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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 April 6th, 2007, 01:55 PM   #61
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Aargh, I screwed up, ignore my last detailed post. The white balance was off, recalibrating now.

EDIT: I changed the settings in my previous post. Test them and let me know if I am becoming insane.....
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Old April 6th, 2007, 04:56 PM   #62
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This is an interesting thread insomuch as what we are discovering:

This preset (or any) will look ‘correct’ with the white balance balanced to that lighting condition at that time of day – and even in that particular location!

Or another way of putting my thought --

Since sunlight color temp can very dramatically through the day, it seems that a preset – particularly a preset for outdoor vivid color is very specific to a particular location at a particular time of day – with the white balance calibrated under those conditions.

Is it possible to create a present that works well under all outdoor lighting conditions? I would think that you would have to have several, i.e., early morning, mid-morning, early afternoon, late afternoon, early evening etc. Not to mention, the same presets under different lighting conditions, i.e., hazy, partly cloudy, cloudy, clear, etc.

I guess this points up the fact that you really need to tweak the settings under the current conditions in which you are shooting.

And this doesn’t even take into account that the perception of “vibrant” pleasing colors is highly subjective. The amount of variables that apply to capturing what pleases the eye are mind boggling.

Nevertheless – thanks for all of the work and posts – I do like the present under the conditions as shown in your latest example…
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Old April 6th, 2007, 05:10 PM   #63
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Very, very good point. This is why - after getting fascinated at first - I quickly dismissed the tweakability of the XH as being so much important. It's always better to record everything as true as only possible on tape, and only then try to achieve your desired look in post.

And as far as recording true, juicy and vibrant colours most of the time, there's nothing like the good, old Sony.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 05:13 PM   #64
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You are wrong and I will prove it, by cracky! :)
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Old April 6th, 2007, 07:36 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piotr Wozniacki View Post
It's always better to record everything as true as only possible on tape, and only then try to achieve your desired look in post.
I love statements with words like "always". They "always" make me want to go break a rule.

Lots of times it's better to create a look in the field for a project, for a variety of reasons. For instance ESPN chose a tobacco filter for their SportsCentury series to give a certain look. One could argue it didn't make sense since they couldn't reuse the footage in other programs, but the amount of time saved in post justified the choice.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 07:46 PM   #66
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Well said :)

OKay, this preset thing is going to take a lot more work. Apparently there is still a lot of magenta in my preset. I think my solution is to work from an actual grey card to calibrate.

Stay tuned and I would love others to get involved in trying to create this preset without a color cast
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Old April 6th, 2007, 08:13 PM   #67
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Stephen, it's not that there's still a lot of magenta in your preset, it's that there is a deficit of the green gain, which is the complimentary color to magenta. Add some of what you took out back in, and the magenta goes away.

I'm trying things too, but when things aren't working out go back to the baseline. The color is not so far off with the system color that *everything* needs to be tweaked.

I'm reminded of a calibration struggle I had with an HDTV, where the picture just didn't look right no matter what happened with adds and cuts to the RGB gains. In the service menu, you had access to the color decoder, which is what we have with the matrix adjustments. The most basic adjustment to the color decoder is the hue, or color phase in the case of the A1. I see a lot of potential with your preset from the standpoint of gamma, saturation. Why not try a simple tweak to the color phase while leaving the RGB gains and RGB matrices zero'd? There's 18 presets in the DVI Network library, only 2 even touch the color phase, and some are just all over the map. The problem I had on the HDTV when RGB gains were up and down all over the place, was that it would be right in the highlights but wrong in the shadows, or vice versa. Or the color would shift across the gray scale. You're mention of using the gray card is laudable, but what if the combination of matrix adjustments cause a magenta cast at the low end of the IRE scale, and a green cast at the high end? That's the danger. ISF will normalize the gray scale tracking, so that the color temperature remains constant from 10 to 100 IRE. To adjust the gray scale tracking, the color temperature is set to 6500K at each IRE step. In other words, you need not just a gray card but gray cards that go from white to black. That's all the advice I will offer you. In my case, I'm going back to the basics under the assumption the hue is pretty accurate to begin with, and try some minor adjustments to the color phase.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 10:04 PM   #68
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Guys, I've often thought about getting an A1, but I really get concerned about the lengths you guys seem to be going to in order to get a simple, natural, color balance. What am I missing? I know the camera is capable of great video, but why can't you get great colors without adjusting 15 controls?

I've had the HV10 and now the HV20 and I simply pull the thing out and I get the kind of color & vibrance you guys seem to keep fiddling to get. I'm honestly not being sarcastic, but it is a concern if I were to go in the direction of an A1.

I've also got an FX7, but I honestly think the HV10/HV20 produces a superior HDV image to the 3-chip Sony....go figure.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 11:26 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piotr Wozniacki View Post
Very, very good point. This is why - after getting fascinated at first - I quickly dismissed the tweakability of the XH as being so much important.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Ross View Post
Guys, I've often thought about getting an A1, but I really get concerned about the lengths you guys seem to be going to in order to get a simple, natural, color balance. What am I missing? I know the camera is capable of great video, but why can't you get great colors without adjusting 15 controls?
Respectfully, I think you’ve missed the point here. The attraction of this camera (and the point of this thread) is that we CAN make fine adjustments that go BEYOND what most cameras (in this price range) are capable of. Indeed, what we are discussing here is the ability to fine tune and manipulate the picture in ways which most cameras don’t even come close.

In terms of a perfect “out of the box” look: if you want a great variety of color choices, load up the 18 + presets included in the preset section of this forum and go to it. That alone is a huge asset and a wonderful leaping off point into the flexibility of this camera. It’s like having 18 + “out of the box” cameras.

I like some, wasn’t initially thrilled with the ‘factory’ look/setting straight out of the box -- just read some of my earlier posts. But after I spent some time with this camera I was and am still blown away. After doing some green screen work with this camera, it’s HDV all the way and I’m not looking back!

And…I would not dismiss the ‘tweakablity’ of this camera at all. Quiet the opposite. I encourage anybody here to look at other’s work such as Steven’s and see what is possible with this camera. The look he has been able to achieve with this camera – both shooting and in post – is quiet remarkable. A look that is simply not possible with other cameras in its price range.

This camera was designed I believe to give the cinematographer in all of us (or those who have it in them) a vast and rich set of tools. Will some use it straight out of the box with all of the settings in full auto mode? You bet. But for them, they are missing so much of what this camera has to offer.

Perhaps this camera is not for everyone. There are those who want something with fewer choices. But to them I say go take a look at what others have been able to achieve with this camera (such as Steven) and try to reproduce that on a camera with less flexibility.

I take great pride in the fact that we are able to have a thread such as this – discussing fine tuning issues. I love that fact. I’ve not seen a thread such as this on any of the other cameras message boards!

GO A1!!
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Old April 7th, 2007, 12:14 AM   #70
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I would agree that in a perfect world where money and time is no object that images should be set up to capture the maximum tonal and color range and then be tweaked in post, but when you make settings in-camera it saves alot of rendering time and money on the latest and greatest post equipment.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 02:34 AM   #71
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Guys, I didn't want to upset those who went for the A1. I'm a control-freak myself, so I loved the tweakability of the Canon, especially when used from within the Console 1.1 - and I had an opportunity to play with it for 6 weeks! What I wanted to say though is that this tweakability isn't by itself making the A1 a better choice. As James pointed out, whether a preset is great or crappy depends on too many variables to always count on it. Frankly, if I were to make a critical shot, I would rather choose the default look rather than even the most "interesting" preset, because you can never be sure what it's really going to look like under given circumstancies, sometimes quite different than when you were creating the preset.

Unlike presets, experiments in post are reversible...

However, in a fully controlled environment and with direct capture with Console, using the XH picture settings can be really enjoyable and creative.
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Last edited by Piotr Wozniacki; April 7th, 2007 at 03:06 AM.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 11:05 AM   #72
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And I guess that's what I wanted to say. Yes, a given preset might look great under one particular lighting condition. Change the lighting just a bit and now that preset may look pretty bad. So in my mind the perfect camera should look VERY accurate using a fully automatic mode, but does have the capability to tweak beyond that. I'd generally want an accurate picture in a relatively auto mode and then have the capacity to tweak with camera controls or in post.

However the feeling I'm getting (and please correct me if I'm wrong), is that in a full auto mode the camera does not have quite the accurate color as some other HDV cams. I fully understand with the numerous tweaks available you can get there, but set to 'auto' the A1's picture is just not quite as accurate.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 11:43 AM   #73
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who buys a $4000 camera and shoots full auto?
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Old April 7th, 2007, 11:43 AM   #74
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More people than you would imagine...
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Old April 7th, 2007, 12:21 PM   #75
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Steven is of course quite right, there are a significant number of people who tend to always shoot in Auto mode with these camcorders, and there's nothing at all wrong with that. In fact, for those folks who are new to videography, I tend to go out of my way to strongly encourage them to go ahead and make full use of the Auto modes. But that's not the topic of this thread, so let's please return to the subject of discussing Steven's preset. Thanks in advance,
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