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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 28th, 2010, 11:47 PM   #1
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Canon XHA1 - First Paying Gig!

My First Paying Gig to use the Canon XH A1

I have no Fig Rig or Steadicam- Some of my scenes are WAY jittery but not god awful.

Do you guys have any advice on which I should try to purchase before next time?


ALSO- I use with the Canon XHA1; Whats a quality wireless Lavalier Mic I should buy? I need all the advice I can- I have another wedding in 3 weeks!


Jay
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Old September 29th, 2010, 11:36 AM   #2
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I would suggest that you buy a tripod if you donít already have one. Trying to go handheld during the vows and dances will be next to impossible, it get heavy quick. If buying a tripod for your next gig is not an option, I would suggest that you rent one. You owe it to the Bride and Groom not to give them shaky footage. Also, if you donít have much experience with the camera, I would suggest that you rent a second small camera that stays stationary on a tripod. The footage from the second camera can help if something goes wrong. Also, get lots of B roll in case you need to strategically place it somewhere.
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Old September 29th, 2010, 11:50 AM   #3
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There is a free product called deshaker.....It will clean up the shakey video. I recommend you google it and look at before/after footage. It may help you save your reputation.
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Old October 4th, 2010, 12:10 PM   #4
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I can't hold the XH-A1 steady for more than a few seconds, so always use a tripod. As I understand it, steady-cams are a special skill and take a lot of practice, and good ones aren't cheap. The Figrig looks like an interesting idea, if you've got strong shoulders. You could mock one up with a plank of wood and a couple of drawer handles to see if makes sense to you.
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Old October 6th, 2010, 01:53 PM   #5
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I've used a fig rig for a few years now with my XH-A1 and they work very well at stabilising footage without the faff of using a steadicam. That said, most of it is still down to practice. Only problem I've ever had is that the XH-A1 is a bit heavy for the camera mount and does start to work itself a bit loose after half an hour/ an hour of continuous operation. And you do need to be quite stong to operate with it for any length of time- I'm 6ft 7 and my arms still get tired if I haven't been shooting regularly...
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Old October 6th, 2010, 02:04 PM   #6
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Forgot to add I absolutely agree with Kevin Lewis. A b-camera locked off on a cheap tripod with a nice safe wide shot of proceedings is a great idea and allows you to have much more confidence to try for decent CU's etc with your main cam. If I'm shooting something like a wedding on my own I'll use my XH-A1 and two or three smaller camcorders locked off on tripods around the building, as many as the priest will let me really. I have on occasion even hidden little Flip Minos at the front of the church mounted on gorillapods when filming restrictions have been tight.
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Old October 6th, 2010, 08:06 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Henry Williams View Post
I'm 6ft 7 and my arms still get tired if I haven't been shooting regularly...
O/T good grief! .. 6'7" that's 2.04 metres. If you don't mind me asking Henry, what tripod do you use. Do you run it at eyeline height and have any back problems using it?.

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Old October 7th, 2010, 05:27 AM   #8
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the standard manfrotto 503 head and legs for my main cam. I'm pretty sure the combined height of camera and legs means I don''t have to lean down at all when they're fully extended, although I think I probably lean into the camera a bit naturally anyway.

I do find it a bit awkward shooting through the viewfinder sometimes- there's a bit of a difference between shooting CU's from a height that is comfortable and shots that actually fit the subject in the frame/ don't make them look weird ;) I shoot that kind of stuff using my fig rig and holding the camera just above waist height mostly.

Being this tall does mean I can carry a lot of kit- I don't drive so if I'm off to an event on my own I'm normally walking/on public transport with two Sony Handycams, the 503 head and legs, an additional Sony A1E, my Canon XH-A1, the fig rig and two little sony consumer tripods slung over my shoulders! I tried to carry a three point lighting kit as well once. Never again.
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Old October 7th, 2010, 08:18 PM   #9
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Thanks Henry, I can see there's cons but many pros, not to mention shooting over crowds eh :)

I found that getting the tripod at the right height every time is very important for a day shoot, years ago I had back problems through stuffing around with that.

Once I was happy with the height of the A1s on my new Miller Compass, I marked the Solo tripod legs with a pen so I get the height right from the getgo, each time. Thanks again.

Cheers.
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Old October 8th, 2010, 06:13 AM   #10
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The one thing its brilliant for is being able to shoot over the top of the scrum that always assembles around the throwing of the bouquet/cutting the cake!

Good idea about marking the tripod. Might have to start doing that as a pre-emptive measure.
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Old October 9th, 2010, 08:05 PM   #11
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The A1 is hard to hold steady, but it can be done. Holding your arms against your body will help. It also helps if you can lean against something solid. There are a bunch of tricks but that would be a whole long post.

We used Steady Sticks for the low positions for the NBA D-League telecasts. They made a huge difference. There are other tools for handheld shooting from the Fig Rig to shoulder mounts. Again, the list would be crazy long so look around and check reviews for specific products that you think might work for you.

For things like weddings, a tripod is essential. And the locked off b-camera is essential, especially if you have a tape drop out at a critical moment.
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Old October 10th, 2010, 01:39 AM   #12
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Leaning against a surface while holding the camera creates a mock tripod. Also, don't hold the camera with just your hand in the strap. Add your other hand to the bottom of the camera. Also try holding the handle on top overhand or underhand.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 07:22 PM   #13
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After reading through all of the posts and thinking about my past experiences with the XHA1s, I can concur with those of you who have suggested a tripod. I have a manfrotto that I picked up. Unfortunately, it was the wrong size for a 5 pound camcorder. I have my first wedding coming up later this month and there is no way that I will try to shoot any longer than a few minutes of footage handheld. I learned my lesson after trying to film my son's high school football game without a tripod.

I am curious about the fig rig though. I'm a smaller guy, 5'-8" so I'm not sure if this is something that would work for me. For extra panning effects, I have also considered the Merlin Steady Cam but I've heard that it will take so practice before I can master the technique. Has anyone here had any experience with this particular steadycam or a better one that is in the same price range ($800.00)?
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Old November 10th, 2010, 07:34 PM   #14
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Mike Figgis has only got four inches on you height wise, Maurice. It's definitely worth trying one of his fig rigs out as they're relatively cheap and very good for run and gun work.
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