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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 May 12th, 2007, 09:01 AM   #31
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nice going, howard. it's fun to witness people learning their cameras in a solid, foundational way.

my first question regarding audio would be: did you go into the menu's audio settings to turn on the XLR function? if you don't do this, you can have the mic mounted up, and you'll still be using the on-camera mic to record...and the external mic will generate noise that the on-board mic will pick up.

i'm more of an image maker than an audio expert, but there are certain foundational principles to good audio as well.

1) mounting the mic on the camera is usually your last choice. get a small mic stand (you can usually get a cheapie from radio shack or guitar center, it doesn't have to be fancy), and once again EXPERIMENT with your mic. where is "off-axis"--meaning how far to the side of the mic does your speaking subject have to be, before the sound signal begins to weaken and thin?

2) getting your mic close to the sound source improves your sound. this sounds obvious but can actually be tricky, depending on the situation.

3) get a subject who can repeat phrases for you--read from a book or something--and place the mic everywhere you can, under their chin, over their head, to the side, and when you get your sound loaded into the editor, you can measure the differences.

4) learn what clipping and attenuation are--read all about it in DVinfo

learning your mic is a bit like learning your camera, because getting good at it is all about the subtle differences in how you place it. i'm no audio expert, i'm more of an image maker, there are way better people who can advise you on the finer points of audio, but this is a good place to start and remember the conventional wisdom: bad audio is a way bigger turn-off than bad images. you can get away with some lesser image quality, if you have a good story, but bad audio will frustrate audiences quicker than anything....
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Old May 12th, 2007, 10:25 AM   #32
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Meryem,

I used a shock mount in the hot shoe of the A-1. I did change the input to the XLR, everything else was to it's default auto settings, no change to the gain or sensitivity. I just read that the Attenuator switch under the screen is for the on-board mic, so turning that on did nothing. I did notice that the mic levels always seemed to be near the top (probably clipping, I do know what clipping is :), but I still got the low end noise.

Your suggestions about getting the mic close to the subjects are good, but I don't think will work in my case. The main reason I got this camera was to shoot high school plays and with my old camera all the video was color shifted or blown out when the spot lights came on. I just wanted more control. The on-board audio wasn't too bad. I got the A-1 for more control of the Iris during the show and got the Rode NTG-2 because I read on this forum that it was a good mic for the price.

I'm usually at the back of the theater when I shoot, so I could have a stand for the mic, but right next to me and I don't know if that will make much of a difference. The sound in general was pretty good, it just had a lot of low end noise that sounds like wind when there was none.

I really did spend about two hours search all the "audio" threads of this forum before posting. I even saw some with the same low end noise problem. I didn't understand it all. Does the audio gain boost the single? Does the Att. reduce the signal? I just never found a thread that explained that and the manual sure does not.

So I will go try some more testing. I will have my daughter sing across the room. I will see what happens if I go manual audio. With the Att. on and with the gain on.

Thanks again,
Howard
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Old May 15th, 2007, 04:49 AM   #33
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Howard

I have the NTG2 and whilst I find it adequate, I also find it cannot cope with anything stronger than a light breeze.
Wind noise and buffing can be elimainated to a greater extent by a Rode Dead Cat.
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Old May 15th, 2007, 07:41 AM   #34
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Howard,

I've got the NTG-1 on my A1 and often find myself shooting a play or musical. (Thank heavens the licensing companies have finally seen the light and are beginning to sell those rights.)

These Rode shotguns are really very sensitive and can get you useable audio from a distance, but anything at a "normal" sound level more than 10' away is going to give you that background noise. I always try to get a mic near the stage or a board feed in addition to the back-up Rode on camera. Then I mix as needed in post. (Board operators in high schools have quite a range of abilities) If you end up using the Rode track, you'll pretty much have to run it through a "de-noiser". I have the Adobe package and Audition has a pretty good noise filter.
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Old May 16th, 2007, 08:22 AM   #35
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Mervyn, I just got the dead cat. Can't wait to try it out.

Brad, at the last play I shot before I had my A1, I was hooked into the board. But they didn't know what they were doing and the sound was blown out. Good thing I recorded more than one night.

At the next show I will try hooking to the board and monitoring, but I also plan on recording to another deck or camera.

I'm getting Final Cut Studio 2 and it should arrive today.

Thanks for all the advice.

Still don't have the Vaast video, but that should show up today too.

Howard
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Old May 16th, 2007, 08:31 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Howard Wilczynski View Post
Mervyn,

I'm getting Final Cut Studio 2 and it should arrive today.

Howard
Is FCP 2 out already?
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Old May 16th, 2007, 09:42 AM   #37
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Is FCP 2 out already?
They started shipping yesterday, the 15th, for some pre-orders.
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Old May 16th, 2007, 12:15 PM   #38
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They started shipping yesterday, the 15th, for some pre-orders.
Give us a report when you start using it.

I usually get the first unit that comes to the Apple store, but I have a lot of started projects. I want to make sure that there are no conflicts with the cards that I have installed.
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Old May 20th, 2007, 12:07 AM   #39
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A Report on the Vaast Video and a few minutes with FCS2

I got the Vaast video and watched it. I'll get to my review of it in a minute. But watching it and learning about all the custom settings brought up one big question.

I see that you can change everything that is recorded with filters and settings which is pretty cool. But I wonder why? The reason I ask is, assuming that you keep the exposure correct and shoot a clean video wouldn't it be better to do all those features in Post. I know Bill Pryor will get "mad" at me, but when shooting with my still camera, it is much better to shoot raw and change anything I need, unless under or over exposed in Photoshop. Why would I want to do the same in FCS2?

Okay, now on to the Vaast video. Did any of you ever go to "The Preview House", where you watch a movie or a TV with a dial in you hand and change the setting from 0 (bad) to 10 (great) all the time you were watching the show. Well, while watching the Vaast video it was on 0 for the whole time Dan and Don. It was like they were adlibing the whole thing to get it done it one take. One would say "what is that button" and the other would say what the button was, no other information. Mistake were made and not corrected and it was very hard to watch.

The second part of the video with Doug was significantly better. The scale went from about 4-10. He went into detail on a lot of things. He "touched" every menu and button. Sometimes just saying what the button was and not what it did. But most times it was useful. There were still some controls where he explained some things but since I'm new to this "pro-video", it was over my head. However, he made uncorrected mistakes too and there was one section where the audio and video did not match.

Rating: Production value: 2-3, Information value: 6-7.
I think it is overpriced for what you get.

Doug did mention a couple of accessories. One I will get, one I wish I could get. The Canon ZR-1000 remote for my tripod is now a must have. I would also love, but will not spend the money necessary for the Firestore FSC60 or 100. But that would be cool.

On to Final Cut Studio 2.

I've just started playing with it and even got it to crash during capture. But it is so cool. It is hard to believe coming from Premiere Elements how much you can do with it. I'm watching that training video too and it seems a good way to get started. I have a few books on order to learn more.

I will post more on that FCS2 in a few weeks.

I have not had a chance to do any more with my A1, I've been too busy. Hopefully that will change in the next week or so.

Howard
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Old May 20th, 2007, 03:30 AM   #40
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Thanks for a great review Howard. I have been following your post here and wanted to see what the outcome would be for the vasst training video. I figured since the price is so high I wanted to make sure you liked it before I spent the money. I too am very new to this camera and have had no experience other than point and shoot palmcorders. When mine broke I told my wife I wanted something better than a cheap Best Buy camera.

I was (still am) quite overwhelmed when I started shooting with this camera and thought a training video would be the way to go. As I mentioned in another thread, I think I bought more camera than I should have. Then I saw your post and said... Hey, I'm not alone! I am sorry that you had to be the one to dish out the money but if it's any consolation, your loss helped out another reader (me)! I guess I will continue learning the camera as I have been. Reading lots of DVi threads and experimenting.

As far as the audio goes, I made a short video the other day using a shure SM58 on a mic stand. I had the camera on the tripod about 15 feet away from me so to get better audio I decided to run a vocal mic via the XLR. The SM58 is not a super cardioid mic that you would typically use as an overhead mic but it is all I have. I set the mic on the boom stand (as an overhead mic) just out of the camera view. I checked to see that I was getting a decent audio level and ran with it. When I went back to edit the video I was truly amazed at how great the audio sounded! It sounds crystal clear, there is no audible noise, and I can actually tolerate the sound of my voice (which I normally hate). I usually thicken up my voice with a little EQ when editing my videos. This was proof for me that the audio input for this camera is great.

If you plan to do any interviewing with your camera you should find that using a hand held mic (something of quality like the SM58) in the XLR input will work beautifully. As far as good shotgun mics for distant recordings Brads advice sounds great.

By the way, when you recorded from the board did you make sure to set your line\mic switch to line? Just curious.

Stacy
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Old May 20th, 2007, 06:15 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Howard Wilczynski View Post
Well, while watching the Vaast video it was on 0 for the whole time Dan and Don. It was like they were adlibing the whole thing to get it done it one take. One would say "what is that button" and the other would say what the button was, no other information.
I agree on that part. Maybe it was better to integrate this part in the video where Doug did the whole camera instructions.
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Old May 20th, 2007, 11:59 AM   #42
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Heheh--I don't get mad at anybody. I just prefer to shoot as close to the look I want rather than tweaking in post.
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Old May 20th, 2007, 12:02 PM   #43
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I am sorry that you had to be the one to dish out the money but if it's any consolation, your loss helped out another reader (me)!

As far as the audio goes, I made a short video the other day using a shure SM58 on a mic stand.

By the way, when you recorded from the board did you make sure to set your line\mic switch to line? Just curious.

Stacy
Stacy, I want to clarify. You could skip over the first section and in the last hour there is some useful information. I now understand what the custom preset do and can do. I still will not use most of them, but I'm not afraid of them anymore. If the Vaast Video was $20-$30 it would be worth it. But for $80, it's not even close.

I just ordered a mic stand, thanks.

When I connected to the board, I had my Sony TRV-900. The only input was a 3.5mm jack and they did have a stereo output from the board. They just didn't want to spend any time working on the level. But now with my A-1, I will go for a direct line feed and set the level myself (as long as the level I get from them is useful enough) and we go back to that theater.

Good luck with your A1.

Howard
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Old May 20th, 2007, 12:04 PM   #44
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Heheh--I don't get mad at anybody. I just prefer to shoot as close to the look I want rather than tweaking in post.
:)

Of course that is probably the best way, but I'm correct, right. Most of that (if not all) can be done in Post?
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Old May 20th, 2007, 02:01 PM   #45
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You can do lots of things in post if you are willing to spend the time to do it and have the tools. Still, there are things like, for example, the effect of a No. 1 Black Promist that you can't quite duplicate in post. I guess you can if you're a big post house that charges a few thousand bucks a day for doing that kind of thing, but we mere mortals can only approach the look. I guess I'm kind of old school. I want the footage I shoot to look the way I want it to look and not have to depend on maybe being able to get a certain look when editing.

That's not wholly true with certain color effects,which further illustrates that life is not black and white, so to speak, and there are no absolutes for any opinion I might express. For example, I did some shots out in New Mexico a couple of years ago, and they looked fine. But I wanted a bit of that "Syriana" warm hot desert look (from their Mexico scenes), and was able to do that with the color correction tool easily. So I guess I'm saying it depends on what look you're after. Still, had I had a camera like the XH A1 when I did that shoot, I probably would have experimented in advance with some camera tweaks and would have shot it with the extra slightly yellow warmth. It's sort of like using different film stocks for different looks and then tweaking in post a little bit.

Another example would be the day for night look. Everybody seems to have a day for night look now, but if you shoot normal footage and use it, it looks like somebody's day for night filter, as opposed to shooting it properly in the first place for a day for night shot.
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