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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 22nd, 2007, 02:58 AM   #1
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Blurry faces with default settings?

Hallo,

I got my XH-A1 (PAL) since 4 weeks now and already used it for some TV Jobs, running it in 4:3 SD. Great camera, but it softens the image somehow when it is used with default settings, especially in skintones. It doesn't look exactly 'out of focus', more like a quite strong cosmetic filter, smoothing the faces. My workaround was to enhance sharpness (+6) and to reduce coring (-7). The image is sharp now, but it has also more grain and a slightly stronger tendency to show moire-effects.

Did anyone of you make similar experiences, or do you think, my unit is faulty? (Already called CANON - the guys didn't have an idea)

Thanks
Jan
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 03:17 AM   #2
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Try to turn AG off and put it to Tv or M and you will see a lot of difference.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 05:58 AM   #3
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By chance 'Skin Detail' on?

Off is the default setting, but worth checking. P 63 in manual
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 11:42 AM   #4
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Thanks guys,

but skin detail and Agc, AWB, Autofocus are turned off and I am running the cam on M since the very first beginning. Just checked it out again by turning my custom presets on and off while being connected to a monitor. The 'soft image effect' only effects skintones. Clothings, spectacles and everything else in a portrait is sharp as it should be. Furthermore the effect is more obvious in low light conditions. Am I really the only one who has to deal with this? Probably 'oversensible' regarding sharpness? Or is the effect just limited to some PAL units in Germany? If so, what could be the reason?
As already mentioned, I found a workaround but wouldn't feel too comfortable to work with a cam that is probably faulty.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 12:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Luethje
Thanks guys,

but skin detail and Agc, AWB, Autofocus are turned off and I am running the cam on M since the very first beginning. Just checked it out again by turning my custom presets on and off while being connected to a monitor. The 'soft image effect' only effects skintones. Clothings, spectacles and everything else in a portrait is sharp as it should be. Furthermore the effect is more obvious in low light conditions. Am I really the only one who has to deal with this? Probably 'oversensible' regarding sharpness? Or is the effect just limited to some PAL units in Germany? If so, what could be the reason?
As already mentioned, I found a workaround but wouldn't feel too comfortable to work with a cam that is probably faulty.
Maybe the reason nobody else noticed it is because not too many people would buy this camera and then shoot it in 4:3 SD, if you want to shoot SD, you should get SD camera which will do much better in low light, or you should shoot in HD and then downconvert to SD, when I had my Z1 I compared it in SD to a VX2000 and it is so much worse, so soft and almost out of focus looking, but shooting in HD then downconvert is the way to go.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 01:06 PM   #6
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Hallo Koi,

I suspected the same (although some folks here stated, how great the cam's image would be, even in SD). Actually I want to use the cam for both purposes :"bread + butter" jobs in SD 4:3 as for more sophisticated HD projects in future. I also thought about the option you supposed, but I am still reluctant, because my postpro-line is not yet HD ready. Does it really give you better results to downcovert HD to SD while playing out and then crop the picture to 4:3?
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 01:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Luethje
Does it really give you better results to downcovert HD to SD while playing out and then crop the picture to 4:3?
Depends on your toys.

Resize & recompress in an NLE like Premiere - No.

Edit in NLE like Premiere, frameserve to Tmpgenc to resize & compress, then author in something like Encore. Yes.

My biggest problem with HDV is focus . Without a rather large high definition monitor, I don't notice the camera is "just a bit" out of focus. Makes a BIG difference.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 03:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Luethje
Hallo Koi,

I suspected the same (although some folks here stated, how great the cam's image would be, even in SD). Actually I want to use the cam for both purposes :"bread + butter" jobs in SD 4:3 as for more sophisticated HD projects in future. I also thought about the option you supposed, but I am still reluctant, because my postpro-line is not yet HD ready. Does it really give you better results to downcovert HD to SD while playing out and then crop the picture to 4:3?
I use Edius and it can do realtime downconvert and it is excellent, under good control lightning, it is as good as footage from a DSR500 2/3 inch chips and better than my DSR300 (1/2 chips) another advantage is that if you use HDV footage on a SD timeline, you have so much more image to work with, like if you need to zoom in or reframe, you can do so without quality loss because you are working with 1920X1080 footage on a 720X480 timeline, just like if you scan a high rez image so you can zoom and pan, using in camera downconvert is not as good as using Edius but still a whole lot better than shooting dv original, all this is base on Z1, I test them out when I first got into HDV 2 years ago, now I have A1 but never do any dv recording with it,neither with Z1 after I saw what crappy picture it does in SD, but you have to assume they optimize the camera for HD recording and not SD, you might have to play more with settings than just coring and sharpness to optimize it for SD.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 03:35 PM   #9
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Yeah, it's that "good lighting" bit that's a problem. Often I just have to use what's there. With the iris wide open, focus gets real touchy. VERY easy to get a little fuzzy.
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 04:13 AM   #10
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Khoi,
at the end of the day you're right of course. I'll have to "bite in the sour apple" (as we say) and spend some more cash in a HD-ready NLE. Actually enhancing sharpness and reducing coring seems to be sufficient for a good SD picture (given that you are used to perform color correction etc. in the NLE anyway, like I do). At least, I had no problems to sell my last report to a big network, where the Teks are quite critical regarding quality. But I am not at all an expert in this and would appreciate very much, if somebody from PAL-Land could publish an 'optimized broadcast setting' for SD here.

Brad
You're right, focussing is a big problem with these prosumer cam's, even in SD.
I discussed this with several collegues, and nobody had a 'all-in-one' solution, just workarounds like:

a) Use external monitor whenever possible (= hardly ever when doing ENG/reportage under time pressure)
b) Zoom in-get focus-zoom out as often as possible (= loosing time and probably missing rich situations)
c) Regarding b): Film much more then you would with a Pro-Cam (= cutter will 'love' you)
d) Keep the depth of field as big as possible (= only shoot in well lit surroundings *g*)

Shifting the focus manually with the XH A1 isn't a serious option, at least not for me, because the focus ring isn't very exact and quite sensitive. Just one little touch, and you literally 'end up in infinity', even if the corresponding setting is set to 'low' and the focal length is medium. But I am probably just too dumb and have to exercise more. Gonna shoot a box-fight tonight, nice opportunity for doing that ;-)
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Old February 27th, 2007, 10:58 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Luethje
Shifting the focus manually with the XH A1 isn't a serious option, at least not for me, because the focus ring isn't very exact and quite sensitive. Just one little touch, and you literally 'end up in infinity', even if the corresponding setting is set to 'low' and the focal length is medium. But I am probably just too dumb and have to exercise more. Gonna shoot a box-fight tonight, nice opportunity for doing that ;-)
You can make things a little better in this respect by changing the sensitivity of the focus ring. It's in one of the customisation functions. You can do the same for the zoom and apperture rings too, IIRC.
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Old February 27th, 2007, 11:13 AM   #12
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I had also blurry faces

I want to use it for bread and butter jobs in 4:3 SD and deluxe jobs in HDV. The interview picture is poor recording in 4:3 SD. Converting it and cropping HDV seem troublesome - is there any taperecorder that does it or do you have to crop it in the editor? The latter is not a good workflow for a newsstation.

Thanks Erik

Last edited by Erik Palm; February 27th, 2007 at 03:09 PM.
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Old February 27th, 2007, 11:33 AM   #13
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You can purchase the SONY HDV decks which will CROP the picture on the downconvert.

You can also use the camera to downconvert but it will either downconvert to squeeze (16:9) or letterbox. No crop function in the Canon menu.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik Palm
Whant to use it for bread and butter jobs in 4:3 SD and deluxe jobs in HDV. The interview picture is poor recording in 4:3 SD. Converting it andr cropping HDV seem troublesome - is there any taperecorder that does it or do you have to crop it in the editor? The latter is not a good workflow for a newsstation.

Thanks Erik
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Old February 27th, 2007, 03:16 PM   #14
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Backfocus problem?

We tried my A1 at work and my collegues, professional newsphotographers, thougth the A1 could have backfocus problem like the PD 150. Any one think so as well or is it a SD phenomena on the A1 as discussed abouve?

Thank you for the advice about the deck Bruno. Quite expensive stuff? I rather buy a small extra camera with that I can also use on the field. Anyone that converts and crops HDV to 4:3 SD in camera?

Thanks! /Erik
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Old February 27th, 2007, 03:39 PM   #15
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Brought my cam to CANON service yesterday to let them check the 'blurry faces' issue. Will report what they tell.
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