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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, 06:03 PM   #1
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Canon XL H1 Computer Requirements

What are the requirements to process, edit and make movies out of the output of the Canon XL H1 camera? I know they will be enormous and probably require dual core processors. I want to stick with a PC (not mac).

[1] Processor Requirement

[2] Memory Requirement

[3] Type, speed, and size of hard drive(s)

[4] Graphics card, which one?

[5] Cooling requirements for this system (and how do you keep it quiet).

[6] What software is capable of handing the huge HD clips for the PC. What other supporting software could be used? I am interested in the "film look".

[7] Any pre-made PC's that meet the requirements and are quiet? What brand and model number. (links to these units).
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Old September 28th, 2005, 06:13 PM   #2
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This article's over a year old, but may get you started...

https://www.microsoft.com/windows/wi...ringforhd.aspx

On AJA's site they list a recommended PC configuration at around $11,000 to $13,000.
http://aja.com/products_xena.html
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Old September 29th, 2005, 04:15 AM   #3
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From a Microsoft page:

"System Requirements: The sample clips have data rates between 6,384 Kbps and 10,440 Kbps. The higher the data rate, the higher the resource requirement. Although other system configurations might be able to play back this content, for an optimal experience we recommend the following configurations:

Minimum Configuration (to play 720p video):

Windows XP
Windows Media Player 9 Series
2.4 GHz processor or equivalent
384 MB of RAM
64 MB video card
1024 x 768 screen resolution
16-bit sound card
Speakers

Optimum Configuration (to play 1080p video with 5.1 surround sound):

Windows XP
Windows Media Player 10
DirectX 9.0
3.0 GHz processor or equivalent
512 MB of RAM
128 MB video card
1920 x 1440 screen resolution
24-bit 96 kHz multichannel sound card
5.1 surround sound speaker system"

Source: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/win...tShowcase.aspx.
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Old September 29th, 2005, 04:17 AM   #4
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And here is another page: http://www.apple.com/quicktime/guide...endations.html.
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Old September 29th, 2005, 06:11 AM   #5
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I know that as a FX-1e and HD10u owner, I'm dealing with HDV rather than with HD-SDI, which I assume is what you're after from the XL-H1. If you're not after HD-SDI, then the specs for computer hardware that apply to the currently available HDV camcorders would suffice.

[1] Processor Requirement

As fast as you can afford... If you're after 64bit capabilities, then you may find AMD a better buy than Intel.

[2] Memory Requirement

Not such a pivotal performance element. 1Gig is good, 2Gig even better.

[3] Type, speed, and size of hard drive(s)

7200rpm (min) of as big a size as you can afford - preferably a number of them setup as a RAID 0 array dedicated to your video files, with a single drive for your OS and applications. SATA will suit your needs fine.

[4] Graphics card, which one?

Depends on what you want to use it for. If you want live monitoring on an external monitor, you'll need to trawl the forum for recommendations. For HD-SDI input, you're likely going to need a Blackmagic or AJA card, and I think (from memory) that they allow live monitoring on a secondary monitor.
You could also check out Matrox's AVPe card...

[5] Cooling requirements for this system (and how do you keep it quiet).

Liquid cooled systems are considered the quietest.

[6] What software is capable of handing the huge HD clips for the PC. What other supporting software could be used? I am interested in the "film look".

Good question. I would assume that the major NLE's would be capable of handling the files, as long as the video encoding is recognised by the app. I'd be certain that Premiere Pro would. As for "film look" - I thought that's what one would be buying a 24f camera to provide... The rest of the equation is up to how you edit the video you shoot, but you could also do a search for "film look" here, and various plug-ins will no doubt be mentioned.

[7] Any pre-made PC's that meet the requirements and are quiet? What brand and model number. (links to these units).

That comes back to your original question about processors. Personally - I build my own machines. If you don't like the prospect of doing that, there's plenty of suppliers who'll custom build for you - as long as you know exactly what you want in the machine. There are systems made for dedicated high-end video editing, but they will cost - and any variation you may require in hardware will add to the expense.

You may find waiting until the camera is released a prudent course of action in this regard. When it is finally available, many video editing system manufacturers will release compatible setups for it.

Advice is cheap; so here's mine in this regard - as the XL-H1 isn't yet on the market, research everything that you'll need to get the camera up and running seamlessly as regards hardware and software. It's a mighty big, long term investment you'll be making - so don't take anyone's word about what's best (I really don't know for certain, cause I don't have a XL-H1 - but my experience with my other HDV camcorders gives me an inkling), and trust your own judgement.
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Old September 29th, 2005, 12:17 PM   #6
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You know what's interesting is that I have a 5 year old computer that I paid under $900 in 2000 and have since recently spent less than $750 to upgrade it to 3GHz 525J with about 350GB of HD space 1GB of Ram and a new 256MB video card. I notice no real performance difference between mine and one of the new Dell $4500 purpose built models we just bought here at work. In my opinion you can pay alot for nothing and get a bunch of stuff you don't need with the so called turnkey purpose built systems.
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Old October 2nd, 2005, 09:42 AM   #7
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In order to smoothly play 720/24p you need at least a 3.5 GHz processor in my experience. For instance, 720/24p won't play smoothly on my 3.0 GHz P4 Gateway laptop. I don't know if that's because of the hard drive or CPU though.

I would also recommend a 1 TB striped RAID array for editing (just make sure to keep backups of your source files on tape and keep your project files on a different disk). The file sizes get enormous and you will want plenty of space for intermediate editing in uncompressed YUV.

Dual core would help somewhat as long as your editing application is programmed to take advantage of it. I believe Vegas is.

Obvious excelent student monitors are a must.

I think a $12,000 system is overkill. I think a $4000 system would be just fine.
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Old October 2nd, 2005, 10:28 PM   #8
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I can play 720 24p just fine on my self built 2.4GHz machine. I also have had no issues playing 1080 24F from the XL H1 clips. I suspect it's the HDD. I have a WD Raptor 74GB SATA, and it rarely chugs.

Playback should be the ability to keep the data coming fast enough, editing will start to tax your processor the most I suspect.
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Old October 2nd, 2005, 11:19 PM   #9
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Sorry I should have noted that that was WM9 advanced. MPEG-II and MPEG-4 plays fine on slower machines.
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Old October 3rd, 2005, 04:21 AM   #10
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Here is a white paper put together by Pinnacle on this very subject. It has guidelines that are a pretty safe bet.

Click here for PDF

for 1080i you'll need at least dual P4 3.2HT PCIe MOBO to handle the codec effectively on XpPro.
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Old October 3rd, 2005, 08:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen L. Noe
Here is a white paper put together by Pinnacle
There's also a wite paper by Adobe, which can be found here:

http://www.adobe.com/products/premie...s/hdprimer.pdf
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Old October 4th, 2005, 02:10 PM   #12
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Are Apples fast enough? Sounds like PCs have pulled too far ahead.
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Old October 4th, 2005, 02:28 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Betsy Moore
Are Apples fast enough? Sounds like PCs have pulled too far ahead.
Yes of course they are fast enough if you have the correct drives and Video card! We spent the day shooting chromakey material in full 1080 10 bit uncompressed HD, from a Sony F900 going HD-SDI straight from the head into a BMD Decklink HD Pro Card in a dual 2.0 ghz Mac with a 5.6tb Xserve RAID.

The system never skipped a frame during the whole day and the picture quality is amazing, the keys are pulling very easily.

I can't wait to get the Canon into our studio to see how well it works.
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Old October 4th, 2005, 04:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Betsy Moore
Are Apples fast enough? Sounds like PCs have pulled too far ahead.
I have a dual 2ghz g5 and 1080 and 720 HDV are both fine in Final Cut. 720p HDV in Final Cut on mine is as fast as cutting DV. I've heard reports of 1.6ghz single proc G5s being fine with HDV also.
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Old October 5th, 2005, 11:32 PM   #15
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Alan: suggest you check out the Canopus Edius SP workstations at the following link. They cost several thousand dollars, but that's not bad for pre-configured HD editing. (Compare to Matrox Axio at about $15-30K.)

http://www.canopus.us/US/products/ED...orkStation.asp
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