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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 September 25th, 2009, 02:40 PM   #16
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PC Version of ProRes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe Spangler View Post
Geoffrey,

Pro Res doesn't "uncompress" footage. If I gave that impression, I am sorry. From what I've read, it converts the 8 bit HDV footage to 10 bit. Since I've started using it, I've noticed I can do more with color in FCP.

If you're shooting in HDV and editing in FCP, it's the way to go, in my opinion. File sizes are pretty big, though. 1080-24p footage is about 1.3 gigs per minute of footage, so a 60 minute tape is about 75 gigabytes. You need a lot of storage to use it.
I just got the Matrox MX02 Mini and I wondered about the 8-bit 10-bit choice and thought it didn't matter with HDV. So, you're not really uncompressing or improving the video quality of the HDV, just putting it in a better format for editing? What is the PC counterpart to Apple's ProRes?
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Old September 25th, 2009, 10:13 PM   #17
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Exactly, Alex. It doesn't "improve" the footage, per se it's a great editing format.

I am not sure about the PC equivalent to Pro Res. Can't help you there....
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Old September 27th, 2009, 12:40 PM   #18
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Hi Aaron, one of the most important things you can do is to keep the aperture at its sweet spot which is about F4 to F5.6 by using ND filters, gain or even shutter speed.
Shooting 25p I have often dropped the shutter to 1/25 in low light to keep the aperture 'in the groove' as long as there is not going to be any fast motion to show up the slow shutter.
Magic bullet can often give your footage a softer look if you use the presets and I never use camera presets any more as I prefer the default settings which seem to give better light sensitivity and cleaner footage for correcting in post.
Any gain above -3 will show up, just capture a frame and look at it full size and it becomes obvious, well to me anyway.
Sometimes though gain has to be used, there is no choice and you just have to live with it.
If you are outputting to SD DVD then the gain is slightly less noticable though.
hope this helps John
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Old September 27th, 2009, 04:46 PM   #19
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"You just have to live with it"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Estcourt View Post
Hi Aaron, one of the most important things you can do is to keep the aperture at its sweet spot which is about F4 to F5.6 by using ND filters, gain or even shutter speed.
Shooting 25p I have often dropped the shutter to 1/25 in low light to keep the aperture 'in the groove' as long as there is not going to be any fast motion to show up the slow shutter.
Magic bullet can often give your footage a softer look if you use the presets and I never use camera presets any more as I prefer the default settings which seem to give better light sensitivity and cleaner footage for correcting in post.
Any gain above -3 will show up, just capture a frame and look at it full size and it becomes obvious, well to me anyway.
Sometimes though gain has to be used, there is no choice and you just have to live with it.
If you are outputting to SD DVD then the gain is slightly less noticable though.
hope this helps John
I don't know how anyone can be happy with that answer after spending thousands of dollars on a camera. The whole point of HD is a better picture. Are you saying the camera sucks? I share the same problem with Aaron about not being totally happy with my pictures. It just seems like the slightest thing out of place will yield a crappy picture and the camera is not forgiving.

And then, after studying this thread about custom presets, you come along and say not to use them. Please explain. Make me feel better...
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Old September 28th, 2009, 05:56 AM   #20
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All cameras and lenses have their sweetspots. So it's best to use them if you can.
Some people like to use presets. Some people prefer to do it in post. It's a personal preference.
If there isn't enough light you either have to get more light or use gain.
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Old September 28th, 2009, 09:03 AM   #21
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Alex, no offense to John, but I've found using the default settings gives me a noisier image. The blacks have to be pressed in camera and other settings tweaked, like coring, to come up with a more pleasing image than the default.

As far as your quote: "It just seems like the slightest thing out of place will yield a crappy picture and the camera is not forgiving." This is true of $3,000 cameras and $200,000 cameras alike. No camera exists that will simply give you an awesome image all the time, especially in auto modes. That is why cinematography is a serious, technical art that not just anyone can up and do. It requires a lot of knowledge and experience before people will recognize you for your work.

Most of us have been shooting for many years with various types of cameras to get where we're at. Give it a few years and things will come around. Don't crucify a camera because you can't make it do what you want yet. I did the same thing with my first camera and I realize now there was nothing wrong with that camera.

Here's a little thing I learned very early on. It's not so much the camera that gives you great results. Yes, you have to be good with a camera and have a decent camera. But things like lighting, composition, camera angles, camera movement, wardrobe, props, set dressing, etc. that make a pleasing image. The camera is simply a tool to capture a pleasing image. The camera cannot create the pleasing image for you. That is up to you.
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Old September 28th, 2009, 10:39 AM   #22
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Why we get different answers to the same question

Hi Alex,

I think that one of the issues that we all need to be aware of is the depth of knowledge that someone has about, for example, light, the camera and the editing process when they give an answer to a question. I say that because those things will almost certainly be reflected in the advice they give.

Very, very, simply put, and there are many variations on the process I describe below, I would like to suggest that it works something like this.

Those of us with little or no knowledge of any of these issues (and I include myself in this group) will go out and shoot a scene and wonder why it is not as great as some of the stuff we see in the sample clips section. We don't realise that what we are shooting has high contrast light and shadow or is a little to dark overall, etc. and we don't have the knowledge to take steps (by the use of various pieces of equipment, changing the time of day we shoot or where we shoot from, etc.) to alleviate some or all of these challenges. So we find out about a preset and try it out and it makes a bit of difference and we are hooked on presets. Any answers we give will stem from that. Remember, this is just about the issue of light. How much more complicated is it when you include dolly shots, pans, tilts, sound, etc

The next stage is that some of us know how to control light and perhaps have some extra equipment to do that more effectively and we also know more about the camera internal settings and the flexibility those two items (controlling the light and camera settings) give us and we find that with this knowledge we no longer totally rely on presets, and so the answers we give will take that extra knowledge and skill into account.

Others know about light, camera settings, and what can be done in post to change the images we see on the screen. That again changes the options available to us for solving challenges. So the answers we give are different again.

Then of course you factor in the amount of experience and depth of knowledge and skill we have in each of these issues and suddenly you realise how many different answers there are to one "simple" question, and we haven't even considered other lenses, variations on editing software, plug ins, and all the rest of the things that are available to us, or the level of skill we have in using them!

I know this answer didn't solve the technical question that was originally asked on this thread, but I hope it helps when people are wondering why answers from different members about the same question sometimes seem contradictory.

Please bear in mind that what I have described above is not meant to be a reflection on any individual on this forum. It is just the description of a process that could as easily be applied to the advice you get about driving a car, piloting an aircraft, baking a cake or any one of the thousands of things that ordinary people do each day.

Regards

Colin
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Old September 28th, 2009, 11:18 AM   #23
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I don't mean to butt in, but I recently got my A1. All my other cameras have been consumer cameras. The best ones have been my pair of HV-30s. Everything I've learned as a hobbiest for the past 18 or so years has been on consumer gear. I didn't have time or money to turn pro. I learned to get the best results I could get with what I had to use. Some techniques apply to all cameras, for instance, avoid backlighting by shooting with the sun to your back. Wear headphones to monitor your audio. ETC.

Now, I finally have an XH-A1. IMHO it is a really nice camera. It will be a while before I'm fully up to speed. The first thing I found out, is that the A1 is pretty good on automatic. Not perfect by any means, but the images are reasonably pleasing.

I have step by step been learning the features on the A1. For instance, I learned long ago on the consumer cams to do a manual white balance. So, I learned how to manually white balance the A1. Mind you, it's not necessary all the time. The auto settings are pretty good.

Coming from the HV-30, I tried the zebras and peaking. They help immensely for judging exposure and getting good focus. They work a lot like the HV-30, but are much more convenient to set up. Likewise all the other features. Audio levels, shutter speed, frame rates etc.

Yesterday I was trying the gain settings. Some of the shots came out bad. It wasn't the camera's fault. I wasn't used to the camera yet. I'll be using automatic some for a while yet, until I'm really comfortable with all the settings. Just take time to learn the camera.

I haven't even thought about downloading presets yet. I wan't to get used to the personality of the camera first.
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Old September 28th, 2009, 12:03 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex DeJesus View Post
I don't know how anyone can be happy with that answer after spending thousands of dollars on a camera. The whole point of HD is a better picture. Are you saying the camera sucks? I share the same problem with Aaron about not being totally happy with my pictures. It just seems like the slightest thing out of place will yield a crappy picture and the camera is not forgiving.

And then, after studying this thread about custom presets, you come along and say not to use them. Please explain. Make me feel better...
Alex, I think your first line in bold is a miss quote as I was refering to the gain setting rather than anthing else when I said you just have to live with it.

Every camera produces noise when you use gain but sometimes thats all you can do but 'live with it'
I know how much gain I will accept in my footage but other people have diffferent opinions.
There's been loads of discussion about the pros and cons of presets and lots of very experienced camera operators have different views.
All these people ( far more experienced than I) produce stunning footage but its from experience as has just been discussed above.
Gabe is correct in what he says and 'no offence taken' when he has a different work flow.
Its a different point of view and I respect his opinion.

I didnt say dont use the presets(miss quote 2) I said I dont use them so if you were not happy with the reply and my thoughts please feel free to ignore them go and practice with the camera and come to your own conclusions.
cheers
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Last edited by John Estcourt; September 28th, 2009 at 12:06 PM. Reason: typing error
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Old September 28th, 2009, 11:07 PM   #25
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I understand...

About the sweet spots (or are they sweat spots?) and the need for experience with the camera. I have a film degree and have been doing videos for some time. I don't hear much of that from Sony and Panasonic owners. A camera should look at least very good straight out of the box, and then made even better with presets, etc. I have never heard of a product that requires you to be an expert just to get a decent picture. My XL1s gave me a great picture. The thing I like about the Canon is the iris ring and manual controls. But right out of the box, the picture is pretty much bland and lifeless. Even with some of the presets, I don't see much difference. For example, the LowLight preset gave me lots of noise and didn't seem to compensate for low light. Now, someone is going to tell me that I need to tweak this or that. There proves my point.

Thanks for letting me rant
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Old September 28th, 2009, 11:08 PM   #26
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As for presets listing

I found the link on here that is a couple of years old. Which is the latest list available? Is it an official listing or just something this furom put together?
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