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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 11th, 2006, 08:12 PM   #1
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Questions to H1 owners from a dvx operator for 2 years

As you might have guessed, I was lot more interested in the HVX due to my experience with the DVX. However, I always tought the XL series had a much more solid look compared to my dvx footage, even tough the dvx colors where better. This seems to be repeating itself on the HD era. SO i really would like to know the opinions from the H1 owners on the board, because this is a very expensive purchase in both camera and workflow.

1- Are you happy with the noise in the h1? How do you feel about the image? Compared to the HVX footage you've seen on the net, how do you honestly compare the plus and downs of both?

2- About latitude. People are saying is really hard to get footage of a clear blue sky and also keep close skin tones in acceptable exposure. Is this true? Is this workable in post?

3- Can you "tweak"the scene files setting for the footage to look close to the HVX?

4- I have a g5 2.7ghz with 3 gb of ram. Is this enough for HDV production?

5- Is the current version of FCP able to work natively with canon's 25P (I'm planning on buying PAL)

6- Since the 25P footage is a bit lower resolution than the 50i footage, can I assume that if I slow down the i footage and then put it on the 25p timeline, the loss in resolution will not be so strongly felt?

7- Do you loose any resolution with color correction? Does the footage stays as sharp?

8- (This one is for Shannon)- Shannon, I really appreciate your honest and straighforward views: I'm planning to use this camera to do shorts, but also to make money on tv comercial business. What do you think I should get?

I really would like to hear everyone's personal view on this. I know some of these questions have been answered before, but I really would like to hear from people that are "loyal"and have a bond with the camera- this proves it has a certain something that can set it appart from the others. I found this on the dvx, many have found it on the XL (I hardly see any sony comments, tough). That's why I want to hear from you!
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Old January 13th, 2006, 02:44 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergio Perez

1- Are you happy with the noise in the h1? How do you feel about the image? Compared to the HVX footage you've seen on the net, how do you honestly compare the plus and downs of both?
Very happy. I keep pinching myself about the image. Comparing it to the HVX is a lengthy discussion, and the better tool for you absolutely depends on your priorities in what kind of image you want and what kind of workflow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergio Perez
2- About latitude. People are saying is really hard to get footage of a clear blue sky and also keep close skin tones in acceptable exposure. Is this true? Is this workable in post?
This is exaggerated, and it is ABSOLUTELY workable in post. There's a lot of room for color correction in the HDV material, and that's to say nothing about the possibilities with SDI.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergio Perez
3- Can you "tweak"the scene files setting for the footage to look close to the HVX?
Absolutely, but don't expect a perfect match. The cameras see the world differently. The image manipulation in the H1 is incredibly extensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergio Perez
4- I have a g5 2.7ghz with 3 gb of ram. Is this enough for HDV production?
Absolutely. I have the same computer, but my Kona card helps with HDV editing to some degree. It's also wonderful for SDI captures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergio Perez
5- Is the current version of FCP able to work natively with canon's 25P (I'm planning on buying PAL)
Not that I'm aware of. I've heard rumblings of an imminent FCP update that will add compatibility to 24/25F modes. It does suck because as of right now, the only app that truly supports the F modes is Adobe Premiere with Cineform.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergio Perez
6- Since the 25P footage is a bit lower resolution than the 50i footage, can I assume that if I slow down the i footage and then put it on the 25p timeline, the loss in resolution will not be so strongly felt?
The loss is probably hardly perceivable, and it would be a waste of time to do your own deinterlace. The DIGIC processing is phenomenal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergio Perez
7- Do you loose any resolution with color correction? Does the footage stays as sharp?
Yes, possibly some loss, but the idea is to not finish in actual HDV, as many scenes with color correction will require another pass of rendering in order to rebuild GOP's, etc. You should consider finishing in uncompressed if you can afford the disk space, and then render a h.264 or WMV for distribution. You could also convert all material to and edit in DVCPRO HD. It will likely hold up.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 03:07 AM   #3
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Barlow, thank you a LOT. Your answers where straight to the point and very informative. My purchase decision is now even harder, being my final options the H1 and the HVX. I hope you don't mind if I have a few more questions:

About the HDV codec not holding up with heavy movement- What does your personal experience with the cam and footage tell you about this?

About the Kona card: What advantage are you getting with it in the HDV front? It says harware acceleration- are you getting realtime playback and multiple layers in realtime without rendering? How about some basic effects like simple color correction?

Editing question, again: Say you capture the HDV material- what do you do next? You do the simple cuts in a native HDV timeline, than export in Uncompressed HD, or DVCPRO HD, then you do the color correction and effects?

Thank you again on the very helpfull reply before!
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Old January 13th, 2006, 06:58 AM   #4
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FCP and 25f...

...works just nice (I have preset I can mail you). And about the computer, I have exactly the same (but with 4GB sdram) and it works great, but I can recomend the a G-raid disc for a good workflow with lot's of space (at least 500GB). Just put in the tape, do a batch capture, go to lunch. When back, get rid of the clips you don't like!
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Old January 13th, 2006, 01:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergio Perez
About the HDV codec not holding up with heavy movement- What does your personal experience with the cam and footage tell you about this?
It holds up quite well. It has easily exceeded the expectations I had when considering other cams like the Z1. You'd have to be filming something practically unwatchable to kill it. Still, there is the SDI option if it's super critical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergio Perez
About the Kona card: What advantage are you getting with it in the HDV front? It says harware acceleration- are you getting realtime playback and multiple layers in realtime without rendering? How about some basic effects like simple color correction?
The advantage is the card offloads some of the computer's works such as scaling the image so that it can be monitored live out the analog or SDI ports. The big drawback to HDV editing is that you can't stream the live signal out firewire to a deck and monitor it, as we were accustomed to with DV editing. The Kona card gives you an accurate image to monitor in HD, live, all the time. I'll be testing the card more thorougly this weekend, so I'll chime in again and give you a report.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergio Perez
Editing question, again: Say you capture the HDV material- what do you do next? You do the simple cuts in a native HDV timeline, than export in Uncompressed HD, or DVCPRO HD, then you do the color correction and effects?
My workflow is to edit in native HDV and then re-render (from the edited timeline) to whatever codec I choose.

Basically, you change the easy setup of FCP in your sequence settings to a different codec and do a final render. It doesn't have to be uncompressed. HDV finalizing can look really good too, but if it's cc and FX intensive, you'd probably want to render into a better codec, say Uncompressed or PhotoJPEG at 75 or 100%. Lots of options in FCP.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 04:00 PM   #6
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Barton: I for one will be very interested in your impressions. I am about to spring for a Kona card myself, but after 9 grand for a camera, 3 grand for a Sony deck, 1300 for an HD monitor and 3500 for a G5, I am sorta tired of spending money unless I really need it... Hope to read your opinions soon... (start a new thread)... Steve Rosen
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Old January 13th, 2006, 05:45 PM   #7
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I'll have a fairly good impression this weekend. I'm also going to play the live Kona timeline output to my HD projector...just because. I love watching my HD 12 ft wide in a HT setting.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 06:28 PM   #8
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Oh and Steve, I hear ya about spending fatigue. It's terrible because I feel like there is so much more I need to add to my system. AHHHHHHHH!!!
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Old January 13th, 2006, 10:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonas Nystrom
...works just nice (I have preset I can mail you). And about the computer, I have exactly the same (but with 4GB sdram) and it works great, but I can recomend the a G-raid disc for a good workflow with lot's of space (at least 500GB). Just put in the tape, do a batch capture, go to lunch. When back, get rid of the clips you don't like!
Jonas, please do! I'm struggling with my powerbook on the editing front!

Barlow, thanks again for your answers. I'm really looking forward to your Kona test. I've got a panasonic CRT tv about 32" with 1080 component input. I figure this will be what I'll be using to monitor my footage- not the best choice for CC, I know, but it was cheap :) !



On a side note, It's really hard to get professional gear over here, and due to the professional gear be in some kind of " grey area" withy small, very small companies distributing the material (but only in neighbour Hong-Kong), we usually get ripped of in prices (cameras are cheaper, tough!). If this is not too much, can i ask you what you paid for for the Kona lh card for pci-x? I'm in a small town in asia and we can't get good deals on pro material, specially for mac. If it is a lot more vantageous to order from abroad, than I'll certainly do so! You can mail me with the info if you think its innapropriate to post here.

Once again, thank you all, specially Barlow and Jonas. It's people like you that make this community the Best Place for Digital Production information!
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