The reason I bought my Canon XL-H1... at DVinfo.net

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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 26th, 2005, 03:30 PM   #1
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The reason I bought my Canon XL-H1...

I am frequently getting emails asking me why did I buy this when I own a Z1U. is it that much "better" is it worth it, is it this is it that.

here, lemme explain.....

First and foremost, please understand.... I am a Movie Maker. I concentrate primarily in narratively threaded fictitional stories and Music Videos of all genres and occasionally l'll produce a infomercial or product commercial. Hereafter we'll call myself a "STORY TELLER".
I AM NOT a documentarian, videographer, wedding shooter, the family vaction video camera designee, news reporter/gatherer or a sports (regualar & extreme) shooter.

Now that you know what I do.... what do you do? What's your concentration? It's important to know that. Check it out....

I am not interested in being a "JACK OF ALL TRADES" like many people out there are. Often I hear someone say "I do whatever pays me Shan!"LOL. No, I am not talking about those type guys *smile*. Instead, I am talking to the people with specific career goals and are currently or planning to operate specifically within that parameter to become an EXPERT OF ONE.

Now, for those that don't know, I own the Sony HVR-Z1U and used it for story telling in the year 2005. The Z1U is a PHENOMENAL camera for what I do, however it posseses one huge speed-bump for my workflow and one small one........... 24p recording and interchangeable lens. I managed to get by without these options in 2005 with my Z1U but didn't like what I had to do to accomplish it...

24P: I managed to convert CINEFRAME 24 to 24p or 60i to 24p to get the 24p that I needed to effectively convey the message in the stories I was telling in 2005 by 'visually' evoking a certain emotion of motion that we have all become acustomed to by watching movies for the last 66 years.
24 progressive frames recorded per second is it! I know, I know...... some of you people would like to see 24p die. Many say it was invented because back in the day that's all they could do based on technology limitations. Moreover, some people would like to see 30p become the new storytelling standard. That's all fine & dandy, but until that Darwinic evolutionary change ocurs, the modern day Human Being has adapted to 24p for telling narrative stories. Therefore, that's what I need to accomplish when telling mine.
Now owning the Sony Z1U was a challenge in this respect, but I was able to make it happen. Sometimes it was beautiful, sometimes not. The inconsistency is what pissed me off! Either way, it was a time consuming solution and in many instances, not a very eye pleasing one depending on the way I solved the problem.
Proper lighting, shot composition from the director, great acting, a good story, etc... <--- those bases were all correctly covered. But the 24p recording problem still remained. I really loved the HD option, but in some cases I chose to go back and shoot with my DVX100a over my Sony Z1U simply because I could not comprimise what I needed to convey, project, display & print to DVD when it came to the 'look' of the project vs. the 'resolution' it had. 24p was just TOO IMPORTANT.

Interchangeable Lens: I've shot with the P+S Mini35 more then once with my fixed lens DVX100a and I DID NOT want to do that again with my fixed lens Z1U. It's a headache with too many problems that can occur. I prefer using the relay lens from the P+S for a camera that can remove its primary lens, like an XL1s or XL2 or HD100 when shooting with the Mini35. It's just so much easier, nicer and less cumbersome. So for my lensing issues with the Z1U, I managed to alleviate the problems by using 'screw-on' 72mm wide angle adapters and/or telephoto adapters on the Z1U. However, each of these solution caused production AND post-production problems for me as well. Now these problems weren't as bad as not having 24p, and thank god I had enough resolution to blow up the shot to get rid of some of the issues I had, but the fact remains, they were still a problem.

continued below......
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Old December 26th, 2005, 03:31 PM   #2
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cont...

------------------------ Introducing the JVC HD100------------------------

Why didn't JVC release this bad boy before the Z1U, I have no idea! Had they done that, I would've purchased it INSTEAD of the Z1U for what I do, no question.
Too little too late.
What do I mean? Well, the too LATE part is obvious. The JVC HD100 didn't come out for another 8 months, and by that time my Z1U had already paid for itself almost 3x's over. So why didn't I replace the Sony Z1U eight months later with a new HD100 that clearly allieviated the MAIN problems I had with the Sony Z1U?
Simply put.......GUT INSTINCT.
Something inside of me kept telling me not to buy that HD100 when it comes out. I don't know what it was, but it told me not to, and I never second guess my feelings. Generally my first guessed answer is the right one. Now even though the HD100 solved the 24p issues and the Interhangeable lens issues, it created a new issue that I could not live with....
It was not the highest definition available in High Definition.
720p just don't cut it for me if shooting HD. Ya see guys, when buying a car I have a problem buying a V6 when a V8 motor is available for about the same amount of money. I have a problem getting a PIII when I can buy a P4 computer for about the same amount. I have a problem RENTING AN APARTMENT when I can OWN A HOUSE and pay about the same amount of money in mortgage as I would in rent to a landlord. Therefore, I had a problem going 720p when 1080p costs about the same amount. Unfortuantely, there were no 1080p cameras available at the time, but I knew Canon was about to do someting, and then Panasonic made an announcement for the HVX-200. My Z1U was still in high demand, and I was producing more projects and renting more Z1U's then me and my staff could handle. So I held off.
Well, I thank the lord for letting me hold off, because the HD100 with it's smaller 720 lines, albeit it had 24p and interchangeable lens, proved to be more problems then praise from those who purchased it. These HD100 problems and concerns were SO BAD, that they took them to the store they purchased it from and got their money back. And i'm not talking about just one issolated person, I mean MANY PEOPLE took them back for a refund. Therefore, the HD100 was out of the question. So the Z1U remained the master HD camera for me (along with it's non-24p recording and fixed lens) at least it was 1080i.

------------------------ Introducing the Canon XL-H1 ------------------------

Now when this camera and the Panasonic HVX-200 were announced and getting closer to release dates, I knew it became time to say goodbye to my beloved Z1U. Like all aspects in life, you must move forward and thank the people (equipment) that helped you get to where you are today. I thank my Z1U and all that it's done for me, but it's time to buy some new and improved stuff since the Z1U is not upgradeable.
(fellas, this doesn't mean trade-in your wives and get a newer and more improved version!!!) LOL

I told you earlier that I am a Moviemaker. A Storyteller if you will. However, I am not the Director or Writer or anybody under the line. I am a "Producer". But I am a Producer that likes to own as much of his own equipment as he possibly can. Why? because I hate RENTING! I hate everything about it. I still do ofcourse, because there are certain pieces of equipment that I rarely use and there is equipment that just costs too damn much to own. Doesn't mean I have to like it! *smile*

Quick little story: On a movie I shall not name, I rented a Sony F900 for 2 weeks and had another come in for a B-Roll on Stedicam for 3 days because I couldn't convince the "Executive Producer" to shoot HDV because the "Director" talked with the "Cinematograher" who ultimately told her it sucked and that the DP wanted HDCAM. (they were married by the way, LOL). Since it was in the budget, I had no problem with it. It was only after the project was over that both the "Executive Producer" AND her "Director" husband had wished they followed my advice. I ended this project with another one of my famous I TOLD YOU SO speeches. Because they could have put that money towards a better "Cinematographer" who ultimately made the F900 footage look like $4!^. This was a classic example of "IT'S NOT YOUR EQUIPMENT THAT MATTERS, BUT THE TALENT BEHIND IT!!" Come to find out, the "Cinematographer" chose not to take my advice on shooting this project in HDV because of what he "READ ABOUT IT" in a discussion forum on the Internet. Not actual hands-on experience. LOLOL I would have rather given Barry Green, Jon Fordham or even HD100 owner Nate Weaver my Z1U and offered them $10,000 and a nice rental car & hotel room in Hollywood rather then waste $7,500 for two CineAltas and $5000, hotel, car & plane ticket on this DP that was the directors buddy. The movie would have looked 10,000,00% better and I would have saved $2500 bucks that I could have used elsewhere.

So here we are. The Canon XL-H1. Why did I buy it?
Simply put.........GUT INSTINCT!
For this young Storyteller, The Canon XL-H1 solved all my previous problems with the Sony Z1U, allowed me to keep 1080 lines of resolution that the HD100 didn't offer, As Far As I Know it posesses none of the problems the HD100 gives its owners, and on top of all that, its introduced some new and improved features that are very helpful in the pre-production and production stages of my narrative movie projects that I couldn't do with the Sony HVR-Z1U.
Yes ofcourse, it costs $4,000.00 more then my Sony Z1U, but the benefits are well worth it as far as I am concerned, No Question. The 1080p24 recording it does is worth it alone if you ask me. But knowing it also offers the interchangeable lens flexibility it becomes a no brainer. Add the extra features it does above and beyond those two aspects, I then become ecstatic about the camera for 2006 and what it may offer Cinema Hill.

Thus far, with the limited testing that Mr. Shannon "non-technical non-scientific" Rawls have been doing for the last 10 days it seems my gut instinct was correct again. Just like when I bought my Z1U, and didn't upload a bunch of footage of me shooting flowers & birds and unrealistic shit that is useless to moviemakers like myself, I will not go posting a bunch of WMV's of budding roses blowing in the winter wind or strangers walking up & down the Sunset Strip at magic hour to prove to the world how good this camera is. Instead, lets shoot some real movies and see how it works out on a 45-foot screen and/or a HD television or even a DVD. Where it's meant to be! *smile*

------------------------ Introducing the Panasonic HVX200 ------------------------

Well, this camera is not available yet now is it? I am contemplating this camera, but the more and more I experience the power of my Canon XL-H1, the less and less I am enthused about buying a HVX-200.

Why Panasonic didn't offer an interchangeable lens option, just kills me!
Why Panasonic won't diseminate the specs of their sensors, just kills me!
Why Panasonic made the camera look so toy-ish, just kills me!
Why Panasonic charges a great deal of money for P2 cards, just kills me!

While I love the imagery of my DVX-100a and the OUTSTANDING picture produced by the SDX-900, I do not know if it will be there with the HVX-200 in DVCPROHD format. I don't know much about the chips or the lens for them to offer it at $5995 bucks, but it certainly raises an eyebrow of mine. Not to mention the beguiling practices of their marketing department and the 'secrecy' of the footage & picture capabilities, especially at the DV Expo 2 weeks ago. Couple that with other P2 Card concerns I cannot seem to escape at this stage of the Digital Video game and Post Production woes I will be faced with (I'm currently a Vegas user), I cannot be certain that I will adopt, endorse or otherwise become an HVX-200 owner.

Time will tell

________________________________________________________

Either way, I hope this answers some of the questions that you wonderful people may have as to what would cause a Movie Producer to buy a Canon XL-H1 when he already owned a Sony HVR-Z1U.

- ShannonRawls.com
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Last edited by Shannon Rawls; December 27th, 2005 at 02:08 AM.
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Old December 26th, 2005, 04:02 PM   #3
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And, as a "story teller", you still have enough time to shoot something after typing all thoses lenghty, neverending posts?!?!?! ;-)
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Old December 26th, 2005, 04:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean-Philippe Archibald
And, as a "story teller", you still have enough time to shoot something after typing all thoses lenghty, neverending posts?!?!?! ;-)
Absolutely! Especially during Christmas time when everybody is off. *smile*

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Old December 26th, 2005, 04:18 PM   #5
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A bit wordy ;-), but I appreciated the post Shannon. A lot of people are weighing the same pros and cons.

I think because of the H1 and HVX, there will be a lot less DV submitted to high profile film festivals in the next 3 years or so.

I'm currently torn between buying an H1 or HVX before the year's out. (write-off :-) It sure would be nice to see some good examples of 1080p from the HVX. I'm already sold on 24F.

Last edited by Barlow Elton; December 26th, 2005 at 04:48 PM.
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Old December 26th, 2005, 04:22 PM   #6
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Let me say this...

The director and producer of the film I've posted a few pics from would much rather own 2 H1's after how much he payed for a monthlong rental of 2 F900s! He probably would've shot with mini35 too.
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Old December 26th, 2005, 04:47 PM   #7
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Very nice and funny post, Shannon.
Funny, but informative!
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Old December 26th, 2005, 08:03 PM   #8
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Nice post - i think i'll be buying this baby.
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Old December 26th, 2005, 11:33 PM   #9
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great post..

the lack of removable lens in HVX is the ONLY thing that makes me want to wait
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Old December 27th, 2005, 12:46 AM   #10
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very interesting and thanks for sharing your perspective. as an XL2 and FX-1 owner, i am constantly struggling to figure out which tool is the best for the job, and it is just as shannon describes it here. i love the HDV output of the FX-1, but the 12x reach is very chintzy for what i do, and there are no *good* options for extending the reach, in my opinion. and i can get a film look with the FX-1, but it is very labor intensive, whereas the XL2 can do filmic images on the front end. but oh, that 1080i is pretty!

and so it goes....

the H1 is probably a nearly-ideal camera, features-wise, except the price point is keeping me away, for the moment. the next two years should be very interesting, gear-wise...living in the middle of a technological revolution gets expensive!
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Old December 28th, 2005, 10:25 AM   #11
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Shannon, thanks for the great post!

Dave
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Old December 28th, 2005, 10:46 AM   #12
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But how soon till the price drops to about $6,000???
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Old December 28th, 2005, 11:11 AM   #13
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See here:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=56839
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Old June 15th, 2006, 09:31 AM   #14
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"Ya see guys, when buying a car I have a problem buying a V6 when a V8 motor is available for about the same amount of money. "

I drive a high output 4 cyl. Saab... it's lighter, more fuel efficient and most importantly faster than my old 24v dohc 6cyl ford.

and I can make swedish chef jokes while I drive it.
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Old June 15th, 2006, 07:30 PM   #15
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Fun seeing this thread again since the days when those of us that made the intitial jump onto the H1 bandwagon where still questioning our sanity..

FYI - all of the above, verbose though it may be, still applies...

Also, there's an article in the new issue of POST about using the H1 with the Wafian - not much detail, but interesting...
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