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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 12th, 2006, 08:04 PM   #1
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XL2 vs. XLH1

im sorry if thats has already been discussed elsewhere i looked and couldnt find it

is the difference really worth it from xl2 to H1

im planning on shooting a full length film that already has gotten interest based on its write up... i currently own an XL1 that has served me very well

the film will be shot interily on minidv tapes and then later converted to 35m for the theaters...

only last choice is the camera...

is it really worth the extra money to go up to H1

thanks MEKHAEL
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Old July 12th, 2006, 09:26 PM   #2
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If you really think that it is going to end up on 35mm then hell yes. The difference in resolution alone is huge. Add to that I honestly feel the H1 performs much better than the XL2 in low light and in latitude, even in SD mode.

If 35mm is your "for sure" target then I'd say go for it.

Anyone else?
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Old July 12th, 2006, 11:23 PM   #3
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Mekhael,

I asked myself the same question before buying the H1, and for me I was concerned about the longevity of SD. I wanted a camera that would still be reasonably relevant in 5 years. No one can predict the future but I feel very good about choosing the H1. If I had already had an XL2, I wouldn't rush to upgrade, but I didn't have one.

What you do have to realize though is that if and when you upgrade to HD, the cost of the camera is just the beginning. You will surely need to upgrade your computer, and then you'll start thinking about a Wafian recorder, and a 7" HD viewfinder, 35mm adapter, and a cool mattebox (with follow focus of course). Then you'll be anticipating the release of new HD len$e$. Not to mention you'll begin dreaming about codecs, bitrates and how to economically get a signal out of the SDI port.

Having said all that, once you see the jaw-dropping footage this camera is capable of, you know why you did it.

As Marty said, IF film-out is the end game, I can't imagine going through the entire process and cost of shooting a film, and not shooting on at least HDV.

If cost is really a big factor, you should take a good look at the other HDV cams.

Good Luck!
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Old July 13th, 2006, 02:27 AM   #4
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I had the same choice to make between the XL2 and H1, and decided on the XL2, and think it was a wise choice in the end (for my intended goals and sales of completed videos)... However, if money is not taken into the equation (and plenty of cash would need to be at hand if you take into consideration the need to update your working & Post systems for HD, and the considerable extra costs for 35mm film conversions) - then I'd definitely say go for the H1.
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Old July 13th, 2006, 08:14 AM   #5
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Your going to invest a lot of time, money and effort into your production. Including the time and effort of your actors, extras and crew. You want all the resolution you can get as reward for those efforts.

I don't shoot for 35mm, but do corporate video. I use and XL1s for internal training stuff, which gets posted on the web or goes out on CD, it's good enough. However, when it's a job for a large audience or greatest exposure, we'll contract out someone with better cameras. In most cases, regardless of the goal, when you wrap things up and head over to the edit bay, what's on that tape is what you'll have to live with.

Get the right tool for the right job.
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Old July 13th, 2006, 11:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mekhael Trepanier
only last choice is the camera...
If the only decision left is the camera, then get the XL2. HD stands for High Debt, and moving to HD requires a lot more than just a new camera. If you do decide to get the XL H1, make sure and plan a detailed budget for all the components, software, and upgrades you will need.

Read the Adobe Premiere forums and you will see lots of tears from users who can't afford to purchase a simple codec because they blew all their money on a camera. They failed to identify what they would need and failed to prepare a budget. You may need a faster computer with multi-processors, you may need RAID, you may need an HD field monitor, you may need new utilities and software. Make sure you identify everything you will need before moving to HD.

Best,
Christopher
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Old July 13th, 2006, 01:10 PM   #7
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Christopher is right, the first choice should be your workflow, and your budget will determine how far you can go.

It's like buying a big SUV so you can look cool driving around town, then realize you can't afford all the gas it guzzles, and wind up leaving parked in the garage.
That you should have bought the 6 cyclinder economy model and still get to where your going for less.

I've been contemplating the H1 to replace my XL1s, but can afford two Sony Z1U's instead. I'd still be miles better than SD, and not broke.

Again, the right tool for the job.
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Old July 13th, 2006, 01:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Glaeser
If the only decision left is the camera, then get the XL2. HD stands for High Debt, and moving to HD requires a lot more than just a new camera. If you do decide to get the XL H1, make sure and plan a detailed budget for all the components, software, and upgrades you will need.
Of course you can buy an HD camera and either run it in SD mode for now or downsample HD to SD during capture to the computer, thus eliminating the need to upgrade other components before you can afford to do so.

The XL2 is one of the few SD cameras still worth considering buying, but it too is headed for obsolescence once HD becomes the norm.
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Old July 13th, 2006, 01:29 PM   #9
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I guess I can't help but feel that if the work being shot has got a good chance to go to 35mm print then I would think working in some form of HD would be important. As far as costs...well....if the content you are shooting is really that good that it would be considered for a filmout I'd think that you have a good deal of money wrapped up in the project anyway....in theory. I guess I am assuming that if the project is serious enough for possible 35mm prints then a decent chunk of change is already being spent on talent, DP, lights and equipment and all that crap just to make the work look professional even on SD let alone HD.

I guess you will need to make your decision based on your own unique financial criteria.
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Old July 13th, 2006, 01:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
Of course you can buy an HD camera and either run it in SD mode for now or downsample HD to SD during capture to the computer, thus eliminating the need to upgrade other components before you can afford to do so.

The XL2 is one of the few SD cameras still worth considering buying, but it too is headed for obsolescence once HD becomes the norm.
Thank god, a voice of reason to cut through the FUD of HD. One does not necessarily need all the luxuries of HD peripherals to shoot and edit an HD project.

The H1 has analog SD ouputs for field monitoring on legacy SD monitors.

The H1 uses Firewire ports for easy ingest into exisiting and/or older editing systems.

DV and DVCPro are readily available "offline" codecs on older systems.

Here's something I've never understood. You're going to spend thousands of dollars on your production. You're going to sweat and bleed to get everything and everyone marshalled to your locations. You're going to bend over backwards to create great lighting. You're going to rehearse your actors and perfects the drama.

And then you're going to cheap out on the camera that RECORDS the fruits of your labors?
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Old July 13th, 2006, 01:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
Of course you can buy an HD camera and either run it in SD mode for now or downsample HD to SD during capture to the computer,
Sure, he *could* do this, and I know it's just me, but I grow weary from handing out all the Kleenex on the various forums I participate to those who purchased an HD camera and can't use HD or 24F or some other feature because they did not budget for everythiing they needed to use the camera. Wish I had a way to turn all those tears into cash; I'd be rich. :)

Best,
Christopher
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Old July 13th, 2006, 01:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Sanders

Here's something I've never understood. You're going to spend thousands of dollars on your production. You're going to sweat and bleed to get everything and everyone marshalled to your locations. You're going to bend over backwards to create great lighting. You're going to rehearse your actors and perfects the drama.

And then you're going to cheap out on the camera that RECORDS the fruits of your labors?
That's what I was trying to say above. Assuming that you are going to invest in all of the things you mentioned, wouldn't it make sense to go HD....especially given the original post mentioned a 35mm conversion for theaters?
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Old July 13th, 2006, 05:28 PM   #13
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Christopher is correct about needing more than a camera - it does add up - but, fact is, much of those other "needs" are things you're going to have to acquire in the near future anyway... Having the camera does let you learn, at your own pace, the idiosycracies of HDV in general, and of the Canon in particular, before you "need" it... And do your work in the interim in SD...

There is another factor to consider besides film Xfer - if you are interested in festivals, many of the prestigious ones will now only accept HDCAM as a projection format (besides 35mm and 16mm film of course)...

Although I personally haven't done an HDV transfer to HDCAM yet I will be in the near future and I assume, and would certainly hope, that the quality is going to be there when I do...
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Old July 13th, 2006, 07:41 PM   #14
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thank you to all

thanks to all you guys for taking the time to help with this

ive written out a script and have most of the actors and what not in place... i have been aproahced by a few people now in the related industry of the film and they have basically said if the content and quality merrits the big screen that they would be interested in the project and having it converted to 35 so it could be shown....
the obviuos is that i dont wanna do this twice, its gonna be hard enough to do it the first time...

i will admit that i am far behind the rest of you in the camera knowledge department, im alot more of the point and shoot with an artisitc vision kinda of guy, i watch movies to learn study camera motion etc...

the reality of the situation is leaning me towards to the XL2... having the 24p option and the true 16:9 are the 2 things i was really after... i then started reading about the 1080 of HD but i had no idea about all the bells and whistles one needed to add before really maximizing the true usses of this camera

thank you again to all of you who took the time to answer to this thread i deffinatly got the answeres i needed hopefully others who have the same questions as me will learn from this aswell

take care
MEKHAEL
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Old July 14th, 2006, 01:45 AM   #15
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Mekhael, you are going to BUY a camera- which means you are going to keep it and use it in the future. Well, I would suggest you buy the h1. Why?

The H1 is a Xl2, but with the extra of being also the XL3 (the 3 goes for the HD part).

With the H1 you can do everything you could do with the XL2, but with higher resolution CCD's, which reflect ond better SD images, as well as more picture control, and a better stock lens (that was developed to resolve HD, compared to the normal XL2 one). So do yourself a favour and, since you have the cash, get the best possible solution. You won't regret it one bit.
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