H1 as 16mm Replacement? 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 January 1st, 2006, 11:03 AM   #1
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H1 as 16mm Replacement?

Hey everyone...this is my first post here after lurking around for the last few weeks and gathering up as much information as I could find / understand. I'm a sophomore film student at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and I'm starting to look into getting one of the HDV's. From the footage that I've seen and playing around with them at B&H for a while, I seem to be leaning towards the H1, as the 1080 and the stock lens both look pretty fantasic to me. So I guess my major concerns are:

1. For festivals and future distribution, does the 24f as opposed to 24p (as in the JVC or the HVX200) provide for a good transfer to film? Is there anywhere I can see it in action?

2. Aside from film transfers, how much of a film look does the 24f give when left in a digital medium (DVD, DV, etc.)?

I'm focusing on producing for 'film' (as opposed to TV), so I guess that's why my questions are more leaning towards the distribution aspect to it, but I will certainly be using this camera for films that I will be directing as well DPing on, so I obviously do care about the camera on set as well (any other things to considder as opposed to shooting on 16mm?)

I'm pretty new to DV in general, and then trying to read up on HDV has been a little overwhelming. I would love any help you guys could give me. This seems like a really great community and I'm already happy I joined. Thanks!
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Old January 1st, 2006, 11:37 AM   #2
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Have you ruled out the HVX200? The P2 workflow is similar to using 400' magazines, so tends to appeal more to people who have worked with 16mm (like myself) than people who shoot long-form video (like weddings and events).
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Old January 1st, 2006, 12:00 PM   #3
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I think both the HVX200 and the XL-H1 will give you stunning results if you are lightening it good, like you should with 16mm too. It's going to be much cheaper of course.

Film transfer should be fine, but nobody had the chance to really test the H1 or the HVX to a filmtransfer because both cameras aren't out yet for a long while.

You should primarily look at your workflow and such, and formfactor, and such, if you are choosing between the cameras. It's maybe best to first choose your format (HDV, DVCHD Pro, HDCam (H1 with the SDI port or how is it called),...)

At the film academy I saw some 16mm shorts with bad lightening and video with good lightening... it's all about the lightening... Resolution isn't that much more of a problem anymore.

The most problems are with the post production in which NLE's support what.
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Old January 1st, 2006, 12:27 PM   #4
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Alex, simple answer: YES

I know why you're leaning toward the H1...and it's a good reason and a good decision.

The answer is YES....you can transfer directly to film if you want. And if you're a good student and know what you're doing when shooting your projects, then you're professor will give you an A+ for sure!!! You may even get a few extra freshmen girls to sleep over if you carry your H1 around in your backpack with the lens sticking out the top. You'll be the MAN on campus bro!

Ofcourse there will be some Seniors bashing you for your decision because they spent money on inferior HD gear last semester. But never no mind them Alex, trust me...your projects will dominate those guys projects, especially for your film-out. Their just jealous of you being a sophmore and all with newer and better gear that has none of the problems or limitations their gear is having. Not to mention their upset because you'll be racking in all the new young chicks. *smile*

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Old January 1st, 2006, 12:50 PM   #5
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As others have said you might be better looking at your workflow first. HDV is a good quality format, but it is highly compressed, this tends to limit the amount of grading you can get away with in post production. How far you can push the HDV image will depend on the picture content. If you can keep noise levels down and there isn't too much motion then HDV holds up pretty well. You may want to consider using the cineform intermediate codec as this re samples the HDV 4:2:0 colour space to 4:2:2 and restores some of the lost data and minimises artifacts. If you intend to create the films look in camera then HDV may well be a good choice. Storage is easy, there are loads of editing options and lots of HDV gear already in use.

HOWEVER if you want to shoot and then create the films look in post production through grading or color correction then HDV may not be such a good choice. In theory the Panasonic DVCPRO HD codec should be more robust and should allow for more agressive grading and color correction, if that is the case then the Panasonic HVX200 may be a better choice. As yet there have been few direct like for like tests to see just how much difference there is between HDV and DVCPRO HD from the HVX200, DVCPRO HD is lower resolution than HDV so may not look quite as crisp when transfered to film. The HVX200 is not without it's down sides as it records to P2 cards which are expensive or hard disks. This could present you with long term storage problems, having to store large amounts of video files on disks, har drives or tape backup of some sort.

Of course you could always use the H1 to feed a PC or Mac with a HD-SDi input and a raid array to record uncompressed full resolution HD. Then you would have footage that you could grade as much as you wanted, no compression artifacts to worry about and stunning picture quality that would rival or even better HDCAM (remember even HDCAM is compressed and only 3:1:1).

I am sure if you choose the H1 it would be a good choice. Interchangable lenses is a big plus, but only if you actually get some additional lenses! But do think about how you will be using the footage.
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Old January 1st, 2006, 02:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shannon Rawls
You may even get a few extra freshmen girls to sleep over if you carry your H1 around in your backpack with the lens sticking out the top. You'll be the MAN on campus bro!

Not to mention their upset because you'll be racking in all the new young chicks. *smile*

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NOOOOW I know why Shannon choose the H1 ;-)
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Old January 1st, 2006, 02:42 PM   #7
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In 1996 I shot a feature length documentary called BEYOND BARBED WIRE in super 16. Because it contained a lot of WWII stock footage from the National Archives, available only on BetaSP, I edited in tape. I transferred all my film to BetaSP and on-lined the final edit at 4MC to Digital Betacam.

The Digital Betacam master was then transferred, again at 4MC, back to film, to 35mm 1:66 for projection. The film played many festivals and had theatrical screenings in California, Washington, Prague, Tokyo and New York.

From that experience I learned that a tape to film transfer can look pretty darn good. Now, admittedly, the material I shot and the archival footage were originally shot in film... But in the 9+ years that have intervened the process of getting tape to film has improved considerably...

Point is, if it's shot well and the story is compelling, a tape to film project will work even if it's not 24 frames. "HOOP DREAMS", "ROGER AND ME", "BOWLING", and of course "911" are all theatrical releases originated at 29.97.

The image from the H1 at 24F is reputed to be quite good. Unfortunately, as of now there isn't a deck that'll play it, so you're limited to using the camera, but you CAN do it yourself.

The Panasonic will make things easier in some respects by shooting 24p and allowing file transfers directly to your computer - but you've still got to get it onto some form of digital tape for the transfer. You could probably export your master to a hard-drive and take it to a post house for this.. it's only money...

We're all working through this new process with lots of enthusiasm, but maybe without much sense... Steve Rosen
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Old January 1st, 2006, 11:46 PM   #8
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Steve, on the films you mentioned we never shot 29.97 except I can't speak for hoop dreams. "Roger and Me" was shot on 16mm film. "Bowling for Columbine" was shot at first on 16mm then HD came out and most of the movie was shot on 24p HD. All the original scenes in "Fahrenheit" were shot on 24p HD or in the case of the Iraq footage on 50i PAL DVCAM: PAL PD-150's or PAL PDX10's. (I am sure there is a little NTSC PD150 in there too.) What little b-camera work there is in the U.S. scenes were shot on a PAL PD-150. Of course the archival work did originate on 60i generally speaking. We very much avoided 29.97 whenever possible in favor of 50i. (I was a producer for Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11.) But I agree that 60i transfers are getting much much better and it makes me wonder if one should shoot in 60i for film out from HDV rather than 50i when those are the options.
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 12:59 AM   #9
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Thanks for the great input so far. From what I'm starting to gather, it doesn't seem like the 24F should be reason enough for me to not buy the H1. I'm even having my doubts about how important a film transfer will be for the type of work I'm talking about, as a growing number of festivals are taking digital media (I've got some time before I start thinking about featres...). I also hope to get involved in some purely digital forms of distribution and feel increasingly that I should just go with the camera who's picture I like the most above all other features. Right now, that's the H1...
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 01:30 AM   #10
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Correct... the XL-H1 picture is OUTSTANDING. And so far, in my opinion, it takes a better picture then any other HD camcorder available for under $55,000.00 USD.

and you're right. 24f don't matter at the end of the day now does it? Pshhhhh, 24f....24p.....24k.....24%. Call it 24(fill-in the blank) if you want...the end result is 24 progressive frames per second recorded on your minidv tape ready to be captured & edited as such.

And if you ask me, since other manufacturers don't have to release pertinent info about their cameras and yet they get no flack about it, Canon should have shut the hell up about their scanning process as well.Canon should have just said:
"We don't want to get into a CCD scanning process war or 'mis-educate' consumers on un-important info. What's important is the picture and final result. Let the footage speak for itself" That's what they should have officialy said and simply told us "You'll end up with 24p on tape"

Because honestly...that's a smart way of doing business. That's a PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING method of marketing and I kinda applaud the companies that are doing it. (even though it's not cool to attack another company's specs & methods while withholding your own)

Just so long as the final MOVIE THAT I'M MAKING looks good to my mother who likes to watch movies!!! If I told her "But mom, I know you loved my movie but I used a camera that has an interlaced scan, so they decided to call it 24f instead of 24p even though it records segmented frames at 24p just like the Sony F900" My mom would silently pause with a confused smirk and probably give me an open hand slap in the mouth just for talking stupid to her. lol

*smile*
Imagine that.

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Old January 2nd, 2006, 03:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shannon Rawls
Just so long as the final MOVIE THAT I'M MAKING looks good to my mother who likes to watch movies!!! If I told her "But mom, I know you loved my movie but I used a camera that has an interlaced scan, so they decided to call it 24f instead of 24p even though it records segmented frames at 24p just like the Sony F900" My mom would silently pause with a confused smirk and probably give me an open hand slap in the mouth just for talking stupid to her. lol
and here endeth the P vs F argument :)
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 08:41 AM   #12
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loool
I'm happy to have a H1!
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 09:17 AM   #13
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24f...24p...doesn't matter at the end of the day...UNLESS YOU CAN'T USE IT!

I'm loving this camera, but I hope we see a deck MIGHTY SOON that can play back 24 and 30F. I also hope we don't wait until NAB for Final Cut Pro to support it.

KW
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 09:51 AM   #14
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Jeff: Thanks for your info... it's interesting because I read several places, including DOCUMENTARY magazine, that all those films originated in BETASP, and I even saw a publicity shot of Moore (who I admire very much by the way) with an old Sony ENG camera on his shoulder... Misinformation becomes information, as Mr. Moore himself often says... Steve Rosen
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