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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 17th, 2006, 10:13 AM   #16
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As far as the 'blown out highlights' go, what if you were shooting something that had a dark surrounding, but was significantly (or overly) spotlit - say like a concert, or even a wedding? I'd handle that with riding the iris.

I'd like to know how responsive the iris is on the H1. I personally like having a manual lens (say like a Fujinon on a DV500/550, betacam, etc), where you can just dial the iris up and down.

With the H1, I'm assuming it's just a dial that's an electric iris, that lets you open or close the iris(?).

Can I assume that if something was highly spotlit/blown out, that you can just dial the iris down and find your sweet spot between the stops? One concern I had was that the iris would jump between the stops (ie: 1.6, 2.8, 3.5, etc), not letting you into the area between them, slowly rolling and opening or closing the iris. Some cameras are like this, and I'm hoping that's not the case - it would be tough having big iris 'jumps' depending on the situation, where you were at in the zoom, etc.

So - as a hopeful soon to be owner, can you dial the iris in smoothly to your sweet spots between stops, similar to the manual iris ring on a manual lens, only electronically? This is one of my last critical issues. Wish you could stick a manual lens on there - They'll probably come out with one like the HD100...


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Old January 18th, 2006, 01:45 AM   #17
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Steven, dont you think that coring @ +4 can be (sometimes) a little bit to much of smoothing?
Jonas Nyström, DoP :: HOT SHOT® SWEDEN :: :: RED #1567, RED 18-50mm T3 :: XL A1, Letus Extreme :: XL H1, 20X & 6X lens (for sale) ::
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Old January 18th, 2006, 08:59 AM   #18
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Jonas: I think everyone has to do their own tests and come to their own conclusions relative to their own styles and needs...

I am approaching HDV the same way I do 35mm. Resolution is a good thing, but it can be "too much" for some subjects. I am currently shooting mostly people, close-ups, faces and hands and brushes and strokes of color on canvas. I am using Tiffen SoftFX filters and keeping the coring at a level where the filters work with the image. For other subjects I might back off on the coring, and the filters.

In my mind, the advantage of HDV is that the inherent resolution gives you somewhere to go. With DV we were pretty much stuck with a given resolution. With HDV, again, as with 35, we can use artistic tools to modify the image without adversly effecting the blacks and shadow areas.

Also, unlike others who have posted here, I like to shoot into blown out areas of light, like windows. I like the filters to work for me in the areas of exposure, and for the white areas to softly bleed into the dark areas. Too much sharpness makes that look like bad video. By softening the image, it takes on a creamier, more film-like look... Steve Rosen
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Old January 18th, 2006, 02:38 PM   #19
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Check this link out

Hei guys ,for al the xl-h1 users i think this link will help you a lot to understand how each setting(the picture settings) works
here it is : and watch the free canon XL2 feature tour video
The settings for XL2 cammera are almost identical with the settings for XL H1
The video will show you how to deal with cloudy situations,and other cool picture set up.
Good luck!

Again the main link is
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Old January 19th, 2006, 04:01 AM   #20
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The points mentioned about the good low-light results with the H1 are very interesting, as a great deal of my shooting is done at dusk/dawn periods and cameras such as the earlier XL1s tend to either give no details at 0db or detail but heavy noise/grain at +db gain. If the H1 is as good as it sounds, then it is making me more inclined to purchase one.

Almost all my shooting is outdoors, and I tend to use a polarizer filter quite a lot, especially when I'm near water due to reflections etc. The filter tends to come off during lower light levels so as to increase ability to expose detail in the shadows...but then the massive difference between a bright cloudy/grey sky and moving subjects on land means that the ND filters in my 16X manual come in to play.
However, if I'm doing a shoot where there is a vast difference between the lower half of the shot and the upper frame of the shot (such as filming a static landscape with the lens pointing upwards towards a bright cloud-covered sky, or a person standing in the foreground) the main subject tends to just silhouette. Opening up the iris helps to bring back detail, but just washes out all detail in the sky. In these situations a full ND filter doesn't really make the grade, so I then fit a large square Graduated ND filter on the front of the 16 X manual. This then evens up the scene and brings detail back to the whole frame, including the bright grey sky and someone standing in front of it.
To try and cut down on the noise levels and to avoid upping the gain button during dusk/ shooting, I've sometimes added an on-camera warm light to 'just' give a hint of detail to someone moving about within close range of the camera (this tends to work best just after the sun has disappeared behind the horizon).
Trying to obtain clean detail without noise on dull days of winter within coniferous woods etc, is also a problem. I'm looking forward to seeing more actual footage taken with the H1 in low light levels to see just how 'clean' the results look.
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Old January 20th, 2006, 11:00 AM   #21
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For those of you who don't understand the KNEE function, it is designed to compress the highlights, providing detail, while maintaining color/skin tone and detail in other areas. This means that clouds, or a bright window in the backround, say, will have detail while the foreground will be unaffected.

If you look at a GAMMA CURVE with the knee function on you can see it literally bending/compressing the highlights. This is one of the most important tools on the F900, for instance. I work as a DIT on the side, and use this constantly.

I haven't played with the H1 yet, but if the KNEE does what it's supposed to do, then the whole "blown out" and "can't handle highlights" subject is moot.
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