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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 February 9th, 2006, 02:25 PM   #1
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Thinking of getting the XL H1… good/bad idea?

Hi guys… first off I’ll explain where I am at… I am starting up a new wedding video business, I was going to buy the XL2 but after posting on these forums it became clear to me this could be a bad idea… after all in two years or so I will have to go HDV and selling the XL2 could be very hard and I could loose out on a lot of money.

I am now thinking of the XL H1… I know what it can do etc but getting advise from people who use this camcorder is priceless. If anyone could give me some advice I’d be so grateful, it’s a very hard decision and a lot of money so I am not rushing into anything without real considering.

The XL H1 also has the Image stabilizer Auto focus, another big turn on. Thanks in advance guys.. and again any advice will be gladly welcomed.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 02:43 PM   #2
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Quick question, what are you going to edit in?
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Old February 9th, 2006, 02:52 PM   #3
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If you shoot HD for weddings how will the viewers be able to watch HD? How many people do you know with true HD TV's or Plasmas in their house? Not only that, but DVD is pretty standard in the majority of households - I don't see half America switching anytime soon. As with anything new, it takes years to catch on and several factors at once for the average consumer to be encouraged to change technologies.

Starting a new business is no reason to go broke so save yourself some dough and buy yourself a used XL2 on ebay for as low as $2800 USD. If you do 2 weddings this year your camera will be paid for, the XLH1 costs $10k last time I checked. Yet another point of consideration is editing. Editing HD can require more a workhorse PC than editing SD.. something to also think about.

Have you seen any raw Canon XL2 footage in 16:9 mode? It's razor sharp killer stuff. Would make most newlyweds happy I'm sure ; )

If a DVX100A can do this, www.danmccainproductions.com/democlassic.html an XL2 will not dissapoint you with the extra resolution.

Good luck and let us know how you fair out!
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Old February 9th, 2006, 03:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Hingsberg
Quick question, what are you going to edit in?
For the time being… Adobe Premiere 1.5

As to shooting in HD I wouldn’t be shooting it in the near future, but I like the option of having it there when I will need it. Then down the line I will only have to update the editing side if things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Saraceno
DVD is pretty standard in the majority of households - I don't see half America switching anytime soon. As with anything new, it takes years to catch on and several factors at once for the average consumer to be encouraged to change technologies.
This too is a good point… I am just unsure of what to do at the moment… some people say go HD some SD… I know SD and would love the Xl2 but at the same time don’t wont to get sold short or make a slow start in the world of HD.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 03:32 PM   #5
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If you can effort it; Go for the XL H1. If not, go Xl2. The XL H1 is a newer, better camera. The lens is newer, the viewfinder is new and it has HD. Maybe you're normal average production isn't in HD yet, but with a bit more investment you're set for the future. Again, I can not look in your wallet, but if the investment can come back to you, go XL H1.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 04:51 PM   #6
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Also correct me if I'm wrong guys, but shooting in SD mode on the XLH1 will not result in the same SD quality/noise/low light levels as shooting in SD on an XL2.

Chris Hurd explained this somewhere in this forum I was reading today. It has to do with the number of pixels on a 1/3" CCD.

My point anyway is that although you think you're doing yourself a favour by going for the HD camera now as to not sell yourself short, if you buy HD but shoot SD you definitely are.

I'd love for the people who are saying to go for HD in your situation speak up on this forum... there could be lots to talk about. :)
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Old February 9th, 2006, 05:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Hingsberg
Also correct me if I'm wrong guys, but shooting in SD mode on the XLH1 will not result in the same SD quality/noise/low light levels as shooting in SD on an XL2.

Chris Hurd explained this somewhere in this forum I was reading today. It has to do with the number of pixels on a 1/3" CCD.

My point anyway is that although you think you're doing yourself a favour by going for the HD camera now as to not sell yourself short, if you buy HD but shoot SD you definitely are.

I'd love for the people who are saying to go for HD in your situation speak up on this forum... there could be lots to talk about. :)
This is very interesting Dennis… especially the point about buying HD but shooting in SD, which in all honestly I would be doing for possibly the next two years.

The XL H1 is nearly the price of two XL2’s but I am trying to think long term too but don’t want that to make the short term results suffer.

If you’re wondering what others said about SD vs. HD in my situation here are the forum links…

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=59864

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=60029

By the way I am not trying to double post at any time, just trying to get all different views of people…. In all honestly my heads pickled!
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Old February 9th, 2006, 05:56 PM   #8
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I think the killer thing the H1 offers in a wedding business scenario is this:

Shoot HD, even when delivering on SD...but tempt them with an HD version.

Workflow:

Shoot HDV and edit in DVCPRO HD via SDI transfer (FCP is the simplest solution) and then convert to either DV50 or DV via compressor. If you go DV50, you will get an especially phenomenal SD image with lots of color sampling and a low compression ratio.

Offer deliverables in SD,(most likely DVD) but show them the HD and charge a premium for it. You can create an h.264 or WMV HD file and burn to DVD, and offer the Avelink DVD player for playback on their HD set until Blu Ray and HD DVD are available on the market.

Yes, most will opt for plain-vanilla SD, but many might be tempted to splurge on an HD version.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 07:37 PM   #9
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i spent the day on a stage shooting product demos with the H1. we used the camera to feed a dvcpro 50 deck component and 4x3. i can tell you that the quality of the image was very close, almost indistinguishable to shooting with the sdx900. we had to match footage that was shot with the panasonic on the last batch of these commercials.

tommorrow we wil be shooting a ton of green screen in the same manner. H1 to dvcpro 50 deck component.

this camera handles SD beautifully in a controlled environment. again, i cannot over emphasize that the workflow options were the number one reason i bought it and i do not regret it for a second.

vince
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Old February 9th, 2006, 10:33 PM   #10
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It's true about editing--if support isn't readily available, take that into consideration. If the client is okay with DV, then the XL2 or DVX100b is probably the best solution.

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Old February 10th, 2006, 07:37 AM   #11
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So the only other way around what I said about shooting SD on HD is to shoot HD and downgrade it to SD in post. This brings you back to the question of how you plan to edit and your workflow. It means always shooting SD and downgrading it later - but to Barlows point this will definitely result in footage looking better than SD native shot footage.

Here's what I think:

If you have the means to edit HD, know what you're getting yourself into in terms of the workflow (even if it means bringing SD to your customers but having shot HD), and you can afford the XLH1 - go for it, get HD. (I honestly wish I had one)

If you want a more shoe-string approach and wouldn't mind saving some money for now to see how your first year goes... just get an SD camera. I can almost guarantee any wedding you shoot this year will not be playing in HD rez and for the price of a used XL2 it'll be paid for in 2 gigs. Sell it back before at the end of the year on ebay and likely get back what you paid. In 2007 start shopping for the HD version all you want. If you stick with the same brand, hopefully the accessories will be compatible.

If you decide to go for HD now my last question is are you set on the Canon?
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Old February 10th, 2006, 10:23 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Hingsberg
Also correct me if I'm wrong guys, but shooting in SD mode on the XLH1 will not result in the same SD quality/noise/low light levels as shooting in SD on an XL2.
Not sure whether I agree with this. This is bit like comparing apples and oranges. I have not tried to compare the noise or low light levels, so don't want to take sides on that. (It is right that smaller CCD pixels of the same type imply less sensity, but the XL H1 and XL2 CCDs are not of the same type.)

In fact, I was rather surprised when saw for the first time the XL H1 HDV image downconverted to a SD television. The color representation appeared rather pleasing. Then I took some footages directly to DV tape and found those shots also very pleasing.

One needed proper tests to find the real differences between XL H1 SD and XL2.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 10:54 AM   #13
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Andrew - pardon my impiety , but might I suggest a relook at the fx1. In your particular situation , a compromise might be a better alternative. The h1 is the best you can do for 10k for this type of shooting, however market aside , with a sony you can do sd out at a great res and still have the hd quality if needed at a third of the cost. It is a business isn't it ? Kurth
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Old February 10th, 2006, 11:29 AM   #14
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Kurth makes a good point. The truth is the FX-1 probably represents the best bang-for-the-buck in the affordable HD realm. You can buy three of them for one H1. The real question is...do you want/need a 24p/film look?

If you do, I would suggest the JVC as it can be had for about $5K, but it doesn't offer a truly "live" or normal 60hz look for HD. It's 480p is fabulous, and actually would probably upconvert quite well into a 720/60p timeline.

I think you should be looking at the Sony or JVC and buying other equipment you will surely need.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 11:55 AM   #15
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Then go for the JVC if not the XL H1. You know why? It's a shoulder cam. You will like it better in operating but... also, and don't underestimate this, for the looks.

People see a big camera and think; wow, a professional crew! People see a smal handy breast-hight camera, and think; hmm, uncle Marty has exactly the same, why pay that much for that...? I know it sounds really stupid but that's how simple and stupid it is.. Just my 2 cents, don't shoot the messenger! ;-)
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