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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 August 28th, 2006, 07:24 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Joplin, MO
Posts: 2
Amateur Canon XLH1 user needs help!

Well, I use to own a Canon XL1. I bought it the first year of production as a senior in highschool. I didn't really use it much the first couple of years because I didn't know anything about cameras, but was interested. I then began to use it a lot and got into filming wedding professioanlly. Now I do video work for ministries and churches.

Just recently I purchased a Canon XLH1 and it is beyond me. There is so much to it that for me, an amateur to the business, it is really hard to work and understand. I think I need a new computer now because I don't have a fast even processor for all the data coming in.

I have one main question. Is the grain on the camera normal. I didn't notice a grain like this one my old XL1. It's always there. It goes away more when using high f stops, but is this normal???

One reason I ask is that I heard from my friend that some internet companies will sell cameras that don't pass quality inspections in Japan, but are somewhat ok to be sold anyway, just not to major dealers. I purchased one from a company such as this I think. The reason I think this is because when I recived my camera it was in Japanese and I had to go in and find out how to change it. Other stickers on the camera were in Japanese as well, when my other camera wasn't like that. Any help would be great from all you pros out there.
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Old August 28th, 2006, 08:55 PM   #2
Obstreperous Rex
Join Date: Jan 2001
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Hi Derek,

I moved your post from the General HD / HDV Acquisition forum to our Canon XL H1 forum.

It sounds like you bought a "gray market" camera, and I'm sorry to hear that. There is no difference in quality control but by purchasing your camera this way, you have bypassed the authorized Canon dealers in the United States. That could create a problem if there's ever a need to get the camera serviced.

If you're seeing a lot of grain in the image, that's caused by the gain control (next to the white balance control on the bottom left side of the camera). Gain helps a lot with low light performance but it will create noise or "grain" in the image.

If you have your XL H1 powered up in Green Box / Easy Record mode, then the gain control is always automatic no matter what the gain control knob is set at. Instead, turn the camera on in A / Automatic mode. Then turn the gain control knob to the 0db position. That should eliminate any grain or noise in the image.

Now press the Exposure Lock button, located just above the lens release button. With exposure lock now activated, you're bypassing the automatic mode with full manual control. Adjust the shutter speed with the shutter up / down buttons, and the exposure with the iris control thumbwheel. Try different combinations of shutter speed and exposure and see what they do to the image. Then press the Exposure Lock button again to deactivate manual control. Watch how the camera changes the image when it reverts back to automatic control.

There are a staggering number of different kinds of adjustments which you can make on the XL H1, but fortunately most every aspect of the camera also has automatic control. Automatic control is your friend. It'll greatly assist you in learning the camera. Begin with full auto and gradually learn how to manually control one component at a time. The more time you spend practicing with it, the better you get and the more familiar the camera becomes. It's not beyond you and it's not hard to work or understand, as long as you don't make the mistake of trying to control everything manually. Use the automatic controls as much as possible; they do a surprisingly good job. Over the long run, you'll eventually transition into manual controls for most everything on the camera. To start with, however, automatic everything is the best way to go.

You will need a new computer for capturing and editing high definition video in the HDV format. Until you get one, you can use the XL H1 for standard definition DV just like your old XL1. Hope this helps,

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Old August 28th, 2006, 10:10 PM   #3
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Joplin, MO
Posts: 2
Adobe Premiere Pro useage

Thanks a lot for the help. I've looked at some of my other images that weren't low light and they look amazing.

I did purchase a 4 year warranty for the camera that covers up to $7,500 worth of fixing over the years. So I'm covered for anything that would need to get fixed, but would it then cost more for it being a "gray market" camera?

Also in case anyone out there could help me, I use Adobe Premiere Pro 2. When I import the footage I'm assuming I'd use the 720p 30 project opening when capturing from Mini DV tape? But then when I drop my file to the timeline it then needs to be rendered to play, why is that? I never had to when I would put clips on from using the XL1 in SD 4:3. And also it seems to zoom in a lot when putting it in the timeline. To pull it back enough to get most of my image I need to put the scale at 67. Does any of this make sense or am I just not getting it? Thanks for the help. I'm really enjoying this camera.
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Old August 29th, 2006, 03:55 AM   #4
Major Player
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Location: Vittsjö, SKÅNE, SWEDEN
Posts: 266
Hi Derek,
I noticed you wrote 720p. That output is not available from this camera which has 1080 lines in HDV mode. Try to start with a 1080 setting instead.
The camera is great in many aspects but it takes a while to get used to. I have shot 22 tapes and I'm improving the results on every tape. Look at the "sticky" section above, there is a bunch of useful information collected to get for free!
Good luck! / Johan
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Old August 29th, 2006, 07:40 AM   #5
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Location: Houston, TX
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If capturing to a miniDV project, just create the new project with the appropriate DV preset in PPro2 and then send the signal out of the camera as DV (done in the menus). If you want to try HDV, there are additional presets available for download so you can capture into PPro2 using any flavor of 1080i HDV you'd like (60i, 24F, 25F, 30F):
Pete Bauer
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Old August 29th, 2006, 11:43 AM   #6
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Sounds like you jumped in over your head but hang in there. Lock yourself in your room for a couple of days with just the camera and the manual.

Then spend another 2 months locked onto this forum. Just commit yourself to learning the camera, use the downconvert function to edit in SD, and have fun.
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