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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 January 22nd, 2009, 12:11 PM   #1
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Best Setting To Playback HD

Hello all...

What are the best output settings for viewing what you shot in HD when going from the camera directly to an HD TV? Every time I watch what I shot on my TV, it looks OK, but it does not really look like high quality HD and not nearly as close to how good everything else looks when I watch something on the same set, or what I have seen other people shoot with the same camera. I try everything but never happy with how it looks and I don't think I am being anal. I am using the cable that came with the A1, maybe it's just not that great a cable?

Please help
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 01:56 PM   #2
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There are too many variables to give that a concise answer. I'm (usually) happy with the way my footage looks on my 58" 1080p plasma using the Canon-supplied cable. I don't know exactly where you are with your shooting experience, so please accept my apologies if the information presented is below your level of expertise.

Some guidelines:

1. Keep gain at +3db or lower if possible. The grain is very evident at HDV resolution. Go +6db only if it's a shot you can't get without more gain. Grainy video is better than no video.
2. Use manual exposure and the zebras. I set my zebra level at 95 IRE and make sure the hottest spot on my main subject just lights up the zebras. Others will set it lower, but 95 works for me. Over-exposed shots just look terrible on video.
3. Lighting is King. Lights, bounce cards, scrims, etc. make all the difference. Unfortunately, this isn't always possible on run-and-gun shoots. And it can be expensive.

I have had footage that looked bad, but usually because I break the above guidelines, or because I had used bad technique.

It's not really fair to compare the XH-A1 footage to other HD footage via BR or SAT/CABLE. Those programs are shot with cams costing quite a bit more with larger sensors - sometimes film - and lenses alone that cost more than the A1. You CAN compare it to some of the HD footage on shows like "Survivor Man" or "Dirty Jobs", where much of the footage is shot with small HD cams by professional camera operators. Well...except "Survivor Man", where the guy is by himself.

Hope this helps out.
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 02:23 PM   #3
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Hi Daniel............

Could you be a bit more specific about "the cable that came with the A1"?

Which one?

Composite or Component?

What format are you pumping out of the camera? HD or SD?

What type of TV? Full HD or not?

Need a bit more info to give you any help.


CS
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 02:48 PM   #4
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Ken- the footage looks fine when I digitize it into Avid, so it's not a matter of how it's shot. I don't know any other way to describe how it looks than "flat". The lighting is fine and it's not grainy at all because I avoid using the gain when possible. That being said, can I manually set the gain levels though?

And the past season of Survivorman has looked better than what I see when I hook the camera up to my TV.

Chris- I am using the component cable and sending it out in HD onto a 1080i TV.
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 03:52 PM   #5
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Hmmm......

Manual gain setting? - of course. Page 56 of the manual.

Connection type - OK.

Resolution - OK.

TV type - OK.

NLE data - OK.

Camera - TV - Yuck.

I'd suggest trying the cam with a different TV/ Monitor. If that looks better, it's a TV problem.

If it's still bad, it's a camera problem, tho' can't for the life of me think exactly what sort.


CS
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 05:55 PM   #6
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I will try hooking the camera up to another TV and see how that works. I am using regular DV tapes, not HD tapes, but that shouldn't make a difference, right?
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 06:11 PM   #7
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Correct.

No difference at all.



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Old January 22nd, 2009, 06:34 PM   #8
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All this has just been test footage on the same tape. Maybe I have just recorded over stuff too much and need a fresh tape.
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 06:53 PM   #9
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No...........

The only thing that could happen from over use is dropouts and gaps.

If you've got a moving picture the tape is fine.


CS
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 08:06 AM   #10
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I figured it out last night. It was a problem with the output settings. I don't remember which one, but I believe I had the wrong tape type set. Works fine now. I kind of knew it wasn't my TV. My TV loves me.
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Old January 26th, 2009, 05:26 AM   #11
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I'm very curious which exact setting you changed and how.
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Old January 26th, 2009, 05:54 AM   #12
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I was suspecting auto convert to SD? Was it that? There really is no other way to mess the HDV signal when putting it out to a HDTV.
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