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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 23rd, 2009, 08:13 AM   #1
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Shoulder support?

I am shooting a documentary film right now. I choose to do a lot of shoulder work. I really hate the weight balancing of the XL-H1. It is very front heavy, even with the 20x stock lens. I already have an Anton Bauer Dionic 90 mounted at the back.

I am looking at something from Redrock Micro, Zacuto etc. Does anyone have experience with shoulder support systems for the XL-H1? Maybe I just have to live with the imbalance of this camera. Otherwise I still love it.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 10:25 AM   #2
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I had an XL H1 for almost two years, and I hand hold 90% of the time... I built a simple shoulder support by extending the included accessory rear plate (intended for Anton Bauer batteries) down and adding some foam from an old camera I had in my garage underneath, but any foam would do.

I also built a simple plate to lower the Gold Mount for my battery, and put Velcro on the top for a wireless receiver. It took about and hour using simple hand tools, aluminum plate from a hardware store, and cost less than ten bucks.

The combination of the lowered battery weight and the support made it one of the best cameras I've used hand held.

The hand grip is an expensive one I used to use on my super16mm Aaton, but there are cheaper ones out there that work as well.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 02:12 PM   #3
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Nice Mods! What kind of rails are those?

Steve,

I can really appreciate what you've done to you rigó very nice! I'm most interested in the rail system. Where is that from?

Jeff
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 06:24 PM   #4
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Mini-rod plate is Chrosziel, originally for another camera (PD-150 if I remember correctly)... I re-positioned it and drilled two 10/32 holes in the back for the front of the shoulder support... matte box is also Chrosziel, an older (12+ years) compendium model that I have used through over 10 cameras - also originally on my Aaton. You can't go wrong with Chrosziel - their stuff is pricey but it lasts.

FYI, anyone with real metal-working skills would look at this shoulder mount and shake his head... I built it "quick and dirty" (with a hacksaw, files and a cordless drill) because I needed it that day. I intended to go back and refine it later, but it worked so well that I left it alone. This basic design idea would work with the new Sonys as well.

Cameras are seldom designed by people who use them, but the XL H1 is a good start. I do miss that camera.

Last edited by Steve Rosen; December 23rd, 2009 at 06:55 PM.
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Old December 24th, 2009, 01:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floris van Eck View Post
I am shooting a documentary film right now. I choose to do a lot of shoulder work. I really hate the weight balancing of the XL-H1. It is very front heavy, even with the 20x stock lens. I already have an Anton Bauer Dionic 90 mounted at the back.

I am looking at something from Redrock Micro, Zacuto etc. Does anyone have experience with shoulder support systems for the XL-H1? Maybe I just have to live with the imbalance of this camera. Otherwise I still love it.
Have you seen the DVTEC EngRig?
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Old December 24th, 2009, 08:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Rosen View Post

Cameras are seldom designed by people who use them, but the XL H1 is a good start. I do miss that camera.
Which cameras are you mainly using now, Steve?
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Old December 24th, 2009, 10:05 AM   #7
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Several years ago I was contracted, for decent dough, to produce a documentary (BOYHOOD SHADOWS: I Swore I'd Never Tell) and the foundation was nervous about HDV (which I have no problem with, by the way) - they preferred DVCPRO HD.

As a result I sold my Canons and purchased a Panasonic HPX500 and an HVX200. I really like the images from these cameras, and I have grown to like the P2 cards a lot - I shoot 720/24pn because it looks like super16 to me.

I have also recently acquired several Canon HV40s for another show, which I will intercut with the HPX500 - so with those I shoot 24p native, and am relatively pleased.

I built a custom rig for one of the 40s as well, so I can use my Chrosziel 3x3 matte box, wireless receiver and a wooden grip I made for the HVX200. These little cameras are difficult to hand hold steadily, and I have a prejudice against OIS. With the way I've set this one up, adding some mass and improving the grip, I can shoot for hours without OIS.

It has been very interesting going back to tape, however.

By the way.. One of the things I likes about the way I had my XL H1 set up (compared to other mounts I've seen) is that it fit in a case without disassembly, and with the grip folded up it would sit flat on the floor or a table - important considerations when shooting a documentary - long days without an AC to hand the camera to.
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Old December 26th, 2009, 04:32 PM   #8
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the engrig works great with the XL, but you do have to add a couple of holes in the baseplate
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