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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 2nd, 2009, 10:56 AM   #1
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Cheapest Quantum Leap Forward

Hey folks,
Have any XHA1 users here also used the HV30 HDMI out to solid state media? And is HDMI compressed? Or is anyone using the SDI HD out on a XHG1, again to solid state or spinning media, and avoiding the HDV tape or firewire compression?
I'm running XHA1 to tape now, but curious as to the actual, visible image quality improvements possible when bypassing HDV compression. I've read a lot of talk and speculation on this and the subject of using the HD Component Out, but I haven't been able to find anyone who is actually using one of these workflows.
I guess my real question is what is the least expensive quantum leap forward in image quality from a three, 1/3" CCD, HDV tape set-up?
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Old July 5th, 2009, 02:47 PM   #2
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I would love to experiment with a bit of footage from the XHA1's component versus HDV on tape - both shot with exactly the same subject material/location etc to get my own objective take on the 4:2:2 colour space with both standard editing/CCing and green screen applications.
But being the poor little videographer with no mates with this kind of gear in little ol' New Zealand at the end of the Earth, I'm out of luck.

Hold me.
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Old July 5th, 2009, 03:24 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Jim Morlino View Post
...least expensive quantum leap
Generally speaking, these are mutually exclusive terms.
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Old July 5th, 2009, 10:17 PM   #4
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Chris,
I understand your point, but I'm actually serious. Maybe "quantum leap" was the wrong word to use - what is the price point for a significant, noticeable, improvement in image quality? I don't mean a sideways, incremental move to another brand or model of similarly featured HDV camera, the image quality of which would be subjectively debated by many - I mean a noticeable, objective bump. Is it a question of data rate, imager size, codec - all of these? I've been quite happy with my $4K A1, and under the right circumstances, it is capable of producing some beautiful images, but will a $5K HVX200 produce a noticeably better image? $6K for an EX1? $8K for an HPX300? $11K for an HPX500? $20K for an F335 - Now we start to get close to Epic territory...
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Old July 5th, 2009, 10:43 PM   #5
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$20K for an F335 - Now we start to get close to Epic territory...[/QUOTE]

I meant "Scarlet"
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Old July 6th, 2009, 01:34 PM   #6
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A good measure would be sensor size, I think. Nothing that uses 1/3" sensors or similar size would fit 'quantum leap' IMO. Which makes it sound to me like you need to get up well over $10K to get there.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 03:01 PM   #7
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You can get the Convergent Designs Nanoflash for 2400. This'll give massive improvement over HDV at upto 220 mb/sec.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 05:52 PM   #8
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Steve,
Yes, this product looks great but that brings me back to my original question: Is anyone doing something like this, and if so, how does it look? It would also require having the discontinued XHG-1 (which I don't have) for its SDI out or else going to an HV40 for HDMI. So, would a $900 HV40 going HDMI to a $3000 Nano Flash yield a better image than what I am getting on my XHA-1?
- Jim
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Old July 6th, 2009, 06:31 PM   #9
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... the discontinued XHG-1
That camcorder has *not* been discontinued. It's simply been replaced by a newer version, the XH G1S.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 07:52 PM   #10
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Chris,
Thanks for the clarification on the G-1.

I wouldn't be on this board if I wasn't an A-1 user, so don't get me wrong, I love the camera - but I'm just looking to improve image quality and am willing to spend some money to do that. And thus far, the only suggestion I've seen is to spend $3,000 for the NanoFlash. So, what would you fellow A-1 users do:

XHG-1s: $6,750
NanoFlash: $3,000
RedRockM2 pkg: $4,100
Used set Nikon Primes: $1,000
Total: $14,850

or

Scarlet with S35 sensor, RedRockMicro Matte & Follow pkg
& same Nikon Primes: $18,000?

The 1st set-up bypasses HDV compression and captures at 4:2:2, full raster 1920X1080, but still goes through 1/3" CCDs.

The 2nd set up shoots at 5K.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 08:47 PM   #11
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What is it going to be used for I reckon is a big question.

I own a A1 and have full access to RED one with a set of Arri master primes and as great as it is I use the A1 stacks more. RED is great but it can be a PIA for general work. Is your end user really going to notice the diff between uncompressed HD compared to HDV after you have stuck it on the web or DVD?

Maybe the Ex1 is the go? Better lowlight, 1/2 " chips, shallower DOF, solid state etc etc.

Or are you shooting for TVC... then maybe Scarlet would be the go?

And when do you need it... knowing RED Scarlet may be here in Sept but could be here for Christmas?
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Old July 6th, 2009, 09:16 PM   #12
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What is it going to be used for I reckon is a big question.
Is your end user really going to notice the diff between uncompressed HD compared to HDV after you have stuck it on the web or DVD?
Jonathan - Used for "No-Budget Indies" - I just want the best image possible for the money available - but don't you think most people could notice the difference between those two, no matter the venue?
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Old July 6th, 2009, 10:50 PM   #13
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Jonathan - Used for "No-Budget Indies" - I just want the best image possible for the money available - but don't you think most people could notice the difference between those two, no matter the venue?
That's a really interesting question, isn't it? How many people *would* be able to tell the difference, outside possibly of a side-by-side comparison test? When I say 'people', I don't mean video gear and production experts (not that they're not people :-)) who test and examine gear and its output day in and day out. I mean 'lay' people, including clients.

I don't mean to say that kit from RED upwards doesn't produce better quality images than my XH-A1 - I'm just wondering at what point (i.e. how much better you have to get) and in what circumstances (i.e. how the image is presented - TV, cinema screen etc) a reasonably demanding viewer will actually become aware of the improvement.
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Old July 7th, 2009, 01:21 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jim Morlino View Post
So, would a $900 HV40 going HDMI to a $3000 Nano Flash yield a better image than what I am getting on my XHA-1?
- Jim
or straight to a laptop>hard drive?

anybody with any insights on the quality difference? i think CC etc may hold up better, but would the raw image shot with the HV lens be a considerable improvement over the XH A1 shooting HDV?
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Old July 7th, 2009, 02:16 AM   #15
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... I just want the best image possible for the money available - but don't you think most people could notice the difference ...
As always, the cheapest quantum leap forward, is your knowledge & experience in creating "holy crap!" images. For me the holy grail is to get to that point, where it really doesn't matter what equipment I'm using. It's always marvelous to meet people who can do that and watch them work.

Personally I think the technology has advanced so much, it's all just incremental improvements from where you're standing. The only technical advance that makes a big difference to me, is recording with a larger color space like 4:2:2 or 4:4:4. And even then the recorded image won't be a quantum leap above a 4:2:0 image, until after you color correct.

But not having to worry about all that, because you knew how to create a "holy crap!" image in the first place, priceless.
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