Canon console software vs. DV Rack at

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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 18th, 2007, 03:39 PM   #1
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Canon console software vs. DV Rack

Hi, anyone have any first hand experience in comparing the Canon console software with DV Rack using your A1 or H1?

I'm a grad student so can get HDV Rack 2.0 for like $150 or so through academic software outlets, so the price difference is pretty steep between the two for me and my little ol' A1...though not so steep that I wouldn't buy the console software if it really was worth the extra cheddar cheese.

I aslo have a LANC already, but the main benefits of the Canon console software is that it allows to control camera zoom and focus, and the nicety of being able to fine-tune your settings and preview them with the touch of a mouse, correct?

In what ways is it more limited than DV Rack 2.0? Specifically, I'm talking about monitoring. That's the main area (along with direct-to-disk recording), I'm concerned with.

DV Rack lets you calibrate the color signal to match a tuned, NTSC CRT monitor, which is what makes it so attractive to me, along with underscan, frame rate togability, image flip, etc.

I've read up on the standard Canon spiel for the A1, but there's nothing really said about it's monitoring capabilities, which leads me to believe that it's a bit more limited/primitive than DV Rack's.

Ultimately, this is where I'd like the most insight/comparison between the two.

Once again, thanks in advance for any help.
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Old February 18th, 2007, 09:46 PM   #2
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Two very different tools, really. Console is for controlling your camera while DV Rack is for monitoring.

If you don't want the extensive control over the camera settings, go with DV Rack. However, it is pretty awesome (in certain controlled situations where it is possible) to control all the settings from a computer, rather than the menu subsystem on the camera. Yes, it is touch of a mouse, however, there is a pretty significan delay on some controls (zoom, focus). I think Console is better for trying different "paint box" settings...gamma, saturation, etc. I tried it and it was just too weird trying to zoom & focus with a mouse...
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Old February 19th, 2007, 10:45 PM   #3
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Hmm, I want both extensive control over camera settings *and* luscious monitoring that makes my mouth water. One question, where do I sign-up? ...sigh.

Oh well, yeah, figured it would be the case where one got sacrificed for another. I didn't think the focus/zoom would be all that useful anyway, I think the draw of the console software is really the convenience of being able to preview settings quickly and easily without having to go through the annoyance of those annoying in camera menu driven systems--kind of like redundant, ya know, like totally...ughh.

Also, I think this would facilitate/speed-up the familiarization process with a camera's full aesthetic range.

Nevertheless, given that they both have their pluses and minus the fact that I can get one for so much cheaper than the other right now, kind of makes my decision easy I guess. DV Rack (by default) it is!!! Hip-hip-hooray, I wouldn't have it any other way.
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Old February 20th, 2007, 09:47 AM   #4
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There is a free trial available for Console. I think it's the standard 30 days. Might be worth giving it a whirl. You could come back later and tell the rest of us what you thought...
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Old February 20th, 2007, 11:25 AM   #5
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There's available a very basic freeware version of Console called XHTuner

(I have yet to try it)
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Old February 20th, 2007, 02:39 PM   #6
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Just to clarify, this is NOT a version of Canon Console. It is a third party and unwarrantied freeware.

I have not tried it (and don't have any plans to) but a quick look of the slashcam web site gives me the impression that it is limited to custom preset adjustments. Console, although not inexpensive, does a lot more.
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Old February 20th, 2007, 04:56 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mark Fry
There is a free trial available for Console. I think it's the standard 30 days. Might be worth giving it a whirl. You could come back later and tell the rest of us what you thought...
Actually, I'll try and do that and give the scoop.
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Old February 20th, 2007, 07:06 PM   #8
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XH Tuner

Hi ges:
I tried the XH Tuner over the weekend, and it does what it says it does. What I have done is load my desire preset into another card and load it from there into my canon camera. The only draw back is that you have no preview and you have to load it to see the real results.
I tried a couple preset by Juan Diaz, Bleach Bypass Look And Cine Look, and you can do minor adjustment and load then to your card and then see it on your TV.
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Old February 20th, 2007, 09:20 PM   #9
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This nice, large image from Adam Wilt's DV Magazine review shows scopes on the Console software:

I'm sure there's some things that DV Rack can do that Console can't... but there's a whole LOTTA things Console can do that DV Rack can't.

Each software has a trial version, so maybe I'll A/B them next time my camera is tethered and I'll post back.

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Old February 20th, 2007, 09:40 PM   #10
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I guess the main thing with me is if you can calibrate the incoming signal, bluescan, like you can with DV Rack. In any case, just saw the Canon website on it. Doesn't appear it's meant for that, has everything else you could want though. Says to use a calibrated production monitor in tandem with it.

Of course, a nice calibratable production monitor would cost an arm and a leg for HD, unfortunately.

I think day-in, day-out the Canon software would be by far more convenient and "nice." If you've got a stand-alone calibrated monitor, it's a no brainer.

I also think it depends on who you're using this for. If you're filming a pilot, a creative venture, etc.; I the color calibration is more important as you can always go in-camera if need be and change settings, even if a little annoying. If, however, you're filming a special interest video, an instructional dvd in sports or a clinical setting or what have you; I think they'd be more impressed with ooh, you can do that from a computer? Cool! So that's why I'm paying you, look everyone, look at how my client is sliding these thingys on his computer and it's making the colors other words, I don't think perfect judgement of color is as important in those instances, and really people buy instructional videos for content, and individual home sets vary so widely anyway.... I think a lot of things we obsess over are things that the average person never even knows exists.

However, if you only have one, and are dealing with a more production savy producer and/or environement day in and day out, they will want a calibrated monitor for sure; in which case, I think DV Rack would be better.

It offers something that the Canon software simply can't--the ability to calibrate. Wheras, you can still go inside the menu on the camera with DV rack and if you've got an LANC and it's jib shot or whatever, you're covered too.

Again, this really only applies to someone on a budget, who's shooting both SD and HD, and needs an all-one-solution, in my opinion. I think if given the choice of only one DV Rack is the smarter choice and cheaper as well.

Still, for me, a calibrated monitor is a pretty big deal to me, if anything at least just for piece of mind. It's a shame Canon couldn't have packed in this ability like DV Rack did in addition to all the other goodies. I think had they done so, I think they could have gotten away with even charging $100 to $200 more and none of their Canon camera buyers would blink when coming to decided between the two (i.e. DV Rack)...may have to wait a little longer to save up, but still, I think it'd be worth it in the end. Convenience, piece of mind, recording, niftyness factor, what more could you ask for? It'd in my opinion then be well worth it. As it is, I think it'd be more fair to offer Canon Console Software for the same price as DV Rack. They're charging a little more, but giving what they take in a way too, they're leaving out I think a pretty important tool and what was DV Rack's main drawing/selling point in the first place when it first hit the market a few years ago
(well, along with recording of course too).

Last edited by Eugene Kim; February 20th, 2007 at 10:24 PM.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 12:44 AM   #11
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Dual recording mode

It seems to me that with all the concern of hdv tape dropouts, having the ability to record to hdv tape and a hard drive simultaneously is a major advantage. Redundancy is always a good thing.

I'm finding many jobs involve sending my hdv tape to a client. If it gets lost or damaged, I still have the hard drive files for my use or the clients.

Do the dvrack files work with Final Cut software?
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