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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 19th, 2005, 01:15 AM   #1
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XL H1 meets F900, the moment you've all been waiting for!

Ok, so Nick Hiltgen, a member of this great community, hits me up last night in email saying he had some time this weekend and wanted to shoot some stuff with the XL-H1. We exchange number......today was the day.

A little about Nick:
This guy is one cool dude! He's a Professional DP who flys the F900 out of Bennett Studios in Santa Monica. Very knowledgable about cameras and specs and settings and lighting and all that DP type stuff. He decided to compare the XL-H1 in its RAWEST-OUTOFTHEBOX state next to a DIALED-IN Sony F900. He felt that if he could keep the camera in it's most innocent state and only tweak the aperture, white balance and shutter speeds then he could get a better understanding of how the camera would react if it was dialed-in to a perfect shooting environment with the preset image settings. This is one smart dude.

A little about Shannon:
Little is known about this guy.

OK....On to the test......

WE SHOT ABOUT 7-MINUTES of raw HDV footage to give you guys. You don't need all of it, so I figure I would upload a few seconds of the Resolution chart footage so you can see that. A quick little introduction, and two clips showing the camera in 1080p24 @ 1/250th shutter and 1/48th shutter. The reason we did tests @ 1/250th shutter is because nick is contemplating on shooting a Horror movie in Atlanta which was originally going to shoot with the F900 but now may shoot with the Canon XL-H1. The producers of the movie are awaiting Nicks recommendations.....I think the XL-H1 will do this movie, but that's for Nick to decide.

AFTER CONNECTING BOTH CAMERAS it was CLEARLY OBVIOUS that the F900 was sharper and had a more rich image then the XL-H1 did......but after Nick did a few twists of the wrench on the XL-H1 it started to become indistinguishable. In our opinion, the F900 still had a better image no matter what Nick did to the XL-H1...but not by much folks!! not by much at f******ing all!!! The F900 was one and a half stops brighter then the XL-H1 so we had to open the aperture up a bit to get the same amount of light to spill in when comparing it to those 2/3" chips. Also, the F900 depth of field was shallower right off the bat. Well, then again, the F900 had a $15,000.00 lens afixed to the front of it too. *smile*

WE PUT BOTH CAMERAS IN 24P MODE.... by testing the motion cadence on the HD monitor, it was hard to tell which camera was which. The motion cadence of the subject was identical. Frequently, I would get mixed up as to which camera I was looking at. I had to look at the input light that was on to know for sure. As a result, it is clear that the XL-H1 can be matched up to F900 footage without a single proble for intercutting footage together for a project.

THE RESOLUTION CHARTS were next up. The Sony F900 was so slear it went off the chart at all frame rates. This chart stopped at 800 lpph and the Sony was clear all the way to the end. Guess what..........so was the XL-H1!!!!! After setting up the Canon and setting up the lighting and setting up the distance from the chart and all that technical stuff Nick was doing (I just sat back like a pupil), the Canon XL-H1 came in right at about 775-800 lines in 24f mode. In 60i it went off the chart.

WE HOOKED UP THE SONY Z1U to see how it fared up to these two interchangable lens cameras. We didn't bother putting the Sony in any of the CineFrame modes because it was uneccessary after seeing it in 60i. The picture on the Sony Z1U was pretty.....however, not as pretty as the XL-H1 or F900. On the reolution chart in 60i with no Picture Profile selected, the Sony Z1U topped out at about 700 lines, and that was with squinching and give tie to the runner. it was more like 685-700 lines. Also the Z1U's picture was much darker and we needed to open the aperture more then the Canon to get the same amount of light to spill in. Shutter Speed was @ 1/60th.

MY CONCLUSION....the Canon XL-H1 is BAD ASS! and I'm happy that I bought it. I won't be getting rid of this camera even after I buy the HVX-200 (which I may never do now!) If I hire a good DP who can dial this puppy in with thopse 23 image settings it has, I have COMPLETE CONFIDENCE that this camera will make some good looking movies that are comparable to many movies shot in big-budget Hollywood today!

BONUS......As we were standing on the corner of Olymnpic & Bundy in Santa Monica shooting cars and stuff, this cool-looking guy pulls up in a hot BMW....

"HEY...SO HOW DO YOU LIKE THE XL-H1????" he asks

We were a bit startled, but he was friendly... "WE LOVE IT" was my reply.

"ARE YOU ON THE INTERNET???"

"yes", i said

"DO YOU GO TO A WEBSITE CALLED DVINFO.NET?" he asked

"yes", i said

"DO YOU HAVE AN ALL WHITE LIVING ROOM AND MADE SOME POSTS ABOUT THAT CAMERA RECENTLY?", he asks

(i smiled) "Yes", i said

"YEA MAN, I GO TO DVINFO.NET TOO, I SEEN YOU ON THERE! MY NAME IS MITCHELL....I OWN AN F900 AND A BUCNH OF OTHER HIGH-END HD GEAR LIKE AN SRW-5500 AND SOME OTHER STUFF. I WAS THINKNG ABOUT GETTING A COUPLE OF THESE CANON XL-H1's FOR MY COMPANY. MAYBE I CAN USE YOU IF YOU'RE INTERESTED...."

"Yes", i said!!!

We began to talk and chop it up and discuss the HVX-200 and the XL-H1 and his plans on the big wonderful things he's about to do. He then gives us his business card "Kasdin Productions". we talk a little more then he jumps in his sexy BMW and speeds off like a Hollywood Millionaire would do on a sunny Sunday afternoon. *smile* Later on...it "HITS" Nick.... "OH YEA...KASDIN PRODUCTIONS...THEY WERE THE FIRST TO BRING THE P&S MINI35 TO LOS ANGELES!!!"

wow....

double wow, for us running into a DVINFO.NET member on any given sunday in the streets while shooting with the XL-H1. I guarantee you if we were shooting with a candy cane Xl1s or Xl2 he would have drove on by never giving us a thought. But that big sexy black XL-H1 caught his eye!

So kudos to Mitchell @ KASDIN.COM.

Anyhow....would you guys like to see some still photos from today? Here, check it out:

http://www.cinemahill.com/hidef/xlh1&f900/

For the video...I am going to capture that now and make it available either at that same photo site, or give them to Chris Hurd. I'll update you with that as soon as they are ready.

Gone

- ShannonRawls.com
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Old December 19th, 2005, 01:51 AM   #2
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I like to see the HD100U compared to both the XL-H1 and the f900. That should be interesting. Can't wait to see the video shot.
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Old December 19th, 2005, 02:00 AM   #3
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Shannon, thanks again for contibuting these results! Those H1 stills look great. I was sold on the Panasonic, but now I am getting high hopes for the H1 based on the images I saw DV expo (still iffy on HDV rendering).
I'll wait for a shootout with the Canon/Panasonic next month.

1. What are Nick's thoughts on the XLH1 so far based from today's test?
2. Shannon, how is your experience working with HDV so far (with H1 HDV)?


I worked with some HDV today and it takes about 8 minutes to render a 1 minute clip from HDV to Apple Intermediate Codec (and takes even longer to render to a DVCPro Codec) ...that means with my Dual 2.5 G5 it would take about 8 hours to render to a reasonable codec to edit with before I start editing! (I refuse to work with HDV on the timeline).

larry
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Old December 19th, 2005, 02:08 AM   #4
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Brian, we actually discussed the JVC but as we didn't have one in house didn't think it would be fair to rank it with the other cams, that in addition to the not so favorable reviews from some fellow dvinfo members.

A few other things I noticed.

The HDV codec is awesome, super awesome. We were monitoring straight hd-sdi out but when we watched the HDV footage through the same connection it was very close to the straight HD-sdi out.

THE 60I IS EXCELLENT! To be completely honest the 60i would be able to cut between a 900 if the f stop is taken into consideration. (roughly 3/4 of a stop but those in the know can correct me, (f11 on the 900 = f8 on the canon, f4 on the 900 = f2.4 on the canon)

The bottom line for me was if this camera has enough light it can definitely produce great results. Now we didn't tweak the canon at all and my 900's are set up for a very particular picture, but I'm confident with some tweaking this camera can produce 24F footage that can cut in with the 900.

That's all, that and I do work as a DP but I think shannon was being a litttle generous in his discription mostly I'm a D.I.T. and engineer for HD-CAM camera's.

Also I will say about Shannon Rawls, he is definietly a super cool dude. Who else would take time out fo his weekend just to do tests with some guy that e-mailed him out of the blue!?!

Anyhow this was a great experience and I'm more then impressed with the canon results.

::edit::
Larry I think my post answers your question, a reasonable workflow (it seems) would be to take the downconvert out of the camera and cut that then do an online later on to cut out some of that rendering time.
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Old December 19th, 2005, 02:15 AM   #5
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I have a HD-100U with mini35, so if you guys have time we can do a test on all three, which I am sure a lot of people want to know.
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Old December 19th, 2005, 02:22 AM   #6
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that sounds good, except I'm heading out of town to work on that film this weekend and will not be back for a few weeks but if everyones still interested at that point in time I'd be mroe tehn happy to host the shoot out.
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Old December 19th, 2005, 02:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Hiltgen
that sounds good, except I'm heading out of town to work on that film this weekend and will not be back for a few weeks but if everyones still interested at that point in time I'd be mroe tehn happy to host the shoot out.
Let's do it when you get back. I can be contacted at duke@superbadmusic.com
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Old December 19th, 2005, 03:49 AM   #8
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Thats wonderful! Thanks for taking the time out guys... Good thing I have the money in the bank!

Is the footage from the Canon XL H1 from the HD-SDI out or is it on HDV tape?

Well hopefully i'll be able to write some reviews on the 50i PAL version soon! *Smile*
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Old December 19th, 2005, 04:27 AM   #9
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FOOTAGE!... footage!... footage!...

Just wanted to say Thanks! - you work so hard to provide reliable information for us all! (CANT wait till i get mine too)

Any chance to download the footage soon?
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Old December 19th, 2005, 06:10 AM   #10
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Shannon and Nick,

Thanks very much for your work here; really happy to have confirmation from professionals that my crude rez tests were in the ballpark.

I hope to post a little more testing (motion artifacting) by tomorrow and will look forward to your comments. And I know everyone wants to see regular non-test clips, so I'll risk my bandwidth limit and post a short clip or two.
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Old December 19th, 2005, 07:38 AM   #11
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Also one more thing for those interested about canon's 24F...

ON the Sony HD monitor's when you plug them in they will tell you what format they're getting from the source. It's not completely accurate (for example it reads the f900's 24psf as 48i, which is technically accurate but it would be so much nicer to see it says it's getting a 24p signal) but it's definitely a fair assessment of the technology. Anyhow when it reads the canon's signal (hd-sdi, or component) it was always listed as a 60i signal, which isn't really a surprise (otherwise we'd be getting 80 minutes out of our 60 minute dv tapes) but it leads me to believe that it is producing a varicam like effect in how it derives the info in camera. I should note this is really nothing new, just a little more info for whomever is interested.

Also as a note any of the footage that Shannon posts from our work will be from the HDV tape we shot as we didn't capture any HD-SDI in. (though I will be sure we try and do that at the next shoot out)
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Old December 19th, 2005, 07:57 AM   #12
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Now that's some video that I'm happy to host. Let me know if I can assist with server space and bandwidth. What a great test! Thanks fellows,
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Old December 19th, 2005, 08:00 AM   #13
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Thank you Shannon and Nick!

You are heroes,
thanks for this test.

All the best

Carl

Last edited by Carl Ny; December 19th, 2005 at 09:13 AM.
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Old December 19th, 2005, 09:06 AM   #14
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You want the BAD news or you want the BAD news?

Well, the BAD new is the CANON CONSOLE program is not a capture program! It's a live recording program only. I should have brought my laptop to the test yesterday because now I cannot capture the footage recorded to the tape.

Console has no transport features (play, ffwd, etc....) to control the camera and play it back. It looks like the only reason Console will switch the camera to VCR MODE is so it can lay your footage from your computer back to tape. otherwise, that's it.

HELLO CINEFORM......Connect HD on the otherhand, can do this. This is the program I was going to get anyhow! So it looks like I'll have to buy ConnectHD to make this happen for you guys. So it will take longer then expected. I was up all night trying to capture this stuff for you guys, until i fell asleep at the keyboard.

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Old December 19th, 2005, 02:42 PM   #15
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Bugger... Oh well, you know your working in post production when your head hits the keyboard at 5am! :-)
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