have the resources to push around a 3k 4:4:4 image on their editing workstation. And that workflow for RED files is going to need quite a lot of polish before I'd be comfortable recommending Scarlet to the average Joe debating a Sony or a Canon, or a Scarlet. At this point, you can even use RED native files outside FCP. I'm using RedCine as an intermediate step, but processing even 5 minutes of RED Raw into lossless quicktime takes a WHILE. Scarlet is exciting, but no panacea to the common shooter. I still want one though! :)

-P

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Originally Posted by Philip Williams View Post
Just to clarify, but comparing Blu-Ray MEPG2 vs Blu-Ray AVC doesn't necessarily translate to camcorder comparisons with said codecs. AVC movie files for Blu-Ray distribution are typically encoded by extremely powerful hardware/software systems that have been highly refined and developed for several years now to maximize the codecs strengths. Additionally, the compression is overseen by a compressionist that reviews the encode and manually adjusts settings and re-encodes portions of the video as necessary to ensure the highest quality product. Under this scenario, AVC (and VC1) offer major improvements over MEPG2 and at substantially reduced file sizes.

Now on the camcorder front AVC hasn't been as fortunate. The real-time hardware encoders have so far *not* managed to equal HDV, even at 14-17mbps. The issue is of course not the codec, but the encoding hardware. Its gotten better of course as new generations of encoders have been developed, but so far the best consumer HDV cams still produce better video than AVCHD cams.

I'm excited by Panasonic's new cam and am looking forward to seeing (finally) full 24mbps AVCHD... Of course at the end of the day we're still dealing with 8bit 4:2:0 video, so people that are expecting 24mbps AVCHD to look twice as good as the best HDV might be in for a bit of a let down.


Now if you're not in a hurry to buy a camcorder and you can make due with an 8X lens... the Scarlet *is* looking to be a very interesting contender for around $3,000. By all accounts the RED compression should make MEPG2 and AVCHD both look silly. As much as I love my XH-A1, I'm considering selling it and putting the proceeds towards the Scarlet. I just don't have time to get out there and do wedding gigs and event videography like I want to and the Scarlet would likely fit my creative personal projects better.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 11:07 AM   #37
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Scarlet is exciting, but no panacea to the common shooter. I still want one though! :)
That was my first impression as well when I looked at the camera, I question if it really will be used by f.i. wedding videographers , just take a look at the option list which is available for the other red models were the side and top handles alone cost 650 dollar, if you want to have all necessary options there's not much left of the promised 3000 dollar price. A viewfinder only costs almost as much as a canon xh-a1!
I mean, were are the controls on this camera if you need them in run/gun situations, beside the focus ring on the lens the camera doesn't seem to have the manual controls "regular" camera's have on the side of the camera. The red actually looks like a Borg ship (for those that are familiar with Star-Trek) :)
Does this camera require you to go inside the menu to adjust settings?
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Old July 14th, 2008, 11:12 AM   #38
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This is why it's a good idea to wait till a camera is on the market and in reasonable use by others before you buy one. You don't want to be like all those people who stood in line for hours and hours for the new iPhone only to find out they couldn't activate it on the day they bought it. Patience is a virtue when it comes to anything electronic.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 11:30 AM   #39
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That was my first impression as well when I looked at the camera, I question if it really will be used by f.i. wedding videographers , just take a look at the option list which is available for the other red models were the side and top handles alone cost 650 dollar, if you want to have all necessary options there's not much left of the promised 3000 dollar price. A viewfinder only costs almost as much as a canon xh-a1!
I mean, were are the controls on this camera if you need them in run/gun situations, beside the focus ring on the lens the camera doesn't seem to have the manual controls "regular" camera's have on the side of the camera. The red actually actually looks like a Borg ship (for those that are familiar with Star-Trek) :)
Does this camera require you to go inside the menu to adjust settings?
Scarlet really isn't geared towards the wedding or event videographer IMO, I think the 8X lens alone kills that. As for accessories, well, to each their own. Personally, if I can get my hands on one I'll just use the same tripod and Spiderbrace I've been using with my XH-A1 :) Obviously while RED offers all sorts of nice (and likely high markup) items, they're certainly not prerequisites to shooting.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 02:49 PM   #40
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If that bell was tolling, I doubt the industry would keep supporting and upgrading the HDV hardware & software but that's what is happening. Canon has the new XH model, Final Cut Pro support for HDV is better than ever, heck our Sony HDCAM deck even has an HDV input on it. With several years to prove itself now, HDV is more viable than ever for broadcast level production and from a business standpoint, it seems like a no brainer to choose "proven" over "bleeding edge".
Benjamin:

If you read the Canon interview at NAB (somewhere on this site) where they introduced the H1s, you will see that the bell most certainly is tolling for HDV for Canon and other mfgs.

However, Canon realizes that without NLE support, a new codec won't fly. But I don't see see why future NLEs should have a problem digesting multiple codecs. NLE software is following Moores law almost as fast as hardware, although there was a huge initial lag (remember editing HDV in 2004?).
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Old July 14th, 2008, 04:18 PM   #41
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Benjamin:

If you read the Canon interview at NAB (somewhere on this site) where they introduced the H1s, you will see that the bell most certainly is tolling for HDV for Canon and other mfgs.

However, Canon realizes that without NLE support, a new codec won't fly. But I don't see see why future NLEs should have a problem digesting multiple codecs. NLE software is following Moores law almost as fast as hardware, although there was a huge initial lag (remember editing HDV in 2004?).
Linking to the article would help with your citation- I hope it's not this one called "Canon Sticks With HDV""

http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content...H1A-34876.htm#

The fact is that no format lasts forever and they can all be considered transitional; it took several years to get HDV going, it now has more software/hardware support than ever, and it's not going to go away overnight. The OP asked if the A1 is really worth it...the evidence says, yes it is.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 04:24 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
Thank you all for the answers so far, it has really been helpful for me.



Thank you for clearing that up Bill, in that way it would make more sense indeed.



Well, I wanted to switch to HD last year but since nobody asked for it I decided to wait, this year I have seen a large switch to (big) LCD screens, nearly every new client I get has one and I have seen quite a few Playstation 3 so they can play blu ray disks.
This year is also the first time ever I got 2 complaints of my footage not being sharp and ofcourse those 2 clients had very big lcd screens. There was nothing wrong with my footage, but I have seen many different image qualities from lcd's if you display regular dvd's that this will be a problem that will occur more in the future.
Only thing I can do now is tell that their lcd is actually designed for a blu-ray system and not for a regular dvd.
I want to be able now to tell my clients this upfront about the pros and cons and offer them an upgrade package to HD so that they will be getting a blu-ray disk. If they don't care or don't want to spend the extra cash I'll deliver in SD but I will be sure I won't get any complaints afterwards.
The tv companies have also started to push HD broadcast (in Belgium) as of this year and I'm sure once clients see the difference they will be expecting a videographer to deliver the same.
This might occur much sooner then we expect and I want to be ready when that happens so I can stay competitive.

Another big advantage I see to switching to HD now is that I also have clients who want their film displayed on the internet (a promotional video for a company f.i.) and from what I have seen on vimeo HD display is superior to what I deliver now in DV. You can get a quite big display which feels like looking through a window. My demo's on my site are converted to flash and they look OK but I know that with the available resolution of HD the difference wouldn't go unnoticed.

The XH-A1 gives indeed the best bang for the buck which was the reason why I had some doubts now because of their cashback action this month. I also know that every new model that is available or will come out will be much more expensive and will give more headache trying to implement new technologies.
"If you're waiting, you're not creating." is true matthew but it can also mean "If you're waiting, you're not not loosing any money." :)
Focus:
Like John Estcourt said HD can actually be a negative in regards to focus. I've read others say when shooting in HD if your out of focus its very apparent due to the detail of HD.

HD TV:
Remember that more ppl have HD tv than a blueray player. Almost all content that is available comes from broadcast not disc. So its common that someone might own a HD tv but not have a blueray player and won't be able to watch your blueray wedding video, which then will force you to offer an HD and SD version which is a royal pain. Until the majority of movies are offered on blueray and the price is lower than 400 for a player the majority of clients will stay with sd.

HD over the web:
All of the quality gains you get from HD are lost when optimizing for the Web. HD is counterproductive if you trying to get a movie down to a reasonable size.

Sounds like your sold on the camera. I'm not saying you shouldn't get it just in my experience of two years work and over 20 clients I've never receive a request for HD. Btw, I own a Sony Z1.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 10:47 PM   #43
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Regarding the Scarlet ... not too many brides I've come across are after 3K resolution for their wedding ;)
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Old July 15th, 2008, 06:22 PM   #44
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Focus:
Like John Estcourt said HD can actually be a negative in regards to focus. I've read others say when shooting in HD if your out of focus its very apparent due to the detail of HD.
That's why I didn't like the tiny lcd, it's quite sharp but you nearly need a magnifying glass, Don't know if it's a possibility but adding a bit larger separate lcd to the camera which has it's own power source might solve that problem? I've seen some set-up's with additional small lcd's attached to the camera. Because I use the lcd 50% of the time I need to rely on the lcd for focusing, the "one push button" might be a good second option if it functions well.

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Originally Posted by Pete Cofran View Post
HD TV:
Remember that more ppl have HD tv than a blueray player. Almost all content that is available comes from broadcast not disc. So its common that someone might own a HD tv but not have a blueray player and won't be able to watch your blueray wedding video, which then will force you to offer an HD and SD version which is a royal pain. Until the majority of movies are offered on blueray and the price is lower than 400 for a player the majority of clients will stay with sd.
I will only use the camera if I can deliver in HD on a blu-ray disk, I will keep my dvx100 for other SD requests. The percentage of lcd's is very high like you said here in Belgium but as of this year I started to see several PS3's at my clients. For me this was an indication that it was time to upgrade so I could finally sell a HD package.

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Originally Posted by Pete Cofran View Post
HD over the web:
All of the quality gains you get from HD are lost when optimizing for the Web. HD is counterproductive if you trying to get a movie down to a reasonable size.
Do you mean it is not so good then? If I look at some HD demo's on Vimeo they sure look a lot sharper then what I can get out of a SD video.

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Originally Posted by Pete Cofran View Post
Sounds like your sold on the camera. I'm not saying you shouldn't get it just in my experience of two years work and over 20 clients I've never receive a request for HD. Btw, I own a Sony Z1.
Me either but I since I see that clients start having the means it's just a matter of giving them a little push, it's not that if clients don't ask for it that there is no market for it. Most people still don't know what real HD looks like and they are often not aware that it makes a bigger difference on their big lcd's, one of my last clients had a lcd and a PS3 and he never asked for a HD recording. I'm sure that if I had offered it to him or if he saw that I was offering this on my site he would have requested it as he had already seen blu-ray movies so he knew what the difference was.
Think that most people don't even know that they can have their wedding video in HD on their LCD as they believe that's only possible with "real" movies. There are several of my competitors that have been offering their weddings in HD for years with a big slogan on their site but actually were delivering in SD, in that way people will never know the real meaning of HD.
That's the reason why I will refuse to downconvert with the XH-A1 as I intent to use it for what it was designed for, I might not use it a lot in the beginning but for sure I will push it as much as possible to sell it in a HD package with a blu-ray disk.
It's just a matter of educating your clients and show them what HD is all about.
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Old July 15th, 2008, 11:24 PM   #45
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That's why I didn't like the tiny lcd, it's quite sharp but you nearly need a magnifying glass, Don't know if it's a possibility but adding a bit larger separate lcd to the camera which has it's own power source might solve that problem? I've seen some set-up's with additional small lcd's attached to the camera. Because I use the lcd 50% of the time I need to rely on the lcd for focusing, the "one push button" might be a good second option if it functions well.


I will only use the camera if I can deliver in HD on a blu-ray disk, I will keep my dvx100 for other SD requests. The percentage of lcd's is very high like you said here in Belgium but as of this year I started to see several PS3's at my clients. For me this was an indication that it was time to upgrade so I could finally sell a HD package.


Do you mean it is not so good then? If I look at some HD demo's on Vimeo they sure look a lot sharper then what I can get out of a SD video.


Me either but I since I see that clients start having the means it's just a matter of giving them a little push, it's not that if clients don't ask for it that there is no market for it. Most people still don't know what real HD looks like and they are often not aware that it makes a bigger difference on their big lcd's, one of my last clients had a lcd and a PS3 and he never asked for a HD recording. I'm sure that if I had offered it to him or if he saw that I was offering this on my site he would have requested it as he had already seen blu-ray movies so he knew what the difference was.
Think that most people don't even know that they can have their wedding video in HD on their LCD as they believe that's only possible with "real" movies. There are several of my competitors that have been offering their weddings in HD for years with a big slogan on their site but actually were delivering in SD, in that way people will never know the real meaning of HD.
That's the reason why I will refuse to downconvert with the XH-A1 as I intent to use it for what it was designed for, I might not use it a lot in the beginning but for sure I will push it as much as possible to sell it in a HD package with a blu-ray disk.
It's just a matter of educating your clients and show them what HD is all about.
Keep in mind wedding clients have to consider their family and friends. What is he going to say everyone who wants to see the video who doesn't have hd must drop $1,200+? Thats why you'll need to do a SD and a HD version.

As far as the LCD viewer goes, its not feasible to attach a larger viewer to the camera. Sony FX1/z1 have large LCDs. You'll pay more but if thats important to you, you might as well get what you want.

What I'm saying about the web is in order to see the quality of HD it needs to be fairly large with not much compression. That makes the movie take a long time to download. If I have to wait more than a minute for it to load I'm out of there. Do you think you could tell the difference between a youtube movie shot in hd vs sd?
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