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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 March 11th, 2006, 04:51 PM   #1
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Update & question

I bought an H1 in December, tweaked it and have been shooting a 30 minute and a 60 minute documentary for television since. I posted my initial reactions to the camera and some of my settings months ago, but have been busy and haven't been back to this site for a while.. lotsa new people here..

Anyway, so far I've shot 28 one hour tapes, mostly Sony DVM63s and a few Sony DigitalMaster Series tapes. I'm happy to say that I've not had a single drop-out. I shoot generally with some sort of diffusion, SoftFX or ProMist, but am still sorting out the look that I prefer. Resolution isn't the only factor in story-telling and, to be honest, HDV out-of-the-box is too crisp for my tastes - but I'm adapting. I was worried about the HDV audio quality from the outset. In fact, it seems satisfactory in most cases, but I have recently started using my soundman's new Tascam HD-P2. I will protect my final audio on a matching SD timeline.

I'm feeding the computer with a Sony deck (1080i) and editing on a G5 Quad with no problems whatsoever. I would have preferred shooting 24f - I think it has the most pleasing "look" - but because of the deck issue, the FCP issue, and the fact that some of the networks (particularly PBS) are suspicious of it, I've stuck with 1080i.

As someone who has shot film, both 35 and super16, and every other tape format for over 30 years, I have to say that I am generaly pleased with the camera, and surprised at the quality of HDV - I was extremely skeptical when I jumped on this bandwagon.

My question: I do not like the limitations of editing without a real monitor. Although I have two 23" Apple HD screens, I still feel crippled. Early on several here extolled the virtues of the Kona card, I don't remember which one, as a way to get the image and audio out to a good monitor. Several months have passed and I wanted to ask - what seems to be working best? Thanx, Steve Rosen
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Old March 12th, 2006, 01:04 PM   #2
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Steve, I've had great luck with the config that a lot of people have: Kona LHe, HDLink box (to convert the HD SDI out to DVI) and a Dell 2405 24" monitor.

I capture all my H1 footage via SDI DVCProHD. It comes in looking great be it 24F or 1080i. Love it. The only bad is currently I am not getting matching timecode. Soon, I'll be getting the Convergent Design HDV-SDI converter to enable TC coming in.

It's a great setup. I can't endorse AJA enough...great product and excellent service.

Kevin
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Old March 12th, 2006, 01:10 PM   #3
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Kevin some friends of mine got the convergent box and seemed to still be having trouble using it with an avid system (which was the reason they got it) so make sure you check the box out before purchasing as I'm not 100% it's compatable with the canon just yet (though I'm told it works great with sony)
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Old March 12th, 2006, 01:55 PM   #4
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I guess I'm still holding out hope that Apple might actually enable FCP to capture tc through HDV device control, and marry it with the SDI codec capture, ala DVCPRO HD, AIC and others. Seems to me this would be a no brainer if they finally offer comprehensive 24F support.

I'm also told that Lumiere HD will soon be supporting the H1.
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Old March 12th, 2006, 02:02 PM   #5
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I have the Decklink HD card and output downconverted HD to SD for display on a 23" Sony Luma series monitor. I'm cutting in FCP. I wold not use it for broadcast, but it looks really great. The addition of the HD/SDI module to the Sony multiformat engine will allow HD monitoring. The monitor will disply HD via component input, but my Decklink card is SDI only.

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Old March 12th, 2006, 09:42 PM   #6
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I just finished a feature with 2 H1s. I went in to it hoping the H1-FCP thing would be resolved by now. Wishfull thinking of course. I've tried the DVHSCAP / MPEGSTREAMCLIP solution with little luck, and the HDxDVX thing seems shaky.

Can someone please tell me the MONEY solution? I'm hoping to get the exec producer to cough up for quality, but I don't know what will give me the best quality and reliability. I'm using a new G5 Quad. Is the Kona Card my best bet? Do I need a deck? Something else? Has anyone really got this stuff down?

Forgive me, but for a dummy, if you can provide any workflow details as well, I'd really appreciate it. I've got 60 hours of beatiful stuff here and no way to start capturing it with any confidence.
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Old March 12th, 2006, 11:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory James
Can someone please tell me the MONEY solution? I'm hoping to get the exec producer to cough up for quality, but I don't know what will give me the best quality and reliability. I'm using a new G5 Quad. Is the Kona Card my best bet? Do I need a deck? Something else? Has anyone really got this stuff down?
This won't help, but I can tell you I've played around with HDVxDV and MPEGStreamClip and haven't found anything that allows me take the footage into a 24fps render-free FCP timeline and maintain both original frame rez of 1440x1080.

I'm in the same boat as you. waiting for a real solution. But fortunately I don't have anything 'real' I need to produce right now. Best interim solution I've been using is HDVxDV to export to DVCPRO HD and then conform to 23.98 in Cinema Tools. But the frame size ends up at 1280x1080, so resolution is getting thrown on the floor right there. Ugh.
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Old March 13th, 2006, 07:01 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by John Cordell
This won't help, but I can tell you I've played around with HDVxDV and MPEGStreamClip and haven't found anything that allows me take the footage into a 24fps render-free FCP timeline and maintain both original frame rez of 1440x1080.
John and others,

This weekend I had my first experience with HDV and the XL H1 so bear with me if I say something that's not exactly correct.

We were able to borrow one from a local shop that my boss has clout with. I shot about 30 minutes over the weekend. Most of it 1080 60 and a little 24f and 30f.

I captured with FCP 5 initially using the FCP Easy Setup for HDV 1080 60i AIC. This resluted in transcoding the footage at about 75% realtime. Seemed to work fine but I wanted to capture HDV 1080 60i without the AIC.

I use MPEGStreamclip for a lot of other encoding jobs so I figured I'd try it in conjuction with capturing vie DVHSCap. Capture went fine and I converted to HDV 1080 60i with MPEGStreamclip. I then imported those clips into FCP 5 into a sequence using the HDV 1080 60i Easey Setup, not the AIC setup. Worked fine, no render needed.

This morning I tried a short 5 sec clip of the 24f material. Now this is where I'm a bit confused. In MPEGStreamclip I chose the same setting as I used for the 1080 60i footage but when I tried it in FCP I needed to render it. In MPEGStreamclip I di not set the frame rate to 23.98.

Next I tried the same settings in MPEGStreamclip but set the frame rate to 23.98. In my FCP Sequence, I started with the HDV 1080 60i Easet Setup then manually changed the time code base setting to 23.98. I inserted the clip from MPEGStreamclip and it did not need rendering.

Is this a correct or useable workflow? My understanding is that even with 24p DV footage, the timecode base is still 29.97 and the camera uses 3:2 pulldown for editing in a 29.97 time base.

What I'd like to do is shoot HDV with the XL H1, edit HDV but output to regular SD DVD for distribution keeping my projects HDV for future proofing. Not eve woried about the monitoring situation now. I'll just use the FCP Desktop Monitor setup or whatever it's called, since we have 2 23" Cinema Displays.
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Old March 13th, 2006, 10:08 AM   #9
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Dave - Is your process maintaining audio sync as well? I've gotten 24f stuff into final cut through some magic combination of dvhscap, mpegstreamclip, and cinema tools, but never in such a way that the sync was right...
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Old March 13th, 2006, 11:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin McFadden
Dave - Is your process maintaining audio sync as well? I've gotten 24f stuff into final cut through some magic combination of dvhscap, mpegstreamclip, and cinema tools, but never in such a way that the sync was right...
Colin, your problem may be different, but when I first started fooling around with my XL-H1 footage, sound sync was off by about a second, maybe two. I chalked it up to HDV 24f weirdness. Then I decided to look at all my audio settings, and it turned out that my chosen audio playback (final cut pro.audio video settings.summary.audio playback) was set to an aggregate device that I need for use with Logic. By changing it to 'built in audio' I had my sync problem go away. Note that I'd not had any sync problems before, it only manifested itself when using the footage from the H1.

Just a heads up in case your problem turns out to be the same as mine.
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Old March 13th, 2006, 11:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin McFadden
Dave - Is your process maintaining audio sync as well? I've gotten 24f stuff into final cut through some magic combination of dvhscap, mpegstreamclip, and cinema tools, but never in such a way that the sync was right...
Colin,

I have only had the camera and footage for 3 days so I haven't done a lot of editing with it yet. Plus, a lot of the footage just has nat sound. I do have a couple of shots with dialogue so I'll post back my results when I get further into it. So far I haven't noticed any though.
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Old March 13th, 2006, 05:25 PM   #12
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FYI - I have been checking around and am told that the Decklink HD Pro PCIe will do what I need, and it's only around $1100... So I think I'll give it a whirl.

By the way, I too have two 23" Apple HD Displays, but because my edits are always so complicated I tend to use up one with just my timeline - with the Browser and video Windows on the other screen. I do switch to full screen on my main display when showing the cut to people (Command F12), but I find that it's inconvenient to switch back and forth while in the heat of editing..

Now I will output analog to a CRT for evaluating color and output componant to a 24" Circuit City Special for evaluating screen compositions - oh, and the audio out through something besides the mini-plug on the back of the G5... Steve Rosen
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Old March 13th, 2006, 07:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Rosen
FYI - I have been checking around and am told that the Decklink HD Pro PCIe will do what I need, and it's only around $1100... So I think I'll give it a whirl.

By the way, I too have two 23" Apple HD Displays, but because my edits are always so complicated I tend to use up one with just my timeline - with the Browser and video Windows on the other screen. I do switch to full screen on my main display when showing the cut to people (Command F12), but I find that it's inconvenient to switch back and forth while in the heat of editing..

Now I will output analog to a CRT for evaluating color and output componant to a 24" Circuit City Special for evaluating screen compositions - oh, and the audio out through something besides the mini-plug on the back of the G5... Steve Rosen
This is almost exactly how my setup is. I was originally sending the feed out of my Decklink card through the HDLink converter to my second monitor, but the switch between the desktop and full-screen was abrupt and took too long. So for regular cutting I just hook the second 23" to the second DVI port and use the traditional Command F12.

However, when I want to show the edit I use the HDLink and hook up the 50" Plasma.
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Old March 14th, 2006, 10:02 AM   #14
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Hmmm, so it sounds like using an external NTSC monitor (or 2) isn't going to work well while editing, correct?
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Old March 14th, 2006, 10:50 AM   #15
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For me, I don't need to see an NTSC down-convert while editing. It would be great to someday have an HD CRT so I can judge black-levels more accurately, but nowadays there's some LCD solutions for that as well.
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