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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 14th, 2007, 01:34 PM   #1
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From XL1s to A1 and other questions – what do you think?

As someone who is about ready to purchase an A1, I’m very curious…

Since I am ultimately delivering projects in standard def – will the quality of the A1 (in the final analysis) be superior to the XL1s? I produce mostly corporate video and deliver my projects in standard def – via my trusty XL1s, which I’ve shot for years now.

If the quality is markedly better, which method is best?: shooting HD and down converting (on capture) or editing in HD and rendering to standard def on final render?

And finally, this may sound stupid – can the A1 shoot in 4x3 HD? Or does it crop 4x3 on the down conversion -- or do I need to crop 4x3 in post?

I’m assuming that if it down converts to standard def on capture -- that would be a 4x3 image, no?

Thanks --
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Old February 14th, 2007, 01:37 PM   #2
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There is no such thing as 4x3 HD. You can shoot 16x9 HD or SD with 4x3 cropping guides visible in the viewfinder, or you can shoot 4x3 SD. There is no option to downconvert HD to cropped 4x3 SD. However the camera will downconvert HD to 16x9 SD. Hope this helps,
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Old February 14th, 2007, 01:44 PM   #3
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Thanks Chris –

That’s kind of what I was thinking – I need to crop in post after down converting to 16x9 standard def.

How about the question of Quality (XL1s vs. A1 standard def) and best method of achieving highest quality standard def?

Thanks!
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Old February 14th, 2007, 02:09 PM   #4
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I think in shooting SD with the XH A1 it looks significantly better than the XL1s--much sharper and less noisy.
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Old February 14th, 2007, 04:13 PM   #5
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I might be in the minority here, but I would lean towards shooting in HDV and editing in SD. You'll find this gives you lots of options in post... pans, zooms, close up cuts, etc.

There's a hastily-done, and poorly shot example on my blog of how to use the big HDV image to your advantage on smaller-frame deliverables. It'll give you an idea of what you can do in post.

http://www.brownland.org/blog/2007/0...-now-with-hdv/

Plus, by shooting in HDV rather than DV, you'll always have the HDV tapes for later HD productions... once the deliverables catch up to the capture technology.

I've had my A1 one for a week now and it's just an incredible cam for the money.

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Old February 14th, 2007, 04:23 PM   #6
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Actually, I would suggest shooting in HD, editing in HD, archiving in HD (just in case your client calls and asks for an HD delivery -- future proofing) and then downconverting to either 16x9 or 4x3 SD.

Also, I find that After Effects does the best job of downressing HD to SD and the results are silky smooth and gorgeous.

Blows the XL1s away.

*This is based on my experiences with the XLH1 and not the A1.
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Old February 14th, 2007, 06:02 PM   #7
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I sold my Sony DSR-390, now I have my old XL1s and the new A1. In SD mode the A1 is much, much better than the XL1s, more resolution, and better in low light. In SD is nearly as good as the DSR-390 one, I use it in SD for shooting news every day, it´s just amazing !!. In HD is even better, lower noise and better colors. Go for it.

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Old February 16th, 2007, 12:52 AM   #8
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Thanks for the feedback everyone -- much appreciated and very informative. If anyone else cares to chime in...

Particularly in regard to editing ‘best practices’ >> HD capture/edit then convert on final render, or standard def convert (on capture) and then edit.
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Old February 16th, 2007, 04:53 AM   #9
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The option that I plan to follow is:-

Shoot in HD
Edit in HD
Print back to tape in HD

then.....

Render to SD
Author SD DVD

As mentioned above, means you have the Full HD version available on tape should you wish to mayke a full HD disc when the time comes........hopefully soon!
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Old February 16th, 2007, 09:45 AM   #10
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I'm shooting HDV (24p), capturing in FCP with the 1080p24 HDV Easy Setup, editing in HDV. No problems at all. I export the reference QT and then import that into DVD Studio Pro for SD DVD authoring. Everything stays 24p all the way. I haven't done anything out to tape yet. For short programs under an hour I guess I could make an HDV master using the camera, and then an SD master to the DVCAM deck. Most documentary projects I get involved with, however, are longer than an hour, so there's no way to make an HDV master without a Sony HDV deck, which I'm not going to buy for that limited purpose. If I did something that got into one of the festivals that require HDCAM, I could move everything to a hard drive and go to a studio with an HDCAM deck and do it that way.
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Old February 16th, 2007, 10:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
There is no such thing as 4x3 HD. You can shoot 16x9 HD or SD with 4x3 cropping guides visible in the viewfinder, or you can shoot 4x3 SD. There is no option to downconvert HD to cropped 4x3 SD. However the camera will downconvert HD to 16x9 SD. Hope this helps,
Thanks Chris, I was wondering if the A1 would crop downrez to 4:3, like my Z1u does. Good information as I am pre pre shopping for a pair to go with my Z1u.
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