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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 14th, 2005, 03:38 PM   #1
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So what's the Family Truckster worth?

OK,

I bought my XL2 back in June with no regrets, even with this new XL H1 on the horizon. I needed a camcorder and went with the XL2 for several reasons (several other threads for those reasons).

Now Canon releases their HDV solution which should be available to buy Nov/Dec.

I do appreciate several facts about the new XL H1 and how it was released:
1) It's twice the cost (if not more) than an XL2, so I'm not saying to myself, gezzzzz I could have had this for the same price and that helps keep my XL2 from becoming quickly obsolete.
2) They are keeping the XL2 in their line.
3) My XL2 batteries will work with it.
4) It's the same dimensions as my XL2, making all of the other stuff I bought, such as my tripod, fluid head, monitor, mic, etc. etc. still all mesh with the new camera in the same way.

I'm sure there are a few pro's and con's here that I forgot and I'd love to see any of you all add to the list above, but here's my BIG question for current XL2 owners -

Are you going to sell your XL2 and buy a XL H1 when they become available or see yourself switching sometime within the next year?

No right or wrong answer. Just friendly discussion between current XL2 owners and what they think of the new camera.

I've been extremely happy with my XL2 and don't know if I need HDV as most of my final products end up on the web. But some of the reasons that I did not buy a Sony or the JVC are no longer reasons with this new release. Although one of those reasons has been replaced by the fact that it's going to be somewhere around $9 billion dollars.

That is A LOTTTTTT of money!
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Old September 14th, 2005, 03:55 PM   #2
 
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Good question!

No, I will not sell my XL2 and buy this camera. Rather than repeat everything I've said elsewhere here today, I'll simply say there is no way I can justify the $9,000 expense (and it doesn't stop there!) considering none of my clients are asking for HD and that I have no way to deliver HD to them (and Windows Media doesn't count, not in their book or mine, so please don't bring it up, thank you), there is no reason for me to buy the XLH1.

Jay
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Old September 14th, 2005, 04:01 PM   #3
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Jay,

Thanks! Good - I thought I may not be alone with these thoughts.

You brought up a good point about none of your clients asking for HD. I have not had anybody ask about that either (clients or friends outside the industry).

I didn't even know that it existed before I started researching back in late April or May before buying my XL2. I wonder how many of us (here in this forum) actually have clients who request HDV material?

One of the main reasons I decided against buying the Sony, was that everything I saw looked too clear, as I've seen others in this forum say... to "soap-opera'ish." I wanted to try to get my videos to look more like film. And actually to this day, I have not seen anything shot in HDV that has made me think it looked like film.

Most of the recent HDV stuff I've seen has been posted in m2t format and I have no interest in loading another type of movie player on any of my computers to see them. I usually look at movies in Quicktime, Windows (thanks to Flip4Mac), or Flash.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 04:05 PM   #4
 
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Truth be known, if my clients were to all of a sudden start asking for HD, I'd be in a world of hurt. Based on my research, over many months, to change over from SD to HD would run in the neighborhood of $20,000 to $25,000. I simply don't have that kind of cash laying around.

Jay
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Old September 14th, 2005, 04:16 PM   #5
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Well see, that's what I've heard too.

When I bought my XL2 from Brian at Zotz Digital (who also sells FX1's and Z1's) told me I would need to add about $5,000 to $10,000 worth of editing stuff to my already pricey $9,000 editing set up (Mac G5 DP 2.7 with 22' cinema, the old style cinema not the new stainless HD ones).

But I've seen conflicting posts here (and elsewhere) on what you need to edit in HD. If anyone who actually already has a Sony or JVC HDV cam can shed some accurate light on how they've been editing and how much they had to spend to do so, I would really like to hear some first hand information on the subject.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 04:31 PM   #6
 
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Derek, here's what I found:

XLH1 is $9,000. Sony BVM-D14H1U 14-Inch 16:9 Widescreen Broadcast Monitor is $5,000. Problem is it's only 800 lines. The "optional" HD board is another $3,200 making the grand total $8,200, we're up to $17,200. Add another $3,500 for a muscle computer to deal all this HD video and that makes it $20,700. Another $1,000 (give or take) for a HD NLE and we have $21,700 (excluding sale tax). And this doesn't take into account all the unknown cards and connections it will undoubtedly take to make all this so it's singing from the same page.

The conversion to HD ain't gonna be a cheap trick.

Jay
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Old September 14th, 2005, 04:40 PM   #7
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I thought the same as you prior to buying the XL2. And have not seen anything to make me change my opinion since then.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 05:23 PM   #8
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You can really make the numbers prove any case you want. First you need to define some expectations. You can edit HDV on your existing computer for exactly $0 more than you've already spent. Just fire up iMovie HD and plug in a Z1 or FX1, or presumably an XLHD1.

If you have FCP5 you're good to go for HDV, if you have an older version then the upgrade is $400. Sure the expensive monitor and cards are nice, but not essential if you just want to edit HDV. Get a 16:9 LCD screen with DVI input and plug it into your second monitor port. FCP can scale the video to its native resolution using the digital cinema desktop feature. Depending on what type of screen you buy that could cost anywhere between $500 for a cheap 1280x720 LCD panel or $1,500 for a 23" cinema display that will show the full 1920x1080 image.

The disk requirements for HDV are not really any different than DV. So if you *want* to make the switch I don't see that huge cost barrier. But of course if you feel you need studio quality monitors and Decklink cards and disk arrays then you're going to spend a lot more.

I don't know much about the new Canon. Does it downconvert to SD on the fly like the Z1? If so you could make the switch, film in HDV but still edit in DV for the time being. That's what I'm doing with my Z1 on a dual G5 right now. Soon I'll upgrade to FCP 5 and start working natively in HDV. The only reason I haven't done this yet is resistance to changing software while in the middle of several big projects. But my upgrade costs will be minimal: $400 for the FCP 5 upgrade and I'll use my existing 23" Cinema Display and Samsung 22" HD LCD panel via digital cinema desktop for now.

So there might be a lot of valid reasons not to trade in your XL-2, but computer ugrade cost doesn't really have to be an issue.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 05:29 PM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
So there might be a lot of valid reasons not to trade in your XL-2, but computer ugrade cost doesn't really have to be an issue.
That would depend on your computer, wouldn't it?

There's always a work around, but that's not my style.

Jay
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Old September 14th, 2005, 05:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
You can really make the numbers prove any case you want. First you need to define some expectations. You can edit HDV on your existing computer for exactly $0 more than you've already spent. Just fire up iMovie HD and plug in a Z1 or FX1, or presumably an XLHD1.

If you have FCP5 you're good to go for HDV, if you have an older version then the upgrade is $400. Sure the expensive monitor and cards are nice, but not essential if you just want to edit HDV. Get a 16:9 LCD screen with DVI input and plug it into your second monitor port. FCP can scale the video to its native resolution using the digital cinema desktop feature. Depending on what type of screen you buy that could cost anywhere between $500 for a cheap 1280x720 LCD panel or $1,500 for a 23" cinema display that will show the full 1920x1080 image.

The disk requirements for HDV are not really any different than DV. So if you *want* to make the switch I don't see that huge cost barrier. But of course if you feel you need studio quality monitors and Decklink cards and disk arrays then you're going to spend a lot more.

I don't know much about the new Canon. Does it downconvert to SD on the fly like the Z1? If so you could make the switch, film in HDV but still edit in DV for the time being. That's what I'm doing with my Z1 on a dual G5 right now. Soon I'll upgrade to FCP 5 and start working natively in HDV. The only reason I haven't done this yet is resistance to changing software while in the middle of several big projects. But my upgrade costs will be minimal: $400 for the FCP 5 upgrade and I'll use my existing 23" Cinema Display and Samsung 22" HD LCD panel via digital cinema desktop for now.

So there might be a lot of valid reasons not to trade in your XL-2, but computer ugrade cost doesn't really have to be an issue.

Well Boyd, you beat me to it. I was going to tell Derek that having a dual 2.7 with FCP5 is plenty capable of HDV capture and editing. Another 2500 bucks for a Kona II card and maybe an external SATA disk array. Still not majorly expensive.

-gb-
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Old September 14th, 2005, 05:31 PM   #11
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Boyd,

Thanks. Glad that's the case - that it's easy with current setups. I guess I just wonder why I have not seen any more HDV footage than I have. It was super easy to find XL2 and DVX footage when I was looking for a camera. Is that only because these cameras have been around longer than HDV cameras?

Where's all of the great edited HDV footage that everybody's getting?

In Quicktime, Windows Media Player or Flash formats that is.

Can you post some of your edited footage somewhere when you are finished? Can even be small screen. I'd just like to see some really great HDV footage.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 05:33 PM   #12
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Greg,

That's good news.

Believe me I want to go HDV, but I've got to be able to back up my reasons!

So Greg, is a new XL H1 in your future?
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Old September 14th, 2005, 05:45 PM   #13
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I saw this in another thread -

"Don't underestimate how good a feature the HD SDI out is. I'm sure a converter will be quite expensive, but if/when someone comes out with a realtime converter to get the files to a harddrive via uncompressed or DVCPro HD, this will be a very, very interesting camera."

Emphasis on two things -
1) if/when someone comes out with a realtime converter
2) I'm sure a converter will be quite expensive

So would I not need a "converter" to work with uncompressed HDV footage from the XL H2?

Even though most of my stuff will be going to the web, it's still best to start with the best captured source footage possible. So, would I need a flux capacator a.k.a. a "converter" to do that with HD footage from the XL H2?
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Old September 14th, 2005, 09:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
why I have not seen any more HDV footage than I have
I've been too busy with other stuff to work on my projects, the only thing I managed recently was this little effects test:
http://s94963366.onlinehome.us/FX/FLTHD.wmv (13 MB)

One of the big reasons you're not likely to see too much HDV content is that the data rates are so high for web-compressed HD video that hosting is a major concern. I don't doubt though that if you had a friend with an HDV cam, s/he would be more than happy to show off ;)

-Steve
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Old September 15th, 2005, 06:38 AM   #15
 
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Quote:
So would I not need a "converter" to work with uncompressed HDV footage from the XL H2?
Unless you have a monster computer with a mega processor or two, you won't be editing uncompressed footage. My understanding is that with an HD NLE (and possibly a specific card) you edit highly compressed footage, add transitions, effects, color correct, etc., and then this is all applied to the HD footage.

I'm sure someone here who does it can explain better in more detail that I.

Jay
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