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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 March 28th, 2009, 12:06 PM   #1
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Seeking software/hardware recommendations for handling XLH1A footage

Hi everybody,

I recently got the Canon XLH1A and am thrilled the video results. Now, my problem is figuring out the best way to handle the HD footage. I currently use a 2006 Sony VGC-RC310G Vaio computer [Pentium (R) D CPU 3.20 GHz, 2.00 GB of RAM]. Iím used to editing standard definition DV footage with Vegas 6.0 and authoring it with Adobe Encore DVD 1.5. I like the layout of Vegas and actually learned Encore, but both programs have some awful bugs. On my computer, Vegas 6.0 canít capture HD footage from the XLH1A, but I can capture it with Ulead BD Disc Recorder (software that came with my PC). The Ulead captures are slow and sometimes unsuccessful.

So, I need new software for capturing HD video and also want to get new software for authoring HD video on DVDs and for making blu-ray discs. I should be able to burn blu-ray discs with my Ulead software. I just havenít tried yet. Also, because of a bug with my system, DVD Architect wonít burn discs on my PC (tried many times). So, that software is out of consideration.

Any recommendations from people who have been in a similar situation? Iím guessing Final Cut Pro with a new Apple (never had one before) or Avid with my current PC may be effective solutions. Iíve checked out Apple vs. Avid posts and donít want to get into that debate very heavily. I like Vegas, but to increase compatibility with other professionals and other work I may deal with, it might be good for me to switch to Apple or Avid.

Basically, Iím looking for a professional capturing/editing/authoring software and hardware solution that will allow me to easily handle miniDV HD footage from the XLH1A. Iíd prefer something with a layout similar to Vegas because thatís what Iíve used for the last 4 years. Does the latest version of Vegas easily handle XLH1A footage and does it have any major bugs? Also, does the latest Vegas software have any compatibility issues in regards to using files it produces in Avid or Final Cut Pro projects?

Any input would be appreciated. Thanks.

-Tristan
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Old March 29th, 2009, 09:35 AM   #2
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Tristin,

You can buy the upgrade from 6.0 Vegas to 8.0, then then free upgrade to 8.0c or 8.1 if you want to run 64 bit. I heard Vegas movie is not half bad for this too and it is pretty cheap. Personally I would go the 8.0. It also comes with DVD Archetect.

This program will do pretty much everything you want to do with your camera (I got mine in January)

Depending on how serious you are, getting neo-scene will be an asset if you are going to do more color correcting and adjustments to the files. I have just started using it and so far, so good!!! It also lets you run better on slower or older machines, to a degree. To watch and edit in real time you will lily still have to use monitor in preview quality.

Overall the above seems to be a solid workflow. You will still have plenty of questions but then that is what this community is about.
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Old March 29th, 2009, 10:04 AM   #3
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The latest versions of Vegas, FCP, & Avid all work easily with HDV files from the Canon XH series camcorders. Whichever software you choose, I think you might need to upgrade your computer to handle HDV. At least a dual-core, or even better a quad-core CPU.
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Old April 1st, 2009, 10:07 PM   #4
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Hey guys,

Thanks so much for the helpful replies.

After some web browsing, it looks like workflow and interfaces are some of the main factors that dictate peopleís preferences for the different high end NLE systems. Many of those systems can essentially do the same things. Thus, I plan on sticking with Vegas.

I already know the software well and it looks like Vegas 8 Pro can do just about everything Iíll need. Iím not sure if Iíll need neo-scene. I do nature and wildlife videography, so I try to keep my files looking pretty natural. So far, I havenít experimented with color correcting in videos. Neo-scene looks like it might be handy though. With my XL1S, all my captured video appeared as AVI files, but with the XLH1A, I get MPEG files with my captures, and, unlike my AVI files, the MPEG thumbnails show a generic symbol and not an image of whatís actually in the file.

I downloaded a trial version of DVD Architect 5.0 and it actually burned a DVD on my computer. I made the DVD in a hurry and the video image had goofy scan lines and weird artifacts, but the software actually recognized my burner! That did not happen with DVD Architect 3.0. So, I think I finally may have found an authoring solution. Still, Iím not sure how the best quality for authoring is derived from the Vegas 8 pro suite.

Currently, I render AVI files with Vegas 6.0 and then us Adobe Encore DVD 1.5 to convert those AVI files into an image file with menu data. Encore lets me do 2-pass variable bit-rate image file writing at 9 mega-bits per second. I then use Imgburn software to actually burn my projects to DVDs because Encore is too buggy to do its own burning. Based on reviews, it looks like I should be able to do variable 2-pass encoding with Vegas, but I guess I wonít figure it out until I actually get the software.

I think Iíll try Vegas 8 Pro on my current PC and if it bogs down too much, Iíll consider getting a new computer. Iíve been looking into other Vaios, like the VGCRT-100Y, which has 4 GB of RAM, an Intel Core 2 Quad Processor, and 1 TB of storage. Eventually, Iíll probably also have to get an HD monitor. Iím not really sure what the best deals are for speedy, storage-heavy PCs that have good burners.

How does upgrading work when you already own previous versions of the Vegas software? A new copy of Vegas 8 pro would set me back about $440 from Amazon, but Tiger Direct has an upgrade available for $130. Are the upgrade copies only operational after entering serial numbers from earlier copies of the software? Do the upgrade copies have everything thatís included in the full-price versions?

Thanks again.

-Tristan
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Old April 1st, 2009, 10:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tristan Howard View Post
... Still, I’m not sure how the best quality for authoring is derived from the Vegas 8 pro suite.

Currently, I render AVI files with Vegas 6.0 and then us Adobe Encore DVD 1.5 to convert those AVI files into an image file with menu data. Encore lets me do 2-pass variable bit-rate image file writing at 9 mega-bits per second. I then use Imgburn software to actually burn my projects to DVDs because Encore is too buggy to do its own burning. Based on reviews, it looks like I should be able to do variable 2-pass encoding with Vegas, but I guess I won’t figure it out until I actually get the software ...
I think you'll be pleased with the Vegas + DVDA workflow, it's very straight forward. You can skip that extra AVI render, because you edit & encode directly from the Vegas timeline. Then drop the resulting MPEG-2 files directly into DVDA for burning.

FWIW I still have Vegas running on an old Pentium 4 / 2.4Ghz desktop with a 10,000 rpm system drive and it still works for basic HDV editing. I can't justify upgrading it, and I can't justify throwing it away, so it just keeps on going, and going. But I much prefer working on my quad-cores, as it's more flexible when getting creative with compositing and special effects.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 07:59 PM   #6
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Tristan,
I'm still using a Pentium D 940 3.19 GHz to edit HDV and while it is not fast, it does do a very competent job.

I started using Vegas 6.0 and it could not handle editing HDV well, but this changed with 7.0 and has improved even more with 8.0. I am currently using 8.0 c. No problems with capturing or editing.

I use G-Tech external hard drives for storage and have 1(2Terabyte) and 2(1 terabyte) drives attached.

The upgrade versions are full featured.You don't have to enter the serial number of previous versions when you install an upgrade, just the one which they will e-mail you when you purchase the upgrade(assuming you are upgrading by downloading). I think you have to have a previous version of Vegas registered with them and this will show that you qualify for the upgrade. You can check this out by setting up a "My Software" account which will enable you to access a listing of all software registered to you. In my case it shows all of the versions of Vegas and DVD architect which I have purchased and the serial number of each. All were based on the original purchase of Vegas 6.0.

Unlike Photoshop, you don't need to install 6.0 and then install everything in between to get to the point that you can install the latest upgrade. I notice that 7.0 is still installed on mine in addition to 8.0 but I don't think it has to be.

Also there is no problems in burning Blu-Ray with this set-up and DVD Architect 5.0a. I added a LaCie external firewire Blu-Ray drive and it does the job.

It would be nice to have a faster computer, but at this time this is doing the job and as it seems ours are much the same yours will likely work too.
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Old April 7th, 2009, 07:40 PM   #7
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I'm sorry I'm replying so late. I've been busy with a college project and have had internet access problems.

Michael, thanks for the input on Vegas 8.0's rendering process. It sounds like things have definitely improved. It looks like my computer could probably handle HDV editing alright as long as I get better software.

Willard, thanks for the reply. With wildlife shooting, software, and XL camera upgrades, it looks like we've got a lot of similarities. It's good to know that Vegas 8.0 works on a PC setup similar to the one I have. I figured I'd have to get some TB drives eventually. I've learned that if I want to do much with video, external hard drives are essential. I currently use a couple 500 GB Seagate drives and a couple LaCie 750 GB d2 Quadra style drives. About a year and half ago, I got some 750 GB Freeagent Seagate drives (vertical style with glowing orange light) that were a newer style than my 500 GB drives, but they both crashed on me after problems with copying folders loaded with huge video files. I think the drives over-heated. My LaCie drives are replacements for my failed Seagates. Thanks for the info on the upgrade process. Sony probably has me on file. It's nice to know blu-ray burning should work fine. For now, I'll stick with my current PC.
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Old May 1st, 2009, 03:22 PM   #8
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for HDV capturing, use HDVSplit.
For DV capturing, use WinDV.

Both progs are FREE (under GPL) and have no frame loss. you can then edit on whatever you are used to.
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