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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 June 14th, 2010, 02:36 AM   #16
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congrats on the 4k posts. Thanks for your comments. I'll have to study these
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Old June 14th, 2010, 10:14 PM   #17
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Also if you are using final cut, there is a plugin called neat video which reduces noise.

It does a pretty good job but you have to be careful when using it.
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Old June 15th, 2010, 01:24 AM   #18
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I have a "older" xh-a1 which should perform similar to yours, what I don't understand is that your footage is grainy a -3db, the best setting for this camera at very low light is (pal land) 1/25 shutter, +6db gain and iris wide open (1,6)
There are presets that will enhance low light capabilities but not without side effects like ghosting or odd colors but if you want to squeeze every last drop of light out of it they are your best bet.
+12db gain can ofcourse be used as well but to my opinion the grain gets too rough and doesn't look nice.
I never go over+6db gain, no matter how dark it gets, I use my videolight and get close enough to my subjects. That the xh-a1 is not a low light king is true, compared to a Sony fx1000 the difference shows, that's because you can push a fx1000 to +15db gain while still not looking any worse then my canon at +6db which explains the biggest difference in lowlight. But at 15db gain the f1000 footage can look like crap as well on a hd screen.

I think you better should invest in a dslr and a fast lens, will make a world of difference in very dark area's.
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Old June 15th, 2010, 11:59 AM   #19
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YouTube video

It was my understanding that any gain at all amounts to noise. The camera just does not do well in the dark.

I am standing not 6 feet from the stage, so I'm not zooming at all - with a camera light and stage lights:

YouTube - Etsuko Mader plays Armando

I shot 30p with a 0 gain, 1/30 shutter speed, AGC off, f2.2-2.4

"Low light" preset:
GAM N
KNE A
BLK S
PED 4
SET 0
SHP 0
HDF M
DHV 7
COR 3
NR1 L
NR2 H
CMX 1
CGN 16
CPH 2
RGN 4
Everything else at 0

How can I have tweaked this preset?
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Old June 15th, 2010, 12:18 PM   #20
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Without going into preset details, I"m sure that if you had put your iris wide open at 1.6 and 6db gain the difference would certainly notice. You cannot expect in a dark room like this and with the settings you used that the image would look good, any camera would perform bad at those settings, even a fx1000.
You also should have used a strong on-camera light so that at least the front persons that sit in the dark get good exposure, that makes all the difference. As I see it you used the camera in a wrong way, no way any preset will make any real noticeable difference here.
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Old June 16th, 2010, 05:46 PM   #21
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That's not a bad video with the xh. You could play with it in post to light up the shadows more. A little more gain (another 3db) would have helped you and a little opened iris as well, BUT, you had to close it and be careful whe aproaching overexposed areas (like the lady on the piano). You could had enough light on the percusionist in the front and the lady on the piano would be blown out. Rather than saying a bad video, I think it's more fair to say a hard lighting situation.
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Old June 16th, 2010, 06:02 PM   #22
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Thanks Ciprian. I feel better now. lol!
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 12:20 PM   #23
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Alex,
I came to the A1 from the Sony VX2100,the grand champion of low light. I have found it to be slightly less sensitive, but the picture is considerably better. The solution for me in a low light siutuation is the 5D Mark II with 2.8 lenses. It would get a decent picture in that room. Otherwise, even an EX1 probably will struggle there. You are overestimating what a camera should do in low light. That room is just dark. It is appropriate that it look dark.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 01:02 PM   #24
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Tweak camera or Fix in post?

You are right - not many cameras would do much better in that room. A jazz club should be dark and sinister looking - but not grainy. Actually, I am liking the A1 more as I learn to customize it.

The question is should I tweak the camera or fix in post? I'm seeing arguments on both sides. In this case I used the "Lowlight" preset, which stretched the Blacks and saturated a bit.

I need to be able to attach more than one light to my rig - or one really good light. I just hate having to deal with more power supplies
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Old June 27th, 2010, 04:53 PM   #25
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We are upgrading to XH-A1S from XL1s cams, which on a 30th of a second did great in low light. How will the A1S' compare to the XL1s'? We have low light needs at wedding receptions mostly.
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Old June 27th, 2010, 05:26 PM   #26
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If your low light needs are on top of your list don't buy a xh-a1, I"d go for a Z5 instead.
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Old June 27th, 2010, 07:54 PM   #27
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I've been doing some Jazz club video shooting on occasion. The first thing we do when we arrive at the club is to set the lights and apply diffusion so that the light is evenly covering all of the musicians. You have a difficult lighting situation 'as is' but it is also the job of a video shooter to adjust things as needed.
There is no problem with the XH-A1 on that stage, but there is a problem with the application of the existing lights. Supplementary lighting is also an option.
... or you could spring a few thousand dollars for a better camera.... it's your choice.
Don't be shy to approach the club owner for access to a ladder to adjust things.
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Old June 27th, 2010, 08:26 PM   #28
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Here's an example of +6db gain with pfvision preset. Fortunately there were quite a few lights except on the drummer... nothing is perfect, so they had no light I could aim his way. An XH-A1 handheld and a Sony HDV-HC3 sitting fixed on top of a speaker cabinet for emergency cut-aways.

YouTube - VINCE MAI performs "PURPLE DAY" live at the YALE, Vancouver BC
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Old June 28th, 2010, 12:50 PM   #29
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Thanks Don for sharing. Great job btw, especially sound.

I am usually at the mercy of existing lights in these clubs. I had no problem at the Mandalay Bay resort: YouTube - Bahia plays "No Le Pegue A La Negra"
stage was well lit - i just wish I had a better audio recording setup. this was ambient sound into the camera mic mixed with a shotgun mic.

Did that band hire you to do their videos or was it a favor? I am trying to do more musical acts, but hard to make money in this town

David, I went from an XL1 and XL1s to 2 XHA1s. I guess i am happy. The more I learn about the camera the better i feel. I like having an aperture ring - you can really control this camera if you are a hands-on type. you can configure the audio inputs seperately. Custom presets are great if you use more than one camera and if you want to avoid color correction in post. The one thing I hate about the A1s is the fact that you can't set it on your shoulder. It's too heavy to hand-hold, so you need some kind of shoulder rig if you are mobile. I spent some money putting together such a rig that could have gone into purchasing an XL model

Last edited by Alex DeJesus; June 28th, 2010 at 12:53 PM. Reason: add
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Old June 28th, 2010, 01:05 PM   #30
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I use the CB-105 shoulder mount. It works very well. Primarily I use a monopod. The counterbalance is good...
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