Newbie with A1S got a few questions. at DVinfo.net

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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, 2011, 11:45 AM   #1
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Newbie with A1S got a few questions.

First I want to say hello to all the great people on this board, it was you guys that made my decision on the A1s easier and thanks for all those great presets!!! I tried searching for some of the questions I have, either I am searching in the wrong section or I couldn't find the right answer. I have the Canon XHA1s for about two weeks now and I am loving it, I use it primary for high school sports (night & day shooting) and I am using either Adobe Premier CS5 or Sony Vegas on my Windows 7 HP Laptop. I am amazed about the picture clarity and sound of this bad boy.

My first question is, since the only way to connect my A1s is through the 6 pin firewire, I just relized my computer doesn't have either 4/6 pin firewire, its got plenty of USB, eSata, HDMI. I've seen a few threads with people recommending a firewire card, if this is the route, what's the best recommended firewire card since I don't want to get a card that doesn't sync with the Canon.

My second quesiton is recording the tape. I think I am one of the few that loves recording on tape since all I've worked on before was tapeless. Is there a hard drive where I can just dump on my footage from tape onto and then hook up the hard drive to my computer. It was recommended that I stick with one brand of tape, since I started out with the Canon tape, I am still using Canon, so my other question is should I record over the footage I already have? or does it affect the quality of the footage?

My final question is when I have the XHA1s on the tripod and I am panning left to right during the high school football game, after playing back the footage on my LED TV, I noticed everytime the camera is panning, the picture is blurry but once the camera is stationary, the picture is 100% perfect. The games I am shooting can go from sunny to dark within a few hours.

Thanks everyone and I am looking forward to all your answers.

Tom
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Old June 14th, 2011, 02:43 PM   #2
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Re: Newbie with A1S got a few questions.

I shoot high school sports with my XH-A1 too. Motion blur is a problem when panning with video just like it is with still photography. One thing you can do is increase your shutter speed. That works for me as long as there is plenty of light. I also minimize the panning I do, by anticipating the shot, and shooting a little wide.

Shooting a little wide helps when increasing the shutter speed, since both being zoomed in and having a high shutter speed darken the image. Zooming out and lowering the shutter speed brighten your image. There are tradeoffs. After a while, you get a feel for the relationship between zoom, shutter speed, and iris (f-stop) and how they affect exposure. The more you shoot the sports, the better your shooting will get.

One thing shooters sometimes do when they increase the shutter speed is also open up the iris to compensate for the darkening exposure. However, that will make your depth of field shallower. A shallow depth of field is the rage for certain types of video, but not for shooting sports. You want all the players in focus. Coaches want to see everything clearly.
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Old June 14th, 2011, 06:42 PM   #3
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Re: Newbie with A1S got a few questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Luu View Post
My first question is, since the only way to connect my A1s is through the 6 pin firewire, I just relized my computer doesn't have either 4/6 pin firewire, its got plenty of USB, eSata, HDMI. I've seen a few threads with people recommending a firewire card, if this is the route, what's the best recommended firewire card since I don't want to get a card that doesn't sync with the Canon.
There are multiple ways of getting around this problem.

The most ergonomic is to go for one of the many card based, camera cold shoe mounted recording systems which plug stright into the cameras Firewire and record uncompressed . The card is subsequently plugged into a reader on the PC/ laptop and loads in a flash.

It has another major advantage in that it is your primary copy, so the tape (if used) is purely a backup/ archive means, so a dropout on the tape (it happens) isn't a disaster.

Else, you MAY be able to buy a Firewire card that plugs into your laptop depending on available ports, not my strong point so I'll let someone else give chapter and verse.

Else, you could buy a second hand desktop pc that has a FW port and either record to an external USB drive and transfer that back and forth OR if it has wireless, set up a network linking both systems and transfer it wireless.

Comes down to bucks, basically.

Quote:
My second quesiton is recording the tape. I think I am one of the few that loves recording on tape since all I've worked on before was tapeless. Is there a hard drive where I can just dump on my footage from tape onto and then hook up the hard drive to my computer. It was recommended that I stick with one brand of tape, since I started out with the Canon tape, I am still using Canon, so my other question is should I record over the footage I already have? or does it affect the quality of the footage?
Canon branded tapes are very expensive, so move to another brand that won't break the bank. Buy a head cleaning tape and run it through the deck at least twice (do follow the instructions) before switching to another brand.

Your enthusiasm for tape will wane very quickly indeed after a few of the inevitable drop outs drop you in the sea.

The general concensus is not to overwrite tapes, can't say as I've tried it, so can't say one way or the other.

The rest of your question is pretty well answered in answer 1 above.


Quote:
My final question is when I have the XHA1s on the tripod and I am panning left to right during the high school football game, after playing back the footage on my LED TV, I noticed everytime the camera is panning, the picture is blurry but once the camera is stationary, the picture is 100% perfect. The games I am shooting can go from sunny to dark within a few hours.
The condition you are describing is primarilly good 'ol fashioned HDV smear. Yes, shutter speed can have an effect, but HDV's limited bandwidth means that when panning, the data load exceeds the available bandwidth and stuff starts getting junked big time.

The best way to minimise it is to keep your subject as large in the frame as possible and keep them centred during the pan.

You will find your subject keeps pretty sharp and only the background goes to hell in a handbasket.

This is no use whatsoever if there are many subjects in the frame and they're moving randomly - no win I'm afraid if you're pulling it off the tape, as it's already been mauled by the compressor.

The card based uncompressed solution in answer 1 alleviates this problem to a great extent.

Did I get them all?


CS
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Old June 14th, 2011, 07:12 PM   #4
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Re: Newbie with A1S got a few questions.

Thanks for your reply, bear with me a bit because I am still new to the XHA1s. I will have to skip the firewire card route since my laptop doesn't have an express card slot. Now you mentioned " card based, camera cold shoe mounted recording systems " are you talking about something like the "Focus Enhancements Portable DTE Recorder"? If so which one do you recommend?

thanks
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Old June 14th, 2011, 07:22 PM   #5
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Re: Newbie with A1S got a few questions.

Various models from a number of manufacturers have been discussed ad nauseum here and adjacent Forums, plus the topic has it's very own Forum, here:

Tapeless Video Recording Solutions Forum at DVinfo.net

I don't have one so have no axe to grind one way or another, and quite frankly, they're breeding like rabbits, and I really haven't been taking much notice, so I'm not really the one to ask.

Definately a subject worthy of a few hours trawling via the "Search" box at the bottom of every page.


CS

Oh, BTW: exceedingly bad (DVinfo) protocol to quote an entire post as an immediate response, just takes up room and doesn't acually get anyone anywhere.
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Old June 14th, 2011, 08:36 PM   #6
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Re: Newbie with A1S got a few questions.

Tom,

What model is your laptop?

If it doesn't have an ExpressCard slot, does it have a PCMCIAA card slot? I'd be surprised if it doesn't have either one of them. Almost all laptops have some kind of expansion slot.

You can also get PCMCIAA firewire cards, too. Not sure which is the best, but the technology is pretty straightforward so probably any would work fine. (Wish I could point you to a specific on, but I've made sure my laptops all have firewire ports.)

I shoot mostly with a DSLR now, but still love -- and use -- my XH-A1. I use Sony tapes and have never had a dropout, though I never re-record over a tape more than once and ALWAYS use a new tape for important stuff.

Chris is definitely right about using a head cleaning tape twice if you switch brands. I can't remember the details, but something about what's on different tape brands don't mix well and can cause problems. (A quick search here on DVInfo will find the correct explanation.) I bought a Canon head cleaning tape -- seems like it was around $10. Never use until the camera's own sensors tell me it's needed. (Only once or twice in more than 2 years.)

Phil
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Old June 15th, 2011, 12:51 AM   #7
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Re: Newbie with A1S got a few questions.

Phil,
I have an HP DV7, less then 3 months old. I went to BestBuy and Fry's today, nobody has a laptop with a firewire port, they all said its old technology. I don't have either a PCM or Express slot but I did see a firewire adaptor express card that plugs into the USB, then you plug the firewire express card into the adaptor. Does anyone recommend this setup before I spent $800 on a Focus Enhancements?
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