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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 9th, 2006, 05:27 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Pittsburgh
Posts: 111
Advise needed

Hi all,

Back in late December I picked up an H1 for the purpose of renting
it out locally. I figured it was the better item to rent out over the
P2 HVX200. Trouble is six months have passed and no one has rented
the camera! There is only one video rental company in my area and
I have offered it to them should someone wish to rent one.

No requests to date for the H1, they do rent out a couple of
the Z1's but dont get a lot of calls for anything else in HD. My
rate is the same as what they charge for the Z1!

I have a site set up for it and have google ads running..

It is listed on my employers website, we do all kinds of video
work mostly on already produced video, DVD auth, tape dup,
interactive CD's. I do just about everything but I am not a
videographer so pounding the pavement with it is not
what I had in mind..

My main concern is this normal or do I live in a non HD town? (Pittsburgh PA)
or is the market just slow to change?

I am at the stage of should I cut my losses and sell it off?
(has less than 10 hours use, all test footage to check camera
out.) Or hang in there?

Thanks for your time

Chuck Wall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 9th, 2006, 06:50 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Augusta Georgia
Posts: 5,417
The first questions that comes to my mind are:

Are you a rental house?

Do you rent cameras as a regular part of your business?

The one video rental house in your area may prefer to rent out their own gear as opposed to offering yours to their customers.

The Canon XL-H1 reguires a fair amount of learning and practice in order to obtain the best out of it. It can be quite intimidating to first time users. But this can be overcome in a short time with the proper study of the manual and the other resources such as Canon's dedicated XL-H1 site.

Another issue is editing. It can also be intimidating to learn the HDV capture process and the proper workflow.

The above issues could prevent the causal user from renting the camera. Those that want its quality and feature set may have just purchased the camera outright.

At this time there may not be many people in your area ready to rent an XL-H1.

The delivery options for HD material are rather limited at this time. There also seems to be a bias against HDV, which may be unfounded, of course. If the renter wants to go the HD-SDI route, then they will need other equipment which you probably do not offer for rent.

If you have not already, I would recommend that you become an expert on the camera so that you can answer the potential renter's questions.

I also recommend that you download the custom presets from this site and load them into the camera and/or SD memory card. This will imrpove the user's "out of the box" experience or at least provide a starting point for various situations and shooting styles.

I recommend that you start with the AC Pref 1. If the user's output will be for film out, then leave the gamma at Cine2. If video is the output, then I recommend you change it to Cine1. The "BGN", "Blue Gain" may have to be modified so that the white balance does not have a blue cast.

Of course, you preference may be for one of the other custom presets.

Good luck in your venture.
Dan Keaton
Augusta Georgia

Last edited by Dan Keaton; July 10th, 2006 at 07:31 AM.
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Old July 9th, 2006, 09:46 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 540
First of all, sorry to say, but "if you build it, they will come" is usually not a good way to do a business. It's usually better to let demand overwhelm supply and then purchase something like a $10k item. Same with adding employees...

Secondly, I think Dan nailed it with this: "The delivery options for HD material is rather limited at this time." You currently cannot deliver an HD tape for anyone to use other than stations that are broadcasting HD. Now that the first HD players are out, it should take off, but it will still be a while.

It's a great camera. Sorry you didn't ask advice before you bought it. I would have STRONGLY advised against your buying to rent it out in a small market like that. I'm not sure even the big markets are renting that many H1's...

I bet you could unload it for a pretty good price still and cut your losses...

Good luck.

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Old July 9th, 2006, 10:19 PM   #4
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Dan, Kevin,

Thanks for your thoughts, I actually have downloaded the presets and
have read the manual and have become familiar with the camera. The one
thing I do is read this forum many times a week to learn from you and
and others about the camera. Our company does have a FCP with Kona 2
and I have experimented with both HDV and HDSDI as well.

I agree that the camera is intimidating with all the choices it offers.

The company I work for rents out our hd1220A dvcpro deck to qualified
renters but we are not a rental house. In hind sight I do agree with Kevin
that "the build it and they will come" had clouded my vision! After seeing
the image the camera makes I thought everyone would prefer it as well.

The local rental house and I know each other and HD has not been a high
demand item. I think if someone asked for a H1 they would contact me.

I am going to give it a few more weeks and try to promote it more
to folks I know. If nothing happens someone will get a new camera
and I will have enjoyed the depriciation and the learning experience.

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Old July 10th, 2006, 12:06 PM   #5
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Atlanta GA
Posts: 1,427

Do you know many of the indie production people in your area? I have to say that all of my rentals thus far have only come from people I know. Don't forget it's not only an HD camera, it can produce amazing SD footage as well.

It's not so much hitting the pavement but just make sure people know you have the gear. Most of my rentals in Atlanta have come from friends who have clients that want HD, but instead of renting a Z1U from the local rental house they rent it from me instead, and I give them a good deal, everyone wins.

Right now I'm in the same position you're in as far as being the sole owner, in a market (atlanta) but this is a good thing. Just keep the word out, heck if you have a deck to rent out as well then use that to your advantage to. I think the most important thing is to let people know you have it available.
I have a dream that one day canon will release a 35mm ef to xl adapter and I'll have iris control and a 35mm dof of all my ef lenses, and it will be awesome...
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Old July 10th, 2006, 07:56 PM   #6
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 1,267
I think this is a marketing/ manufacturing problem for Canon as well as a marketing problem for your company. As an early adopter you are paying for the incomplete system Canon has delivered so far for the rental market. They delivered the camera with a lens which is so so for many uses, very few accesories which complement the camera in HD mode and very poor edit support of the HDV 30F and 24F which set the camera apart from the competitors. They are waiting for third party suppliers to build the great accesories which will fulfill the potential they built into the camera body. If they had released an edit deck or organized an HDSDI recorder and a good HD manual lens then the buzz about the camera would probably have been deafening. Currently XLH1 is much better suited to the owner operator idea.
If the Firestore solution works well and the 6x wide angle gets raves (comes out in October) and Avid and Apple support for HDV 24F solidify we might see a shift in the rental market momentum. People will want to rent a package which delivers something they heard is really great that they don't have to jump through hoops to use. In truth there has been some movement as at least one of the NY rental houses have added the XLH1 to their rental inventory.
The question of when to get out depends on how important is the lack of cash flow being generated by the camera effecting you. If you can't wait for the buzz, believe it has already passed or don't have a reason to use the camera yourself then you probably should sell while the camera is still the top model.On the other hand I have made many equipment investments which made much more money in the second or third year than they did in the first. I was usually too early to the market even if I made the correct choice and it took a little while for the market to catch up.
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Old July 10th, 2006, 10:09 PM   #7
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Location: Pittsburgh
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The cash flow is not killing me, my concern is that if I hold on too long to it the loss of value would be the killer in the end. I am glad to hear that your early camera purchases paid off in the end. I know it is still early in the HD arena and I dont see canon replacing the H1 anytime soon. Sony and Panasonic need to keep that large divide between ENG/Bcast and industrial to make money.

I see I need put more effort into getting the word out to
the right people who desire the higher quality that the camera
can produce, like Nick suggests.

I will try to also push the fact that a DVCPRO deck with the HDSDI
output from the camera make a formitable image.

Thanks again for your help,

Chuck Wall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 14th, 2006, 12:47 PM   #8
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One thing I do to sell the H1 to my customers is to show them the future of the format. Even if they are not interested in delivering in HD now, they may be in the future. I urge them to shoot in HD now and deliver in SD, then they have the option in the near future to deliver in HD via satellite, HDDVD, or Blu-Ray.

I currently rent the camera for $400/day with sticks here in Central California
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