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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 30th, 2007, 10:11 PM   #16
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That really is good advice Meryem, thank you.

I will start doing that. Then by the time I watch the Vaast video I should have a little better understanding.

I will post some thoughts in a couple of weeks.

Thanks to all of you and thanks for no flaming.

Howard
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Old April 30th, 2007, 11:17 PM   #17
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hey, if it's any consolation, when i first bought my XL2, it took me six months to even really enter into the realm of custom settings, and i already knew how to use the manual settings on my previous camera. there are so many experienced folks here, that they make things look easy, which really take a long time to learn.

true story: last week, i shot an event. my biz partner and i sized up the lighting and skin tone conditions, then picked what we thought was an appropriate custom setting. then she proceeded to set up a light kit to shoot head and shoulders interviews while i shot on the other side of the room using ambient light. my footage looked fine, and in hers everyone looked sick, because the setting was wrong for the lighting, and she did not re-white balance. and she's good at this!

then this weekend, she shot an event, as the B camera to a shooter 20 years in the business, and due to the A camera being bumped by the camera operator's son, camera A apparently failed to capture any footage at all.

so even really experienced operators blow shoots. and the custom settings are different in different conditions, so, as i said, everyone learns from practice.

and white balance, which i forgot to mention. ya gotta learn to apply a manual white balance. which is easy to do, sometimes difficult to remember, under fast conditions.....

after every shoot, my shooting partner and i have a quick discussion of "what did you learn?"--mostly because we recently purchased the A1s, and they are different than the cameras we shot previously. at this last shoot, i learned that the A1 has a convenient in-menu 12db audio gain, which i had never used before. six weeks later, fairly experienced at shooting, and still learning the finer points of the camera....

every little item that you can identify and master helps.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 12:50 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Howard Wilczynski View Post
thanks for no flaming.
You can take that for granted, Howard! DV Info Net is strictly a no-flame zone.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 02:09 PM   #19
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Thanks for that advice Meryem! Again, this is why I love this forum. Much people who 'invented the wheel' before us 'newbies', we only have to follow the instructions to learn from them how to do things right.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 11:50 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Howard Wilczynski View Post
Thank you all. I will try the vasst video.

I have been lurking on this board for a while and I have read many threads and picked up a lot of info. But that still doesn't help my basic understanding of some features. Nor does it get rid of my fear of shooting manual or mostly manual.

I will try the video, read some more and play with the camera some more.
Just received the VASST DVD.
Boy, these guys are FASST! Ordered it last weekend, got a few hours ago. Cewl. Will let you know if it's good.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 12:17 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Meryem Ersoz View Post
howard, it sounds as if you should start by learning the basics. set the whole custom presets thing aside until you understand the basics.

1. first put your camera in full manual and play with the aperture ring, the shutter, the ND filters, and the gain (in that order). just get comfortable with these first. don't muck around with anything else until you can figure out how to get light in your camera and how to keep it out. <b>you'll need to go into the camera menu to adjust the gain to its maximum gain. the gain is customizable, too. </b>find one frame rate you like (60i, 30F, 24F) and STAY WITH IT. you'll just confuse your learning process initially, as you try to compare the images you take.
My A1 is due to arrive shortly and I'm in much the same boat as Howard. The advice by Meryem will be useful to me. One question about the gain. Are you advising to go into the settings and boost the gain to its maximum? Doesn't gain cause graininess? Please pardon my newbieness... Thanks again for all the help.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 01:53 PM   #22
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Took a fast peek on the VASST DVD video.
It's very detailed and they tell you everything about the camera.
Lots to view and remember. But next to all the content they do show the results when changing settings. I think I will have to watch it several times to remember everything, but the DVD realy covers 99% of the camera.

Ofcourse the fieldwork differs from the video. You have to built your experience by working with the camera. But it is a very nice 'DVD Manual'.

- How does HDV work?
- HDV Audio
- Using HDV peripherals
- Camera buttons and Functions
- Standard operating procures
- Advanced settings (lots of it !)
- Creating Personal Settings
- Sharing Camera Settings (HDVinfo.NET is mentioned!)
- Delivering HDV/SD

Next to that they also tell some usefull tips about extra hardware.

So...first impression: very good.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 02:46 PM   #23
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hi nelson: yes, you don't really want to add a lot of gain, but you should know what happens when you do and also what the limitations are to how your particular camera handles gain.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 03:03 PM   #24
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As a newbie to the XH-A1, who cut his teeth on the JVC GR-HD1 (a simple camera in comparison), I can bet you it will easily take you a year to learn what the A1 can do and how to really get the best shots.

On top of that, if you are new to HDV, you still have your HDV editing and production learning curve to contend with too.

It's really a lot of fun though.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 03:12 PM   #25
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...oh yes, and then there's that pesky audio to worry about! that's a whole 'nother ball o' wax! another realm to master. no wonder DVinfo exists!
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Old May 11th, 2007, 03:16 PM   #26
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Some first results

First an update: I can't comment on the Vaast video since I still haven't received it. There was a problem. They thought my credit card was rejected. So even though my card did get charged, they didn't send out the DVD or notify me that they thought there was a problem. It is all taken care of and the DVD is on the way.

Some XH A1 results. I shot outdoors in full manual (but auto focus on).

It was easy and not scary! I played with the shutter speed, aperture ring and gain, just as Meryem suggested.

The aperture ring is way to sensitive (I seem to remember seeing a post on how to change that). It was a lot like shooting with my still camera, just up the shutter speed if the picture is too bright and and aperture is at maximum.

I did also try the neutral density filters and those worked great too. I also noticed the light meter (like a still camera) which told me when it thought the exposure was correct.

I played with the gain a bit, I guess that is analogous to the ISO setting on my camera, since the higher the gain, the less light needed but the more noise introduced. Though even at +12 I didn't see a lot of noise (outdoors). I did not really need this in full sunlight outdoors.

When I viewed my video I noticed that when I was pushing the shutter way up (in the thousands) the picture got very noisy. That was not obvious in the view finder. On the other had, it does look like I can trust the view finder (for the most part) to show me what the picture will look like. That was one of my big worries.

Next up, shooting indoors and in a theater with theater lights.
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Old May 11th, 2007, 03:38 PM   #27
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Don't overdo the still camera analogy. With a video camera it's not a good idea to use the shutter for exposure control If you're shooting at 24fps, shoot at a 1/48 shutter speed; if you're doing 30fps, use 1/60. Any other shutter speed other than the one that works properly with the frame rate will give you some funkiness, as you've noticed.

It's the focus, not the aperture ring that's adjustable. In the custom menu.
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Old May 11th, 2007, 03:44 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
Don't overdo the still camera analogy. With a video camera it's not a good idea to use the shutter for exposure control If you're shooting at 24fps, shoot at a 1/48 shutter speed; if you're doing 30fps, use 1/60. Any other shutter speed other than the one that works properly with the frame rate will give you some funkiness, as you've noticed.

It's the focus, not the aperture ring that's adjustable. In the custom menu.
Thanks, I'll make sure I take that into consideration. I will probably stick with 60 frames a second, (actually forgot to try 24) and 1/60 where I can.

Okay, so I will have to turn the aperture ring more slowly. I doubt I will ever use the manual focus, my eyes just aren't that good any more and I'm sure the auto focus would do a better job.
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Old May 11th, 2007, 04:10 PM   #29
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Hey Howard,

I'm almost in the same situation as you are. Exploring and trying. It's fun with the A1!

As I told before: I ordered the Vasst DVD on a Sunday and got it by mail on tuesday. Very fast for mail which came from the USA to the Netherlands.

The DVD is has super content for beginners and advanced users. It's absolutely worth the money. But I'm also convinced that every user has to 'grow' his experience in the field. Working with the camera. As much as you can.

Good luck! Keeping an eye on this line.
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Old May 11th, 2007, 05:28 PM   #30
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Okay, now I have some audio questions

I got a Rode NGT-2. I plugged in the XLR and it works "fine". Though there does seems to be a lot of low end noise. The mic was mounted in a shock holder.

I can run a low pass filter in editing, but I would like to understand a few things.

I've used the Mic twice. Once outside with some wind and I was sure that was the total cause was the wind. Then I used it again in a gym and there was still low end noise. So now I'm not sure if it is the mic, the camera or the settings.

The Line/Mic switch is set to Mic, which I guess is correct since I'm using a Mic. XLR MIC ATT are both off (not sure what this does). Other switch is set to CH1/CH2. Audio level set to A. Mic sensitivity set to Normal. The top Mic. Att was set to Att., I don't know why. I also don't know what it does.

I've searched a lot, but still don't understand all the Mic functions. Any information would be appreciated.

Last edited by Howard Wilczynski; May 11th, 2007 at 05:44 PM. Reason: More info
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