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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 5th, 2007, 12:25 AM   #1
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Considering XH-G1 or A1, other HD cams, questions

I am selling my two XL2 canons and upgrading to HD. I have read the differences between the G1 and A1, but I didn't understand them to well. Could someone put the differences such as SDI and Genlock in real life situations so I can be sure I do or do not need them. Please overlook the ignorance, I am just trying to make sure I purchase the best camera for my purpose. I am shooting a full length feature starting at the end of this month. We also do shorts too, but most everything we do is Film like stuff. I have looked at the HVX200 panasonic, the sony HVR Z1U, and I am starting to get dizzy. From what I have read, it appears the G1 or A1 may be the appropriate choice. Thanks. J
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Old May 5th, 2007, 12:42 AM   #2
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Covered before in this forum, but briefly the pro jacks on the G1 are most useful in a multi-camera, live switching environment.
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Old May 5th, 2007, 10:36 AM   #3
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If you're doing mostly film style work you should seriously look at the HVX if for nothing else it's ability to do over and under cranking. While the A1 is a great camera (I own one) I don't think it's the best for that world. But that's just my opinion and I'm sure others will differ (i.e. tape vs. P2, DVCProHD vs. HDV, camera costs, etc.).

I do feature work myself but I use the Panasonic Varicam (the big, big brother to the HVX).

Good luck.
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Old May 5th, 2007, 02:29 PM   #4
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I like the idea of the HVX200 except the fact that the cards are a fortune. They hold two cards? Two at 8 Gb will give you 16 minutes of time for 1200.00? It doesn't seem cost effective at all. I guess you could record to firestore or something like that. Thanks for your opinion though, I value everyones opinion above my own. J
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Old May 5th, 2007, 02:50 PM   #5
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If you're going to shoot solid state, wait for the Sony EX. It will use cards that are compatible with today's laptops, much more on the card and for less money. But it'll cost about $8K. Still, with enough cards for normal shooting, it'll be cheaper than the equivalent HVX200 package. I looked seriously at the HVX before buying the XH A1 because I was interested in the slomo capability. But the inconvenience of the workflow, as well as expense of the cards and lower resolution of the camera kept me away. Also, I've only really needed slomo one time for the documentary work I do with my personal camera, and it'd be better to spend a little money on software like Twixtor, in my opinion. This is not to knock the camera--there are some things I really like about it; it's mostly the workflow that kept me in tape for now. I have to store original footage in a safe, convenient manner for a long time. Sony makes that easy with the little XDCAM burner that will come out with the camera later this year.

But the topic was the difference between the G1 and A1 Canons. Chris summed it up very well. For mult-cam shoots, the G1 is more convenient.
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Old May 5th, 2007, 04:03 PM   #6
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8GB P2 cards are now roughly $700 each and of course just announced at NAB there are now 16GB P2 cards that are $900 each. So the pricing has changed recently. Check B&H's web site.

With two 16GB cards you could get approx. 68 minutes of 24PN footage (34 minutes a card). So recording time is really not an issue anymore. They are still pricey I admit though (but getting better).

Price aside, my biggest issue with P2 is archiving. I don't want to keep stacks of drives on my shelves and I don't have a Blu-Ray burner yet. Best solution is probably a DLT back-up system. Lot's of places using this method, but again, it's expensive.

Workflow is not a problem at all for me at least. I use Avid Xpress Pro and the MXF clips pop right in. Same for FCP. Very easy.

You really can't go wrong with either camera. But I go back to the over and under cranking which most people do a lot of in narrative filmmaking. You just can't replicate that well in post. Also the 4:2:2 color space and the DVCProHD codec are great and important for color grading later (especially in feature work).

However I will say, the A1 really gets you the most bang for the buck, especially right now with the $250 rebate from Canon. Camera will cost you about half of the HVX.

Aren't buying decisions fun. :)
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Old May 5th, 2007, 05:20 PM   #7
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Again forgive me for my ignorance, what do you mean by undercranking and overcranking? J
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Old May 5th, 2007, 05:24 PM   #8
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Undercranking speeds up motion etc. when played back
at normal speed,
overcranking slows the motion...

Much more often used in a film environment where
changing shutter speeds is done as a matter of course.
With video it's usually been thought of as a post production
only option until recently.
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Old May 5th, 2007, 05:36 PM   #9
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My problem with the workflow of P2 isn't ingesting the footage. With FCP you can copy it over easy. My problem is what to do to make archival copies. The only simple options seem to be to use 4 gig cards so you can put them onto DVDs, or get a Blu-ray burner (now available) and use bigger cards. Or use LTO or DLT drives, which puts the data to tapes. Even with Sony's upcoming EX, the same problem is there, but they've got the portable XDCAM burner, so it's not quite as bad. You can end up with XDCAM discs, which allegedly are better than tape in terms of archiving for years. Also, I've read you can get about an hour per card. And the price of the cards is supposed to be reasonable, so a guy could buy enough cards to go on a week's shoot and not worry about it. Two 16 gig P2 cards isn't enough for a day for documentary work.

I think slomo capability is very nice, but even in the days when I shot 16mm with variable speed cameras, I very rarely used it. The Sony F350 has variable speed, but I don't know if the upcoming EX does. That would be cool.

Recently somebody shot a low budget sports film in this area, and they used the HVX200. Even though the data handling was a hassle for them, it was worth it for slomo capability, which you can't do without in a sports movie.
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Old May 5th, 2007, 05:59 PM   #10
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Great comments! I have learned a lot just in this thread. I really appreciate the interest. J
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Old May 5th, 2007, 06:14 PM   #11
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I was at NAB and saw the new Sony EX camera in person. Very nice looking. Bigger like the HVX (direct competition for it actually). Uses the smaller PCI Express cards vs. the larger ones like P2. And it does do slomo. :)
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Old May 5th, 2007, 06:56 PM   #12
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I thought it did but wasn't sure. It's going to cost $8K, I read, but it's a 1/2" chip camera and will do the 50mbs XDCAM HD. I think the portable XDCAM burner is going to be around $3K. So, with a few cards you're going to be in biz for around $12K. That might be high for an individual doing his own projects, but dirt cheap by professional production standards. For the type of stuff I do, even at today's new price for P2, I'd spend way more than that for an equivalent HVX200 package, and I'd still have to use DVDs or Blu-ray DVDs to keep my footage. To me, that little XDCAM burner is what makes the Sony system make sense. That and the cheaper cards and the fact that you can get so much footage on a 16 gig card. It seems that Sony has actually thought things through for this model. I take back all the mean nasty things I've said about them. And as far as the quality, the XDCAM HD footage I've seen from their F350 is amazingly good, and the EX will have the 1/2" chips too.
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Old May 5th, 2007, 07:04 PM   #13
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had Panasonic used a swappable integrated hard drive instead of those way before their time P2s, it would have had a far more successful camera.
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Old May 6th, 2007, 10:21 AM   #14
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I think P2 is more behind the curve than ahead, if you want to dump your footage to a laptop on location.
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