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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 2nd, 2007, 01:37 PM   #1
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Canon SBR-1000 for XH-A1

I was wondering if anyone had any experience or reviews on Canon Shoulder Brace - SBR 1000.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ist&sku=410326

I realize that shooting hand-held with XH-A1 is a tough thing to do; getting nice pans with it - I find it near impossible. So, I was looking for an affordable stabilization solution. I can't wear a contraption that will send my little daughter running for the woods. Yet I want steady shots for very simple horizontal and (sometimes) vertical pans. I don't do a lot of complex-trajectory motion.

Thank you all in advance!
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Old May 12th, 2007, 02:03 AM   #2
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Wow, not one response..........

Well, now you've got one.

Don't know squat about the brace, but can honestly say that using the A1 without a tripod or really sophiticated "glide system" is not going to produce great video, unless you are into the "U - tube" anarchy, in which case, why have an HDV cam?

Not trying to be negative here (and possibly failing dismally) but the more I know about the A1 and the brilliant stuff it can produce, the more I realise that getting "decent" HDV video out of it is an art form, not for the faint of heart and certainly not as a "quick, grab it and shoot" solution.

My only attempt at hand held (with the A1) was so dismal (after years of pulling off almost impossible shots hand held with a XL1s) I have resolved never to repeat it.

HD magnifies every tiny mistake by a factor of 5 at least, the better the screen, the worse it is.

My suggestion is: Get a really "good" tripod, fast and easy to set up, or a monopod with a tilt head at least, and give it a try.

Won't even bother to suggest makes because your chosen solution will be quite personal - but hey, that's my 2 cents worth.

Good luck.

Regards,

Chris
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Old May 12th, 2007, 03:12 AM   #3
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Chris, if you go from the XL1 to the A1 the weight and balance are totally different, that's probably why your first handheld attempts didn't work well. I believe that if you practice a bit more you will see a big improvement in your A1 handheld shots, especially if you stay on the wider end of the zoom.

This is a short video I took with the A1 a few months back, all handheld. I'm not claiming that it's perfect, but I'm still practising too. :)

Richard

http://www.jaegersing.com/ThaipusamPart1.wmv
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Old May 12th, 2007, 05:08 PM   #4
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The video looks great. Very steady hand. Some painful looking shots of the skin however! wow

I think it helps not to spend too much time on one shot if you're going handheld, as you've edited nicely here and the whole crowd parade style event lends itself well to a more natural approach.

I just picked up a wheelchair today at a garage sale for 20 bucks. Felt a bit odd getting it but I'd heard it can do wonders as a cheapman's dolly shot. I'll be checking that out this week.

I have been using a monopod for shots that can't be tripod ready and I was abysmal at first, but I'm slowly getting better at it.

Trish
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Old May 12th, 2007, 05:35 PM   #5
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manfrotto 560B or 561B or Steady Stick are all good solutions.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 09:11 PM   #6
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Thank you all for the feedback.

Yes, I realized having spent over $3K for a camcorder, I am now looking to spend about another $600 on a decent tripod+head.

I am looking at Manfrotto 755B (has center column + 50mm half-bowl) + 501HDV head.
I am torn as I am also looking at 503 head + half-bowl legs (75mm, most likely). Can't figure out which legs are going to work better for me....

Anybody has any feedback around half-bowl vs. center column legs and 501HDV vs 503 head?
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Old May 13th, 2007, 09:25 PM   #7
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maksim,

I can't help you with the legs and head...as I've done extremely well with a cheap manfrotto mini fluid head and normal manfrotto sticks. I find that no tool does the work itself. Buy what you can afford, and what your research tells you to buy, then practice with it and use the tool, you'll do the work though.

Also, I've got a collapsible monopod with a ball-mount attachment at the top. The ball mount has a slot that allows it to go 90degrees, I lock it at 90degrees and run the collapsed monopod straight back from the camera and rest that on my shoulder. I shot an entire hunting trip for three weeks like this, and all the shots were usable and smooth. So definitely get a monopod for that.

Secondly, use the viewfinder instead of the LCD, the physical attachment of the eye-cup to your head provides for another point of stability and gives better shots, the A1's eyecup while on the monopod is just perfectly at the right height for me.

Good luck. Don't be fooled by the 'magic feather' products out there.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 11:37 PM   #8
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Brent,

Thanks a lot. I hear what you are saying, and I am definitely not looking for a magic wand or a tool that will help hiding my deficiencies as a camera man :)

I recently shot a concert with XH-A1 from a seat using a $50 monopod. Most of the shots came out very well and all who viewed them loved them. So, I am not going expensive to impress anyone. Here's why I am looking at heads like 503.

I have an old Titan tripod that I have used for around 10 years in still photography. It's pretty sturdy, so I used it once or twice to shoot video. The trouble with it is it is all mechanical and no springs, so the pans came out auful no matter how hard I tried. I hurt my shoulder in the process and decided that I am just not cut out as a camera man to shoot landing planes (that's a little crazyness I have from my childhood dream of becomming a pilot). Well, ten steps from me was a man with an expensive tripod and a head, who offered me to use his for a few shots. This made such a difference that I started to think that a tripod couldn't fix a bad shooting style, but it can help make your shots more fluid and steady.

Plus, recently I've been getting a surprisingly high number of requests a friend of mine who has a pro-level dance school to shoot and upcoming event in a 2500 people auditorium. She likes the way my videos come out, but I for myself am not satisfied with the pans - they are just a bit too shaky for my taste.

I just shot a concert today, captured it and am watching it this very minute. I can't help but notice that although trying 100 different tension settings on my 10 years old tripod for over 20 minutes paid off, I would like just a bit smoother pans.

I am not into spending money for something I don't need, so I will get a head and a tripod and try them for a few weeks before the main event on June 15th. If they don't help me, I will return them. If, in the mean time, I find something cheaper that will do the job to my satisfaction, I will get that instead.

Now that I've written that much, I realized once again that being able to say what you think out loud is actually very good as it makes one think twice, so thanks again to Chris for this forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Graham View Post
maksim,

Buy what you can afford, and what your research tells you to buy, then practice with it and use the tool, you'll do the work though.

Good luck. Don't be fooled by the 'magic feather' products out there.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 05:50 PM   #9
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755 & 501hdv

Maksim

I have the 755 & 501HDV head. For wedding work it is perfect IMHO. It supports the A1 fairly well (some problems with shake on a wooden dance floor but then most tripods will have problems). I find that the head gives a superb fluid pan & tilt compared to the 701RC2 head which I used with my Canon XM2.
The real benefit for me, is that I can move it about with ease; quickly turning it into monopod type action. The 50mm ball makes it so easy to get a quick level without touching the legs. However after 10 weddings the twisting movement has become very stiff and is really testing my arm strength!
One word of caution - one of the legs fell off after the second wedding, causing me a great deal of dissatification! It took some effort to put it back on. I find that some Manfrotto stuff is not up to the same quality as it used to be.

Last edited by Mervyn Keys; May 14th, 2007 at 05:52 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old May 14th, 2007, 07:35 PM   #10
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Get Spiderbrace

Spiderbrace is very good as a shoulder support and it's only like $80.00
http://www.spiderbrace.com/
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Old May 14th, 2007, 10:56 PM   #11
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Yep, shoulder support is on my shopping list within the next six months. They, however, are for very different situations. I prefer tripod when I am stationary and only going to be doing pans.
Also, I am pretty sure that it's pretty tough to shoot 2.5 hours non-stop from a stationary position with shoulder support. With shoulder support the fact that you are on the move actually helps you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alain Mayo View Post
Spiderbrace is very good as a shoulder support and it's only like $80.00
http://www.spiderbrace.com/
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Old May 14th, 2007, 10:58 PM   #12
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Great feedback, Mervyn.

I am mostly shooting from a stationary position facing the stage.

For now I am leaning towards 503 with a tripod with no center column and 75mm half-bowl. I've looked at 501HDV and it felt like a great head!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mervyn Keys View Post
Maksim

I have the 755 & 501HDV head. For wedding work it is perfect IMHO. It supports the A1 fairly well (some problems with shake on a wooden dance floor but then most tripods will have problems). I find that the head gives a superb fluid pan & tilt compared to the 701RC2 head which I used with my Canon XM2.
The real benefit for me, is that I can move it about with ease; quickly turning it into monopod type action. The 50mm ball makes it so easy to get a quick level without touching the legs. However after 10 weddings the twisting movement has become very stiff and is really testing my arm strength!
One word of caution - one of the legs fell off after the second wedding, causing me a great deal of dissatification! It took some effort to put it back on. I find that some Manfrotto stuff is not up to the same quality as it used to be.
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Old May 15th, 2007, 06:32 AM   #13
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501 vs 503

Just another opinon:
I found it very difficult to do smooth pans with the 501, so I bought the 503. The 503 is not perfect, but does work much better. BTW, my 503 is the pre 503HDV version. I am not sure of what the changes are.

Rick
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