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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 April 1st, 2006, 05:45 PM   #1
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I'm In Awe!

Hello all!

I just had my first HDV shoot a few days ago with two rented XL-H1 cameras. Previously, my experience has been limited to the XL-1s and a variety of analog Sony SD studio cams.

Because I was renting the cameras for the shoot, I had little time to familiarize myself with the particulars of the XL-H1. As a result, I decided to shoot with default image parameters, gain -3 db, AF enabled, WB set to the daylight preset outside and tungsten inside and exposed manually as I am used to with the XL-1s (using 95 % Zebra to assist exposure and to judge focus).

After reviewing the footage, I must say I'm blown away by the level of detail and the out-of-the-box performance that this camcorder delivers! What a tremendous step up from the XL-1s!!

I've made a small sample of demuxed raw footage (w/o audio) available for download. Please feel free to check it out!

http://www.halimedia.com/downloads/sidewalk.m2v.zip (approx. 130 MB)

(The file will play with VLC or QuickTime Player - the latter only for Mac-users who have a recent version of Final Cut Pro or DVD Studio Pro installed).

Regards,

Ron
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Old April 1st, 2006, 07:54 PM   #2
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Thanks for sharing that, Ron. Lots of detail there, for sure.

One question: Did you demux with MPEG Streamclip? It's strange but it seems that every time I do that with m2t's from the H1 I get a 1440x810 frame size.
Actual HDV 50i or 60i capture in FCP is a 1440x1080 frame, as you would expect, and FCP demuxes as it captures HDV.

Anyone figured this one out?
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Old April 1st, 2006, 09:31 PM   #3
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The m2v imports into Liquid as 1440x1080 but the curious thing with the H1 stuff has always been that it imports at 8Mb datarate instead of 25Mb. Strange.

Anyway m2v is a demuxed file. m2v is the video only portion and there should be associated wav files for the channels that were captured.

In the clip there are some famous actor look alikes. Sean Connery and Dustin Hoffman...
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 03:20 AM   #4
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Barlow: yes, I demuxed using MPEG Streamclip. I used the 'Demux to M2V...' option, since I wanted to discard the unused sound track. Choosing this or any other preset in the same sub-section of the File-menu results in an export that maintains the anamorphic nature of the footage (it's still 1440x1080, but stretched to 1920x1080, matching the camera's CCDs - you can see that when getting info on the clip in QT Player). Choosing 'Demux to Unscaled M2V and AIFF...' further down in the File-menu, however, results in a skewed, non-anamorphic m2v-file. I'm using version 1.5.1 of MPEG Streamclip and QT 7.0.4 on OS X 10.4.5.

Stephen: Lookalikes - I didn't even think about that until you pointed it out! 'Dustin Hoffman' ist the only actor in this scene. The others are just passers by, but they act like well-instructed extras, IMO. Took a number of takes to get something usable :)

OK, will be heading to the zoo with the XL-H1 today, as I don't have to return the cameras until tomorrow. Might post additional samples if I capture something worthy...

Cheers,

Ron
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 11:15 AM   #5
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Just for grins I put some audio to it.

Click here for HD-WMV.

Have fun Ron.

PS The camera work is just a tad shaky.
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 12:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen L. Noe
Click here for HD-WMV. Have fun Ron.
Thanks for the effort! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to play your file. MWP for Mac does not support the video codec (but the audio is there), and my measly Windows box chokes on the file (GPU driver crashes!). Bummer!
Quote:
PS The camera work is just a tad shaky.
A few tads, I'd say ;) Although this is the most interesting take, it's clearly sub-standard. I most likely won't end up using it (or only a portion of it).
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 01:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Pfister
Thanks for the effort! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to play your file. MWP for Mac does not support the video codec (but the audio is there), and my measly Windows box chokes on the file (GPU driver crashes!). Bummer!

A few tads, I'd say ;) Although this is the most interesting take, it's clearly sub-standard. I most likely won't end up using it (or only a portion of it).
Yes,

QT Sorenson 3 for Mac

keep shooting amigo!
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 07:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen L. Noe
i think that the problem with that clip is that it appears to be wmv 9 advanced profile, which i think is an interlaced format(?)... not applicable for computer use, it was designed for tv's.

try encoding standard wmv 9 instead, the bigger frame size shouldn't be a problem, and if it works it'll look far better than sorenson.
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 08:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
i think that the problem with that clip is that it appears to be wmv 9 advanced profile, which i think is an interlaced format(?)... not applicable for computer use, it was designed for tv's.

try encoding standard wmv 9 instead, the bigger frame size shouldn't be a problem, and if it works it'll look far better than sorenson.
I don't think so. It's progressive AFAIK. I created the profile in WME9. Do you have a WME9 profile to share? I can download it and have a new one in my list of profiles.
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 05:00 PM   #10
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open the clip up in the wmv player, and look at the properties of it... it's labeled as advanced, but yeah, i didn't look any further to see if it was actually de-interlaced or not... in any case, the advanced profile is probably not what you want for web use.

i never use the factory preset encoding profiles on anything i do, i always build my presets from scratch, which is probably what you'll want to do... here is some more info:

BREAKING NEWS! On March 10, 2006, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) formally published the Final Specification for SMPTE 421M, also known as VC-1. Microsoft’s implementation of VC-1 is Windows Media Video 9. The Simple and Main profiles remain unchanged from previous releases, and an update for Windows Media Video 9 Advanced Profile based on this final specification should be available in April 2006.

Advanced Profile
The Windows Media Video 9 Advanced profile fully conforms to the SMPTE VC-1 standard, supports interlaced content, and is transport-independent. Content creators can use this profile to deliver either progressive or interlaced content at data rates as low as one-third that of the MPEG-2 codec—with the same quality as MPEG-2.

In the past, interlaced video content was always de-interlaced before encoding with the Windows Media Video codec. Now, the Windows Media 9 Series video encoder supports compression of interlaced content without first converting it to progressive. Maintaining interlacing in an encoded file is important if the content is ever rendered on an interlaced display, such as a television.
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/win...ecs/video.aspx
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 05:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Pfister
Barlow: yes, I demuxed using MPEG Streamclip. I used the 'Demux to M2V...' option, since I wanted to discard the unused sound track. Choosing this or any other preset in the same sub-section of the File-menu results in an export that maintains the anamorphic nature of the footage (it's still 1440x1080, but stretched to 1920x1080, matching the camera's CCDs - you can see that when getting info on the clip in QT Player). Choosing 'Demux to Unscaled M2V and AIFF...' further down in the File-menu, however, results in a skewed, non-anamorphic m2v-file. I'm using version 1.5.1 of MPEG Streamclip and QT 7.0.4 on OS X 10.4.5.
Barlow, I don't know what was on my mind when I wrote this. You're entirely correct that the demuxed MPEG Streamclip exports of XL-H1 MPEG-2 transport streams result in files that quicktime recognizes at a size of 1440x810 (and not 1080 as I wrote). I guess I just didn't have enough sleep to see straight when I wrote that :-/

But I still think that what I wrote is in essence correct, leading to the conclusion that the size displayed by QT is in fact incorrect. Two facts lead me to beleive this:

1.) When you open the m2v-file in QT player and view it in full-screen mode on a 1920x1200 display (such as a 23" Cinema Display) and cue to a fast motion frame that shows lots of combing, you can tell that the v-res of 1080 lines is still there.

2.) When you open the same file in VLC and choose 'Normal Size' in the 'Video' menu, you get something like a 1934x1088 content area in the resulting window. Don't ask me why it's not 1920x1080, but at least the original muxxed m2t-file behaves the same way. I guess VLC is entitled to be buggy if QT is ;-)

HTH,

Ron
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 05:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
open the clip up in the wmv player, and look at the properties of it... it's labeled as advanced, but yeah, i didn't look any further to see if it was actually de-interlaced or not... in any case, the advanced profile is probably not what you want for web use.

i never use the factory preset encoding profiles on anything i do, i always build my presets from scratch, which is probably what you'll want to do... here is some more info:

BREAKING NEWS! On March 10, 2006, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) formally published the Final Specification for SMPTE 421M, also known as VC-1. Microsoft’s implementation of VC-1 is Windows Media Video 9. The Simple and Main profiles remain unchanged from previous releases, and an update for Windows Media Video 9 Advanced Profile based on this final specification should be available in April 2006.

Advanced Profile
The Windows Media Video 9 Advanced profile fully conforms to the SMPTE VC-1 standard, supports interlaced content, and is transport-independent. Content creators can use this profile to deliver either progressive or interlaced content at data rates as low as one-third that of the MPEG-2 codec—with the same quality as MPEG-2.

In the past, interlaced video content was always de-interlaced before encoding with the Windows Media Video codec. Now, the Windows Media 9 Series video encoder supports compression of interlaced content without first converting it to progressive. Maintaining interlacing in an encoded file is important if the content is ever rendered on an interlaced display, such as a television.
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/win...ecs/video.aspx
Nice find on the press release. That type of info is sometimes hard to find. I build my own profiles with the WME9 Profile editor. In order to HD rez the advanced profile is required or the encoder will choke (once again AFAIK). The major problem for me (and any on that is PC based) is that H.264 will not encode from any editing app other than QTPro (which takes forever) and the easiest solution to get the point across is Sorenson 3 (encodes quickly).

Thanks for the update amigo...
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