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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 January 16th, 2007, 04:48 PM   #1
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XL H1 broadcast quality?

Just been to see a TV company who makes programs for BBC Wales and they expressed concern over using the XL H1 for wildlife shooting. I would appreciate any comments on this, particularly from someone who has come across this problem before. I would be using the supplied lens as well as Nikon prime 35mm lenses.

Many thanks
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Old January 16th, 2007, 04:57 PM   #2
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Is the broadcast to be in HD or SD? If it's in SD, no problem... there's a famous example of an entire series having been shot for standard definition broadcast on American television using several XL H1 camcorders (the sit-com Lovespring International, on the Lifetime channel, plenty of other posts about this program elsewhere on the forum).
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Old January 16th, 2007, 06:19 PM   #3
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I bet if it's an HD broadcast you could shoot and edit and give 'em an HDCAM or whatever master and they'd be happy. I've always found that when people think some cameras or formats are not good enough to shoot something and give it to them in a format they like and let them try to figure it out.
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Old January 16th, 2007, 07:22 PM   #4
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The BBC are do allow a limited amount of HDV material in a HD production. I've seen HDV material mixed with HDCAM material and you can tell the difference, even on PAL SD.

HDV is listed as being regarded as being standard definition by the BBC, however, you can use up to 25% SD material in a HD production for the BBC. If you want to use more it has to be cleared.

BTW This includes Super 16 film regardless if it's been tranferred to HD or not.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/dq/p...rmats_v1_3.pdf
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Old January 16th, 2007, 07:41 PM   #5
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I'll have to agree with Bill on this. Shoot and edit how you like and deliver in the format a broadcaster requires. The XL H1 was designed for many things, broadcast being one of them. What some people have a problem with is HDV material.

We shoot 90% of the time uncompressed HD capturing live to a MacPro. From time to time we will add some HDV from tape if needed and for the most part none would be the wiser when viewing the final cut.

Obviously one can't drag a full blown capture/edit station into the wild very easily but shooting to tape works well.
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Old January 16th, 2007, 10:43 PM   #6
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I believe..but almost don't

I've got a good friend of mine who shot a documentary at some organic herb growers up in Maine this summer. He edited the material on my Apple before heading back to CA, so I looked at it after reading some of the posts here.

Honestly.. the detail is almost unbelievable, closeups of flowers, pans of fields, humming birds.. all perfect, stunning, no artifacts.. all shot in HDV with an XL-H1. (that footage was why I bought one)

Are there really people who could tell the difference? I suppose there could be, but I know I couldn't. I guess I would go with my gut feeling that if it were given on HDCAM, the would tell you how much better it was than HDV.

I have a friend who told me he once gave some good wine to some connoisseurs in a really great wine bottle. They loved it. No doubt they will remember how amazing it was even on their death bed.

I guess I would want to ask .. if you can tell the difference, what cameras were used and was the material of comparison filmed at the same time under identical circumstances?
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Old January 17th, 2007, 03:22 AM   #7
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The BBC and other channels such as Discovery H&L and Animal Planet are still accepting marterial originating from old XL1 SD cameras...so I have very few doubts that they will turn away XL-H1 HDV material, even for their rare HD slots. Some major big-budget series such as Blue Planet etc have a lot of HD material in, but still include SD material if it is good enough or shows special sequences.

What Dave says is right, and as long as the end results are of high quality and interesting for the viewer, I doubt if BBC or Discovery etc would not use it.
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Last edited by Tony Davies-Patrick; January 17th, 2007 at 08:04 AM.
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Old January 17th, 2007, 04:44 AM   #8
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The main difference is the colours are handled much more smoothly on the high end cameras and plus you have much higher quality glass in front that also helps. Motion tends not to be handled so well. Highlights tend to be handled better as well.

Basically there's a bit less of a video look on the high end cameras. Also the compression on HDV is a problem, I know editors who complain about the compression on HDCAM and HD DVPRO.

If you've got the budget, shoot with the best camera you can afford, unless it's a factor in how you're planning to tell the story. Effect shots are OK. Lipstick cameras have been used for years, even through the quality is considerably less than that on the main production camera.
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Old January 17th, 2007, 05:14 AM   #9
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If money is no problem, then of course we'd all be using the most expensive top-of-the-range HD equipment and glass. Outside of the main big-budget Nat Geo and Planet Earth etc series, most wildlife programs shown on TV networks are low budget small-crew series or one-man events where a single cameraman is doing almost all the footage & sound. This means that they use the best equipment within their budgets, which is often XL2 or XL-H1 or GY-HD101E etc.

This online article may be of interest to some wildlife HDV or HD cameramen:

http://www.dvuser.co.uk/content.php?CID=133
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Old January 17th, 2007, 05:48 AM   #10
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For the wild life filmmaker, cameras like the SI or RED will be ideal because you can use still camera telephoto lenses without all the optical problems of the prism found on traditional 3 CCD cameras.

At around $20,000 upwards, they won't be that expensive for people making broadcast programmes.
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Old January 17th, 2007, 05:52 AM   #11
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Many thanks for all of your replies.

Chris - broadcast will be in SD unless the BEEB go HD by 2008!

Bill - the company will know what I'm shooting with.

Brian - program will be SD so I guess these guidelines don't apply in this case.

Dave - a portable HD-SDI capture solution would help alot.

Brian - this is what the producer said. They would prefer to film with hi-end cameras using their own camereman but they do not have the same opportunities as I do because I live almost on location.

Tony - thanks for the link. Which is better - the JVC or the Canon?
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Old January 17th, 2007, 06:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Davies

Tony - thanks for the link. Which is better - the JVC or the Canon?
I would steer you towards the Canon, simply because I use and prefer them to the Sony and JVC models, but I've not had enough experience with the JVC, so maybe it is wiser to ask a few JVC owners on the JVC section of Dvinfo.net and make up your own mind.
Both cameras handle differently, so try to spend some time in the shop or rent/borrow each camera to see how they feel and handle in your own hands before making the final leap.
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Last edited by Tony Davies-Patrick; January 17th, 2007 at 08:09 AM.
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Old January 17th, 2007, 09:12 AM   #13
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The Canon is higher resolution and probably would intercut better with other HD formats.

It's really not possible to meaningfully compare HDV to HDCAM because with HDV you're shooting with a $5K-$10K camera with 1/3" chips; HDCAM camcorders are all 2/3" chips and cost 10-20 times what a 1/3" camera costs, and even its lens will be several times the cost of the smaller camera. The only way to make a legitimate comparison between the formats would be to use a camera like the XL H1 and record simultaneously to its internal deck while also recording out to an HDCAM deck. So I think when people are saying they want HDCAM material, they're really saying they want stuff shot with a high end 2/3" chip HD camera, versus the 1/3" chip "prosumer" cameras.
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Old January 17th, 2007, 03:59 PM   #14
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I believe the HDCAM HD (PDW-F350L PDW-F330L) is a 1/2-inch chip. The 2/3-inch camera is due out later this year or early next.

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Old January 17th, 2007, 04:16 PM   #15
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All HDCAM cameras I know about are 2/3" chips.

The XDCAM HD cameras (330 and 350) are 1/2" chips.
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