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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 July 11th, 2006, 06:24 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Jon Bickford
yes Jesper my experience is that fast moving objects at really long focal lengths can be a considerable problem thanks to that horrid viewfinder delay!

for a shoot like you mentioned a production monitor is probably not very practical because of the very fast panning and constant action at a race track (i would hope that's where they're driving at 150mph) you really need to be able to keep your left eye on the track and your right on the viewfinder to even know what's going on and you don't need to be looking down or to the side or whatever at an sdi monitor while tracking that stuff, i would say that at a very long focal length you ought to be able to keep a full shot of the car pretty consistently once you get used to it but for a shot of a driver in the cockpit of a grand prix car going by, forget it.

another problem with using an external monitor at a race track is that there are safety issues involved with shooting racing close up, i do a lot of still photography at champ car races and you have to keep an eye on what's going on around you at all times, if you are looking down at a monitor while reaching up to a pan handle on a camera you're not going to see that piece of carbon fiber shrapnel coming towards you from the wreck you didn't notice.

A very informative answer, thanks.

Yes i will be shooting at different track events here in Scandinavia, for example: and
And just like you mention there is a safety issue on and around the track so we will be filming a long way from the track so we have to use a long focal length, so that was not a good news that the XL H1 have some issues with this.
I guess the only option is to "go by feel" for the first couple of pans untill i get used to the delay.
I could use a shorter focal length but it's not really fun to see a pixel going around the screen, closeups tends to get alot more "wow" reaction from the viewers so i would prefer to be able to shoot those (closeups that is, not the viewers).

I can't imagine what the people on Canons headquarter was thinking when they
put that poor viewfinder on it, when it is a 9'000$ camera i would expect more.

Originally Posted by Christopher Glaeser
If the monitor displays what is being recorded to tape, why would a delay make it difficult to film objects like fast moving cars? When an astronomer photographs a star in the sky, does it matter that the star blew up several million years ago and the light in the sky is actually what the star looked like a billion years ago? Or, is the photograph blank because the star no longer exists?

I really don't see any relation to your example and mine, you are talking about
static objects and a static camera position, that is no way nere the same thing
as trying to film a racecar passing by you at 150mp/h.
If the car travels at 150mp/h it travels 67meters per second.
And the XL H1 viewfinder delay can be up to half a second, that means that
if you just look at the viewfinder and see the car nicely in frame it could in real
life be more then 30meters out of frame.
Easy task? Nope.

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Old July 11th, 2006, 10:46 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Jesper Andersson
I really don't see any relation to your example and mine,
You are right, my example is not relevant. While stars are moving considerably faster than cars, and the virtual image that we view can be very far from the actual location of the star, the delay is the time it takes to travel from the object to the sensor. It doesn't really matter how long this delay is, because you really want to photograph the virtual image. In the case of the XL H1 delay, the delay is the time from the sensor to the monitor, a very different scenario. Back to your regularly scheduled program.

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Old July 11th, 2006, 11:27 PM   #33
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The delay is much more pronounced in the F modes than with regular 1080i. I believe it's due to the latency of the DIGIC processing required to create the virtual progressive look.
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Old July 12th, 2006, 12:04 AM   #34
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you should be in pretty good shape being far away from the cars you can get a more approximate sense of where things are, in america there's a lot of street courses with multiple chain link fences to stop debris which makes shooting from far away impossible so i have often times been less than 1 meter from open wheel cars at full tilt 150mph+ with only a waist high concrete wall between us and no catch fencing, needless to say that's pretty harrowing and i have to admit i have hit the deck a couple of times from certain very hairy drivers!!

in those situations of course situational awareness is extremely important and i would NEVER be screwing around with an external monitor hook up! this year at the press meeting before the long beach grand prix it was mentioned that you never leave anything on the wall because a 1700 pound race car hitting that wall at 180mph could easily turn your lens cap into a projectile that could pierce right through someone... so keep that in mind. i have to say as far as pure adrenaline rushes go photographing auto racing up close is the most thrilling camera work i've ever done. not the most rewarding but the most intense.

it's true that the view finder delay is considerably less in 60i mode.

it looks from those links that you'll be shooting a lot of sedan and sportscar racing which is easier than Grand Prix cars because they don't have the brute acceleration and deceleration of a grand prix car, tracking something that can do 0-60 in 2 seconds and brake from 180 in about 3 can be very very difficult to track properly and takes a good bit of practice, WAY harder than tracking birds or anything like that. but race cars that are based on street vehicles take a lot longer to speed up and slow down so the panning is smoother and more predictable. i'm sure you'll do fine with the H1 once you get used to it.

one more note, oval tracks are MUCH easier to shoot than road courses because the speed around an entire lap varies very little, maybe 25 mph variance in a 2 mile lap! so in those cases you pretty much pan at the same speed all day long and it gets pretty boring.
Jon Bickford, Trepany Films
San Pedro, CA
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Old September 9th, 2006, 12:03 PM   #35
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Nature usage

Hello All,

I am executive producing and shooting for a new Nature Doc series. Have just returned from a long Arctic shoot and another in Kansas. I head for Ecuador and argentina next and will be gone for 3 months. The XL-H1 seems to really hold up in many outdoor situations. I must put out right away that I am not the main cameraman on this unit and have hired two excellent guys on the different shoots to handle that function.... ( I know - I am spoiled I only shoot the HDW-730... but I am learning :))

Anyway, The boys have done some remarkable work in capturing incredible scenics and some natural history as well as almost all of the stand-ups and action sequences. I am consistantly impressed with the overall crispness, when the viewfinder is SO HORRIBLE!
The biggest issue and major weakness in the XL-H1 is clearly in the sound arena. Our PSC M-4+ mixer is of great necessity but even then items like simplicity of monitoring sound is difficult at best. I have not had a full-time professional sound person along on each shoot and on the last one it showed. Sound was very spotty inspite of the monitoring and checks we did in the field. As the budgets, improve the team will expand to always include this important function.

Cheers and hasta las vista!

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Old November 3rd, 2006, 09:47 AM   #36
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I'm looking at purchasing the XL-H1 and have been reading this thread about the EVF. I will also be using it to shoot some racetrack footage and the delay in the EVF gives me concern.

What about mounting a small LCD monitor on the top of the camera? I could shoot on sticks and still keep pretty mobile by not being tethered to a heavy external monitor.

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Old November 9th, 2006, 12:20 PM   #37
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Dear David,

As I understand it, that should work.

From what I have read, the video out does not have a delay.
Dan Keaton
Augusta Georgia
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Old April 26th, 2010, 09:15 AM   #38
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-If shooting in 24F, use non-drop timecode. More film friendly. Wish I had known that from the start.

Anyone got anything else?[/QUOTE]

What does this mean? Just got the camera and want to make smtg to theatrical release..I dont understand non-drop timecode...

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Old December 8th, 2011, 10:48 PM   #39
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Mixing footage from an Canon XL-1 and a JVC GY500

I am about the luckiest guy on the planet. I chronicled my efforts to build a JVC rig from soup to nuts on zero dollars, and now that I am finally getting the battery issues under control, I have been given an XL-1 for nothing! I immediately went out and bought $20 in lottery tickets, just in case.

Question is this: how hard will it be to mix footage from the two cameras, in the event that I want to do so, assuming that I WB and aperture and shutter speed and frame rate them the same?

A two camera shoot would be so much easier for me, having two excellent camera people available (one is a director).

BTW, I'm prepping for an early summer shoot for the Internet, tentatively entitled "Rockin' the Freitag". Now that I've said it out loud, I'll have to do it. Hopefully we'll get enought hits to make it commercially attractive to a broadcaster. Otherwise, we might just keep it Internet, and surf for subscriptions.

I would like to believe that the last few years of struggles and setbacks will have created a careful, more reasoned writer/producer, capable of taking the helm, with patience and a calm, understanding demeanor.

Or I might have to do it myself...
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Old December 8th, 2011, 11:02 PM   #40
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Re: Tips and Tricks for the XL H1

Er, Roy....................

Just to confirm or deny, did you say an XL - 1?

Did you mean an XL - H1?

Two rather different beasts, one more up to date than the other (by a country mile).

Bit of confusion at this end with that one.

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