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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.


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Old December 12th, 2008, 11:16 AM   #1
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Evolution of the XL

With the release of the 5D Mark II, I can't help but feel we are seeing a shift in the technology we use in our cameras. RED was the start of this, but as with time, this tech will dribble down across the board.

This has got me thinking about the next iteration of Canon's XL series. With the superior video image of the 5D Mark II, I feel Canon has just set a high standard for themselves. For a DSLR camera costing 1/3 the price of their flagship HD camcorder to have a superior image, I can't help but think what they will do with their next XL HD camcorder.

Of course the XL has many many things about it that are much better for video/film production than the DSLR (it was made for video/film production), but with the core imaging tech of the 5D Mark II, Canon has much to top now in terms of RAW image quality from the tech itself in the next XL camcorder.

Me dreaming:

1920x1080P
3x 35mm Full Frame HD CMOS Sensors
3.1 MegaPixels per sensor
Digic DV III
New 20x L series HD Lens designed for new sensor size
Variable Framerates (1-60fps)
3Gbps HD-SDI (4:4:4:4)
New Hybrid LCD/Viewfinder with 922,000 dots resolution (like the Mark II)

Yum, I can go on, but I'll stop for now :)
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Old December 12th, 2008, 07:54 PM   #2
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I've said it before in other threads, but if Canon made a front-end that had the 5D guts, mounts to support it's DSLR lenses, and a proper video back-end with an RGB tapeless workflow they'd have a real killer camera on their hands. Native 35mm DOF. Access to a whole range of lenses.

Then again it probably would no longer be an XL series.

However, with the economy on the brink of collapse, massive layoffs at all the big camera manufacturers, and R&D projects getting cancelled....well, I worry our dream Canon camera could be a victim of all this.

Time will tell.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 06:59 AM   #3
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If you ask me the XL series is death already.

I really can't imagine that Canon will release a new XL camera with XL mount and 1/3" chips. And why would they go 1/2" or 2/3" if the 5D already does 1080p HD video? Nobody is going to buy into a new XL lens system when the whole industry is moving towards 35mm. So therefore I believe that the spiritual XL follow-up will be a smaller XL type body with 35mm CMOS sensor and 1080P resolution, most likely losless/raw.

It will probably cost as much as the current model and you will pay a premium for a video specific designed sensor and all the connections us filmmakers desire. I hope they will announce something at NAB as I want to go tapeless in 2009 and need to figure out where my money is going. Red's Scarlet is amazing but I don't expect it before 2010.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 08:17 PM   #4
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I've been using the XLH1 for 2 1/2 years now in wildlife filming, get terrific images with good light, but really desire something better in poor light and also to be 100% accepted by the broadcast world. I almost went with the EX3 this year, however, decided to play the wait and see game a little longer as I didn't like all the cheap plastic on it for one. I'm sure Canon will have a replacement to their present "Flagship" camera coming in 2009, being hopeful anyhow.

Leon Lorenz
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Old December 15th, 2008, 03:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leon Lorenz View Post
I've been using the XLH1 for 2 1/2 years now in wildlife filming, get terrific images with good light, but really desire something better in poor light and also to be 100% accepted by the broadcast world. I almost went with the EX3 this year, however, decided to play the wait and see game a little longer as I didn't like all the cheap plastic on it for one. I'm sure Canon will have a replacement to their present "Flagship" camera coming in 2009, being hopeful anyhow.

Leon Lorenz
Canadian Wildlife Productions: Grizzly Bears, Bighorm Sheep in Alberta & BC Rockies DVD Videos
Same here. I wanted to switch to the EX1 but the plastic feel put me off. And a friend of mine has one and even the paint is falling off. So I guess I might the right decision. It shoots better images then the XL-H1 however.

I have decided not to buy into any new system untill the dust settles. The industry is in a major progression right now. The video and photography markets are merging (and by this 35mm is becoming the new standard in both markets), the tapeless workflow has proven itself and is getting more widespread and if that were not enough losless/raw formats have been introduced by RED. You can't say the industry is sleeping!

In line with the above, all the NLE's are going to chance so we need to wait and see which NLE comes up with the best workflow/system/approach to tapeless and RAW. Also, I think RED is changing the game so Canon, JVC, Panasonic and Sony have to react. Finally, I expect Nikon, Pentax and Olympus to get involved as well so the number of players will grow. Exciting times but I will wait till the dust settles before I am going to invest my hard earned mony in a new system as everything is changing right now and it is changing fast.

I do know that I will only buy into a 35mm system. With lenses etc. it is the only futureproof system and with the photography lenses you can get very good glass for sharp prices. And with that glass, get great low-light capabilities and a big reach. If only the auto-focus from the photography bodies comes to videocamera's... i would be perfectly happy.

NAB 2009 is going to be very exciting.
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Old December 15th, 2008, 05:54 AM   #6
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There's a lot of excited talk about us all shooting full frame (36 x 24 mm) movies when the film industry has been happy shooting half frame for very many years.

But the killer is the size, weight and cost of the lenses we'll need to cover that huge frame. If you look at the 20x zoom on the XL-H1 and the Z5 you'll see Sony and Canon cram a 20x, f/1.6 to f/3.5 zoom into a cylinder that's frontedwith a 72 mm thread.

Have a look at the lenses designed for the 5DMk2. Here's one.

24 to 70 mm (so just under 3x zoom).
Weighs a kilo, max aperture f/2.8, needs 77 mm filters.

So it's half the weight of an entire FX1 and half the cost. I'm guessing camcorders that have 3x zooms with such restricted maximum apertures generally have trouble finding customers.

tom.
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Old December 15th, 2008, 04:30 PM   #7
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You are right Tom.

But you forget one thing: sensors are getting really good in low-light. With 35mm, you won't need F/1.6 as it will absorb more light than a 1/3 or 2/3 sensor. Also, if you look at what Nikon has done with the D700/D3... these camera's are amazing in low-light and a big improvement over for example the D200 which was release 2 years before.

So I think that when the industry settles to 35mm sensors, and these guys get better with sensor designs and noise reduction, the disadvantages of F/2.8 photo lenses are covered. Long zooms will still be a problem, but I think that will be covered by the larger sensors (i.e. 3k and 4k) so you zoom/crop in post.

Every advantage has a disadvantage.
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Old December 15th, 2008, 09:28 PM   #8
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One thing is for certain...I have zero idea what Canon is planning on doing. LOL!

I just screened my feature film "The Blackout" at The Landmark on a Sony 4K projector and the film, shot with an XLH1, looked really really good. Not perfect. But surprisingly good enough. Canon, who attended the event, seemed very pleased by the results.

So the lesson I learned is that 1080p is truly enough resolution 95% of the time, even for theatrical projection. THAT was an eye opener particularly after the last 24 months of RED-Heads brainwashing me into thinking 4K is the ONLY option. LOL!

What I really want is 35mm DOF, 10 or 12-bit color, and a data-centric workflow. I want that more than I want resolution at this point (though 2K would be nice considering it's not much higher in resolution compared to 1080p).

Again. Canon is going to do what Canon is going to do and no amount of creative speculation is going to will it into existence. Hopefully, the D5 is a leading indicator.

Fingers crossed.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 12:36 AM   #9
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Anyone have any thoughts on the XDR and Nano Flash by Convergebt design? Do you see these products giving more life to the H1?
Also, 35 mm dof in camera would be great. I bought a letus Extreme,and though I realy like the look, I haven't used it too much yet because of the extra time and work needed to shoot with it.
Robert,
What is a "data centric work flow"
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Old December 16th, 2008, 04:42 PM   #10
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I meant tapeless.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 08:29 PM   #11
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Robert,
What do you think about the nano and xdr flash units from Convergent Design?
Bruce yarock
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Old December 18th, 2008, 07:12 PM   #12
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To be honest, I don't know much about them. I do like that they are solid state and don't use hard drives. That's very important.

However, what I'd really like to see is something that takes advantage of the HD-SDI output from the camera and record it to solid state using a more robust compressor like ProRes or Cineform. The Flash XDR seems to do this, but I'm not so keen on MPEG.

On a similar note: If Canon were to introduce a 5D style camera in a proper body with full video controls that replaces the XL series I would predict it will include recording 10-bit AVC to CF cards (or similar media). I doubt we'll get a RAW solution similar to RED.

Hopefully we'll see something on or before NAB.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 09:42 PM   #13
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The convergent Design products (nano flash and XDR) both capture directly from the hd/sd output. Supposed to be full hd resolution. I wouldn't waste my money with the Sony or Fostex hdv recorders, unless I had a big project that demanded hdv recorded on cf cards.

HDV To HD-SDI Video Converters Professional Video Equipment HDMI To HD-SDI Television Studio Equipment

They are not cheap.

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Old December 25th, 2008, 11:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Sanders View Post
To be honest, I don't know much about them. I do like that they are solid state and don't use hard drives. That's very important.

However, what I'd really like to see is something that takes advantage of the HD-SDI output from the camera and record it to solid state using a more robust compressor like ProRes or Cineform. The Flash XDR seems to do this, but I'm not so keen on MPEG.

On a similar note: If Canon were to introduce a 5D style camera in a proper body with full video controls that replaces the XL series I would predict it will include recording 10-bit AVC to CF cards (or similar media). I doubt we'll get a RAW solution similar to RED.

Hopefully we'll see something on or before NAB.

I actually got to submit some straight-to-disk uncompressed XL-H1 SDI stuff to Mike at CD and he put the material through their recorder with the 100mb recording mode and sent me back the resultant QT 100mbs MPEG2 file. Looked exactly the same as what I sent him. (gave him a ProRes HQ version--basically visually uncompressed) What I shot was some footage that was designed to really stress HDV, yet the Flash XDR had no issues with it and was very post-friendly.

If you were making your movie now with the XL-H1 I think you would've opted for the Flash XDR rather than computer hassles. The device can also remove pulldown on the fly.
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Old December 26th, 2008, 02:52 AM   #15
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Barlow,
Do you have any idea how the xdr set up would integrate in our editing workflow? Right now we use Premiere CS3 and Cineform Asoect HD for capturing and editing hdv.
Thanks
Bruce Yarock
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