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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 June 1st, 2006, 11:39 PM   #1
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New project, New Camera, Need advice!

I have been a dvx shooter for awhile and decided to go with the xl-h1 for some upcoming projects. I have a very good grasp on shooting for a "film look" on the h1 as well as many threads to view to find the advice. However, I am about to begin shooting a documentary -- talking heads, establishing shots, brief narrative scenes, etc. I am wondering which of the scene files you guys would recommend for the talking head stuff. I will be using a tungsten balanced halogen kit for traveling and getting the interviews. Is there a setting anyone recommends? I will be shooting these interviews at 60i in controlled settings with the camera on a tripod. Let me know.

-Kevin
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Old June 1st, 2006, 11:43 PM   #2
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Another question along the same vein--We are planning to get this on an HD network at some point so...Should I be recording to an HDcam deck or will I be able to shoot and edit the project on HDV then converting it back to HDcam for viewing?
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Old June 1st, 2006, 11:56 PM   #3
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Hi Kevin, welcome to DV Info Net.

If you check out our XL H1 custom presets download library and review the notes for each preset, you'll see that the ones submitted so far have been set up to deal with specific types of situations, for example matching the H1 to the DVX100, etc.

Unless you have a clear need for those specific presets, I don't think you should bother with them. Of course your best bet is to download them and experiment with the different looks they create, which is pretty easy to do, just cycle through them one at a time in the camera, very straightforward. You might find one that you can adapt, or better yet, create a new one if you need it.

A very quick and easy way to adjust the look of the video without having to go into the custom preset controls, is to simply dial in a White Balance adjustment in degrees Kelvin. Set the White Balance knob to "K" and adjust up or down a few hundred degrees to find the look you want. Quick, easy, painless, instant feedback.

I'd say that if you have access to an HDCAM deck and don't mind carrying it around, that may not be as convenient as recording to HDV and bumping up later, but it's definitely "better" in terms of the format (just make sure to run audio to the deck because audio is not carried over SDI on the XL H1 for some reason). If you go this route, it's a good idea to record to HDV at the same time, for confidence / backup purposes.
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 04:54 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Haberer
We are planning to get this on an HD network at some point so...
Please note that big HD networks have strict rules of how much HDV footage they accept per hour of footage (5mins on Discovery HD if I remember correctly).

So using a HDCAM deck almost seems to be a must for you, depending on where your doc will be aired. I still think that the HD-SDI output of the XL H1 put on HDCAM deck is nearly equal to CineAlta HDCAM footage. So if you go that route you should be fine.
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 08:35 AM   #5
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Consider renting a Panasonic 1200a w/SDI or a Wafian for acquisition.

If you're on the Mac/FCP you should consider being tethered to the 1200a, (DVCProHD is accepted and FCP edits native) and on the PC the Wafian/CineForm combo will give you technically cleaner compression via SDI than HDCAM.

If you go HDCAM you'll have to offline in some other format anyway. You'll save a generation of compression by going to either one of the aforementioned routes and you can always bump your footage back to HDCAM.

I'm pretty sure DiscoveryHD (the most stringent HD network) will accept your show/footage 100% this way.

You should ask the network specifically about the XLH1. They may accept full acquistion via HDV, believe it or not. What I'm pretty sure they won't approve of is mastering back to HDV. This causes rebuilds of GOP's which means it adds another pass of MPEG2 compression, which of course they won't want because it will have to be compressed AGAIN for HD broadcast!

Just a few thoughts.
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