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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 29th, 2007, 12:14 AM   #1
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Overwhelmed by my A1

I値l admit it. I知 overwhelmed by my A1. I知 really more of a still photographer type, than a video person.

I knew I wanted more than my Sony TRV900 would do. I was shooting my daughter痴 high school plays and though they came out 登kay. I knew the picture could be better especially when spot lights were on. I knew the sound could be better because I was recording from the back of the theater.

I read all the things the A1 could do and it included all the things I thought I wanted. Now that I have it and I知 overwhelmed by it. I致e shot some video with it, it looks great but I知 still afraid to get away from most of the auto settings.

The manual really stinks (in my opinion) for understanding things. There is a lot of 菟ress this or push that without any real explanation of what those functions do. Maybe it makes sense if you know what happens when you 砥p the gain or 鍍urn on an attenuator, but I don稚. All the custom functions and preset are pretty overwhelming too.

I知 willing to learn, no I want to learn. I致e learned a lot by reading this forum, but my understanding of all the terms and functions is still pretty weak. I would like to know when to do these things and what happens when you do? I know I could try it all, but if I don稚 know what to expect, I think I will miss the purpose.

I would love a 滴ow to use your A1 book, but that doesn稚 exist (yet). Any book that talks about all this kind of stuff would be great.

Any recommendations?

Howard
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Old April 29th, 2007, 12:16 AM   #2
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vasst.com

Get the A1/G1 training video.
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Old April 29th, 2007, 12:30 AM   #3
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Might be what I'm looking for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Gentry View Post
vasst.com

Get the A1/G1 training video.
This could be exactly what I'm looking for. Thanks.

Edit:
Now that I am looking for training material, here is another DVD I found:

http://www.elitevideo.com/index.asp?...S&Category=257

Before I buy either, has anybody else got them? What did you think?


Thanks,
Howard

Last edited by Howard Wilczynski; April 29th, 2007 at 12:44 AM. Reason: More information
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Old April 29th, 2007, 05:19 AM   #4
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Havent seen the vaast one yet but personally Id avoid the Elite video on the A1 like the plague

It annoyed the hell out of me - I've never seen a video that spends more time stating the obvious whilst sidestepping around just about anything useful

compare what seemed like five minutes they spend covering something as simple as how to insert the battery and memory card, to the 20 seconds spent on "This is where the custom preset functions are for knee and pedestal etc - I wont cover these best if you have a play around with them yourself"

Sorry but if someone needs a five min tutorial on battery and memory card chances are they're going to need a bit of hand holding when it comes to the custom presets!

(and vice versa if the target viewers they are pitching at are at a level where they dont need help with the presets then why spend five mins on battery and memory card!)

Ordinarily Id say a video like that is better than nothing as it does at least allow for a basic orientation to the external controls and button positions but when they allow factual errors to creep in on some of the parts they do cover, then it makes it worse than useless IMO

heres hoping the vasst one is vasstly better :)

stevie
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Old April 29th, 2007, 06:59 AM   #5
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I hope so too....i just ordered the Vasst...
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Old April 29th, 2007, 07:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
There is a lot of “press this or push that” without any real explanation of what those functions do.
I feel your pain. But inmany ways it hurts so good.

Kind of like still camera and darkroom gear/chemical manuals I've see. (It is after all kind of the same, the image is "developed" in the camera and recorded on tape instead of film.) As with any highly capable tool, we have to grow into it.

From what folks are saying, the Elite tutorial is very basic an geared for people who are user manual-phobic. The subtleties of gamma, knee, pedestal, etc. are terms of the craft/trade/art form. A trip to a good book store may be in order to help understand how those concepts work together without regard to a specific camcorder.

A good thing about video is immediate feedback on a monitor - no waiting to soup the film.
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Old April 29th, 2007, 08:35 AM   #7
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After you get the DVD and watch it a couple times you should hook the cam up to your projection device, TV or projector, in your house and play with the settings live to see how its coming together.

I do this with a projector as it allows me to set the cam on a tripod and point it out the window for bright scene tweaking or you just swing the cam back to indoors and you can play with the controls to tweak for low light.

Adjust till you like the output and take notes and store the settings....

The projector is nice because you can vary the screen size projected and you can see the different settings very well and you can see the noise imediately.

Of course you can use the TV for the same testing....
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Old April 29th, 2007, 09:29 AM   #8
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Howard,

If you get some time, use the search function in
these forums and you will be amazed at the amount
of useful and understandable information that is
right here.
I do it all the time. 90% of the time I find enough
information to solve my problem, or where to go
to learn.

I think alot of us are having our horizons expanded
by the potential inheritate in this camera.
May as well make it fun, it can be.

David
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Old April 29th, 2007, 09:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Wilczynski View Post
I was shooting my daughter’s high school plays and though they came out “okay”. I knew the picture could be better especially when spot lights were on. I knew the sound could be better because I was recording from the back of the theater.
Welcome to DVinfo Howard! While it may not help with your specific A1 questions, you might also spend a few minutes browsing through this collection of threads about shooting stage shows if that's one of your interests. Lots of good advice there: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=60275
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Old April 29th, 2007, 11:11 AM   #10
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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.
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Old April 30th, 2007, 06:48 AM   #11
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Beware of the AUTO modes, as shutter speed, focus and gain jump all over the place, as people, cars, etc. move in the foreground. Shotwreckers!
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Old April 30th, 2007, 09:37 AM   #12
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would it also be worth looking into the Ultimate Guide to the XL2 dvd since the cameras are similar? Or is the Vasst one better since its straight on the A1...it is twice the money
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Old April 30th, 2007, 09:49 AM   #13
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An XL2 DVD is not going to help *that* much in understanding the XH A1.

However, I believe Ultimate Guide is coming out with an XH version soon.
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Old April 30th, 2007, 12:42 PM   #14
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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. you'll need to go into the camera menu to adjust the gain to its maximum gain. the gain is customizable, too. 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.

take a few notes on what happens to the image when you play with these. for instance, what happens to the image once you drop your shutter speed to 1/15? you get more light, but what happens to motion?

spend a lot of time getting used to the placement of these controls. also, get to the point where you can find the PUSH AF button without fumbling for it. so that you can get a basic focused image fast.

consider that you may have to play with just these features for several weeks before you begin to understand them and to feel comfortable with them.

2. once you can make the adjustments that you need with your camera in a dark room, then you're ready to move on. you have to be that familiar with the basic functions of your camera, to be any good with it.

3. muck around with filters. get a polarizer. maybe one or two others. ND or soft fx or black mist. compare what happens to these images with what comes straight out of the camera.

4. NOW mess with frame rates and repeat steps 1-3 and see what happens.

5. the last thing you should do is download and play with the custom presets. if you do this after you know the basics of getting light in and keeping light out of the camera, it will mean a lot more to you. not only are we talking about experimenting with over 20 looks, these 20 looks change according to specific conditions. for example, steve dempsey's PANALOOK is outstanding for outdoor conditions. i use it regularly. it makes great skies. but indoors, forget about it. there are way better indoor skin tone choices. so you exponentially need to experiment. and you can't use the presets effectively until you know the basic camera functions.

if you try to learn it all at once, you'll give up. if you get the basics first, you will fall in love in a short time. this camera ROCKS.
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Old April 30th, 2007, 02:15 PM   #15
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Solid advice Meryem!
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