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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 February 17th, 2009, 07:08 AM   #1
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Netbooks and XHA1

I was looking at the idea combining a netbook sized portable pc with a XHA1 to use to download footage to in the field (but not necessarilly editing footage) and/or to use as a monitor when combined in Canon's Console software - how feasible is this?

Very few netbooks (if any) have a firewire port but the Gigabyte M912X has a Expresscard port to plug in a firewire adapter (see links below), using Console a live feed could be taken from the XHA1 and can be controlled directly from the software (ie zoom, focus, white balance settings, swapping presets, recording on/off and recording to the hard drive etc etc can be done via Console). The M912X has a touchscreen to it should be easily operable. The image quality should be good for focusing with the 1280x768 pixel screen and being small (8.9" screen) the form factor would make it less of a handful than a full size laptop. It could be attached to your tripod for ease of use.

Is it feasible, has it got the ummph to do the job ? Any thoughts ?

Gigabyte Netbook M912X with Intel Atom N270 1.6 Ghz CPU and 1280x768 8.9" touch screen lcd running Windows XP. 160Gb hardrive:
GIGABYTE - Product - Notebook / UMPC / MID - Products - M912

ExpressCard firewire card:
ExpressCard 34 to FireWire 400 (IEEE 1394a) Host Adapter, Synchrotech
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Netbooks and XHA1-gigabytem912x.jpg  
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Old February 17th, 2009, 08:24 AM   #2
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Canon Console needs a 2.5 GHz Pentium CPU.

I have a dualcore 2.4 GHz pentium laptop and it runs DVRack HD with XH-A1 in HDV mode. Original DVRack is no more, and as far as I know Adobe sell their version only with the studio bundle.
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Old February 17th, 2009, 09:52 AM   #3
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From Console User manual ..

"Canon Console CPU Requirements:

• Pentium M 1.5GHz or better
• Pentium 4 2GHz or better (Pentium 4 3.2GHz or better recommended)"

According to Intel's website the best (or similar) Pentium M processor of 1.5 GHz is .. PentiumŪ M Processor 715 (2M Cache, 1.50 GHz, 400 MHz FSB 90nm)

.. I'm not sure how well an Intel Atom N270 1.6 GHz (512K Cache, 1.60 GHz, 533 MHz FSB 45nm) CPU compares with above specs ?

UPDATE : According to Passmark CPU performance testing website ..
Pentium M 1.5 GHz = 304 (rating)
Pentium 4 2.0 GHz = 272
Pentium 4 3.2 GHz = 861
Atom N270 1.6 GHz = 235
.. looks like it hasn't enough power !

Last edited by Brian Pratt; February 17th, 2009 at 10:15 AM. Reason: UPDATE
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Old February 17th, 2009, 10:16 AM   #4
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Using Console1.1 for shooting video is IMO unusable because of the delay in displaying what you are shooting. You move the camera from left to right and 1 second later you see the picture on your screen move.
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Old February 17th, 2009, 04:48 PM   #5
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I agree with Kees - It's really frustrating trying to use console or FCP for focus because of the delay. Even with a stationary figure the delay makes you go past the focus point and then overcorrect the other way. you have to adjust + wait, adjust + wait - it's a pain in the butt.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 12:44 PM   #6
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I got hold of a used Motion 1300 tablet to record from firewire in real time. I've loaded HDsplit and I hookup a western digital 320 GByte passport usb drive to it. I power it from a sealed lead acid 7.2 AH battery using an auto 12 volt laptop adapter and get about 7 hours run time between the external and internal batteries.

I've test driven it at home and it seems to work fine, no dropped frames. It's first live run will be on Friday.

For a monitor I use a sony fx850 dvd player. The built in battery lasts about 5 hours.

Ian
Festival Video and Audio Previews - Festival Previews Ltd

Last edited by Ian Wright; February 18th, 2009 at 12:46 PM. Reason: typo correction
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Old February 18th, 2009, 05:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Mailath View Post
I agree with Kees - It's really frustrating trying to use console or FCP for focus because of the delay. Even with a stationary figure the delay makes you go past the focus point and then overcorrect the other way. you have to adjust + wait, adjust + wait - it's a pain in the butt.
I had the same problem using Premier elements on a laptop. The delay was frustrating. I was also having problems with the sound. Because of the delay, the sound was recorded by the camera, played a second or two later on the laptop, recorded again on the camera etc etc. Once I realised what was happening, I turned off the speakers on the laptop.

I'm hoping to hook up to the laptop with cables so that I use it as a monitor only, and actually record via firewire to the Sony HVR MRC1K - using the cache should take care of any delay problem (though I wish it was a variable cache instead of set at 14 seconds) and downloading to the laptop later will be faster than using tape.

This should work with a netbook too, though I haven't yet studied any video input sockets. The clips should be downloadable via a USB card-reader.
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Old February 19th, 2009, 02:44 AM   #8
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I think the problem with any computer laptop is that the data that comes in is processed before it's sent to the monitor unlike a true monitor that simply displays whatever is input.

A computer is a computer, not a monitor. it processes and shows you the result on it's monitor. If there was some way of bypassing the CPU and/or graphics chip maybe you could get rid of the delay but that's a hardware problem. I can't see how you could write software to do that because you'd be telling the computer to ignore all interupts and pass the data through - you could only stop that by rebooting and even then I don't know that it's possible.
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Old February 19th, 2009, 09:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Pratt View Post
I was looking at the idea combining a netbook sized portable pc with a XHA1 to use to download footage to in the field (but not necessarilly editing footage) and/or to use as a monitor when combined in Canon's Console software - how feasible is this?
I use a Toshiba notebook with a 1.73 GHz dual core processor to capture HD video directly from the camera using Adobe OnLocation. Even when I turn off everything (WiFi, anti-virus, firewall, etc.) the laptop still tends to lag behind sometimes, from one to several seconds. It's perfectly usable, but if your netbook has any less horsepower then it's likely to be inadequate.

If you do buy the netbook, keep us updated. I definitely like their ultra-small size for the field. Add an $80 250 GB USB drive and you're set.

If you're running Windows, I'd recommend treating every software with extreme prejudice to prevent the unexpected installation of assorted power-hungry utilities (each one for your own good, of course...). In fact, I'd recomment that anyone using a dedicated notebook to capture video make an image backup once they've done a clean install of Windows (and their video utilities), and AFTER they're uninstalled the assorted trialware that comes with new computers. They should then, every once in a while, restore their computer to that original backup. Does wonders to improve performance. :-)


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