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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 14th, 2006, 09:33 PM   #1
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FCP vs Avid Xpress Pro HD

I'm a longtime Avid editor who will be shooting an upcoming project with an XLH1, and I'm debating updating to a higher-end PC so I can cut with Xpress Pro HD, or buying a new Mactel G5 and going the FCP route. I know NAB is just around the corner, but I was wondeirng as far as maintaining image quality, and ease of workflow, which NLE is better? I've dig'd 1080i 60 into FCP, and it's gorgeous. I have yet to use Xpress Pro HD, so I do not know if they have a dig resolution that is lossless in HDV. Any thoughts?
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Old April 15th, 2006, 01:24 AM   #2
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Brad, if you can, I'd definitely wait to see what NAB brings. FCP 6 / Extreme is rumored, and maybe the Intel-based Power Mac replacements (G5s are PPC-based) will be announced (although that's unlikely, IMO).

HTH,

Ron
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Old April 17th, 2006, 12:33 PM   #3
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Brad,
I have been editing on Avid Xpress Pro for some time and I am using Canon XLH1. It has been a known fact that Canon and Avid do not like each other a lot. First of all, waiting for NAB is smart thing to do. Here are some of the posts on Avid's website you might look into, I am posting these links since Avid's new website is under construction and most likelly nothing is going to come out if you type XLH1 into search. So here we go:

http://www.avid.com/exchange/forums/thread/49163.aspx

A few other quotes:
"It's not esasy to digitize across timecode breaks with dv ot hdv cameras and things get a little darket if you are on canon.
good luck, Agustin."

At the end of this post you'll get some info as well" http://www.avid.com/exchange/forums/thread/62918.aspx

The problem is a lot of times related to the deck control, especially when it comes to batch capture. If you could go to a store and let them bring the camera to both systems and test it, (I have done it before,) it seems to be good idea.

Good luck.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 01:14 PM   #4
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Check out DNxHD... I wonder if Mac users will get this too?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Schreiber
I've dig'd 1080i 60 into FCP, and it's gorgeous. I have yet to use Xpress Pro HD, so I do not know if they have a dig resolution that is lossless in HDV. Any thoughts?
As a Mac/FCP editor, I've been jealously eyeing up Avid's DNxHD codec. As well as putting the footage into a 4:2:2 colour space with discrete frames (thus freeing up a lot of processor cycles), it also helps as an output format.

Sorry I can't comment on specific XL-H1 HDV issues with FCP.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 10:14 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Daviss
As a Mac/FCP editor, I've been jealously eyeing up Avid's DNxHD codec. As well as putting the footage into a 4:2:2 colour space with discrete frames (thus freeing up a lot of processor cycles), it also helps as an output format.

Sorry I can't comment on specific XL-H1 HDV issues with FCP.
Ever tried converting your HDV footage to PhotoJPEG @ 75% quality? You might be pleasantly surprised.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 11:46 AM   #6
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The one thing i've always found about avid xpress is that your locked into what your allowed to edit and in what format. Xpress Pro HD has upped things a bit since avid xpress which could only edit a 15:1 format and minidv.

Avid xpress specifically will not allow you to edit uncompressed HD and will not allow you to capture directly from an uncompressed HD source so this means not hd-sdi capture or playback through component. Anything uncompressed imported will end up having to be encoded to DNxHD. They do make a device that allows over firewire capture of HD-SDI, it is encoded and decoded in an external box. Fairly expensive from what i've heard.

I have barely touched FCP but it does seem to be higher end and have the ability to more easily go from stuff like dv, to hdv, to compressed hd, and even uncompressed hd. Then again, adobe has allowed to be codec and format and frame rate agnostic for a long time to (I don't like the feel of adobe though)

However, the DNxHD codec seems like a good option, however it is a dct based codec and like before mentioned photojpeg is a similar method of offloading processor strain.

I think you should test drive them both if they both fit your needs.

Edit: this should probably be moved to the HD/HDV edit section since it doesn't really have much to do specifically with the XL H1
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Old April 18th, 2006, 12:09 PM   #7
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Avid Express Pro HD with Canon XL-H1

We have had great luck using Express Pro HD with the XL-H1. The coolest mode is using the Firestore FS-4. That allows completely untethethered operation. Then you just attach the firestore to your laptop with firewire, mounting the firestore as a drive. You copy over the files and you are set to go with Express Pro HD. This is much more reliable than any kind of firestore streaming into an NLE (my opinion).

You can import the files to native HDV or convert to DNxHD 145. We have done both. If you are going to do multiple generations of effects (say an image stabilization, then zoom, then slow mo, then titling, then color correction) things look slightly better using DNxHD, although the native HDV stuff is pretty good. For a sample go to this page and look at the Morning Rush Hour clip (note that we did not play with the color, that is what came from the XLH1) done with Native HDV.

http://www.redhawk-development.com/Baja%20Sur.htm

The other clips on that page were done with HDSDI capture from the XLH1 into an Avid Adrenaline Media Composer HD. We do that when we want to eliminate all HDV motion artifacts and capture raw uncompressed 4:2:2

One of the biggest advantages of Express Pro HD is the compatibility with the entire Avid family. And I am not talking EDL here. You can actually take a timeline from Express Pro HD, drop it into Adrenaline Media Composer HD or Symphony Nitris, and it produces glorious results with no work. Complete compatibility. So if you ever have to work with high end shops (and Avid currently has the largest market share for the mid to high end) the Express Pro HD is definitely the way to go.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 12:50 PM   #8
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"The coolest mode is using the Firestore FS-4. That allows completely untethethered operation."

- What's the capacity of FS-4? Compressed, uncompressed - minutes?

Your posts sounds very impressive but your profile says that you are using Avid Composer and/or Adrenalin (I am not sure but both are high end,) and there is a huge difference, since Avid Xpress Pro HD is still not supporting 24 fps, and amybe 30 fps. Audio issues - you cannot capture channel 3 and 4...

Yes, you are right when you say that you can work on Xpres Pro HD and bring it quickly to higher end Avid softwares, but that can cost a lot. Overall it just depends what you want to achieve? I still say wait for NAB, and afterwords see what happens.

I personally had a lot of capture problems and Avid rep said to wait for future updates, and that Canon and Avid are not very good friends. It's been two updates so far, and I still have to manually pause when dafaulted preroll time appears, just to remind Avid Xpress Pro: "It is time to get read to capture." But it works.

Good luck.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 01:07 PM   #9
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the firestore HD is over an hour. we have not had any problems with it.

we use both express pro hd (we have two licenses) and Adrenaline Media Composer HD (we have two of those as well). You are correct that the Adrenaline is expensive. However, we have been impressed with Express Pro by itself (and then you don't need to drag an adrenaline around). We have the xdcam hd (PDW-F350) and we are waiting for express pro hd support for that (july we have been told). It will be nice to just move mxf files over from the F350 to xpress pro hd, like we do from the firestore/hxh1 to express pro hd.
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