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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 30th, 2006, 10:29 AM   #1
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Using the HD/SD-SDI port

Hey all,

I will be shooting a short film in 3 weeks for a film competition. I am thinking for this film, I would like to take advantage of the HD/SD-SDI port. Since the final viewing format will be DVD, I see no reason to shoot in HD for this, but rather I'm thinking of getting a DVCPro50 deck. Is there anything you guys think I should know about shooting and acquiring through this port? I've never used it before, so any info would be much appreciated.

I do know that it only spits out video, so I was thinking of connecting my shotgun mic directly to the deck and record the audio that way so it syncs up on tape. I also know that if I shoot in 24F (which I will), a 2:3 pulldown will be added to the tape to conform it to 60i. SO I would need to do a reverse telecine with something like Cinema Tools. But is there anything else I should be aware of, or is there any advice you can give on shooting this way.

Many thanks in advance.

Michael
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Old March 30th, 2006, 11:07 AM   #2
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If you've already figured out HD workflow, I'd seriously consider shooting it HD instead of SD. Also, given that DVD is mpeg encoded, I'm not sure that going HD-SDI is going to buy you much of anything. I don't think it will unless you're shooting some greenscreen or something that you know will stress the encoder (like maybe strobe-lights flashing in a smoky bar).

I have an XL-H1 but haven't yet used the HD-SDI out -- like you I'm anxious to put that bad boy to work. I'm not sure this upcoming project of yours is the best one to start with. You could take that deck rental money and use it to improve is the short in some other way that might show in the final product more. Audio comes to mind as something that, when done right, can make a short stand out above the field. Maybe one of those tascam p2 outboard sound recorders with timecode sync? That way you'd still get to use some of that pro jack pack!
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Old March 30th, 2006, 02:08 PM   #3
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I'd echo John's comments...but a few more.

IMHO, you should go the computer SDI route unless carting one around would be that much more onerous than an SD93 Panny deck. (DVCpro50 w/SDI) We have one of these at work, and it's a great deck, but I think you're marginalizing the potential of the product by only shooting SD. You have an HD camera...exploit it!!

Unless you're only shooting for just a few short days, the cost savings of the deck would be minimal compared to going the computer route. At the end of the shoot, if you don't need the computer or card, you could sell them both and STILL come out way ahead...but have HD to show for your efforts.

I have a music video shoot coming up in SF in a few weeks, and we're going to shoot tethered to the computer, and also roll HDV. Trust me, we are going to get HD first and foremost because that's the best image you can get from the H1.

Feel free to email me and we can chat over this. (check my profile)
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Old March 30th, 2006, 04:07 PM   #4
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Thanks guys .. this shoot is for the 48 hour film competition that is coming here in NYC in a couple weeks, so all of the shooting will be done in one day. If I use HDV instead, I guess I would go the convert to DVCProHD route for editing in Final Cut Pro, and then convert that to DVD. Unless you guys would suggest something else?
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Old March 30th, 2006, 04:28 PM   #5
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Yes, for that set of parameters, shoot HDV and capture with HDVxDV and convert with MPEG Streamclip or the former if you've paid for it. Just save yourself the hassle of HDV editing.
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Old March 30th, 2006, 04:58 PM   #6
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Any issues with HDV compression will not be noticeable when you down-rez to standard def and export to MPEG2 for DVD. It will be so much easier on you and your crew to just shoot natively HDV.
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Old March 31st, 2006, 01:09 AM   #7
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Thanks for your suggestions. Another interesting thing I want to point out is in regards to HDV on the Canon. I was talking with a Canon tech there and he asked me if I ever noticed any HDV compression artifacts and I said no. THen he went on to explain why they don't exist on the Canon, saying that the Digic DVII chip does some sort of adaptive distribution of the full 25mb data rate among the GOP (which he stated was a 9 GOP structure). He said that it was distributed according to the motion of the scene being shot ...

In other words, he said that these artifacts don't exist on the Canon, and that they have the "perfect" way of HDV compression when compared to the other cameras. They essentially created their own HDV format. With fast motion, there will still be no artifacting at all, but he did mention that the picture may get slightly softer.

I have never experienced these so called HDV artifacts, and this could an explaination why ...
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