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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 23rd, 2005, 02:32 AM   #1
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Remote start of Canon XL H1

Dear Shannon,

Thank you for sharing all your valuable information about your XL H1 with us.
I wonder if there is any electric input for a remote start of the camera?
Could you connect a switch to start for example two cameras at the same time? Or does anybody else see any solution to this?

My purpose is to have the XL H1 connected to a Nikon Diaphot microscope and then make time lapse video of biological activity. I woulk like to have an external relay starting and stopping the camera at regular intervals.

BTW, Merry Christmas to everybody from Sweden!
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Old December 23rd, 2005, 09:22 AM   #2
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That's easy.
Use the Canon CONSOLE software.
Totally adjustabe time-lapse control.
They say it's $600 bucks. May be worth it to you.
I've also heard of Lanc_C controllers that offer timelapse control as well.

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Old December 23rd, 2005, 10:25 AM   #3
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Johan, Shannon: The XL 1s has a time-lapse feature available in-camera (the XL 1 and 2 probably do, too, but I'm not sure). You can specify the recording interval and the recording time at each interval. In the Menu, it's found under VCR SET UP --> INTERVAL (way at the bottom). Is this feature still there in the XL H1?

Also, you can use any software product that supports time-lapse with a live DV-feed over FireWire. I've used BTVPro successfully for this on the Mac (again, with the XL 1s and DV). I'm not aware of any solution that does this with HDV, but DV Rack might (is there an HDV Rack by now?). Does anyone know?

HTH,

Ron
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Old December 23rd, 2005, 10:32 AM   #4
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HDV camcorders do not offer time-lapse recording. There is no intervalometer on the XL H1. You can use an external DTE recorder such as the FireStore FS-4 Pro to manage time-lapse recording with an XL H1.

Remote start/stop of an XL H1 is possible through the LANC remote control jack as well as the FireWire jack (via the Console PC software mentioned above; about $500).
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Old December 24th, 2005, 05:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shannon Rawls
That's easy.
Use the Canon CONSOLE software.
Totally adjustabe time-lapse control.
They say it's $600 bucks. May be worth it to you.
I've also heard of Lanc_C controllers that offer timelapse control as well.

- ShannonRawls.com
Thank you for your answer.

But 1, I do not want to buy a PC just for this. I am using Apple computers so far.

2. I need to turn on the tungsten light in the microscope a second or two before the exposure to get the right color temperature and then shut down the lamp after the short exposure. The biological activity will be damaged by the intense light and high temperature if the light is on all the time. I just want to take, for instance, 1 sec every minute or 15 minutes or so.

So I figure out I could have a little PLC with a little time lapse program I could make myself if I just was able to start/stop that video camera. I might need to turn on/off the camera too to save on the mechanism?

I will search about the LANC interface. I don't know how it works but I assume it is a digital bus system where it might be difficult to get out the signals just to start/stop filming. Or perhaps I need to buy a tripod handle with LANC and put in a wire to connect to a relay for the start signal? There is perhaps not a socket where you could connect a simple switch signal?

If anybody has some ideas it would be very appreciated. My Canon representatives here seem to know nearly nothing about the camera so far. It arrived to them just a few days ago and they have nearly no hands on experience yet.
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Old December 24th, 2005, 06:39 AM   #6
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Johan, Mac user here, too...

I would very seriously consider capturing via FireWire! If this is your primary use of the camera, you will undoubtedly wear out the tape drive quickly (particularly the heads) otherwise. It sounds like HDVxDV will capture an HDV stream via FireWire. I don't know if the application supports time-lapse, but it if doesn't, I would write to the developer. I hear he's very responsive.

Heck, BTVPro may even work! Capture as raw DV; it might just do it. The app hasn't seen updated in years, but I wrote to the developer a few months ago, and I was told in reply that an update/rewrite was in the works.

Now that I'm thinking about it: why use a video cam at all? A digital still camera will give you higher resolution, less noise, and triggering via contact closure is peanuts.

Just some thoughts...

God Jul!
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Old December 25th, 2005, 01:39 AM   #7
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Ron has a good point the timelapse controller for a canon 20d is about 200 bucks, and you'll have much more control, and could even incoporate a flash, then import the series of frames and there you go.
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Old December 27th, 2005, 03:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Pfister
Now that I'm thinking about it: why use a video cam at all? A digital still camera will give you higher resolution, less noise, and triggering via contact closure is peanuts.
Yeah, I'm working with the still camera today on the microscope. But sometimes the object is alive and it could be interesting to see the movements leading to the need of the video technique. Then some objects are not moving or developing fast enough ... Thus the need of time lapse. When it is very slow I agree the still camera will be better. Maybe it is best to use the still camera as far up in speed as possible and then switch to video when the need for speed is too much for the still camera.

BTW, I am curious with the long GOP for this HDV and how it affects the possibility for good time lapse filming. Is it possiple to cut very short sequences, for instance 0.1 seconds, and put them together? Will a program like Final Cut Pro be able to use those short clips and assemble them giving a good continous video with inter frame compression in order? Or is there a minimum time every cut has to be shown to get it working?

Then about picture quality from the XL H1:
The XL H1 has the option to shoot still photographs too but to the SD card in addition to the video.
I wonder if anybody has compared the picture quality from the different choices. Is the quality from a still photo on the SD card better than video filming a static object to tape or are they about the same? I mean, is it better to use the photo rather than the video film as a source to the editing program for static objects?

This forum is very appreciated by me, thank you everybody.
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Old December 27th, 2005, 04:35 AM   #9
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The long-GOP nature of HDV MPEG-2 is probably the reason why none of the HDV camcorders offer interval recording (see Chris' post above). If you use HDVxDV for capture and conversion, on the other hand, you can avoid this problem. The resulting footage should work fine in FCP, no matter how short the clips are.

Here's the link to HDVxDV: http://www.hdvxdv.com/

As a biologist with a good amount of lab background, I can see a number of scenarios that would work for you, and the XL H1 seems like an awfully expensive and in many ways tricky solution. You'd be spending a lot of money on high-quality optics that you wouldn't be using, since there's no body-only kit available at this point. Do you really need HD resolution?

If you don't, an analog SD camera specifically designed for micrography might be more ideal. You could then take the analog output of this cam, run it through a relatively inexpensive A/D converter (the Canopus ADVC300 comes to mind), and then use the resulting DV signal with BTVPro to do sill and/or video capture, including time-lapse, on your Mac.

Here's the link to BTVPro: http://www.bensoftware.com/btvpro.html

As I said, the software is dated and has its quirks. But with due care and massaging, the results can be highly satisfactory.

HTH,

Ron
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Old December 27th, 2005, 05:01 AM   #10
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Sorry none of this runs on an Apple but it's a pretty simple solution to all the issues.
You can use DV Rack to capture as much HDV as your hard drives will hold and that can be an aweful lot as HDV is the same bitrate as DV and then use an application such as Vegas to do the timelapse in post. In fact using velocity envelopes you can vary the rate.
I agree with the previous comments, using a camcorder for this is a huge waste. Sony do make a HDV head that outputs via 1394.
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Old December 27th, 2005, 05:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Grant
Sorry none of this runs on an Apple but it's a pretty simple solution to all the issues.
You can use DV Rack to capture as much HDV as your hard drives will hold and that can be an aweful lot as HDV is the same bitrate as DV and then use an application such as Vegas to do the timelapse in post. In fact using velocity envelopes you can vary the rate.
On the Mac, the same works with HDVxDV and FCP, for instance.

Quote:
I agree with the previous comments, using a camcorder for this is a huge waste. Sony do make a HDV head that outputs via 1394.
Thanks for the tip! Very good to know! Do you happen to know more details about it (maybe even a URL)?

TIA,

Ron
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Old December 27th, 2005, 01:25 PM   #12
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For me BTV doesn't see the camera. HDVxDV sees and controls the camera but "captures" only empty m2t's. If anyone has gotten HDVxDV to work I'd like to know what the secret is. I'm on a dual G5.
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Old December 28th, 2005, 03:15 AM   #13
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A.J.: Since I don't have an HDV cam at my disposal, I cannot test. But Nick Hiltgen seems to be successfully using HDVxDV. You might want to approach him about it.

As far as BTVPro is concerned: thanks for the info - it would have been a surprise if it would have been able to capture HDV. HDV wasn't even on the map when the software was last updated...
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Old December 28th, 2005, 06:32 AM   #14
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Ron,
I've done a search of sony.com and can no longer find the HDV camera, it was an OEM product and I can't any OEM products so maybe I'm looking in the wrong place. I had a link to it a long time ago and from memory it was to somewhere you couldn't get to through their menu system
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Old December 28th, 2005, 06:49 AM   #15
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I found something that fits your description, but it's quite expensive:

http://bssc.sel.sony.com/Broadcastan...sp=21&id=80177

Is this the one you were referring to?

Here's a more general listing of all sorts of Sony cams:

http://bssc.sel.sony.com/Broadcastan...y?m=0&sm=0&p=2
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