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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 September 17th, 2006, 11:23 PM   #1
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SDI pipeline

I知 just getting started into the realm of HD video and wanted to review the SDI pipeline I知 considering before I begin buying equipment.

I previously worked on a GL1 and edited in FCP on my G5 dual 2 (power PC). However, my next project is a documentary and I want to obtain as much of a film look as possible. If there is something I知 missing please let me know.

I plan on buying/shooting on a Canon XL-H1 with the Letus EF adapter. I figure I値l need a case, extra battery, and cavision rods to support the EF adapter. (I have access to many canon and Nikon 35mm lenses)

As for storage, will I need a firestore or can I just shoot onto tapes? Do HD SDI firestore disks exist?

As far as transferring, is the Decklink HD Extreme card all I will need to import the uncompressed HD-SDI data on my G5 running FCP 5.1.2? Is there a better option?

The end goal is to show the documentary at festivals and broadcast.

Any and all information will be helpful.

Thanks
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Old September 18th, 2006, 01:29 AM   #2
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There's not HD-SDI Firestore yet. But you can join the waiting list. In fact, the Wafian at 15k seems to be the only real off-the-rack solution to HD-SDI capture.

For FCP/H1 stuff, search posts by Barlow Elton. You'll be surprised at how good the image is from HDV tape. If the festivals don't need film out, the compressed HDV would likely be sufficient, and save you many terabytes of disk space. if the broadcast is not HD, then the same would apply. You really can't do much better than the H1 without stepping way up and HDV despite some criticism is pretty damn good. I've played back images from tape through the component out to an HD widescreen and was simply knocked out by the quality of the image, and there's already issues with the HDV workflow (as compared to SD), I can't imagine working with uncompressed material.

Good Luck.
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Old September 18th, 2006, 09:06 AM   #3
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Daniel

A few other things, I don't believe that Quyen makes an EF letus yet, I think right now it's just nikon and FD, that my change in the near future. Also currently FCP is at 5.1.1 (I think) hopefully as soon as 5.1.2 comes out we'll be able to import our 24f footage natively off the camera (through firewire) without all of the workarounds. Finally just to make sure you're aware, when you shoot and record on HDV and then playback out HD-SDI spicket you're not getting uncompressed HD you're getting HDV through the HD-SDI spicket so unless you're going to lug a computer with you on your documentry you may not need to buy the blackmagic card.
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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 September 18th, 2006, 10:37 AM   #4
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I don't know what kind of docs you make, but I've made, or completed, five of various lengths in both SD and HDV since acquiring my H1 last December... I shoot HDV and import via firewire to a G5 quad into FCP... So far I have only made DVCAM masters and DVDs (SD) for clients and festival entries and have not output an HDV master.. I plan to take a harddrive to a post house when I create HDCAM masters.

As for HD-SDI, I don't see how you're going to be able to take advantage of the feature unless, as mentioned above, you drag a computer around with you... Hopefully, and I think surely, there will eventually be a portable SDI capture sollution... but it's early days yet...

But, never fear, the image possible is nothing short of amazing. Being a film person, and snob about it, I was extremely skeptical at first... Although I do see some minor issues with HDV, I have to admit that I always saw minor issues with super16 transfers to tape too...
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Old September 18th, 2006, 02:25 PM   #5
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ef confusion

Thanks guys, this is a lot of help.

I guess I had assumed that an ef adapter allowed the camera to be used with ef lenses. What adapter do I need to be able to use my ef lenses with the XL-H1?

thanks again.
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Old September 18th, 2006, 03:47 PM   #6
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There's a Canon EF to XL adapter, but keep in mind that the field of view from a 35mm still photo lens is going to be magnified by a factor of more than seven times when used on an XL H1. In other words, a 50mm still photo lens will give you a field of view equivalent to 350mm on the XL H1. So yes you can use your EF lenses but even the widest angle will appear telephoto on the XL H1 (not to mention, there's no way to zoom smoothly, etc.). An EF lens on an XL camcorder is a specialized application, such as surveillance or wildlife videography.
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Old September 19th, 2006, 10:30 AM   #7
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Or shooting planets.
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Old September 19th, 2006, 10:37 AM   #8
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Heh... thanks for pointing that out, but it's so uncommon it's hardly worth mentioning. But this reminds me to post my most recent Saturn pics.
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Old September 19th, 2006, 07:23 PM   #9
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Yeah I just finished shooting an indie feature film on the XL-H1 through SDI to a blackmagic multibridge pro connected to a mac pro. There were a lot of headaches dealing with HD 1080p24 because the SDI outputs 60i (3:2 pulldown). Removing it was very difficult sometimes (1 dropped frame and you're SOL and have to process on Windows with an adaptive AviSynth pulldown removal plugin), and shooting uncompressed 8 bit 1080i capture dictates a formidable array of storage, even if you offload and compress to photo jpeg every night! 8 bit 4:2:2; 1080i @ 59.94 is ~ 118 MB/s. Thats megabytes, not megabits, so that means ~ 7 gigs a minute, and 424 gigs an hour. RAID is mandatory, and you can only fill the RAID up about 2/3 of the way without dropping frames....

The biggest factor for us though was that the software we really needed (a lossless capture codec) doesn't exist yet for the Intel macs. Sheer Video seems like the way to go, and quicktime components can't run with rosetta! This isn't an issue for other platforms, especially if you go into Premiere with CineForm :)

Still, being tethered to a computer isn't always practical I realize.

We shot 2 HDV backups (thank god because a lot of our footage got screwed up) - both mini DV and firestore. The HDV quality was exceptional, though I have to say the noise was very obviously DCT compressed. It didn't have that nice CCD sensor grain look - it was smeary DCT goo :) 'mosquito noise' some call it. Uncompressed -> DVCPRO HD was a bit better IMO despite the resolution loss.

Good luck!
-Derek
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Old September 20th, 2006, 07:55 AM   #10
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I wrote this company and they have yet to respond with pricing.
Megacine (Mobile Digital Field Recorder) see it here
http://www.digitalvideo.de/dvc/htm/e...s/megacine.htm
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Old September 20th, 2006, 12:58 PM   #11
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Thanks again for the responses. Keep'em coming.

Derek-

Did you have a preference as to tape vs firestore?

thanks
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Old September 20th, 2006, 08:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques Mersereau
I wrote this company and they have yet to respond with pricing.
Megacine (Mobile Digital Field Recorder) see it here
http://www.digitalvideo.de/dvc/htm/e...s/megacine.htm
Yeah, I wrote them as well...nothing.
It really irks me - I hope that with the new Canons there will be a portable HD-SDI soon,
But, after waiting awhile now, I think that the Sheer (when it's running on IntelMacs) > MacPro is the way to go.

Lug it around when you can (studio/interior/narrative)/ Mix it with HDV when you can't...

Alas, one of the things I've never loved is the 4:2:0 colorspace of HDV...
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Old November 8th, 2006, 11:11 PM   #13
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Daniel,

The tape / firestore option is great for a backup. When we shot we actually recorded 3 formats - Uncompressed 8 bit 4:2:2 (YUY2) 1080p24, HDV (4:2:0 MPEG-2 1080p24) on tape, and HDV on firestore.

HDV is great, but it's not so great for keying, and its MPEG-2, so it has noticeable compression artifacts. They're not bad, but the uncompressed is SERIOUSLY preferable. It's also a major time consuming pain in the ass to work with.

HDV on the firestore is braindead simple. Plug it in, drop the M2Ts onto MPEG Streamclip, and convert it to the Apple Intermediate Codec or Photo JPEG or SheerVideo or whatever timeline codec you want. Drop that into Final Cut, and edit. Bingo.

The same process basically applies to tape based HDV, but you have to capture the M2T off the tape, which is a little tricky on mac, but pretty easy on PC. The tape can also drop frames, which is a big no-no.

So to answer your question, I would say my preference (in order) would be

1) Uncompressed - assuming time, storage, and computational resources permit
2) FireStore HDV
3) MiniDV tape HDV

~MiSfit
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Old November 9th, 2006, 06:28 AM   #14
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If anyone is interested, follow this thread over the following week or 2 as we build and use our new HD/SDI capture setup.
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Old November 9th, 2006, 08:34 AM   #15
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Daniel - also be aware that the H1 SDI stream does NOT embed audio or timecode into the stream.

This means you will have to record double (another device recording audio) or purchase a Miranda box made for the H1 that puts audio and timecode back into the SDI stream.

One thing I haven't tested myself is since all outputs are live, has anyone used the audio recorded to HDV (tape or Firestore) and synched it on the timeline to a the uncompressed HD-SDI captured video?
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