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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 March 6th, 2009, 02:45 PM   #1
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XH A1 quality question

I shoot in HD 30p on the XH A1 and get great results, but, to me, it doesn't have that OH MAN LOOK AT THAT!!! like on discovery channel....not even that close, but it does look good. i was thinking, maybe it's because i'm viewing on a 720 plasma tv and not a 1080? BUT...discovery channel looks awesome on my 720, so there goes that theory. i see other footage on vimeo, etc. and it wows me, but mine just isn't doing it for me...although, again, it is very good. which brings me to my next question.... 1080 tv vs. 720.... will there really be a difference watching the blu-ray disc i create? sounds like there would be, but i have heard it depends on how close you are to the tv, etc...and there isn't much difference. i've been in video since hi8 and do a lot of photography and audio engineering, but this HD is crazy with the codecs and resolutions, and AVCHD (i can never remember the acronym.)

thanks!
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Old March 6th, 2009, 03:04 PM   #2
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Perhaps you can define what the perceived difference is between the OMG footage and what you are getting; then it may be possible to correct for it in the custom setups. If, say, it's a matter of contrast or gamma or white detail, you can adjust all that to suit your taste.

Or it may be a simple matter of using good sticks or maybe the video you are seeing is Mt. Everest and you are shooting local stuff....I found myself comparing exotic Nat Geo samples on the big screens at Best Buy to the last press conference I had to shoot and going "awww ****"....<bfg> / Battle Vaughan/miamiherald.com video team
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Old March 6th, 2009, 03:10 PM   #3
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maybe you said it best with this...

I found myself comparing exotic Nat Geo samples on the big screens at Best Buy to the last press conference I had to shoot and going "awww ****

maybe that's what i was trying to say.

do any of you other shooters go through that?
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Old March 6th, 2009, 04:18 PM   #4
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I think most us share in the disappointment at times with what we see in our own stuff compared to Nat Geo. On the other hand, I've shot stuff outdoors with the right lighting and right location that made my jaw drop when I got back to the edit bay and viewed it on my big screen.

The A1 is fantastic if it is set properly and good lighting technique is applied.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 04:56 PM   #5
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Hey Steve,
btw...originally from south of Rockford.

I have been going "wow" since I got the camera for christmas.

Here's a little story..... My father remarried after my mom died. This year is their 25th. They came down and we put them in a waterfront hotel in Old Town. Sat morning I went to the hotel and told them we were going to take a walk along the boardwalk. I filmed them on the walk and them watching the boats go up and down the river. That night I editted it to their favorite song and gave it to them the next morning....the colors were absolutely beautiful in places that didn't even catch my eye while I was filming. I too only have a 720 tv. They loved the gesture and the video....they commented on the colors in the video.

You never answered the question if you have loaded any of the costume presets. Strongly recommend it.

Enjoy your mild weather this weekend.
Michael
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Old March 6th, 2009, 07:10 PM   #6
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Don't forget that the "Wow" footage you see on NatGeo and Discovery was probably shot on a full raster camera using less compression than HDV, but you probably already knew that.

The thing that they have that we generally don't is a very skillful colorist that knows how to work a subtle form of magic.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 09:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp Woelfel View Post

The thing that they have that we generally don't is a very skillful colorist that knows how to work a subtle form of magic.
Agreed! A talented grader can really make a shot even better.

It all starts off in camera. As long as you nail exposure, shouldn't be too hard to grade something and make it pop. Several people I know shoot with the standard preset and get great results after grading. I think of the presets more as a time saver since I still do a bit of grading on my footage even though I use PFvision preset.

Also, content is king. Guys like Steven D. (dsjecta) have some great stuff that, I dare say, could end up on nat geo shot on the A1.
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Old March 7th, 2009, 12:13 AM   #8
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Agreed! A talented grader can really make a shot even better.

It all starts off in camera. As long as you nail exposure, shouldn't be too hard to grade something and make it pop. Several people I know shoot with the standard preset and get great results after grading. I think of the presets more as a time saver since I still do a bit of grading on my footage even though I use PFvision preset.

Also, content is king. Guys like Steven D. (dsjecta) have some great stuff that, I dare say, could end up on nat geo shot on the A1.
Agreed--much depends on your content and how it was shot. Remember a lot of times the Nat Geo guys can afford to wait for ideal circumstances prior to shooting, something the average shooter typically cannot do--at least not very often.
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Old March 7th, 2009, 10:27 AM   #9
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As far as I know they still shoot a lot on film and whether film or digital the lens can be 10x the price of an XH-A1 - and it's not just the resolution, it's the latitude and compression of the cameras used.

Different league in a lot of cases - but not all, you can get excellent footage from an XH-A1 if you play to its strengths and some Nat Geo/Discovery footage is not great, particularly in adverse conditions.

So just shoot the best you can with what you have and go from there!
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Old March 7th, 2009, 10:31 AM   #10
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yeah, you guys are right.... they have the lighting, and can wait for the best time of days, etc.

Michael, thanks for the post. very nice gesture in that video for them! wish i could see it. i'm in Elgin now, not all that far from Rockford. I did NOT download any presets....don't know how to do that. i'm shooting with it still right out of the box from when i got it in july. i'm still thinking about what to do as a 2nd shooter. i was about to order the HV30, but then discovered the HG20...really like that one. but now there is the GFS 10 coming out? hope i got those letters right for the last one. sounds like it would be worth waiting for. i would rather get away from tape, so maybe no HV30. i'm almost there with getting the HG20! would be great for family stuff as well! don't like lugging around the XH A1 everywhere i go. and now with a son, visits to the zoo this summer would be great with the little cam, as well as using it as a drum cam for live band stuff. i have been thinking of the sony V1u...nice cam.....seems to have less noise than the A1 when shot at the same gig side by side. or maybe another A1...if i can justify it.
Steve
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Old March 7th, 2009, 01:49 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Steve Rotter View Post
i would rather get away from tape, so maybe no HV30. i'm almost there with getting the HG20!
Think of the HV30 as a cheap tape deck for your (much pricier) A1.


J.
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Old March 10th, 2009, 09:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Rotter View Post
yeah, you guys are right.... they have the lighting, and can wait for the best time of days, etc.

Michael, thanks for the post. very nice gesture in that video for them! wish i could see it. i'm in Elgin now, not all that far from Rockford. I did NOT download any presets....don't know how to do that. i'm shooting with it still right out of the box from when i got it in july. i'm still thinking about what to do as a 2nd shooter. i was about to order the HV30, but then discovered the HG20...really like that one. but now there is the GFS 10 coming out? hope i got those letters right for the last one. sounds like it would be worth waiting for. i would rather get away from tape, so maybe no HV30. i'm almost there with getting the HG20! would be great for family stuff as well! don't like lugging around the XH A1 everywhere i go. and now with a son, visits to the zoo this summer would be great with the little cam, as well as using it as a drum cam for live band stuff. i have been thinking of the sony V1u...nice cam.....seems to have less noise than the A1 when shot at the same gig side by side. or maybe another A1...if i can justify it.
Steve
Some of the presets really punch up the picture, see some of the examples on the sticky at the top of this section. Canon default is flat with not much contrast. Some use the presets to fix it, others do what they like in post.
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Old March 10th, 2009, 10:37 AM   #13
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Steve,
This is what we all go through in the beginning. The A1 will knock your socks off hen you get in and start to play with the settings. I get far superioir stuff to what I see on alot of the broadcast HD believe me. But, you have to try some tweaks. I was also going to add turn the AGC off. Learn your camera. Focus on white balance. It is very important.
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Old March 10th, 2009, 11:44 AM   #14
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hey guys thanks. i didn't see any post for A1 presets at the top of the page. i will have to look into that further and figure out how to load them, to mess with them. the few things i do, also being a photographer with high-end digital cams.... ALWAYS check white balance before shooting, always make sure levels are set! iso / gain is always first. those are the 2 most important things. in other news, i did wind up ordering the HV30 last night after reading many fine things here. i'm not in the mood to tackle a new format. i will stick with the tape for now. i have to check those presets!
thanks!
steve
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Old March 10th, 2009, 11:46 AM   #15
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I can't find that sample somebody posted a link to here, the one of the boats in the canals in the Netherlands or England or somewhere in Europe, as I recall. Gorgeous stuff. As good as anything you'll see on those TV shows. It's not the camera--the camera is capable--it's the user and the subject matter and the light. National Geographic guys don't just go out and grab a shot and go. They may wait hours or even days for the right thing. And then, they most likely work with colorists who, in commercial post houses, would charge $5K per day or more. The camera is only the tip of the iceberg in production.
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