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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 December 3rd, 2006, 08:59 AM   #1
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Xmas Time..What to buy next

I have been kicking this question around for a few weeks. As I am just a serious hobbyist and I am still learning to use the camera, what would be this next item to buy? I have been thinking about a stabilization system such as the DV Sportster with Merlin or wireless mics such as the Azden 100 set. In a few weeks my wife and I will be going to Costa Rica and I would like to be able to get some good documentary style footage in order to make a DVD.
What are your thoughts...the mic or the stablizer system? Eventually I will be using this gear for Football and weddings (hopefully) so which one will add the most value?
Thanks,
CMR
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 09:21 AM   #2
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With parctice you can shoot handheld without a stabilizer. It can look pretty good although you won't get that floating steadicam effect. But you can definitely not record someone talking unless the microphone is physically very close to them, otherwise you get too much background noise to be able to use. In practice that means a wireless lavalier mic imho.
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 09:22 AM   #3
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If you're sure that you're going to do weddings, I think a good wireless mic is your best bet. Plus a good mono XLR mic on the camera (one channel for the wireless mic, one channel for ambient sound).

Here's how I would prioritize the purchase of A1 accessories:

1. At least one spare battery.
2. Tripod. A good one, at least $500.
3. Remote Lens Controller. No tripod should be without one.
4. Audio package tailored to your needs.
5. Wide angle lens adapter.

There's a lot of other things you could put on this list, and some people will prioritize them differently from others. I think a stabilizer should be the least of your concerns at this stage however.
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 09:28 AM   #4
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Chris, what do you think about the onboard mic for ambient sound? It seems pretty decent to me.
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 09:30 AM   #5
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Since you brought up lavalier or wireless mikes, where can I get a 101 synopsis of what to look for, what I need. There is such a plethora of choices, how do compare what you are getting for your $$ ?
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 09:47 AM   #6
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This is my list in order of priority (for your needs, running around, one person crew)

1) HV10 or firestore (you wont want to use yr A1 as a deck)
2) A good carrying case
3) Extra battery
4) Tripod at least a bogen 503
5) Good Polarizer (at least a Hoya), and I assume you already have a uv filter on the cam all the time(?), for your travel, you might want to look at a ND filter as well.
6) AT 4073a shotgun with Ktek Extender to get away from the camera's lens servo noise.
7)Rycote windjammer softie

if you do narrative or wedding, the list changes.
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 10:00 AM   #7
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Pretty good list there, Jason!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Adams
Chris, what do you think about the onboard mic for ambient sound? It seems pretty decent to me.
Seems decent to me too, but you lose it when you use an external source such as a wireless mic. Thus the need for an on-camera mono XLR mic for those times when you're also using a wireless mic.
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 10:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Seems decent to me too, but you lose it when you use an external source such as a wireless mic. Thus the need for an on-camera mono XLR mic for those times when you're also using a wireless mic.
Is that right? You can't assign one channel to the onboard mic? I haven't tested out the audio connections yet so didn't realize. That seems like a bit of a design error.
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 10:24 AM   #9
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When you activate the XLR inputs, it deactivates the built-in mic. I recorded some ambient sound with the built-in mic, and it was OK, but I attached an old Sony short shotgun mic I had and it's better. It's nice to have one on the camera for two reasons--one, there are times when shooting an interview I may want sound from the interviewer, and the on camera mic can pick that up nicely since the interviewer is typically right beside the camera. The second reason is for the rare run-&-gun situation where you might have the opportunity to grab a quick interview and no soundman or other gear around. This happened to me a couple of times a few months ago. With a decent on camera mic, if you get in close enough, you can get not-wonderful but useable sound.
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 12:45 PM   #10
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I agree with Bill plus ambient sound really sounds the best in stereo. Good quality condenser stereo mic attached on the camera will give you the same freedom with even better quality and stereo separation.

Recording weddings, for interviews I'd use wireless lavalier, but with separate recorder. I use M-Audio Microtrack 24/96 and after initial problems with the firmware, it's been very reliable. Battery lasts for about 90 minutes of recording, but who interviews people for so long... Even if something goes wrong with lav or recorder, you still have nice stereo sound recorded in the camera.

It all depends on type of work, but good stereo mic is always good idea, used either with camcorder or with audio recorder.
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 12:56 PM   #11
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Monte, back to your original question before we hijacked the thread...I would vote for two things: another battery and a tripod. You may not want to take the tripod on your trip, but you'll use it later. I'd also add a protective filter for the lens. If you're going to do weddings, the wireless would be good. I got a Sennheiser G2 system, which is a very good deal for 500 bucks.
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 08:25 PM   #12
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travel light, is my advice.
2 0 3 batterys
cassettes
lens, wide and tele
rain cover
dv head cleaner for the humidity
made be monopod
good, but light carrieng bag
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 08:26 PM   #13
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if you ask why?
I live in the tropic and humidity is not to any camcorder, and travel to other countrys, belive me, aduanas an check point are a headache after 9/11.
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 08:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Adams
You can't assign one channel to the onboard mic? That seems like a bit of a design error.
Gotta briefly hijack this thread again... no it is not a design error. The onboard mic is a stereo mic. Therefore it always requires two channels, not one. Okay, now back to the topic at hand.
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Old December 4th, 2006, 12:41 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
Gotta briefly hijack this thread again... no it is not a design error. The onboard mic is a stereo mic. Therefore it always requires two channels, not one. Okay, now back to the topic at hand.
no worries.

Any tips on mounting a shotgun mic to the camera? I have one of those rubber band type mounts that isolates the mic from camera/boom noise. It can mount on the hot shoe but that gets in the way of using the carry handle and also means I can't mount a light there. Is there a better way to attach this to the camera?
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