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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 12th, 2006, 12:49 PM   #1
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Xl-H1 is it good enough for TV documentary ?

Hello everyone .. I 'am new in this form and I could really use some advice.
I am an event videographer and I have been shooting for 4 years. My dream is to do documentary work and I have the chance to do that now. I have two documentary to do overseas. Now my question is the Xl-H1 good enough for TV production like Discovery HD or WGBH HD ... I don't want to spend all my money and time to produce a project then at the end the picture quality is not sharp enough for broadcast Tv. I will be shooting to tape not SDI output. and the reason that I chose XL-H1 is because I need to shoot in Pal and NTSC. One project will be for overseas and one will be for the USA. I use Vegas 6 for editing and this is really a big project for me and I want to make sure that I don't lose my shirt buying the camera and spending a lot of money on the project. Thanks in advance.

Michael Ojjeh
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Old June 12th, 2006, 01:01 PM   #2
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Michael, My company produces documentaries for PBS using the XLH1.
We shoot standard definition and then upconvert in editing. As far as Discovery and others are concerned, I'm not sure of their specific standards, I'm just letting you know it's being done elsewhwere.

Mark
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Old June 12th, 2006, 01:23 PM   #3
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I also produce docs for PBS - well, not FOR them, but they end up there, usually on the National Program Schedule.. Generally in the past I've shot super16, but one (ACCIDENTAL HERO) was shot in DVCAM with the DSR300.

I am currently shooting another (IN A NEW COUNTRY) with the H1. Although originally intended for PBS, we are shopping other cable channels because, to be honest, PBS is a pain...

Not one person yet has asked what it was shot on.. If the show is compelling and shot well, there should be no problem - the exception might be cable channels that specialize in HD - they may want only HD originals or film... But that probably isn't where you would end up anyway -
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Old June 12th, 2006, 01:46 PM   #4
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Discovery Channel has officially approved the XLH1 for HD content delivery.
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Old June 12th, 2006, 02:00 PM   #5
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Thanks you guys for the info.

Robert when you say Discovery Channel has approved the XL1H is that SDI output only ? I watched a DVD from Canon on the XL1H and the footage that was shot on tape in Italy was not very impressive and not that sharp, only the close up was very good, I don't know maybe that was not true HD display from a DVD.
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Old June 12th, 2006, 04:41 PM   #6
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Robert, although it's been mentioned before that Discovery HD is accepting the XL H1 as you said, I wanted to double check with you because I browsed to their web site just the other day and read their officially published restrictions on percentages of SD source AND max percent of HDV source allowed in a program (seems like it was 15%, but not sure right now). They didn't mention any specific cameras, just SD and HDV restrictions...is the XL H1 info officially listed anywhere that we can reference, and specifically whether HDV or SDI matters?

EDIT: Here's the link to the page I read: http://dhd.discovery.com/guidelines/...guidelines.pdf
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Old June 12th, 2006, 07:28 PM   #7
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I know that the tech wiz people at the cable and net channels want to set limits on acquisition to make life easier for themselves, and I also know that many of those limits provide an easy way for the suits to say "thanx but no thanx"...

Howsome-ever, I had a documentary (DEATH AND DYING, THE PHYSICIAN'S PERSPECTIVE) aired nationally in 1978 that was shot on reel to reel black and white vertical helical scan tape (that's right folks - reel-to-reel VHS) at a time when few people had ever seen anything that looked so bad on TV.. but they liked the show, so they aired it...

It's more about content than anything - make a good movie and they will come (well, you might have to go out and reel them in, but you get the idea)...
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Old June 12th, 2006, 09:08 PM   #8
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Steve's point is well taken. Content is king, we all agree.

But before folks commit dollars and time to hardware and projects they intend to sell to HD channels, seems to me they'd be well advised to make themselves aware of the published requirements of those channels and even better, contact them directly. Michael, if you want to sell to DiscHD, WGBH, Nat Geo, etc I'd at least try to contact them before starting the project. They're your intended customers; find out what the customers want and give it to 'em.
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Old June 12th, 2006, 09:34 PM   #9
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Hello Pete ..

I did some research on the DiscHD and others but they only give you info on the web site with no contact or even email. You just do the project and when done handed to them and see if they like it or not, then you try someone eles ( I know what a big gamble ). But like Steve said if you have a good content someone will take it I hope. As long as I have the right camera from the start that really was my first concern.
I really have a very good story and I hope someday you can see it on TV.
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Old June 13th, 2006, 01:25 AM   #10
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Here's something from their HDV guidelines that I think is critical to acceptance of Canon HDV:

"Producers wishing to use HDV must submit an approved postproduction path outlining their handling of the footage in the editing process."

This is where I think HDV from the Canon could be accepted in full, but it has to be edited and mastered completely apart from HDV. Remember, mastering to HDV tape requires rebuilding GOP's, otherwise known as RECOMPRESSION, and that's where HDV can crumble when held up to DCI's standard. If produced this way, your program would be compressed yet again to MPEG2 for HD broadcast which would mean 3 fairly severe passes of MPEG2 compression. This is probably where DCI is skittish about HDV. But there are decent post paths that can maintain camera original quality.

CineForm would probably be an accepted intermediate path, in addition to possible codecs in FCP like Sheer, PhotoJPEG, etc. Apparently they only accept D5 and HDCAM as master formats so most XL H1 owners would have to online somewhere for this transfer at some point anyway.

In the future I think the best path to be Discovery HD approved from HDV acquisition is to offline in an intermediate codec, recapture to an uncompressed timeline, master an uncompressed final QT of the program, export to an external hard drive, then take that to an online facility for transfer to D5 or HDCAM.
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Old June 13th, 2006, 04:29 AM   #11
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Q & A

Q: Xl-H1 is it good enough for TV documentary?

A: Yes.
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Old June 13th, 2006, 04:57 AM   #12
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Avid's new DNxHD codec has been approved for use on Fox's Bones as a mastering format, and Avid Xpress Pro v 5.5 (due out next week) has full support for all XLH1 formats (yes, 24F too). Anotehr possibel workflow is capture DNx220 (highest rez), consolidate to Portable Drive, take into an HDCAM equipped Adrenaline for oclor correction and mastery.
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Old June 13th, 2006, 11:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Ojjeh
Thanks you guys for the info.

Robert when you say Discovery Channel has approved the XL1H is that SDI output only ? I watched a DVD from Canon on the XL1H and the footage that was shot on tape in Italy was not very impressive and not that sharp, only the close up was very good, I don't know maybe that was not true HD display from a DVD.
Then I'm sure you won't like the footage from the JVC or Panasonic as they have much lower resolution than the Canon.
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Old June 13th, 2006, 03:09 PM   #14
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I am learning a lot thanks for the info guys.

Robert I still like to know where did you get the info on DiscHD approving content of XLH1, is it on their web site ? and is it from SDI output ?
If DiscHD accept XLH1 footage That will be very encouraging news.

Thanks
Mike
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Old June 17th, 2006, 01:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Bauer
Robert, although it's been mentioned before that Discovery HD is accepting the XL H1 as you said, I wanted to double check with you because I browsed to their web site just the other day and read their officially published restrictions on percentages of SD source AND max percent of HDV source allowed in a program (seems like it was 15%, but not sure right now). They didn't mention any specific cameras, just SD and HDV restrictions...is the XL H1 info officially listed anywhere that we can reference, and specifically whether HDV or SDI matters?

EDIT: Here's the link to the page I read: http://dhd.discovery.com/guidelines/...guidelines.pdf
Dear Pete,

The date on that above link is May 3 2005. This is well before the Canon XL-H1 was in use.

I wonder if we could get an update from Discovery Channel?
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