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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 29th, 2011, 11:57 AM   #1
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Matching DSLR & XLH1 - anyone doing this?

So, the C300 looks like the prefect camera I was waiting for; but it just seems to be a bit out of my price range, so I have finaly taken the Canon DSLR plunge.

My plan is to continue shooting the XLH1 with a Nanoflash as my run n' gun camera, and use the DSLR as a 'B' camera for interviews and set scenes, at least until I get to grips with it.

Has anyone successfully managed to match the XLH1 to a Canon DSLR (I got the T3i, but seemingly the look is much the same as the 7D, T2i & 60D)? Any presets out there to get the color profiles close enough to match in post?
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Old December 29th, 2011, 02:49 PM   #2
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Re: Matching DSLR & XLH1 - anyone doing this?

Simon,

I've been matching 5d2 and XLH1 for 2 years now and the H1 does look soft by comparison, but I was not using a nanoflash, so you should have a much better sharpness match. I usually shoot pretty flat and tweak the colors in post. If you make sure your color temps are the same, you should be pretty good to start. I'm not sure if the T3i has dial-able color temp. I have screwed up in the past, and not had matching color temps, It was a pain to fix, and i ended up using a bare minimum of the second camera footage that day.

I would suggest that you just start experimenting. What i have found is that I almost always now reach for the DSLR over the H1. The 5d2 is a hell of a lot more work, with manual focus, aperture, etc...and audio limitations, poor ergonomics, moire, aliasing... Yet despite that, I reach for it almost all the time on jobs these days. My H1 has had very limited use in the past 2 years, while I've shot almost 20,000 clips with the 5d2. I think that there is something about the image, that is kind of addicting. Not to mention, the phenomenal low light performance.

The c300 does look to have that same appeal. Without the negatives. So it will be really hard to resist. I'm still waiting to see about this 4k DSLR that is in the works.
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Old December 29th, 2011, 03:20 PM   #3
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Re: Matching DSLR & XLH1 - anyone doing this?

The 5D tends to have much higher contrast, but they blend OK with most subjects; although head-shots where you need to blend skin tones can be tough.

The C300 looks to be a better match for the XL-H1s (Although I've only seen video tests of the C300 and not tried it myself yet).

I really like the C300 video options and controls, but the price difference to the 5D is huge. I think I'll wait to see what the 5D Mark III has to offer when it is launched in late Spring. My main problem with the C300 would be that is mainly a video camera and not for stills shots. I use the 5D Mk2 cameras 50% stills & 50% video, so would prefer to stick to that hybrid format. Yet...the ease of using the C300 is VERY tempting! :)
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Old January 1st, 2012, 02:29 PM   #4
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Re: Matching DSLR & XLH1 - anyone doing this?

Suggest you download Magic Lantern for the T3i/600D. You can set the color temperature precisely. It also has many other features. And it's free.

Best

Harry.
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Old January 2nd, 2012, 10:17 AM   #5
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Re: Matching DSLR & XLH1 - anyone doing this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Diewert View Post
Simon,

I've been matching 5d2 and XLH1 for 2 years now and the H1 does look soft by comparison, but I was not using a nanoflash, so you should have a much better sharpness match. I usually shoot pretty flat and tweak the colors in post. If you make sure your color temps are the same, you should be pretty good to start. I'm not sure if the T3i has dial-able color temp. I have screwed up in the past, and not had matching color temps, It was a pain to fix, and i ended up using a bare minimum of the second camera footage that day.

I would suggest that you just start experimenting. What i have found is that I almost always now reach for the DSLR over the H1. The 5d2 is a hell of a lot more work, with manual focus, aperture, etc...and audio limitations, poor ergonomics, moire, aliasing... Yet despite that, I reach for it almost all the time on jobs these days. My H1 has had very limited use in the past 2 years, while I've shot almost 20,000 clips with the 5d2. I think that there is something about the image, that is kind of addicting. Not to mention, the phenomenal low light performance.

The c300 does look to have that same appeal. Without the negatives. So it will be really hard to resist. I'm still waiting to see about this 4k DSLR that is in the works.
Hmm... I've matched DSLR footage with XL footage for a while too, but my experience is the opposite - The XL stuff was always sharper. The high contrast and digital sharpening, with the moire, always gave the dslr footage a "sharper" feel, but side by side, it always seemed noticeably softer to the XL footage.

I have the XLH1s/Nano as well as the T3i, 7D, and 5D Mark 2. I'm kinda slammed these days with work, but maybe if I find some time, I'll try to do a comparison.

This C300 though looks to be the ticket! I'm working on getting a demo unit soon from my contacts at Canon... hope to see what its all about.
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Old January 2nd, 2012, 01:09 PM   #6
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Re: Matching DSLR & XLH1 - anyone doing this?

Michael,

If you're seeing it one way, and I'm seeing it the other, then it probably matches pretty good. : )

Actually though, I only use the pair together when shooting weddings, which isn't that often. And there is usually always some variation in the settings. I've never tested the two side-by-side.

I've been seriously considering getting a Nano/Samurai for the H1 to get some use out of it. Mine is the original XLH1 so no embedded audio in the HD-SDI. Either that or I may just sell it and start saving for the 5d replacement.
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Old January 5th, 2012, 08:57 AM   #7
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Re: Matching DSLR & XLH1 - anyone doing this?

Ken,
I have the Samurai and use it with my XLh1 and the results are great. However, I am with Michael in the fact that the XLh1 footage looks much higher res than the DSLRs ( I use the 7d). Don't get me wrong, the 7D creates a much more cinematic image with the shallow DOF, but there is a softness overall. The XLh1 clearly produces a much deeper DOF and therefore looks a little more "video-ish" but the results look like the Discovery Channel HD. Amazing looking footage, but clearly less filmic. I find color correcting the H1 using the Samurai ProRes clips is very nice. It holds up well.

Now I find myself torn between the XLh1 and 7d. I clearly favor the optics of the 7d but the codec and resulting footage is clearly less quality, especially if doing a lot of post work.

The XLh1 gives me the clarity and ability to color correct, grade and do extensive effects work and lose virtually no quality....but with a deeper depth of field. It all depends on what you are after.

So the samurai has surely added life to the XLh1 for me. But I still have a 7d for those "certain" shots that I just have to get.
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Old January 5th, 2012, 03:52 PM   #8
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Re: Matching DSLR & XLH1 - anyone doing this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty Hudzik View Post
Ken,
I have the Samurai and use it with my XLh1 and the results are great. However, I am with Michael in the fact that the XLh1 footage looks much higher res than the DSLRs ( I use the 7d). Don't get me wrong, the 7D creates a much more cinematic image with the shallow DOF, but there is a softness overall. The XLh1 clearly produces a much deeper DOF and therefore looks a little more "video-ish" but the results look like the Discovery Channel HD. Amazing looking footage, but clearly less filmic. I find color correcting the H1 using the Samurai ProRes clips is very nice. It holds up well.

Now I find myself torn between the XLh1 and 7d. I clearly favor the optics of the 7d but the codec and resulting footage is clearly less quality, especially if doing a lot of post work.

The XLh1 gives me the clarity and ability to color correct, grade and do extensive effects work and lose virtually no quality....but with a deeper depth of field. It all depends on what you are after.

So the samurai has surely added life to the XLh1 for me. But I still have a 7d for those "certain" shots that I just have to get.
Thanks Marty,

I'm glad I've hung on to the H1 then. It was not really worth selling anyways. I'll look at the Samurai more closely. I remember the first of these HD-SDI recorders I looked at a few years ago. That was the AC powered, tape deck sized, Wafian... At 15k, as I recall.
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Old January 6th, 2012, 07:18 AM   #9
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Re: Matching DSLR & XLH1 - anyone doing this?

Ken,
I agree. With the Samurai, the XLh1 is worth hanging onto as selling it will not net you much to put towards a newer camera.

It may have taken the better part of 5 years but the extra dinero that I paid for the "jack pack" has finally paid off. Of course when I got the XLh1 there was no other camera with these features and no "S" or "A" versions either.....so it was the only choice. Still, I remember the general consensus that the jack pack added an additional 2-3K to the price, which I thought was insane as I was sure that I'd never need these features myself. Hind Sight is 20/20 they say. :)
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Old January 7th, 2012, 02:10 PM   #10
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Re: Matching DSLR & XLH1 - anyone doing this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty Hudzik View Post
However, I am with Michael in the fact that the XLh1 footage looks much higher res than the DSLRs
Even my xh-a1 produces a higher res image then a 5 or 7d, just put them side by side with a wide angle lens and lots of small detail in the background, the difference clearly shows. Don't know if the image out of a xlh1 is that different to a xh-a1 but I find a very difficult to match dslr footage to xh-a1, that's why I just try to prevent that whenever possible.
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Old January 7th, 2012, 03:40 PM   #11
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Re: Matching DSLR & XLH1 - anyone doing this?

Thanks for all the replies.

I had seen a short documentary recently and it included a good mix of footage shot on an EX1 and a 5D.

You could definitely see the 5D footage was softer, it lacked the fine detail of the EX, but even so it had that unmistakable 'mojo' that the 5D brings to the party. Interestingly the footage was color matched very well, details aside.

I just thought there might be a preset that someone came up with to get the XL (or XH) closer to the DSLR for that kind of work - because I'm lazy! Anyhow, my T3i should arrive next week so I'll be playing with it and the XL to see what I can come up with.

I'm presume that the Nanoflash footage will be a lot more gradable than the DSLR, so I'll be aiming to bring the XL as close as I can to the T3 in-camera, and then try to close the gap in post.

Should be an interesting experiment anyway, I'll let you know if I get anything from it. The goal I suppose is to get to grips with the DSLR workflow by slowly introducing it into my XL shoots, so that by the time the XL is ready for retirement I'll be good and ready to get onboard the DSLR bandwagon.

OT:

Its interesting to hear that the Samurai is bringing in a lot of noise from the HD/SDI. The nanoflash does the same thing (though generally it comes into play when the shot is underexposed) - though never enough that I would even consider using noise removal software. I had heard that the ProRes codec introduces even more noise than XDCAM codec used in the nanoflash - there had been some tests done a while back that seemed to confirm this, though I can't remember where I read it....
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Old January 8th, 2012, 09:45 AM   #12
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Re: Matching DSLR & XLH1 - anyone doing this?

Honestly the noise is a fine grain, that depending on the look you are going for, could resemble film grain. It's not that objectionable. It does present itself in darker areas primarily though. I will say that since I moved I have been viewing more of my footage on a 24" PC monitor as I edit, due to space constraints. Where I used to live I had an actual 30" TV hooked up and that looked better due to signal processing built in to the TV. The PC monitor is really drawing out the noise and making it obvious. This is true even when watcing blu-rays on the PC....the footage looks much noisier.

Typically, if I watch the same XLh1 ProRes footage on my Sharp LCD large TV....it looks much better. I can still see the noise but it is much more subtle. Still, there are times where I have to shoot higher than -3db gain, and when I do, the noise is much more obvious.

For the sake of full disclosure here, I am seeing the grain primarily in indoor footage where I have had to shoot with available light or "barely" enough light. When I shot outdoor at the park filming ducks and geese getting snacks of breadcrumbs from my wife and daughter, the footage was amazing! No real sign of noise, and the colors are off the chart....in a good way. I can really see the benefits of 4:2:2 in that environment.

Perhaps I'll try to post a few frame grabs of the "noisy" footage and you can tell me what you think.
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Old January 31st, 2012, 03:24 PM   #13
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Re: Matching DSLR & XLH1 - anyone doing this?

I wonder if you have made any progress on this XLH1 matched to Canon "stills cameras" sharpness issue?

I agree 100% with (quote):

"Hmm... I've matched DSLR footage with XL footage for a while too, but my experience is the opposite - The XL stuff was always sharper. The high contrast and digital sharpening, with the moire, always gave the dslr footage a "sharper" feel, but side by side, it always seemed noticeably softer to the XL footage. "
(end quote)

I really need to find the most efficient way to sharpen up my 3Ti footage when it is being intercut with XLH1. "Sharpen Edges", an FX factory Pro plugin does a good job, but I'm wondering if anyone else has ideas?

Harry
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