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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 February 3rd, 2007, 03:29 AM   #61
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Hello Andrew,

You can try to download the 3 shots in this file :

EDIT: File erased.

Please, let me know when it's done, in order to let me erase it. Thanks.
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Last edited by Ronan Fournier; February 3rd, 2007 at 12:19 PM.
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Old February 3rd, 2007, 04:35 AM   #62
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I've managed to download and view the clip. The quality of the deer footage looks very good.

Many thanks

Andy Davies
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Old February 4th, 2007, 06:06 PM   #63
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Andrew: You are in a technical minefield here. Ultimately this is only partially about content and the beauty or otherwise of what you shoot. It is much more about the C word....compression.

I own an XLH1 and I only produce broadcast work but I only use my XL H1 in certain circumstances. The reality is that as HD becomes more and more a broadcast format, HDV, with all of its compression issues, will not be regarded as acceptable by broadcasters for anything except current affairs, news and the occasional documentary. If you are thinking of creating archive/library footage it is going to have to be exceptional if it is to be acceptable on hdv in the years to come past 2010. In short as with everything else, if you have the only footage ever shot of the lesser spotted purple grebe, it could be on super 8 and it will have value since it is unique, but if you are competing against other footage of the same subject matter that is genuine hd, when it comes to archive sales you will have a problem in the years to come.

The XL H1 is a super camera and its pictures are splendid, and certainly in my view better than any camera in its price range or with 1/3" chips, but once a broadcaster like Discovery who compresses their picture to hell and gone for transmission gets started on the already compressed hdv picture, any engineer will spot that there are problems, as will the consumer watching on their 42 inch hd monitor at home. And that's whether the delivery fomat is hdcam or hdv. HOWEVER, if you shoot hdv, with the broadcaster's agreement for delivery on digibeta for standard def transmission, in most circumstances no one will be able to tell the difference. The key issues here are WHAT you shoot, what the lighting conditions are, what movement there is in shot and so forth. In that sense it is like the difference between 16mm and 35mm. A relatively static talking head, beautifully lit in a studio or room set will look fantastic shot with the XL H1 and up converetd to HD, and it would take an extremely astute engineer to spot the codec and disinter the original hdv format on which it was mastered. However a bird in rapid flight on an autumn day with falling leaves and waving wheat in the foreground will produce all sorts of artifacts that will reveal themselves to the naked eye, leaving aside a broadcast engineer looking to spot something that isn't true hd! It's all about compression and the hdv image is heavily compressed to get all that information onto the tiny tape. It just can't cope with lots of movement, shifts in colour and so on. I may be telling you what you already know but there has been a lot of misguided stuff on this link and what I am saying comes from experience of delivering to UK broadcasters.

If it were me trying to make the decision here, it sounds as if you can't afford a better camera than the XL H1 and therefore you should be telling the people whom you are talking to about this production that they should be lucky they are getting footage shot on this camera rather than on an XL2 or worse still a Z1 or even worse a PD150/170. Of all of these the XL H1 will be way superior as long as the expectation is that the final programme is being delivered on digibeta for standard def transmission. None of the cameras, including the XL H1 is really acceptable for extensive content within a programme to be broadcast in hd, though they might be ok for a small proportion of the overall content. The production company, as long as they have a contract with the BBC, assuming this is an indie and not an in-house BBC Wales production, will know what the delivery format is, and if it is HD, you and they will need the BBC commissioning editor's approval for a percentage of hdv/sd footage which might or might not include what you shoot. If the delivery format is digi, then just go for it (obviously with the prod company's agreement) but be aware of some of the lighting and shooting limitations. Deliver hdv to them, which they will digitise into their avid or whatever as sd, and then they can eventually master their edit to digi from the avid.

It is true, as has been hinted at in this thread, as regards current standard def broadcast, a lot of programmes are being originated with very basic cameras, from pd150's through Z1's and all stops between, but that is standard def broadcast. HD broadcast is another thing entirely.

Hope this is helpful.

Good luck
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Old February 7th, 2007, 12:49 PM   #64
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Jon,

Many thanks for your very informative post. I had surmised that panning shots were going to be real problem and I will be shooting in evening light.

I also want a camera that I will be able to shoot stock footage for the future so high quality HD is required.

Andy
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Old February 7th, 2007, 01:18 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Davies
Jon,

Many thanks for your very informative post. I had surmised that panning shots were going to be real problem and I will be shooting in evening light.

I also want a camera that I will be able to shoot stock footage for the future so high quality HD is required.

Andy
Let us not forget that the H1 is capable of streaming uncompressed HD out via the SDI port. This footage can be captured into a more "professional" codec if you choose. While I do not feel that HDV is that bad to start with, surely devices are in the near futre to capture and convert to a lossless codec via SDI. The H1 has some legs to stand on for the forseeable future. It sounds like the only real thing holding it back is the HDV codec. And that can be bypassed. It is just a matter of time until a portable solution becomes available.

Marty
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Old February 7th, 2007, 01:41 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by Marty Hudzik
Let us not forget that the H1 is capable of streaming uncompressed HD out via the SDI port. And that can be bypassed. It is just a matter of time until a portable solution becomes available.
I think you've hit the nail on the head Marty...? I work for the BBC as a camerman btw, and we've been having lengthy discussions lately about all things HD and HDV.

Having attended a 2 day HD seminar last week with two of the biggest 'HD boffins' there are, I asked if they felt there was a future for 'low end' production within the HD(V) realm ? They said "yes there was" and I specifically asked about the H1, which they appeared to approve of for now, but come the time (post 2010) when we move to a 100% HD transmission culture, HDV isn't going to make it on air very often. At the moment HDV is treated much the same as DV within the BBC, ok for those furtive journalistic docs etc but not for general consumption.

I asked what the current concerns BBC and Discovery have with HDV into HD transmissions and the answer was simple... "It just stands out like a sore thumb on a large display". Much like mixing let's say dv and digi-beta ?

BBC and other HD channels have a simple sellling point and that's visual quality. They want the HD channels to "jump out" at those who choose to channel hop and that ethos forms the basis of their reluctance to embrace HDV as an acceptable 'HD' broadcast format.

Incidentally, I understand there are some discussions going on aimed at perhaps replacing our Sony Z1 complement with Canon XL-H1's ?
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Old February 7th, 2007, 06:16 PM   #67
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All this whiny talk about HDV compression. It's crap. All of it. Does anyone even bother to LOOK at the results of the footage from the XLH1 before ranting about the horrors of HDV compression.

Every single owner/operator and professional review of Canon's HDV implementation is that it's extraordinary. Even stressful footage captured via HDV has proven to shine.

It's all much ado about nothing. Except fear.

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Old February 7th, 2007, 06:18 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Davies
I had surmised that panning shots were going to be real problem and I will be shooting in evening light.
Stop, stop, STOP. Again, more uninformed FUD. There's TONS of footage out there with pans, whip pans, tilts, fast motion and the HDV compression implementation holds fabulously.
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Old February 7th, 2007, 06:20 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allen McLaughlin
I think you've hit the nail on the head Marty...? I work for the BBC as a camerman btw, and we've been having lengthy discussions lately about all things HD and HDV.

Having attended a 2 day HD seminar last week with two of the biggest 'HD boffins' there are, I asked if they felt there was a future for 'low end' production within the HD(V) realm ? They said "yes there was" and I specifically asked about the H1, which they appeared to approve of for now, but come the time (post 2010) when we move to a 100% HD transmission culture, HDV isn't going to make it on air very often. At the moment HDV is treated much the same as DV within the BBC, ok for those furtive journalistic docs etc but not for general consumption.

I asked what the current concerns BBC and Discovery have with HDV into HD transmissions and the answer was simple... "It just stands out like a sore thumb on a large display". Much like mixing let's say dv and digi-beta ?

BBC and other HD channels have a simple sellling point and that's visual quality. They want the HD channels to "jump out" at those who choose to channel hop and that ethos forms the basis of their reluctance to embrace HDV as an acceptable 'HD' broadcast format.

Incidentally, I understand there are some discussions going on aimed at perhaps replacing our Sony Z1 complement with Canon XL-H1's ?
It does NOT stand out like a sore thumb. Did these people actually see this with their own eyes or are they just repeating something they overhead from some engineer?

I shot and edit HDV originated footage with this camera all day long and frequently watch it on a 50" display. It looks gorgeous!
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Old February 7th, 2007, 06:47 PM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Sanders
It does NOT stand out like a sore thumb. Did these people actually see this with their own eyes or are they just repeating something they overhead from some engineer?

I shot and edit HDV originated footage with this camera all day long and frequently watch it on a 50" display. It looks gorgeous!
Yes but broadcast HD looks even better...

The main concerns (as ever) are that prosumer HDV cameras suffer from small sensors and cheap lenses. In that respect it's a format that does indeed stand out from the high end broadcast variants that the 'broadcasters' tend to favour.
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Old February 7th, 2007, 07:24 PM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allen McLaughlin
Yes but broadcast HD looks even better...

The main concerns (as ever) are that prosumer HDV cameras suffer from small sensors and cheap lenses. In that respect it's a format that does indeed stand out from the high end broadcast variants that the 'broadcasters' tend to favour.
A television group in Nevada bought 60 H1s and are using them as both their main field and studio cameras....Spike Lee is shooting his big documentary with the H1 as "A" camera, G1 as "B" camera, and the HV10 as their "low key" camera....and again, Discovery HD has approved the H1 HDV for 100% content....and, and, Robert Sanders has one!!!!!
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Old February 7th, 2007, 09:00 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allen McLaughlin
The main concerns (as ever) are that prosumer HDV cameras suffer from small sensors and cheap lenses.
I thought it was about the HDV compression? I won't go so far as cry FUD, but this surely is a conclusion in search of justifications! Ok I'll admit I'm a little tired and irritable this evening so forgive the edge of sarcasm but geez, I don't know how people are getting all these great images with that crappy HDV, small sensors, and cheap lenses?

HDV compression CAN be "broken" meaning the macroblocking becomes easily seen; too obvious. I've done it on purpose specifically to test it, although so far never accidentally (and I ain't that good behind the camera). All the common compressed formats have their own flavor of artifacting. It has also been shown by others that upon close inspection, subtle macroblocking does slip into high-detail shots with persistently large changes from frame to frame, just as DV and DVCProHD can get mosquito noise etc etc.

If broadcasters are rejecting programs out of hand because they were produced in HDV with an XL H1, it is a pity. The many posts peppered around DVinfo.net on this subject demonstrate that some broadcasters have a bias for the intra-frame compression that they're used to dealing with already. A shame, really. But that's part of the marketplace and content producers need to be aware that such a bias may cause them to not sell some great work.

Every technology has it strengths, weaknesses, and limitations. If HDV doesn't work for your purposes, fine, pull out your wallet for a camera that does. You CAN get a better image but it'll cost a bunch more money than the Canon HDV cameras do.
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Old February 8th, 2007, 07:12 AM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allen McLaughlin
Yes but broadcast HD looks even better...
Some does and some doesn't. The local public TV channel, for example, has attrocious compression. All the things cited here (macroblocking....) are plainly visible if the situation is the least bit dynamic. And while I have seen stuff on other channels that looks sharper, more vibrant etc than XL-H1 images I have to note that if I go stepping frame to frame on XL-H1 footage in which there is lots of motion (panning running dogs past trees with lots of leaves etc) which have been converted to an I only codec I can't tell which were originally I frames and which were B and P. This says to me that the temporal compression is working pretty well.
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Old February 8th, 2007, 11:50 AM   #74
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I have been working on a documentary that was shot with the H1 and I have about 19hours of HDV footage and I can tell you when I watch it on my 50'' DLP HTV the picture looks beautiful.
I watch HD TV all the time ( that's the only thing I watch ) and I can tell you there is no difference in the picture quality that I see, The broadcaster engineer sees different picture then the 99.99% of the viewers and if Discovery and other HD channels turn down HDV projects then they are the one who is losing on good programs and we are the one stuck watching replays because the lack of HD program out there.
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Old February 8th, 2007, 02:07 PM   #75
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The problem is concatenation, when the effects of one compression cycle mightn't be noticeable, but the impact of multiple decompressions and compressions can cause considerable damage. Especially if different compression methods are used in the signal path.

So what might look great played first generation on your TV, has a good chance of being rather downgraded in quality by the time it's been edited, copied onto a master tape and then heavily compressed for transmission by the broadcaster.

Unfortunately, the high compression of HDV isn't a great start to the chain.
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