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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 September 16th, 2005, 09:48 AM   #91
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Originally Posted by Andrew Wills
In response to the questions above about what type of camera was used to record this footage I have only found one reference in my exhaustive investigation.

It seems that at the very least the WildLifeHD footage was shot on a Sony F900/3, which retails at the wonderfully expensive price of $100,000.

Dissapointing. I can't be sure, but I guess it's safe to assume that the rest of the footage was shot on similar, non-affordable (for non-millionaires) HD cameras.

I do apologise for the misleading presumption that this was shot on pro-sumer HD cameras. I simply assumed that Apple would be advertising how good their new codec looks from a consumer/pro-sumer production perspective, not from a studio perspective, which is why I guess, they left out this crucial information.

I suppose its still possible that some of the footage was shot on pro-sumer HD cameras. I also think that with the right camera operator, and some great lighting, the same results could be achieved with HD, and be indistinguisable to the human eye.
Andrew, thanks for taking the time to look. Like I mentioned to Stephen, to everybody here, time is money. So thanks again. AND no apologies are needed at all, you were just giving a link to Apple's site. We're all friends here and this is just a friendly discussion. The camera info you provided above is important information to know and I appreciate your research on it.

As for "I simply assumed that Apple would be advertising how good their new codec looks from a consumer/pro-sumer production perspective, not from a studio perspective," - I don't think you are alone.

Last edited by Guest; September 16th, 2005 at 11:47 AM.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 12:22 PM   #92
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To HDV or not to HDV...

The question has been approached from every angle except the right ones.

Despite what Jay Gladwell says, and what Derek keeps emphasizing, the output is what matters. Derek however is a bit too focused on the present. How you will output your footage in the future is also a huge issue.

Right now, TODAY, if your output target is DVD or Streaming video, then HDV doesn't matter too much. You can't see the resolution, and you lose colorspace compared to DV.

That will not remain the case for very long at all. Within the year we are going to have HD video discs (Blue-Ray or HD-DVD) available. Within five years they are going to be fairly common. Within 10 years they will be more or less where DVD is today.

In regards to streaming, the main limitation of HD video is very large file sizes, and thus high bandwidth requirements.

Well, right now TODAY, I can get fiber optic Internet service at 15Mbits down & 5Mbits up. Sadly I am moving next week and will not have fiber available for a while, but this type of fiber service is where ADSL was in 1998 or so in the DC area.

So the question isn't do you need to display HD video today, but rather will you ever need to use video you shoot today in future HD projects. I firmly believe that more than 75% of professional videographers will be working in HD almost exclusively by 2010.

Computers are already fast enough to edit HD. I have posted HDCAM 1920x1080p footage through a G5 2.3 DP with Final Cut Studio 5. I have posted DVCPRO HD, and even uncompressed HD. The G5 handles it well. Avid just released a version of Xpress ProHD that uses OS X Tigers hardware rendering, Core Image and Core Video. I've seen a demo and it is lightning. Windows Vista is supposed to offer a similiar feature. Processing power will not be the problem.

Storage and recording are the issues.

This camera is a revolutionary performer because it outputs uncompressed SDI video. HD and SD (I think). If you work with composites much this camera is light years ahead of any other DV or HDV camera- if you can store the data.

Some of the stuff I have posted in uncompressed HD (composites) used up a full XServe RAID. Using HDCAM or DVCPRO field recorders is an expensive solution and cumbersome.

HDV is not a very good HD format at all. You really can't do decent composites with it. (HDV is great for simply showing a picture. You'd be surprised at how well it intercuts with professional format HD footage once color corrected.) You can't rely on HDV as a storage medium for your future needs. I anticipate a 50Mbit/s format will be what we end up with at the prosumer/low end pro level. (twice the data of HDV half of the data in DVCPRO HD) With luck we might get a 75Mbit/s format that handles full 1080p. (~half HDCAM data rate.)

The next question you need to answer is how well does SD footage intercut with HD footage. Everybody has an opinion. Mine is that for many applications SD intercuts with HD beautifully. You have seen SD intercut with HD on network television, and even in Star Wars movies.

So... where does that leave you ? I can't say.

I can say where it leaves me. I still do the bulk of my work with an XL-1. Yeah- the original. Most of my clients say its beautiful. So definitely hang on to your XL-2 until SD is not an option.

Most of my work is not going to be useful to me in five or ten years. So I am not worried about having it in HD ready to go, it isn't worth the expense.

The XL-H1 is the first camera I can seriously consider for HD work, it is closest to my operating budgets and has the quality (at least on paper) I need via its HD-SDI output. Coupled with some sort of field recorder this camera is extremely capable (again on paper). I expect to be able to do very high quality broadcast and low end theatrical (2K) post with the SDI output from this camera.

I am a little confused, but I think the H1 also outputs 4:2:2 SD SDI. That is also a great thing for my projects today that might get intercut with HD in the future or that have to be composited. This is much more economical. I can reasonably store some clips for extended periods at 23MBytes/sec, while 190MB/sec for HD is presently out of reach. This is a camera I can afford, and I can produce very high quality composites with it- no more renting DigiBeta cameras. If I get this camera I am likely to buy a DVCPRO or some type of Beta deck to go with it, probably units I can use in the field.

There is one final consideration. I will be able to use this camera in five or ten years. I can't say the same about an XL-2. Sure it will be outdated, then again so is the XL-1 that makes my clients happy today. That's essential, because the reality of my business has taught me that I NEED to use a camera for at least 5 years before buying a replacement.

So, anyway that is how this camera affects ME. It is about the future. It is about reducing my costs and increasing my capability today. That may all be worthless to you- you may not have any of these needs.

So, what is my specific plan ? The XL-H1 has set a new bar for me. It is now the least capable camera I will consider as an upgrade. If everything works out and SD-SDI output is available and high quality, I expect to acquire a camera like this in late spring 2006. It will be used primarily for SD work, but it will increasingly be used for HD. In both modes I'll be using SDI video-out at least part of the time.

I expect that when I transition to primarily HD work the H1 will stay in the stable but will not be my primary camera. That is also the point when I expect to send the XL-1 out to pasture.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 12:30 PM   #93
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Apple HD Footage

The footage shown in the Apple HD Gallery is mostly studio feature films. Very little of it is acquired on any sort of video. Mostly 35mm, some 70mm and some IMAX. There is some video, but its high end stuff as previously posted.

Apple is showing off their H264 codec, not their HDV workflow.

Remember that Final Cut Studio is intended as a complete solution for offline SD all the way up to online for features shot in 70mm. (Cold Mountain)

HDV is only a small part of the puzzle for Apple and Avid.

The great feature of the XL-H1 is the uncompressed HD-SDI output. If it is as good as promised you'll be able to deliver results basedon that camera which compare to Hollywood produced HD materials. That's about as far from HDV as you can get.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 12:32 PM   #94
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Alexander,

What well thought out post(s). I gotta get some stuff done over the next few hours, but look forward to re-reading it and discussing your excellent points.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 01:42 PM   #95
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Another thing that needs to be pointed out. Even though you may not be able to deliver HD to a client, and the clients aren't asking for it, the time to learn the technique for shooting HD is NOW. That way, when it is mainstream, you will already be proficient with the technology and not playing catch-up. Just as you shouldn't try to be learning an NLE or other high end software while working on a client's project with its associated deadlines.

-gb-
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Old September 16th, 2005, 02:18 PM   #96
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When DV first came out I didn't have clients running up to me asking for me to shoot in DV. Should I have held off shooting DV?

When DVD recording came out my clients were not asking for DVD's. Should I have held off making DVD's for my clients?

Remember most clients don't know what is out there like we do. It is up to us to present clients with the best quality not to wait for them to ask for it. If that was the case we may all still be sending out VHS (barf) tapes to our clients and shooting on SVHS.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 02:30 PM   #97
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In 2 years time, when my clients want their next HD presentation sequence produced and they want to use footage from the library that we are shooting today, they are going to be VERY happy that we shot it in HD.

Even if they don't want it now, and all they get at the moment is SD, they will soon catch up, and the fact that todays rushes are in HD is going to be a big bonus.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 02:35 PM   #98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Boston
Another thing that needs to be pointed out. Even though you may not be able to deliver HD to a client, and the clients aren't asking for it, the time to learn the technique for shooting HD is NOW. That way, when it is mainstream, you will already be proficient with the technology and not playing catch-up. Just as you shouldn't try to be learning an NLE or other high end software while working on a client's project with its associated deadlines.

-gb-
I couldn't agree more. Client's don't like to pay for you to learn.

This said, the main thing I feel you need to learn for HD is how to focus. You may have thought you could focus, but HD is here to tell you you were wrong.

This is why the XL-H1 lens includes a rangefinder and focus marks on the lens. I understand you can pull focus with a measure of reliability on this lens. That should be telling you something... focus is much harder in HD. It is as hard as 35mm photography compounded by all the problems of motion pictures.

I haven't seen it, but I expect that the autofocus is much improved compared to the XL2. I am not an XL2 owner, but isn't the inclusion of the DIGIC chip from Canon's 35mm line new ? You should see better color processing and focus as a result.

In my limited experience you should plan on purchasing a high resolution field monitor to go with any HD cameras you acquire, or depend on autofocus completely.

Alternatively look into HD viewfinders, but in practice I can tell you that focusing even with a good HD viewfinder is very hard. I can't tell you how many times I have focused "to perfection" in the VF then looked at the monitor only to be horrified. This will only be exacerbated by the limited resolution of the H1's viewfinder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Smet
Remember most clients don't know what is out there like we do. It is up to us to present clients with the best quality not to wait for them to ask for it. If that was the case we may all still be sending out VHS (barf) tapes to our clients and shooting on SVHS.
Again I agree. You have to know what's out there. You have to balance that for the client based on how you can deliver to them.

You have to be on the cutting edge. Just don't let you or your customers get cut!

For me right now, I sell HD as future proofing. If I shoot HD now, I can post HD and deliver SD for DVD, VHS(ick) or the web. Later on I can output to HD when that's necessary. Some of my clients are warming up to this idea because in a new HD market they can stand out simply by standing up with a product- any product that's true HD.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 03:18 PM   #99
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This post has me more addicted to it than the first John Grisham book I read over 10 years ago.

I skimmed through some of your comments and think all of them are very valid. I can't wait to spend more time reading them tonight and thinking about them.

But until then, just one thing really strikes me about "future-proofing."

When do you start? How many of you started future-proofing with the first JVC HD1?

If you did, are you still shooting with it?
If you did not, why? After all... it was HDV.

I've gotta go now (to go hook up some hardware), but I'm really looking forward to discussing this more. Afterall, I'm just trying to figure out the best path.

Last edited by Guest; September 17th, 2005 at 08:56 AM.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 04:13 PM   #100
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When to start learning the next technology...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek West
This post has me more addicted to it than the first John Grisham book I read over 10 years ago.

I skimmed through some of your comments and think all of them are very valid. I can't wait to spend more time reading them tonight and thinking about them.

But until then, just one thing really strikes me about "future-proofing."

I realize none of you actually used the term "future-proofing," but I've seen it around these forums and elsewhere, and think it's a good way to sum up the points of looking out for your client's (and your) best interest in the future. Feel free to replace it with another term if you see fit.

When do you start? How many of you started future-proofing with the first JVC HD1?

If you did, are you still shooting with it?
If you did not, why? After all... it was HDV.

I've gotta go now (to go hook up some hardware), but I'm really looking forward to discussing this more. Afterall, I'm just trying to figure out the best path.
In answer to your question I started using HD before HDV was available. HDCAM and DVCPRO HD. I can't afford any of that equipment. I just got gigs doing a little editing here, a little camerawork there, maybe a composite and some 3D, little by little.

About half of that work was delivered as SD. I am quite sure some of it at least has been repurposed by now as HD though.

All the HD work I have done so far has been on other people's equipment. Well, not all. I have done a logo bump in HD using Lightwave... but that isn't the same at all.

I did check out the first HDV camera, but it was a lousy camera. It shot HDV, but it didn't look that good, and as far as SD goes it was a huge step backwards from an XL-1. It was a single CCD camera IIRC. Footage shot with that had resolution, but was in every other way worse than any 3 CCD DV camera. There was no way it would intercut well with footage even from the current crop of HDV cameras, much less with other cameras I used for HD then.

The difference now, with the Sony camera at least, is that you can intercut that with F900/950 and it will look good. Not great but definitely deliverable. I expect the H1 will improve on this, and more over HD-SDI.

Right now the only HD capable equipment I own is my Dual 2.7 G5. Aside from goofing around with demo clips from Apple, Avid and Panasonic that hasn't seen any HD use as yet.

I said it before, I'll say it again: Stay on the cutting edge but don't get cut!

I have to go now, so allow me to write myself a reminder to discuss workflow and budgeting with the H1 on a show vs other HDV cameras.
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Old September 17th, 2005, 11:49 AM   #101
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Alexander,

Regarding Post #92 -

Welcome back from the future.

I donít know how much I need to say. It seems like your post has grown since I skimmed through it yesterday. And it also sort of seems like you are going back and forth with yourself.

You say ďthe question has been approached from every angle except the right ones.Ē

I donít think so. Iím just trying to figure out why I would want to switch from my XL2, which has a very proven and pretty much hassle-free workflow, AND, if it makes sense for me to get a Canon XL H1 when itís released. My main concerns are: Will I be able to shoot good looking footage, capture it, store it, edit it and export it to the web? And to this point in time, it does not really look that way. The whole workflow has to make sense not just the camera by itself.

When it looks like there is a total solution from shooting to delivering HDV is the time Iíll buy some new stuff. But Iím not going to speculate on ďand maybe this, and maybe that.Ē kind of vaporware.

Am I focused on the present? You bet I am. Am I focused on the present to the point of not looking for future solutions? Not at all. When thereís a good HDV solution Iíll switch to it. Itís just got to make some sense. If none of your clients want footage exported to the Internet, then you don't need to worry about (yet). But for me, how things look on the Internet is the most important factor.

Your point of ďStorage and Recording are the issueĒ is quite valid. And from what I've read on storage solutions for uncompressed SDI output (in this forum) it does not look cheap OR easy. Paying $30,000 to store uncompressed SDI does not make sense.

You mention ďThere is one final consideration. I will be able to use this camera in five or ten years.Ē Alexander, you will be able to buy a XL H1 on eBay for $1,000 in five years. $250 in ten (shipping included). And why you would even want to use it at that point in time is beyond me.

Finally, on "I can say where it leaves me. I still do the bulk of my work with an XL-1. Yeah- the original. Most of my clients say its beautiful. So definitely hang on to your XL-2 until SD is not an option."

That's awesome. You are obviously a talented videographer and I hope you use your time to keep shooting the beautiful work that your clients appreciate instead of the headache's of a HDV workflow.

Last edited by Guest; September 17th, 2005 at 02:54 PM.
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Old September 17th, 2005, 12:07 PM   #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Boston
Another thing that needs to be pointed out. Even though you may not be able to deliver HD to a client, and the clients aren't asking for it, the time to learn the technique for shooting HD is NOW. That way, when it is mainstream, you will already be proficient with the technology and not playing catch-up. -gb-
When it's mainstream in our eyes will be well before it's mainstream to the general public. It's not mainstream for us yet. When it is, THAT will be the time to learn it. The majority of the bugs will have been worked out by then.

Go visit HDV equipment & HDV editing, you'll be busier than a one-legged man in an a$$-kicking contest reading posts about workflow problems.

Why waste all your valuable time (time that you can be making money) being a pioneer for the manufacturers with the products that WE PAY FOR.
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Old September 17th, 2005, 12:16 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by Thomas Smet
When DV first came out I didn't have clients running up to me asking for me to shoot in DV. Should I have held off shooting DV?
Good point, but really have you ever had a client asking you to shoot in any certain format? Or do they just ask you to shoot because they've seen your work and it looks great? If you think HDV is to the point where you can transition over to it and shoot AND deliver better stuff, then by all means go for it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Smet
When DVD recording came out my clients were not asking for DVD's. Should I have held off making DVD's for my clients?
Nope, because DVD recording came out and here's the key thing - it worked. You could buy the DVD recorder from the place of your choice, capture your footage, edit your footage and then SIMPLY burn it to a DVD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Smet
Remember most clients don't know what is out there like we do. It is up to us to present clients with the best quality not to wait for them to ask for it. If that was the case we may all still be sending out VHS (barf) tapes to our clients and shooting on SVHS.
So then my question is this? What's the best quality? Is it footage from a Z1 or a HD100? And if they want the best quality stuff on the web, how will it be delivered?
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Old September 17th, 2005, 12:20 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by Steve Connor
In 2 years time, when my clients want their next HD presentation sequence produced and they want to use footage from the library that we are shooting today, they are going to be VERY happy that we shot it in HD.
This depends, what type of clients?
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Old September 17th, 2005, 12:22 PM   #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek West
Nope, because DVD recording came out and here's the key thing - it worked. You could buy the DVD recorder from the place of your choice, capture your footage, edit your footage and then SIMPLY burn it to a DVD.
DVD's were a pain in the arse to start with! Nothing was compatible. Most of the early players wouldn't play burnt DVDs, especially Sonys.
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