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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 25th, 2007, 01:58 PM   #1
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A-1 for Legal Videography?

Hi all, lurker now poster. Have the opportunity to do some legal videography (depositions mostly) and was wondering if anyone is using the A-1 for that sort of thing and if they would suggest it for that type of work. I have a GL-2 but this opportunity gives me a great excuse to trade up and get the A-1.

I also have no experience in shooting HD, and really don't quite understand everything associated to the format. I understand you can shoot the footage in HD, then edit and render it in HD, but after that, when you burn to disc, will it be true HD, and will you need a HD DVD player to watch it in HD?

Also I am currently editing with Sony Vegas 5.0 , is this a good enough editing tool for HD? Sorry for all the questions, but I would rather not create multiple topics. Also if there are any other legal videographers out there, any help or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks, Tony
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Old April 25th, 2007, 07:49 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Coleman View Post
I also have no experience in shooting HD, and really don't quite understand everything associated to the format. I understand you can shoot the footage in HD, then edit and render it in HD, but after that, when you burn to disc, will it be true HD, and will you need a HD DVD player to watch it in HD?
It will be true HD only if you author it to HD media (HD-DVD or Blu-Ray). An alternative would be to shoot in HD and deliver in SD (DVD), which, in my opinion, will lead to better quality than shooting in SD to begin with. Just make sure that rendering/encoding to SD is the last step in your post-production, that is before DVD authoring, of course.

It's often mentioned that for HD you need a much more powerfull computer than for SD. I think that it is not as clear-cut as it is served. See, HDV cameras use the same media as DV (mini-dv, let's say). The bitrate of the media is limited to 25Mbs. The codec, however, is different - MPEG2 for HDV and DV for SD. If your NLE is capable of native MPEG2 editing and can capture DV, you should be good to go - no dropped frames during capture - because the bitrate is the same for both formats. If your NLE does not support native MPEG2 editing, the computer will have to decode MPEG2 during capture and that can and most likely will cause dropped frames.

Another thing to think about is how you are going to deliver your final product. HD media is currently either HD-DVD or Blu-Ray. I don't know much about Vegas, but as far as I know, it is a Sony product, and Sony is a direct competitor of HD-DVD. So, that leaves Blu-Ray. The only cost-effective option to author Blu-Ray discs that I am aware of is Adobe Encode CS3, which will be out this summer as part of Premier Pro CS3. Even with that, I am not sure how much flexibility in Blu-Ray authoring it's going to provide. However, basic features - a disc with a top-level and maybe a chapters menu - may be enough for your application. Also, how are your clients going to be playing Blu-Ray media? Blu-Ray players are still relatively expensive.

Finally, a question out of the blue... Do you really need HDV to shoot a disposition video? Even for analyzing facial expressions, I would think that DV is plenty enough. But since I have no experience in shooting legal videos and associated requirements, this is in no way a suggestion.

By the way, you could always use A1 to shoot SD, and the quality may be a bit better than on native SD camcorder.

Hope this helps.
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Old April 25th, 2007, 08:21 PM   #3
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Thanks Mak, After doing some research on the forum and your response, I see that burning to an HD format is still in the early stages as far as home cpu's go. You can still store HD rendered media for a later time, and the HD will still look better than standard SD even when rendered SD. As far as the H-1 goes, I really want the cam, just wondered if anyone was using it for depos. I also shoot a lot of surfing, and travel footage, and would use it for that also. -Tony
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Old April 25th, 2007, 08:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Coleman View Post
Have the opportunity to do some legal videography (depositions mostly) and was wondering if anyone is using the A-1 for that sort of thing and if they would suggest it for that type of work. I have a GL-2 but this opportunity gives me a great excuse to trade up and get the A-1.

Thanks, Tony
Before you spend your hard earned cash on a new HD camcorder,
I would suggest a little further investigation into what the format and delivery requirements are for the deposition work you seek.

Good Luck!
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Old April 25th, 2007, 09:13 PM   #5
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It has been a while since I've done depositions but when I did them there was absolutely NO editing done and AAMOF Time and date stamp HAD to be burned onto the VHS tapes from the camera. I know a couple of guys that still do them and even thought they go direct to DVD with mulitple burners the requirements around here at least remain the same. Time and date burned in and some even want TC burned in.
What I'm saying is that for legal deps they aren't interested in whether it's HiDef or not just whats LEGAL and will not be challenged in a court of law.
Check out the requirements of your area carefully before diving into HD for deps. In most areas as soon as the dep is done you hand over the tapes (VHS) or DVDs to the attorneys with 1 archieve for the court. Never any editing UNLESS the court tells you to cut the long pauses or just make a copy of this point to that point, that type of thing.
Shooting in HD will not help you at all IMO for deps.
AAMOF I know one guy that up until last year still shot them on an old AG455 or 456 with a rack of 3 VCRs for the attorneys and court copy. Talk about an old camera but the courts and lawyers were fine with VHS tapes-as long as they met the legal requirments.

Don
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Old April 25th, 2007, 09:42 PM   #6
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Thanks Don, I actually will only be recording onto a DV tape and giving that to my boss, also backing everything up on external drive. I know my GL-2 would be fine for this, but I am interested in the A-1 mostly for my own stuff and also would like to use it for depos (write off). I need to get this cam off my mind...lol
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Old April 26th, 2007, 02:01 PM   #7
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Tony, I know what you mean. For the last six weeks I have been only thinking about this camera, reading these forums, even stopping by the NAB in LV.
As soon as I got the offer to be a DP in a small shoot in Houston, I bought the camera (write-off), and since then everyone and their mother wants me to shoot this and that.

I say if it doesnt cripple you for cash, and its what you want, then go for it.
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Old April 27th, 2007, 03:35 PM   #8
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I figured the easiest way to get XH-A1 off my mind: I bought it :) It's an expensive piece of gear, but first I don't mind it because it's a great camera and you get what you pay for. Also, the write-off for my consulting job is nice too :)
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Old April 27th, 2007, 04:22 PM   #9
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If you want a 24p HDV camera for your own fun use, you can always shoot standard 60i DV for your client. Best of both worlds. Assuming you can put the time/date stamp on the footage. That's something I haven't checked, but I think you have to do that for most depositions.
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