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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 30th, 2010, 04:42 PM   #1
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Not reaching my Canons potential...

Hows everyone doing? I'm new to this forum but I have learned a ton by just going through it! I currently use a Canon XH-A1 (kind of redundant I know) But I just dont feel like I'm reaching this cameras potential. I feel like the image quality is lacking not by fault of the camera but myself. If you could give me any pointers that would be awesome! Im embedding a few of my videos critique all you want I know I'm no pro I just want to improve the quality of my videos!

I do mostly wakeboarding/Action shooting so its kind of a get one chance to get the shot not much time for do overs in wakeboarding.

I usually shoot at 60i but I've experimented with 24f I feel 60i produces a higher quality image so that is what I'm going to stick with. Any pointers in this area as well would be awesome!!!

Hit me with it!

With minor color correction.


This one is with out any color correction, My skills were and are still lacking in the color correction category so I stayed away from it as long as possible but the videos themselves suffered.


Sorry about all the info but I wanted you to have as much information as I could possibly give.

Thanks in Advance for the HELP!!!
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Old July 30th, 2010, 04:55 PM   #2
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To your specific question about leveraging your camera, can you get tighter? you have a 20x lens on the A1. Can you get in closer? It will take skill and anticipation to track such a fast subject but mixing it in with your medium shots will make it more interesting. From an editing perspective, maybe add in some slow-mo every once in a while. 60i is good for fast moving objects so you have that right.
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Old July 30th, 2010, 08:26 PM   #3
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First, I've got to admit -- those shots couldn't have been taken in Lubbock. I know it rained a lot there last fall, but there's hasn't been that much water in the Panhandle in a couple hundred million years! :)

I can share a few things that I thought of, but I've felt like you many times. (I still consider myself a beginner, too, even though I've had mine for about 2 years.)

Experimenting with presets that you can find here has taught me a lot. I try them in different situations to learn how they can help me get the look that I want. I've watched this video many times to see what many presets are capable of producing:
. Look in the preset topic here and you can find many variations on these.

I tend to use Olegwarn and Naturalo and VividRGB presets depending on what I am doing.

Les is right about tighter shots. You could mix them in with the wider shots. All you need are short bursts of good footage to include. Rapid cuts would work well with the subject matter. One thing I learned is that I can shoot a lot and, after trimming out the bad stuff, there's usually quite a bit I can use -- especially if I only need a second or two at a time.

Personally, I liked it when the spray from the boat's wake was low in the shot. It gave it a more kinetic feel with a the foregound water. You might try lowering your shooting position relative to the water (as long as you don't endanger the camera with water damage). Also, shooting with the iris as wide-open as possible in combination with zooming will help get you a small depth-of-field to isolate the wakeboarders from the background and blur the foreground boat spray even more. (I've been experiemnting with DOF a lot this summer with a Letus 35mm adapter on my HV40. So far I love the results, but it has me wondering if I should move to a Canon 7D.)

Keep in mind that composition, sound, and lighting are things that are often the biggest difference between a pro and an amateur. A pro can produce great stuff with inferior equipment because he/she looks to control those things regardless of equipment. Composition was the easiest for me because I have years of experience as a photographer. Sound was the next thing that I began to learn (after hiding my ignorance with good music!) and now I am learning lighting. (Lighting is a lot more interesting than I thought it would be and the benefits are tremendous.)

I'm looking forward to reading what others say as well. The folks here have been incredible friendly and helpful to me, too. This is my #1 learning resource and I am on here several times a day. Every time I learn one thing, it seems to produce a dozen new questions that need to be answered!
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Old July 31st, 2010, 11:37 AM   #4
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HAHA! Well there actually is a lake outside of town, Buffalo Springs. Nothing huge but it gets the job done as far as a good practice site for the team.

I really like the idea of getting tighter shots, I'm going to have to figure out a way to stabilize the camera as, its pretty difficult in the boat. Id really like to get some different angles but I do not have the resources to do so.

I love all the help you've given thus far! This place is great and I;m kind of sad I didn't find it sooner!!!
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Old August 1st, 2010, 10:49 AM   #5
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Different angle ideas

Sit yourself in a tube 5-10 feet in front of the action with a bit of a shorter line from the lower tow point. Imagine how tight you can be then. Getting a handle pass from 5 feet away would be huge. I see a slow mo shot of a flip going right over your head...amazing. If you trust the talent enough, even pulling the tube closer to where they are and letting them jump over you would be awesome.

Hold your camera above the tower to get a perspective that won't include the spray from the boat, will make the shot a bit cleaner when you pan all the way to one side while giving you something else to cut to. Also looking down the rope would be pretty sweet.

I know ideally you'll have a second boat to get ride along shots but if you get the driver to make short passes, something zoomed in from the dock while they ride by could be a great perspective shot. You really can't tell the height these guys get until you see them jumping higher than the boat.

Getting a GoPro cam attached to their vest or on the rope would give you some fun shots too. That would be more of an expense though.

Hope that helps
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 08:58 PM   #6
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Brad the tube idea is awesome! I've actually thought about it a lot, but that $5,000 camera really can't afford to be put that close to danger lol I have shot from the shore which provides some different angles and such but its so hard because you have a limited pass with the boat only going by the shore that I'm on for a short time. I'll primarily be shooting from the boat but thats the best I've got right now. I really want to move to a 7D and get a waterproof housing for it. But that would be an outrageous cost, big dreams I guess.
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 09:02 AM   #7
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Lets think of cheap ways to accomplish the tube shot then...

If you edit the footage to black and white, or add grain, or maybe some other film look effect, you could get away with a cheaper camera and have a fun effect in the video.

That would open you up to hand holding a goPro camera, a Flip in a waterproof diving bag, some cheap DV cam with a fish eye lens in a gallon ziploc bag...lots of options. All of these sound cheaper than a 7D in a housing. Ya, the quality wont be amazing but there are ways to disguise that in post when you only use a few shots with it.

Back in the day I threw a ZR80 with a fisheye lens into a gallon ziploc and got some great surfing shots. I still have the cam that I never use if you want to steal it from me. We could work out something.
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 10:00 PM   #8
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I've been looking at the waterproof (to 3m) Kodak Playsport for the kind of stuff that Brad is talking about. It's getting some good consumer reviews on Amazon for $129. It apparently does 1080p 30fps, 720p 60fps, and 720p 30 fps.

I like Brad's idea about adding grain or going B/W to mix in footage with the A1. That might push me off the fence to order one before the summer's out. I can see some definite uses next summer when I head to South American for a month or two, especially using it in some creative ways.

I also thought shooting from the shore or a dock would a good idea to get footage that you can mix in with those from the boat. All you need is a second or two of usable from each pass.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 02:46 AM   #9
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Colour correction

It might be worth setting the f.stop to give as much detail on the boarder as possible at the expense of some sky detail?

Both videos look really good when the boarder is in silhouette against the sky or water but the lack of fine detail means he currently fades into the hill behind him a bit every time he jumps.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 07:52 PM   #10
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Henry,

How will setting the f-stop affect the detail? Do you mean to open the iris to reduce the depth of field and blur the background?

Shooting wide-open with it zoomed in as much as possible would blur the shoreline in the shoreline, but not sure how much since I don't know how far away the boarders are from the boat. (Significant zoom might not be possible and still get the boarders.) An additional ND filter might also be necessary depending on the sunlight.

I did notice that the boarders didn't stand out from the background at times, but more because they were basically the same tone as the background shore. (Darker bodies with darker clothing against a dark background.) Maybe using clothing that contrasts with the shoreline? Shoot boarders against a contrasting shoreline color -- maybe some areas of the shore are darker (trees) or lighter (grass)?

Is that the kind of stuff you're thinking about, Henry? This is an interesting discussion and I'm learning a lot from everyone!
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Old August 5th, 2010, 02:33 AM   #11
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Looking at the ungraded video I thought that the OP might have set up the Iris so as not to overexpose the sky at the expense of slightly underexposing the boarder and background.

We seem to be able to see the boarder standing out just fine against the background when he travels far enough to one side that the setting sun isn't in frame, so maybe its an automatic adjustment that's going on in camera rather than a manual one- Think I might have seen the AGC working on a couple of occasions? Or could it be that the OP sorted out the Iris settings for the shot in different light levels before the boat turned away from the setting sun to begin its run?
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Old August 5th, 2010, 07:08 PM   #12
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Ok Im going to try to get to everyone.

The rider is between 75ft-85ft behind the boat. The main thing I do when I shoot is to try not to overexpose the footage, its real hard seeing as most of the time we go into the afternoon when the sun is real strong and high in the sky.

Im not sure how the guys would react to me telling them what to wear! ha This is all footage that I shot during our "practice" sessions I really haven't made this into a whole production yet, I really want to get to wear I can produce high quality videos at first and then start making this a bigger production.

Henry, the idea of me getting the camera sounds awesome, although I'm quite the broke college kid, I know that sounds a bit cliche but its the truth. lol
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Old August 6th, 2010, 02:25 AM   #13
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underexposing

I completely understand the desire not to overexpose, but with the kind of grade you're applying at the moment you're blowing out all of the sky detail in order to try and get better definition on the rider, so a slightly more open iris shouldn't kill anything you weren't going to get rid of anyway....

You could get a graduated ND filter and attach it to the front of the camera. This would reduce the amount of light coming into the top part of the frame, allowing you to expose the rest of the image adequately without blowing out the sky detail.

It is worth checking that the little toggle on the side of your camera marked AGC is off as well. So easy to flick on without noticing...

EDIT: It can be pretty difficult to get an accurate impression of what you're shooting with screen glare etc if you're shooting straight into the sun... There are little hoods you can attach to your LDC screen that allow you to see the image more clearly, or you could just stick a piece of dark heavy cloth over your head.

Shooting towards the sun is one of those times when I don't really trust what the camera's onboard light meter is telling me- it has a tendency to light for the background rather than your subjects, so I'd always recommend doing it by eye.

Last edited by Henry Williams; August 6th, 2010 at 07:17 PM. Reason: Forgot to add a couple of bits of information. Because I'm clever like that.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 06:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Williams View Post
It is worth checking that the little toggle on the side of your camera marked AGC is off as well. So easy to flick on without noticing...
That's actually a pretty good point. This is a little bit off topic from the rest of this thread, but it's always a good idea to thoroughly check all your settings before a shoot. Of course that doesn't prevent you from accidentally knocking the AGC switch, but it could prevent other problems you may not even know you have until you get to the edit and it's too late.
Every time I'm shooting anything serious, I look at all the knobs/switches and through all the menus before starting. It only takes about a minute and it can save your shoot.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 06:53 PM   #15
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agreed. There are a couple of times where I've started shooting in the wrong format cause I was in a hurry and didn't check. Very good advice.
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