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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 June 22nd, 2007, 12:19 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Don Palomaki View Post
The A1 can do what you have in mind.

Tape is cheap and reliable. I have VHS tapes from nearly 30 years ago that play with no apparent loss in quality, and audio tapes from 45 years ago that play. I can no longer play data from a 15 year old hard drive I have. If you want to have your original captured data reliably available in the future, do not rule out tape.

The A1 mic is good for ambient sound and for speakers within a few feet of the camcorder. But capturing good sound is very much an art, and a good selection of external microphones can make the sound sing. But mic selection depends on what and how you plan to shoot. In any case, if wind is likely, get a "dead cat" or similar wind noise suppression cover for you microphones. The foam units are not very effective. You need the fake fur types for better performance.

How many hours of video do you plan to shoot before you can recharge? As a rough rule of thumb, plan to have a battery for each hour of tape. That may be overkill for the BP950 and equivalents these days with the A1, but better to have too much than to little.

Can't speak to Vegas or Playstations.

Is Blu Ray going to survive or go the way of Betamax? The local Costco is now selling a Toshiba HD-DVD player for $249, and has some HD-DVD movies in stock. I don't recall ever seeing Blu Ray for sale there. Time will tell I guess.

Can't speak to costs in the UK, or far East, or tax implications when you go back to the UK.
A couple of days ago, the biggest video store chain (Block B------)has announced they will only carry Blu-ray and not HD-DVD. This is a big win for Blu-ray and also 70% of people are renting Blu-ray over HD DVD at BB stores.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 01:52 AM   #17
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I seem to remember reading something in the online news the other day that BB had just gone bust in the UK??

Good news about the Blu-Ray though, thanks!

Colin.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 07:32 AM   #18
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Remember the DIVX system about 9 years or so ago?

Interesting that DVD became the standard because IBM, of all organization, orchestrated an industry agreement among the competing formats back in the early 1990s. Too bad no one is doing that today between BluRay and HD DVD.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 05:46 PM   #19
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Don, one battery per hour of tape is definitely overkill. I get that with BPL 40s on a DSR500. I shot between 3 and 4 hours over 2 days on a single charge and still didn't run the standard battery down on the XH A1. With a second battery I can run all day. The 950 allegedly lasts about 5 hours, and the 970 is rated at 7 hours.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 06:51 PM   #20
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Blu Ray and PS3

I wanted to chime in on the Blu Ray authoring issue since you mentioned that you had a PS3.

The thing is that Blu Ray authoring is very much a baby now. Most of the authoring tools can create bare-bones BDAV disks: no menus. More advanced systems can create BDAV disks with static (DVD-style) menus, but not interactive (over-the-video) menus, as these require BD-J (Blu Ray Java) authoring environment. None of the consumer-grade or even semi-pro grade BD authoring tools include an evnironment to author BD-J disks with full interactivity.

Then there are encoder issues. BDAV is currently mostly MPEG2 on the consumer side. That means you usually go around 25Mbs to keep the quality at HDV level. The better codec - AVC - which maintains the same quality at half the data rate required about 1000 horse-power machine and hours to encode, plus it is not available in most consumer or semi-pro authoring environments. Whatever consumer versions of AVC are out now are not very stable and quite limited.

The format is still very young, and you will be paying a lot of money for an extremely limited set of features.

But... you have the "silver bullet" - the PS3. Consider the following. You can get an external hard-drive (if you don't have one already), you can copy your final productions to this hard-drive straight out of the camera or your authoring system, and watch HD video on your TV. To do this, simply connect the external hard-drive to one of the PS3 USB ports, and you are good to go.

For about $50 extra, you could get Nero Media Home CE. That way your external hard-drive can be connected to your computer, and you could stream HD video from it directly to PS3, which will show them on your TV. Just don't try wireless connection to stream HD video :)

I always capture video from XH-A1 to an external hard-drive, and then the video is ready to preview right away via PS3 on my HDTV. When I am done editing, I render the final version of the video out of Premier Pro 2.0, and then right away the video is ready to be viewed on the TV via PS3. It works like a charm - I love it!
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 07:23 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Maksim Yankovskiy View Post
But... you have the "silver bullet" - the PS3. Consider the following. You can get an external hard-drive (if you don't have one already), you can copy your final productions to this hard-drive straight out of the camera or your authoring system, and watch HD video on your TV. To do this, simply connect the external hard-drive to one of the PS3 USB ports, and you are good to go.

For about $50 extra, you could get Nero Media Home CE. That way your external hard-drive can be connected to your computer, and you could stream HD video from it directly to PS3, which will show them on your TV. Just don't try wireless connection to stream HD video :)

I always capture video from XH-A1 to an external hard-drive, and then the video is ready to preview right away via PS3 on my HDTV. When I am done editing, I render the final version of the video out of Premier Pro 2.0, and then right away the video is ready to be viewed on the TV via PS3. It works like a charm - I love it!
Is there any other way to view it on TV without the PS3 to get that preview before it is decided to render the final?
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 11:39 PM   #22
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Is there any other way to view it on TV without the PS3 to get that preview before it is decided to render the final?
If you just want to view the footage from the camera before you even captured/edited it, you can just use on-camera component connection to run it to your HDTV.

It gets a bit more complicated if you want to preview edited footage on the TV without having to render it first.

If you could do "preview/print to camera" - I know Premier Pro can't - you could connect firewire from computer to XH-A1, then connect component cable from XH-A1 to the TV. This should give you a high-def preview.

Alternatively, you can connect S-Video out (if your video card has one) to the TV; that isn't going to give you a high-def image, though.

If you don't want to render the original first, your best bet, IMHO, is to use a properly callibrated computer monitor.
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 12:05 AM   #23
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Maksim,

Great input, thanks. I guess my head is so far up in the clouds with all this stuff that I hadn't considered the simplicity of your suggestions before. I am sitting here with about a terabyte's worth of external hard drives, so it makes perfect sense to use them in the way you say. I will still burn to Blu-Ray disk though, even if only for storage of raw footage.

This PS3 is turning out to be one of my better investments. Half the price (in UK) of a Blu-Ray player, loads of connectivity, plays everything ...and you get a free games console thrown in ;)

Colin.
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 01:35 AM   #24
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I could not agree with you more. I have to admit, though, that I initially bought PS3 for games. I did not even have XH-A1 back then. But when I got it, the PS3 proved extremely useful.

Getting back to Blu Ray, I think the new Adobe Production Studio (which includes Premier Pro CS3, which includes Encore CS3) is due out in July (at least in the States). Encore CS3 will be able to burn Blu Ray discs with static or motion menus (DVD style, no BD-J interactivity). And Premier Pro CS3 will include the AVC codec. I know I am getting this authoring package...

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This PS3 is turning out to be one of my better investments.
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 03:30 AM   #25
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Total Costs

Just as an exercise, I spent this morning hunting around online to try and get the best prices to complete my wish list of what I think I'll need to get me started. It makes for interesting (and somewhat frightening!) reading. These are the best deals I could find in UK Pounds Sterling equivalent, albeit some of the items were sourced in the Far East, which is where I will be buying anyway.

The list is below, and I would appreciate any input or comments from you guys 'in the know' ...i.e. have I made any glaring errors in my estimations?

List is by, Item Type Price(£) Comments

XH A1 Canon £1,900
FS-C Firestore £820 60 GB
Seinnheiser mic ME66 £400 Includes power module
Wide-angle lens Canon WD-H72 £310
Dead Cat ME66 Windcutter £20
Filter Set Canon FS72U £110
Bag Kata HB 205 £170
Rain Cover Kata CRC 14 £75
Tapes AY-DVM63PQ £40 Price for 10 tapes
Batteries Canon 970 £160 One only
Tripod Gitzo GT1540T £300
Fluid Head Gitzo G2180 £130
Software Sony Vegas 7 £380 For Windows XP

Total Cost £4,815

I have not included the Blu-Ray Burner as that will come later, as will some of the stuff above if my wife gets to see the pricelist :) Again, thanks for all the contributions. I hope to serve out my apprenticeship using DVinfo.net as my master tutor. Chris has done a remarkable job with this forum.

Colin.
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Old June 25th, 2007, 12:14 AM   #26
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Are you sure XH-A1 will fit in 205? I passed on that backpack, because I did not think it would based on the dimensions.

Quote:
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Bag Kata HB 205 170
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Old June 25th, 2007, 02:15 AM   #27
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Nope ...not sure at all, but saw a picture of it with a similar camera loaded into it somewhere.
This was my reason for posting the list, so thanks ...I will check it out. I need a backpack as the camera will be mostly used during trekking and hiking expeditions, so is there something more appropriate?
I guess I would really like something that housed both my EOS 30D, a couple of lenses (one pretty big one) and the XH A1 (with the minimum of accessories), but I think I would end up lugging a suitcase around! Currently my thoughts are to use two backpacks and the services of my wife (or her family ...her brothers usually accompay me in Indonesia) and porters to do the carrying. I swear by LowePro products for my stills photograpy, so maybe I will check them out for the video camera as well.
Getting the whole kit down to Indonesia or anywhere else as hand luggage is another issue, but I'll deal with that when the time comes.

Thanks again,

Colin.
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Old June 25th, 2007, 12:46 PM   #28
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I never thought picking up a good backpack to house XH-A1 and EOS-20D would be so painful.
I looked at BP-205; they would not fit.
I looked at BP-502; they would fit, but the airlines would not take the 502 as carry-on, and there's not a chance I am checking over $5K worth of gear. Plus, the KATA letters on the bags scream "Expensive photo/video equipment inside. Steal me!".
I still have not found a backpack that would take XH-A1 with couple of batteries, tapes, an outboard mic, couple of cables, EOS 20D with 24-70 2.8L lens, 580EX flash and couple of other minor acc. None of the backpacks I saw (Kata/Lowepro/Tamrac) that would take the above items would be allowed as carry-on :(
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