A1 alongside dv cam footage 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 February 6th, 2007, 05:39 PM   #1
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A1 alongside dv cam footage

I freelance as an FCP editor for a company doing corporate DVD's and websites. Occaionally i get to shoot as well and would like to do more. Their regular camerman uses a big sony DSR DV Cam camera but occasionally can't make the shoots. I've often stepped in and shot extra GV's with my little Sony PDX 10 3 chip DV cam machine with impressively compatible results. Will the A1 shoot in a format that will allow me to continue to make a contribution to this company when the regular guy is tied up elsewhere or will the footage from the new camera look out of place?
From some of the links i've seen on this site this camera is capable of a good deal better images IMHO than a lot of the stuff off the chunky(clunky) DSR which i also get to use from time to time. Also, what's the standard DV performance of the A1 like, or would it be preferable to shoot in HDV and downconvert? Can this process be done in camera?
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Old February 6th, 2007, 06:52 PM   #2
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Hi Dom. In your position, I would spend some time to set up the A1 to match the colour settings of the DSR as closely as possible. You could colour correct in post but the A1 is very versatile so it should be possible to avoid having to do this.

If the DSR is shooting 16:9, I would definitely shoot HDV with the A1 and downconvert upon capture.

BUT, if the DSR is 4:3, you have 2 choices. First is shoot SD 4:3 which is easiest. Second is to shoot HDV and frame for 4:3 (there are guides on the LCD screen) and then crop in post. Second one will probably give better results but is a bit more hassle.

Richard
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Old February 7th, 2007, 12:54 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Dom Stevenson
Also, what's the standard DV performance of the A1 like, or would it be preferable to shoot in HDV and downconvert?
The A1 is very good at shooting SD - better than the DVX and XL2 I used to own. I primarily shoot in SD for clients as HD is a long way off here in New Zealand. Personally I wouldn't bother to shoot HDV and downconvert if you know the final output is going to be SD and you're intercuttng with SD footage. Not worth the hassle.
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Old February 7th, 2007, 01:38 AM   #4
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The A1's SD straight from the cam is the bomb-digitty. You should not spend the time if you will be shooting 4:3 SD, the results of in cam SD are rediculously good, you will have no worries or complaints.
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Old February 7th, 2007, 02:24 AM   #5
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I must agree, having shot a couple recent projects in 4:3 SD for customers. The results have been very satisfying. It would seem unnecessary to shoot HD then down convert unless you have nothing but time. Its SD utput is that good.
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Old February 7th, 2007, 03:28 AM   #6
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Music to my ears (eyes).
But are you implying that this cam won't shoot sixteen nine unless in sd mode? I haven't touched 4:3 for years and don't intend to start now. Neither do i intend to start playing around with the distort settings in FCP.
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Old February 7th, 2007, 03:49 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dom Stevenson
Music to my ears (eyes).
But are you implying that this cam won't shoot sixteen nine unless in sd mode?
It's native 16:9 in both HDV and DV. It can do 4:3 in SD mode by cropping. IMHO, it's fantastic in SD 16:9 and there's no point downconverting from HDV 16:9 if you have no intention of delivering in HD. I've been intercutting 16:9 footage from the A1 and XL2 and the A1 has the edge (a tad cleaner). It's highly tweakable and you shouldn't have any trouble matching with the Sony.
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Old February 7th, 2007, 06:33 AM   #8
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Thanks Josh. I've been dithering over the purchase having been intoxicated by the idea of the HVX and the P2 workflow, but it looks like i'll be opting for the A1 after all. Videogear in Elstree do "The Zunow 0.7x wide angle converter which has been designed expressly for 72mm HDV cameras"(385 B4 VAT) which one of the sales guys tell me is not only identical but is made in the same factory as the Century one (twice the price). Anyone know how this lens competes with the Canon? They also sell a Formatt mattbox for 175 B4 VAT which looks good. Anyone tried it?
I need to put in an order soon and want to buy all my bits and bobs at the same time.

cheers
Dom
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Old February 7th, 2007, 11:36 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Dom Stevenson
one of the sales guys tell me is not only identical but is made in the same factory as the Century one (twice the price). Anyone know how this lens competes with the Canon? They also sell a Formatt mattbox for 175 B4 VAT which looks good.
Hmmm... from images available on the web, physically the Century and the Zunow look very different. The Zunow looks a lot deeper.

There's a very good review of the Formatt mattbox at DV.com - check it out - but I do recall someone on DVinfo (the very helpful gentleman in Tokyo who is the first adopter/poster on all new gear here) mentioning that he had to modify the Formatt unit to fit it on his A1 due to the protruding mic...
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Old February 8th, 2007, 09:37 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Steve Wolla
I must agree, having shot a couple recent projects in 4:3 SD for customers. The results have been very satisfying. It would seem unnecessary to shoot HD then down convert unless you have nothing but time. Its SD utput is that good.
Hi Steve. I wouldn't say the SD output is THAT good, depends what camera you compare it to. Also, downconverting during capture doesn't take any extra time at all. It's definitely worth trying both and seeing whether the benefits of shooting HDV are worthwhile or not.

Richard
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Old March 13th, 2007, 10:09 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Richard Hunter View Post
Hi Steve. I wouldn't say the SD output is THAT good, depends what camera you compare it to. Also, downconverting during capture doesn't take any extra time at all. It's definitely worth trying both and seeing whether the benefits of shooting HDV are worthwhile or not.

Richard
another advantage in shooting SD in the original is if you want/need to use the 90min. LP mode. Also dropouts in SD are much less catastrophic.

I usually shoot HDV and then digitize it as SD.
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