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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 May 7th, 2006, 01:09 AM   #1
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OIS and handheld panning

When doing handheld pans, do you recommend OIS set to on or off? I have not done any controlled tests, but a few initial clips seem to exhibit OIS stutter on handheld pans.

Best,
Christopher
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Old May 7th, 2006, 01:40 AM   #2
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You will need to decide what level of compromise you are willing to live with. The stutter will be quite evident if you have OIS turned on but will be minimized with slow panning and smoothness of the camera movement will be smoother. On the other hand, the motion will be rendered more accurately if you choose to shoot without the OIS but you will probably yield a more uneven (and maybe less professional looking) look.

I'd suggest you do some test shots and really study them before you make a critical decision.
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Old May 8th, 2006, 04:07 PM   #3
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I always leave OIS off whenever I'm shooting anything. It does get rid of all those little unintentional motions, but it gets rid of an unacceptable amount of my intentional motion as well, making it feel laggy and disconnected from my hand.
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Old May 8th, 2006, 09:42 PM   #4
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I never, NEVER, use OIS.. I have handheld every kind of film camera from Panaflex to my own Aaton super16 - they don't have any form image stabilization..

I make the kind of documentaries which compel me to leave the tripod in the truck.. OIS is only useful if you're shooting in a moving car, like on an offroad race-coarse in Baja.. otherwise - leave it off!!!

I realize that there are many on this site that don't agree with me, but in my opinion it is an artificial intrusion on the image - and a competent camera operator doesn't need or want it...
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Old May 8th, 2006, 10:20 PM   #5
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With all due respect, there are many more situations than shooting from a car that would benefit from OIS. It has nothing to do with the skill of the cameraman/woman

:)
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Old May 8th, 2006, 11:44 PM   #6
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Too many Steves in this thread...

I've never met an OIS I've liked. It just makes my camerawork lag behind what I actually want to do, which drives me nuts, especially when I'm trying to follow something while zoomed in fairly tight. It's the same complaint I have about the servo zoom and focus on Canon's stock lenses, it lags behind my input and drives me nuts. The camera isn't a part of me like it should be.
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Old May 8th, 2006, 11:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephan Ahonen
Too many Steves in this thread...
LOL

I respect what you all are saying.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 03:06 PM   #8
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ois is mandatory for the type of shooting that i do.

the only time that i see ois stutter is when the camera achieves tripod-like stability... at which point, your handheld camera techniques are to be congradulated, rather than scorned :-)

a couple of weekends ago i was shooting from the upper level of the grandstands at the las vegas drag strip, with a 1.6x extender on a 16x lens... i lugged a tripod up the stairs, only to find out that the noise vibrated the grandstands so badly that it ruined the shot... sand bags would have helped, but not cured, the problem.

the ois jitters were preferable to extreme vibration in the picture... so look at ois on a shot-by-shot basis; and ymmv, because i'm referring to xl1/xl1s cameras, not the h1.
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Old May 11th, 2006, 11:20 AM   #9
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Dan - the situation you describe is one of the few (similar to my Baja comment) where OIS can help.. but for the majority, and in my case all, of the shooting done with this camera OIS only degrades the impression of resolution - which is why we're using the camera in the first place...

What I recommend for handheld use is practice - consider it the same as a sport - you can't just put on a helmet and play in the NFL - when I was a film student I would spend an hour or two every afternoon walking around with a 16mm camera and practicing locking in on an object, holding my breath, walking with someone trying to make it appear like a dolly move (this is all pre-Steadicam by the way) - always conscious of the movement at the edges of the frame - it's even more difficult with 16x9 because the width of the box exagerates movement... My ability to handhold has gotten me a lot of work over the years, but it is a skill that takes practice...

Also, experiment with grips - I build custom grips for all my cameras, trying to find the best balance point.. with the H1 I find that adjustable grips (that I robbed from my 16mm Aaton) mounted on my matte box mini-rods work best - I can use two, with a controller on the right, or only use the left and use the camera's control grip on the right, depending on the situation...

The supports that have a brace that rest on the waist are good for some people, but I don't advise them - breathing tends to cause movement, especially when you're tired, and it's a real bitch if you have to follow someone into a car...
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Old May 11th, 2006, 09:24 PM   #10
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For outdoor tripod work, I use the stabilizer 90% of the time with or without wind. Naturally a very steady hand is a must regardless if it's on or not. The most critical factor, in my opinion, is the quality of the fluid head. A fluid head with the proper friction adjustments for both H and V, must be set fairly high with enough friction for slow pans and tilts. Without high fluid adjustments and using a lower quality head, you are much better off with the OIS off. Where I really miss the OIS is with all my telephoto lenses so I must compensate with other stablization accessories. As far as handheld is concerned, on its own, it is too light. I use the zoom feature too much so it's a must have. Though the H1 is the heaviest of the hdv's, it has an awkward balance. If I'm on a long shoot, I use the dual battery holder (or anton's) then it balance's well enough to have the OIS off.

Last edited by Bill Taka; May 12th, 2006 at 11:12 AM.
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