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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 August 29th, 2010, 07:21 PM   #1
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XH-A1s & weddings

I'm planning on shooting my first hdv wedding soon and i will be using the XH-A1s
im starting to get familiar with the camera only had it about 2 weeks

but wondering what you guys are shooting in when doing weddings 50i or 25f (pal land here)
the wedding ceremony will be held outdoors in a garden setting and of cource the reception will be held indoors


what are the perferred preset or settings gain,shutter speed etc..for outdoor shots and also what to use in low light to produce acceptable results?
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Old September 1st, 2010, 08:37 AM   #2
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I shoot 25f all the time now. It downscales well, looks great and helps in low light.

Outside:

I use the Tv mode, and usually engage the exposure lock. This gives full manual control, but I can switch to auto aperture with a button push if I want.
-3db or 0 gain
1/50 shutter
aperture full open to f5.6 max
(Don't forget to use the ND filters outside. If the aperture goes over 5.6, and it will in Tv mode, you will get a horribly soft image)
For presets, you will get lots of opinions. For me, a setting that increases color saturation is most important, since they are a bit dull out of the can. To crush blacks, etc., you can do this in post.

Inside:

Best to avoid the custom presets unless you test one you like in real conditions. What works in sunlight can give some really funky colors under lights, and most popular presets darken the image quite a bit.
Gain 0 to 3db. Over that, the grain gets bad.
Shutter normally at 1/50, but I shoot 1/25 all the time and it looks fine. The extra light really helps.

Spend a little time to get to know the White Balance system. On the XHA1, it is spread over 4 buttons - a little confusing at first.

The built-in mic sounds great for atmospheric sounds, but be sure to turn the attenuator on at the reception, as otherwise music will distort terribly, even with auto sound gain on.

It's hard to check focus in the viewfinder. I use autofocus a lot when on the move. It works great when the subject fills the center of the frame. You can try to anticipate the times when it is not going to work, and use manual focus then. They might have fixed it on the XHA1s, but on the XHA1 you have to use manual focus on slow zooms; otherwise the focus is not steady.
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Old September 1st, 2010, 10:14 AM   #3
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Quote:
helps in low light
I have done frame by frame comparisons between 25f and 50i with identical settings in low light and I found no difference whatsoever. Your other comments are spot on, especially regarding the audio attenuator, if on auto and if you forget to turn it on with loud music your sound becomes unusuable.
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Old September 1st, 2010, 11:59 AM   #4
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Hi Noa,
I think Bill means that when filming 25p the Canon defaults to 1/25 shutter speed so if there is little or no movement then this can save the use of gain in low light.
Certainly during the service and the speeches you can often get away with the slower shutter speed.
There was a discussion about it here a while ago I think.
I almost never use auto focus, just zoom right in tight then focus or rely on depth of field to ensure the focus will be okay.
The problem I find is swapping between peaking and zebra all the time, it would be great to have both
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Old September 1st, 2010, 02:34 PM   #5
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Yes I know, I use 1/25th shutter very often (before I use gain) when it gets too dark but you can use 1/25 shutter as well in 50I mode with exactly the same result.
I have read a lot of people saying that the 25F with 1/25shutter would give better low light performance compared to the 50I mode but it doesn't, at least not with the tests I performed, framegrabs between 25f and 50i looked exactly the same.
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Old September 1st, 2010, 04:59 PM   #6
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Hi Noa,
well I've never shot at 50i with a 1/25 shutter but thats because I only use 50i for sports.
If you say there is no difference in low light between 50i and 25p at 1/25 then I would not argue as I have never tried it or needed to.
then the answer is simply 25p because of the film like motion.
cheers john
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Old September 1st, 2010, 08:22 PM   #7
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yes bill i think i will use autofocus because most of the time i will need to get a quick shot and mightnt have time to shot manually but at some stage i will try using manual if i know there is time to set up for that particular shot.
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 02:57 AM   #8
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I have had the xha1 for a while now and just want to tell you its most important to get your white balance right. I use panalook preset for daytime and pfvision for low light shooting. They both have a nice enough look and the pfvision preset performs very good in low light. I use maximum 6db gain but try not to go that high and 1/25 and manual gain and white balance with the camera in manual mode.

In daytime hours i shoot mostly in auto mode unless in a dark area or very bright area. practice getting the white balance right and you will breeze through it.

I shoot in 50i and output to progressive in premiere, picture comes out very nice.

Get a good camera light for the reception and that is pretty much it.
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 03:07 PM   #9
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Hi Danny,
if your final product is progressive scan 25p why do you use 50i ? is there a reason ?
would it not be easier just to film in 25p or just stay 50i (unless for the web)
I would really recommend getting away from Auto focus as with practice manual focus is far better.
In good daylight the XH-A1 has a large depth of field and that can be used to your advantage, if used carefully.


cheers John
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Old September 4th, 2010, 08:22 AM   #10
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"if your final product is progressive scan 25p why do you use 50i ? is there a reason ?"

Last time I had a project involving 50I footage which was converted using canopus HQ, when I rendered back out to an interlaced file I got stuttery panning motion but when I rendered out as progressive not. I still don't know what has caused this but weird thing is that the progressive output looked surprisingly good though a slight bit softer then the original, but viewed from a distance in HD on a full hd screen it looked great. Another thing I noticed was that with the progressive file these very small "jaggies" that you get with an interlaced file (noticeable if you look at the raw files through mediaplayer on my pc lcd screen) were gone and panning movements were also much smoother because the source footage was interlaced.

Soon I will compare screengrabs to see how much softer the image turns when outputting from interlaced to progressive but if I don't see any difference from a distance I don't see any direct reason why to shoot progressive again? Especially because you don't have to consider your panning speed anymore as stuttery motion does no longer appear then.
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Old September 4th, 2010, 08:09 PM   #11
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ye pretty much what he said, i don't have to worry about panning jitter etc and the video comes out very nice. i find focus hard to configure quickly on that tiny screen and i am always on the run so on auto it stays.

i might try again just for observation but it is a non issue i suppose.

Last edited by Dany Badaoui; September 4th, 2010 at 10:45 PM.
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