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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 May 6th, 2011, 09:23 AM   #1
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Expecting more from my video

XHA1 newb here. Only had the camcorder for about 5-6 months and this is only the 3rd time I've used it, (1st outdoors).

Shot:
XhA1 1080 60i
Manual mode, adjusting aperture as needed

Post Production: (4 year old computer running vista)
Adobe premiere CS3
4G DDR2 ram
2.8ghz dual core AMD processor


Here is the resulting video
h.264 codec mov- 1440X1080

Some of the still shots seem pretty sharp, but I'm rather disappointed in the overall quality. (fyi, I spent a short amount of time color correcting some shots since i'm pretty new to it)

Let me state that internet video is the final result I'm looking for with most of videos.

So CS3 was set up as 1080 60i and everything looks fine while editing in CS3, but it seemed no matter how I tried to render it out with h.264 it seem to come out the wrong size/aspec ratio. I tried anamorphic (1.333) and it came out narrow and tall.

But since the captured files were MPEG2, I just exported to MPEG2 1920X1080 and got this YouTube - Autocross Wisconsin - Boosted Films (audio removed by you-tube, will delete the video soon, just wanted people to see the video quality)

So, can anyone give me a good answer on what my export setting should be? Or is the problem my old ass computer and editing software? Or do I just suck behind the camera resulting in a crappy picture?

constructive replies appreciated.

PS, as a side question, how would you handle color correction on a 3min clip with like 70 edits in adobe CS3? If i applied any color correction while actually editing, I couldn't preview the video because my computer couldn't keep up. So i edited my video, and then went back to color correct. Is this a normal workflow?

Thanks

Last edited by Paul Elertson; May 6th, 2011 at 01:24 PM.
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Old May 6th, 2011, 05:47 PM   #2
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Re: Should I be expecting more?

Hi, Paul...........

Not really sure what your exact gripe is with the video.

It was a grey day, which leaves the colour struggling at the best of times, though with an A1 in stock factory settings (worth checking - a hard reset will get them back if you've been fiddling) I would have expected a bit more punch despite the weather.

That is one of the occasions when a good knowledge of the cameras pre sets and the pre set library here on DVinfo comes in handy, so you can dial a bit more colour depth in right on the shoot (search for presets, though VividRGB springs to mind). If you get the colour right on the shoot, colour correcting later should be minimal.

As for anything else, well, apart from maybe a better tripod/ head/ cameraman (joke) what I see is good 'ol fashioned HDV background smear in bucket loads, which is only to be expected with that subject matter.

If there's any else specific, do say.

Can't say as I see anything that fingers either the PC or the software apart from operator error, perhaps, nor can I advise on same as I don't use that software.

Interesting vid for all the above.


CS

PS:

On reflection, have you pushed that video straight off the tape/ camera into an HDTV using the Component cable?

If it looks anything like the product on Vimeo, there's gotta be something wrong with the camera settings to my mind. I've shot shed loads at stock factory settings in similar conditions and never had it come out looking so flat.

If it looks OK on the TV, then somethings getting lost in translation somewhere during the edit/ upload.

Last edited by Chris Soucy; May 6th, 2011 at 11:46 PM. Reason: ++Update
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Old May 9th, 2011, 08:13 AM   #3
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Re: Should I be expecting more?

Thanks for the reply Chris.

I was expecting a sharper image and a better color. The only shot that seemed up to my expectations was 3:10 to 3:20 in my video. but it was a still shot and closer to the subject than most others I took. My previous camera was a $150 panasonic SDRS-100 and I managed video like this, YouTube - The Spirit of Autocross - Boosted Films (no color correction done) so I was hoping for much better quality with a camcorder that cost 15 times that of my old one.

The tripod I was using was rather cheap and it was the first time I was using it. I'm also new enough to the XH-A1 that I forget what way to turn the zoom ring for in and out, and some of my shots reflect that.

Unfortunately my canon did not come with the component cable since I bought it used, so the only test I can do to my tv is with RCA cables.

But it sounds like most all improvements need to be made on my end(user) not the camcorder? I may try re-setting my camcorder to factory settings since I bought it used.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 04:38 PM   #4
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Re: Should I be expecting more?

Paul:

I normally wouldn't recommend this -- but if you're looking for colors that pop, and more sharpness from the XH cameras, try the "VIVIDRGB" preset, which can be easily found in these forums.

It will give you very vivid colors -- and if I remember correctly, the sharpness is dialed to +3 in the preset, so you'll see increased sharpness...

That being said, flesh tones may come out slightly unrealistic (red-ish) with this preset, but it looks like your main focus is cars and scenery.. so the VIVIDRGB preset may be just what you're looking for.

By the way, the default camera settings will be very flat and dull, with a slight magenta overcast.. I don't think you'll be pleased with it.

So try the VIVIDRGB preset, and other presets found in this forum... run a test going through all of them, until you find the colors and sharpness you like for your footage. This camera is very customizable when it comes to color and sharpness -- you'll definitely get what you're looking for out of it, but you may need to run a test or two.

Hope this is helpful.

Edit: Just noticed Chris also recommended the VIVIDRGB preset prior to my post - Sorry about posting such a similar reply, didn't see it at first.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 11:48 PM   #5
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Re: Should I be expecting more?

Paul, I would also recommend shooting at 30f and not 60i. But you can sure punch those colors in post. It also seems like your aspect is wrong, so I would definately look at your output formula. My biggest gripe would be be the pacing. It seems way too long for the way you're cutting it. No real purpose for the length, no natural sound, all of the things that keep a viewer interested. I'm not sure about CS3 but Vegas allows for you to apply a color curves adjustment to the entire track. That should help if you can. I usually output vimeo file at 720p 6Mbps and they come out fine even with the A1 (use the 5D and 60D now mainly) good luck.
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Old May 10th, 2011, 02:05 AM   #6
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Re: Should I be expecting more?

Update:

Paul, just to go back to something Alex said with regard to factory defaults.

If you bought the camera second hand and have not done a reset, you don't actually know just what has been dialled into the camera or why.

If you go back to factory, at least you know where you're starting from and can easilly go back "to base" if you don't like a change.

It's not to everyones taste, though it's my preferred option, as it's got plenty of "grunt" if shot properly (at least .5 to 1.5 stops down) and as I am usually shooting fast moving wildlife, I prefer 60i (roll on 240 fps p, that's all I can say).

Secondly, get yourself the component cable, it makes checking the raw data so much easier. Else get a HV 20 or similar and view the tapes using HDMI, which is even better.

Good luck.


CS
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Old May 10th, 2011, 03:33 AM   #7
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Re: Should I be expecting more?

Hi Paul,

The video doesn't look that "bad" to me, just a little flat and soft. What f-stop were you at? The footage reminds me of the muddy look a camera can give when stopped down too far, i.e. F8+

Have you been using the ND filters when outside in bright conditions?

VividRGB is a good preset, though I eventually switched to the PanaVision02 and Panalook presets.

Hope this helps,
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Old May 10th, 2011, 08:20 AM   #8
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Re: Should I be expecting more?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Lafkovici View Post

I normally wouldn't recommend this -- but if you're looking for colors that pop, and more sharpness from the XH cameras, try the "VIVIDRGB" preset, which can be easily found in these forums.
Thanks Alex. I've downloaded all the custom presets from the sticky in this section. Curious as to why you would normally not recommend it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Grant View Post
Paul, I would also recommend shooting at 30f and not 60i. But you can sure punch those colors in post. It also seems like your aspect is wrong, so I would definately look at your output formula. My biggest gripe would be be the pacing. It seems way too long for the way you're cutting it. No real purpose for the length, no natural sound, all of the things that keep a viewer interested.
Bill
Bill, I've always heard to shoot in 60i for sporting events and anything with a lot of action. I know the aspect is a bit messed up, I've researched and I'm working on getting the best solution.

As for the editing, this video is mainly for car people, and I try to include everyone(car) that I film at the events no matter how slow/boring they may actually look. Go watch an autocross once and you'll see what I mean. Not the easiest thing to make look exciting. However, i'm always striving for more human interaction at the events, just need the right characters.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
Update:

Paul, just to go back to something Alex said with regard to factory defaults.

If you bought the camera second hand and have not done a reset, you don't actually know just what has been dialled into the camera or why.

If you go back to factory, at least you know where you're starting from and can easilly go back "to base" if you don't like a change.

It's not to everyones taste, though it's my preferred option, as it's got plenty of "grunt" if shot properly (at least .5 to 1.5 stops down) and as I am usually shooting fast moving wildlife, I prefer 60i (roll on 240 fps p, that's all I can say).

Secondly, get yourself the component cable, it makes checking the raw data so much easier. Else get a HV 20 or similar and view the tapes using HDMI, which is even better.

Good luck.
CS
Since im new to the camera, is there a lot to resetting to factory setting? Last night I installed the custom present library from the sticky in the section which has a factory setting preset.

I'll try to pick up a component cable soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Haustein View Post
Hi Paul,

The video doesn't look that "bad" to me, just a little flat and soft. What f-stop were you at? The footage reminds me of the muddy look a camera can give when stopped down too far, i.e. F8+

Have you been using the ND filters when outside in bright conditions?

VividRGB is a good preset, though I eventually switched to the PanaVision02 and Panalook presets.

Hope this helps,
_nate
I don't remember exactly what the f-stop was at but I want to say I was always around 4.2 - 5ish.

Yes, I used the ND filter.

I've heard others recommend the Panalook preset as-well. Guess I have some playing around to do.



Sorry for the 5 million mile message, but here is what I figured out.

1) It doesn't look like I lost much in quality importing the video when comparing to playback video on the camera. I believe I need to work on the presets & my camera operation.

2) I still need to work on my export setting, but i'm confident I'll get that figured out for my next vid.

3) found out my CPU heatsink was dirty/dusty causing my cpu to get hot and shut down my computer during rendering. (This got very frustrating when trying to find the right export settings) Problem appears to be fixed with a good cleaning.
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Old May 10th, 2011, 04:21 PM   #9
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Re: Should I be expecting more?

Hard Reset:

Do be aware that any options you have set up in the camera will be lost and need to be redone, make a note beforehand if possible.

Under the LCD park, to the right/ above the speaker you'll find a hole labeled RESET.

Use a toothpick or other slim object, insert into the hole and press down for 10 seconds plus.

Probably wise to do a quick search here about doing this, I've seen so much about batteries in/ out I can't remember if it's an issue or not.

BTW, in my previous post, I told a bit of a fib. I can say, categorically, that I DO NOT shoot in 60i but good 'ol fashioned 50i here in PAL land.


CS
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Old May 10th, 2011, 11:01 PM   #10
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Re: Should I be expecting more?

You're at a bit of a catch 22..
Yes, shootin 60i for fast moving objects will help for fluid motion, but so long as your ouptut supports interlaced (ie DVD's and BluRays)..
Unfortunately this isn't the case for web viewing. Especially with Vimeo or Youtube.
Also, i suspect that you're deinterlacing, witch also softens the image. PPro is brutal for deinterlacing.

Your Fstop is fine. Stick with 30Frames (if it's Internet delivery), export for 1280x720p, and try a faster shutter speed to compensated for fast moving objects.
Of course, you might need to open up your Fstop....
If you're on a tripod, shut off AIS.

As for CC, go to a clip, apply your values, find what you like, and shut of the FX button in the Effects pallete. That way your computer doesn't have to crunch while previewing. Simply re check the FX box before exporting.
If the CC is same for all clips, simply create a new sequence, drop the original sequence (with all the little clips), and apply a single CC filter.
Export from there.

Good luck!!!
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 08:27 AM   #11
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Re: Should I be expecting more?

Got to play again at a little different event this weekend.

Shot 30p
used the "NATURALO" present
Keep the F-stop down to keep things brighter. (Still working on felling out where zebra lines are acceptable)
It was less of an overcast day for this than my first video.

Exported in CS3
1280X720
square pixels
4k bitrate

YouTube -Automotion 2011 Burnouts - Edge O'Dells HD -Boosted Films;

The only thing i don't like about the naturalo preset is that people skin color is pretty orange looking and some orange objects look more red.

But overall, I'm much happier with this footage. :) Thanks for all the help guys.
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 10:39 PM   #12
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Re: Should I be expecting more?

Looks real nice. Love the dodge dualie!
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Old July 3rd, 2011, 10:45 AM   #13
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Re: Should I be expecting more?

The second round looks a lot better. I would like to see more of your stuff. I shoot a bunch of car stuff too.
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Old July 5th, 2011, 08:09 AM   #14
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Re: Should I be expecting more?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Koha View Post
The second round looks a lot better. I would like to see more of your stuff. I shoot a bunch of car stuff too.
Just filmed this event a little over a week ago.

MAP Proving Grounds 2011 - Boosted Films

Close to 8 hours of footage from the event captured over 2 days. All shots except the 2 incar clips came from the xh-a1.

Partly cloudy days made for a lot of f-stop changes on the fly. I did very little color correction in post though, simply because I don't really like cc'ing.

played with the shudder speed a little bit, but it was mostly at 1/60. Which seemed to look good when the camera was panning with the cars. However when the camera is stationary the cars are blurry.

Also, this time is used the "NOMAGENT" present.
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