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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 28th, 2005, 09:49 AM   #1
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I want a camera for one purpose and this might be the one

I hope the many technical and DV guru's who read this will help me.

I am about to start production on my fifth feature. Like the four earlier ones it will be released direct to DVD (and will not see the theatre).

We can't afford film so have always used digital (XL-1).

We shoot quickly and do not use a studio although these are full features and use recognized (one academy nominee) actors with good crews.

We are looking at a camera to give us a better feel of film and a higher quality image. All editing is done on a G5 with final cut pro.

I have one worry.... how much of a draw back will the inability of the camera to store uncompressed high definition images be. My editor thinks this might be a fatal flaw. I tend to think not... and suspect that the high definition images stored on the tape in the camera will be fine for DVD and television. (BTW, the hard disc space and computing capacity to edit the uncompressed images probably makes it impractical in all events).

Please help if you can. I don't see any other options out there in the near term.... and we are scheduled to shoot in November... but have put this off because....

I ordered the camera from the largest camera store in Orange County (knowing I could cancel if I wanted) yesterday. They called their Canon rep and were told that it won't ship till mid December.

Thanks

Rob
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Old September 28th, 2005, 10:43 AM   #2
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If you...

- don't plan on using much in the way of visual effects
- avoid significant color alteration in post
- have a good DP that can become familiar with the camera's stregths and weaknesses quickly...

HDV should do well and the higher resolution and 24fp should look like an improvement on a DVD vs traditional DV.

The big thing is that that HDV can look great if shot properly, but doesn't hold up well when put through dramatic post processing. DV generally survives post processing effects better, since compression is applied in very small blocks (single lines of 4 pixels per "block") vs the larger pixel blocks across multiple frames used for HDV compression.

If your DP can create the look of the show entirely in camera, you should be good to go with this.

Good luck!
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Old September 28th, 2005, 10:56 AM   #3
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I was a bit of an HDV naysayer until I saw Sony's demo DVD of the Z1. That changed my attitude. There's no reason to think that Canon's new HDV camera won't look as good and possibly better under some circumstances.

While you're waiting on the Canon, one thing you could do is rent the Sony Z1, shoot some stuff, and load it into FCP and check it out for yourself.

When the Sony DVD was produced, FCP 5 wasn't out yet for handling HDV, and I believe the footage was transferred to HDCAM via a Miranda Bridge or some other device. I saw none of the problems that some people have said would be there with HDV, and there was a good variety of footage and camera moves on the DVD. I've also seen HDV footage of a waterfall, sun in the trees, and other things like that with no problems.

Even if you should shoot DV with the new Canon, it ought to be better than what you've been doing because of its 16:9 chips. The only problem I see is that of scheduling. I would not want to put off my production schedule and then immediately start shooting with a whole new camera and format without some trial and error period.
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Old September 28th, 2005, 11:16 AM   #4
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Thank you both.... Bill, I did try the new Sony

We loved the images... and just figured that Canon (which has been so supportive of us low budget movie types) could only be better (and our sound guy said that the Sony didn't offer what he needed but the Canon did!... and I don't know enough about sound to know what he really ment!... but I do believe him and want him to have the sound tools he needs).

So, based on the beautiful images from the Sony and the positive comments from the sound guru we made the decision to order the Canon....

this is when our editor mentioned that we will not be able to really use the high definition images the camera is capable of capturing unless we use some external recording device which we won't be able to use in most cases.

Thank you for your help.... and I hope to hear more... This helps a lot.

And, Bill, I hate to put it off also.... thanks
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Old September 28th, 2005, 06:42 PM   #5
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Great, you tried it and you like it and probably will like the Canon even better, and that's cool. I don't quite know where your editor is coming from. HDV is better than what you've been shooting, not as good as if you took the SDI output of the camera and ran it to a $60,000 HD deck. Big deal. THAT wouldn't be as good as if you bought a $100,000 CineAlta package. And THAT wouldn't be as good as taking SDI out of THAT camera and running it totally uncompressed...and THAT wouldn't be as good as 35mm film shot with an Arri...and THAT wouldn't be as good as 35mm film shot with a Panavision setup....
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Old September 28th, 2005, 07:16 PM   #6
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Bill... my sentiments exactly....

thanks....
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