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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 4th, 2006, 11:26 AM   #1
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Reality raises it's ugly head.

Okay, I got the H1 because, as I said many posts ago, I shoot documentaries, and even though SD is the present, I want to cover myself with what I shoot for the future...

I am currently producing a corporate program with a decent budget (I do these to pay the bills, docs don't) for a client that wanted to screen the final in a large projection area of his building. In early talks it was decided that 16x9 would be preferrable, and originated on HDV for future availabilty of HD DVD or whatever... Well, now he has decided that 4x3 will be more useful across the board for his anticipated audiences... Damn... So I will shoot HDV and down-convert to SD 4x3.. good thing they put those new viewfinder guides in the H1.

At the same time we received a grant to make a 30 minute film about the immigrant experience through the eyes of a successful artist (she's Chinese). All right!, perfect subject for HDV, right? - tight close-ups of the brush as it strokes brilliant colors on the textured paper, her beautiful eyes as she studies her work...

Well, the grant entails providing X number of copies to specified school districts - guess what, those schools don't even have DVD players and the TVs are 20 year old Gold Stars - or worse...

So, shoot HDV for a (hopeful) future audience that will see the detail, and in the meantime make VHS, yes, that's right VHS!!!, copies for the kids that will actually see the show now.. So, that's my next 4 to 6 months of good old-fashioned SD 4X3 filmmaking...

Like I said, good thing they put those 4X3 viewfinder guides in the H1...
Steve Rosen
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Old January 4th, 2006, 12:13 PM   #2
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Bummer Steve.

All that high quality 1080 footage just to get degraded to 240 !
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Old January 4th, 2006, 12:21 PM   #3
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"Reality Bites" seems the appropriate comment.

Your post is so relevant, as we argue abou the comming 'revolution' and the latest greatest tech updates.

HD is, for the present, a very very small percentage of home sets. Bears remembering.
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Old January 4th, 2006, 12:26 PM   #4
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Indeed.

Although I find the argument that 4/3 is more approperiate for that man's audience, crap, if I may be so honest.
I could see why people don't have a way of seeing HD for now, but almost everybody watches in widescreen now, and even if they don't, the black bars aren't that bad for them anymore.
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Old January 4th, 2006, 12:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez
"Reality Bites" seems the appropriate comment.

Your post is so relevant, as we argue abou the comming 'revolution' and the latest greatest tech updates.

HD is, for the present, a very very small percentage of home sets. Bears remembering.
Yup, just a fact of life right now! I was criticized just two weeks ago, by another Steven, for pointing out this obvious dilemma to someone seeking advice on a camera purchase. It would not, however, stop me from buying one if I could afford it. I would down res. and do what I could.

Would trade you even up for my XL2! Ha ha :)

You will eventually be shooting and delivering HD, just be patient.

Good Luck---Mike
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Old January 4th, 2006, 12:42 PM   #6
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My argument exactly. But he wants to be able to send the show on DVD to people whom he assumes have conventional sets. He personally doesn't like letterbox. I am currently writing a small additional budget to provide masters in all three formats so he doesn't have to live with 4X3 for projection and there can be both 16X9 and 4X3 versions embedded in the DVD - and he'll have the HDV for future use. Still have to frame for 4X3 safe, though, which I think compromises framing.. but hell, it's a corporate video, not art!!!

As for the other project.. this is California where the schools are having trouble with leaking classrooms and state-of-the-art TV sets aren't a big priority... The show will still be finished in HDV and the master will be down-converted.. I'm experimenting right now as a matter of fact to see how it looks (Sony deck). I will frame closer to the edges on that one.

I've also been shooting a spec documentary titled CALIFORNIA HOMETOWN BLUES about the affordable housing crisis that I am shooting entirely with HDV in mind. That's a longer project, schedule-wise, and won't be finished until sometime in 2007. Hopefully by then... Steve Rosen
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Old January 4th, 2006, 12:43 PM   #7
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But... does it at least get a good image, even downrezzed?
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Old January 4th, 2006, 12:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez
HD is, for the present, a very very small percentage of home sets. Bears remembering.
As I've no doubt mentioned before, it's rare that I go to a customer's house now and they *don't* have an HDTV. Depending on your client base, it's worth considering that people with enough money to hire a videographer are the same people who are buying that "small percentage" of HDTVs. This overlap makes overall statistics for the general population less relevant.

Once you have HD acquisition equipment, it's tempting to use it for everything unless you have two jobs simultaneously and your HD camera(s) are committed to one of them. Even if your client isn't likely to watch the output in HD, that's one more example to add to your HD demo reel.

And yes, HDV downsampled to widescreen or 4x3 SD looks fine -- better than what I got from my Canon DV cameras.
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Old January 4th, 2006, 12:58 PM   #9
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"...HD is, for the present, a very small percentage of home sets..."

How true...

This is why I'm happy enough to have made a recent major project in XL miniDV 4:3. (although not quite so happy with high noise/grain in some of the tape footage at very low light levels).

Watching a program made in HD on one of the latest, largest, and highest quality Sony flat-screen HD TVs is a wonderful experience, but watching a program made with non-HD equipment shown on that same big HD screen immediately shows the lower quality and pixel break-up.

Simply plugging in a cheap digital top-box to a 20-year old terrestrial television improves the picture quality dramatically, and I know of many people that are happy enough with that, without needing to shell out thousands of extra dollars/euros/pounds for the latest HD set.

Ask a million households across USA and Europe if they own HD TV sets, and most will answer that they do not. This situation will of course change, but not for at least some years into the future.

However, owning a H1 does give the option of obtaining superb quality from the outset, and a project made with it today will have a better chance of being aired on the improved, lower-cost HD televisions a few years into the future.

I just wish that it was sold as a cheaper body-only price!
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Old January 4th, 2006, 01:32 PM   #10
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HDTV not the main Point!

Just because a customer has an HDTV means little, some, but little. If the only way they can watch your video is for you to come over and hook up your camera or deck, that is just a tad restrictive for your wedding video customer. There are no readily available HD DVD players and when they do come out they are going to initially cost as much as their HDTV does, and very few will have them.

Iím not putting HD down, just the opposite. I think it is the future and will be around for a while. I own a HDTV, a HD camera, and a HD deck, but I still canít make or watch an HD DVD. That will come in time, but not soon. If they were to come out tomorrow, I would not buy one. I want some stable standards set, and I do not want another small boat anchor, they corrode much to fast! :) Hey, I have a JVC JY-HD10U!!!!!!!!

Live and learn! Hey, Iíll trade my JVC HD and my XL2 for your H1Ö.:)

Hang in there and keep shooting, save the footage. You never know, that customer might come back and want a new edit and a HD DVD when they get that player! Just charge them more!

Mike

P.S.: I recently bought a new Sony DVD deck that has an HDMI output that goes to my Sony TV. It uprezzes DVD's to HD and some DVD's do look very much better. Just a thought!

Mike
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Old January 4th, 2006, 02:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Teutsch
Just because a customer has an HDTV means little, some, but little...There are no readily available HD DVD players and when they do come out they are going to initially cost as much as their HDTV does, and very few will have them.
It's true the lack of mainstream HD players is currently a limiting factor, but that's going to change this year -- and there's still the Avel Linkplayer2 for those willing to take that plunge. Plus HD downsamples nicely to widescreen SD DVDs, which anyone should be able to play on their HDTV and have it look better than stretched 4x3 video. The possibility of using upsampling DVD players with digital connections is another thing I'm looking into, as another interim solution.

The key point here is that people *are* buying HDTVs in significant numbers, at least in some areas. If you're making videos that anyone plans to watch in the future (which hopefully will be most of them), there's a clear pending benefit to producing in HD regardless of current playback limitations.
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Old January 4th, 2006, 03:14 PM   #12
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"there's a clear pending benefit to producing in HD regardless of current playback limitations."

I don't think it is 'clear' at all. Final 'changeover' to digital transmission is set for APril 2009, HD DVD formats are fighting it out... The only thing clear to me, is that IF you can wait to adopt an HD solution, the later you wait the 'clearer' it will be.

But that's generally true of any technology or piece of equipment. IF you can make money with it NOW... then buy it. The money you make will offset the cost of depreciation, and you can always sell the old gear for an upgrade later... when newer better technology is available, and the CURRENT technology is 'cheaper' cause it's 'older'!

If you CAN'T make money with it now, then you are buying it for the thrill of being on the leading edge.. or should I say ''bleeding edge"?
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Old January 4th, 2006, 03:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez
I don't think it is 'clear' at all. Final 'changeover' to digital transmission is set for APril 2009, HD DVD formats are fighting it out... The only thing clear to me, is that IF you can wait to adopt an HD solution, the later you wait the 'clearer' it will be.
Exactly! We have three more years, and just look at what has transpired in the last three years.

Mike
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Old January 4th, 2006, 04:11 PM   #14
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Hey, Steve. If I were you, I would still shoot in HDV. I did some tests and I thought it looked great shooting in 16 x 9 HDV and then after editing, on the final pass scaling clips to 4 x 3. It looked better, imo, than shooting DV. You can check out the clips...I did some tests for various conversions here:

Files:
-Initial clip is HDV Native
-Converted to DVCProHD 1080i via AJA Kona LHe
-Converted to SD 8 Bit Uncompressed (both letterboxed and blowup)
-Converted to DV (both letterboxed and blowup)

All can be found here in HDV Conversion Tests folder:

http://homepage.mac.com/kevinwild/FileSharing34.html

KW
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Old January 5th, 2006, 10:02 AM   #15
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Hey Kevin, you're doing some serious manipulation and you're obviously way more techno-literate than I am (as I mentioned in another post, I was still editing on a Moviola 8 years ago)...

I'm an old dog and not up to learning a lot of new tricks.. I've been editing on FCP since it was introduced (v 1.0) and the only other things I've got in my computer are After Effects and Photoshop. But I'd be interested in knowing why you've converted to DVCProHD et al... Maybe this isn't the thread to discuss it, but I'd sure like to know more... Steve Rosen
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