FU-1000 w/the XL-H1 - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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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 May 23rd, 2008, 08:27 PM   #16
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Dear Brendan,

Good Morning!

I believe that peaking works in the following maner:

When the peaking circuits detect an edge, a distinct boundary between one area of the image and another, then, if peaking is on, it turns that edge white.

The degree to which this happens is controlled by the peaking rotary control.

I recommend that you turn down he peaking all the way, then align the FU-1000 using the color bars. By this, I mean set the brightness and contrast according to the proper standards.

Then focus on an object with a distinct edge. I used a cardboard box with printing on it since it was handy. Most anything with type will do.

Then turn up the peaking at least half way (or more), then practice focusing on the type.

When you have the peaking adjusted correctly, and the object is in focus, the type will almost appear to be 3D due to the white boarders.

Then, with the type in focus, change the peaking to a setting that you like.

Once you have it set, then practice focusing manually. When there are no distinct boundaries, there will be no white lines, thus you may not be in focus.

If there are distinct boundaries in the subject that you are shooting, then you will see the white lines when you are in focus.
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Last edited by Dan Keaton; May 24th, 2008 at 03:24 AM.
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Old May 24th, 2008, 07:50 AM   #17
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Dan

I have just tried your idea and from 2 metres the print, part formal and part by hand with marker, really did look 3-D, as if the letters were cut into the background, especially the hand-written letters. Remarkable and definitely effective. That's step 1.

Now I've tried it on the leaves on a pear tree 10 metres away and they do look sharper; I mean the outline of each leaf, swaying in a breeze, is clearly defined with a thin white edge. And like yesterday (but sharper) if I twiddle the P button I lose the edge and presumably lose the focus at the same time. That's step 2.

Let's keep at it until I learn how to do this with big birds, and then "on the wing". Thank you for your help Dan.
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Old May 24th, 2008, 08:18 AM   #18
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Dear Brendan,

You're welcome. I am happy to help.

Just one point of clarification (you probably already know this).

If the focus is locked down (not moving) and the subject distance is not changing, then adjusting the peaking does not affect the focus, it just adjusts the peaking image in the viewfinder.

I think you are well aware of the above, but I just wanted to be clear.

I would like to know if you find the peaking useful in the field while you are tracking a bird.

Have you ruled out autofocus after trying it in the field? Depending on the background, it may work well (in some circumstances).

Once you properly set the brightness and contrast using lineup tools such as the colorbars and then set the peaking, it would be helpful to mark a small white dot to match up with the line on the peaking knob.
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Old May 24th, 2008, 10:24 AM   #19
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I can't see any reason to have to turn peaking on and off on the FU1000. Leaving it on is almost necessary for focuing in HD IMHO. If you turn it off, and have to adjust focus again, you are at the mercy of the soft viewfinder image....which is better than the FU2000 LCD but hardly adequate for HD.
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Old May 24th, 2008, 10:45 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Keaton View Post
........... If the focus is locked down (not moving) and the subject distance is not changing, then adjusting the peaking does not affect the focus, it just adjusts the peaking image in the viewfinder.

.......... Have you ruled out autofocus after trying it in the field? Depending on the background, it may work well (in some circumstances).

Once you properly set the brightness and contrast using lineup tools such as the colorbars and then set the peaking, it would be helpful to mark a small white dot to match up with the line on the peaking knob.
If by "locked down" you mean "having been manually focused and still on manual focus" then I understand you, Dan, but it's new to me and thank you for it. However, I use autofocus much more often than manual. For bird flight I have always used autofocus. As yet I can't imagine myself in a controlled flight set-up where manual focus would not be clumsy (the way I would do it!). I am hoping that auto-peaking will be telling me when my target is in focus! Am I dreaming? I only use a tripod for landings and take-offs.

Regarding using colorbars to line up anything I must confess I know nothing about colorbars. I was half thinking that it might be impossible to use colorbars with a B&W viewfinder, but I must be wrong. Zebra lines I have just become barely familiar with. They must be even handier if I understood them. I do understand them in relation to over- & under-exposure. But sometimes they are sharp and clearly pulsing some good news at me but I'm not sure how I did it! And I am unable to repeat the procedure on demand.
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Old May 24th, 2008, 10:51 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty Hudzik View Post
I can't see any reason to have to turn peaking on and off on the FU1000. Leaving it on is almost necessary for focusing in HD IMHO.
That makes sense to me Marty in SD.
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Old May 24th, 2008, 01:02 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendan Marnell View Post
....... Regarding using colorbars to line up anything I must confess I know nothing about colorbars. I was half thinking that it might be impossible to use colorbars with a B&W viewfinder, but I must be wrong. ........
Sorry to be lazy Dan. I've just found colour bars (shades of grey bars really!)
With little fiddling I find the left bar to be all zebra and the right bar to be black. I have refined the peaking to be just noticeably effective on the dividing lines. Is that the way to do that?
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Old May 25th, 2008, 09:09 AM   #23
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Dear Brendan,

Sorry for the delay in answering, I was on location yesterday.

While the XL H1's SMPTE color bars are designed for color monitors, I believe that they can be used to properly setup the FU-1000.

For example, the color bars will show up as shades of gray, but you can adjust the brightness and contrast so that you can clearly see different levels of gray. If these controls are out of adjustment, certain bars will appear to be the same as adjacent bars (in other words, two or more vertical bars will look the same in the viewfinder where they should be a visual difference).

There are threads, here on DVInfo.net, which show how to use the SMPTE color bars. You will have to interpret them to set up a B/W viewfinder. Maybe someone already has a step-by-step procedure for this.

I agree with Marty, once you set the peaking level on the FU-1000, one should not have to turn it on or off or adjust it for every situation.

As you know, the peaking function on the XL H1 (and many other cameras) is just on or off. The FU-1000 is a variable control so you can set it to your preferences.

"If by "locked down" you mean "having been manually focused and still on manual focus" then I understand you". Yes, this is exactly what I meant. But also I meant that nothing else has changed so that the subject is still in focus.

I agree with your selection of auto focus while attempting to shot birds in flight, or to capture a fleeting moment while a bird is on the ground. I find that the auto focus on the XL H1 to be a great tool; one that should not be overlooked or underutilized. It will not work for every shot, but it does a remarkable job in many situations.

"With little fiddling I find the left bar to be all zebra and the right bar to be black. I have refined the peaking to be just noticeably effective on the dividing lines. Is that the way to do that?"

That sounds right, but after you have made these adjustments, you can further tweak the peaking to your preferences using the "focus on printed text" method I presented.

In the XL H1 menu, you can set the Zebra function to a variety of settings.

There are multiple ways of using them. I like to set them to 95 so I can see the portions of the image that are about to blow out (lose all detail). Others use different Zebra levels.
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Last edited by Dan Keaton; May 25th, 2008 at 12:22 PM.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 04:39 PM   #24
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I'm practising through an open window on first floor with XL2 linked to my computer. The target is one or other large shrub with large leaves. I have done a satisfactory calibration exercise using colour bars (shades of grey in B&W). By that I mean I peaked the thin white line between the shades to about 50% to leave me scope to emphasise focus when I need to. Now I am determined to learn to be able to see when some leaves (equi-distant from me) on the shrub are out of focus while others (also equi-distant but nearer or further away) are in focus, by fiddling with manual focus.

This exercise seems useful to me as long as I am only using manual focus. Using peaking and zebra lines and manual focus should help me greatly to sharpen my focusing. But this takes time. And nearly all this precision would be wasted if I was not anchored on a rock-steady tripod.

Questions: What role(s), if any, could peaking serve if I was working with handheld autofocus? Am I right in thinking that peaking needs a moment for the thin white line to register/to be seen? Am I right in thinking that handheld autofocus will usually make it impossible for the thin white line to appear, especially if I am auto-focusing bird-flight?

One answer: Get out Marnell and practise and tells us what you find! I plead that this answer is not good enough. Some of you must have experience of attempting to use peaking with FU 1000 + handheld + autofocus. I'm bound to learn from your experience and at my age I am alert to the urgent need to learn from others' mistakes because I'm not going to live long enough to make all the mistakes myself.

Better answers please?
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Old May 26th, 2008, 05:04 PM   #25
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Brendan,

I'm not sure I can help you with your answers. But I can tell you this. Peaking does not have ANY affect on the camera's ability to autofocus. So the speed and accuracy of autofocus is not affected by peaking being turned onn/off in the camera or the viewfinder.

Peaking helps with MANUAL focus. It helps the computer between your ears read the information in the viewfinder a little bit more accurately. It takes a LOT of practice to track a moving object like a bird in flight, and follow focus. Particularly with the 'auto' lens.

My best advice - borrow a 16x manual lens and take it out for a test drive. You'll probably like it.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 05:25 PM   #26
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Well that's it then and thank you for nailing down the facts, Richard.

I will still find FU 1000 useful with XL2 on a tripod, which does happen as in this clip ...
http://birdcinema.com/view_video.php...98947ea59a841f
or from a hide as in this clip ...
http://birdcinema.com/view_video.php...5062152985aff4

But I would hate to have missed this handheld clip: http://birdcinema.com/view_video.php...1861dc3ad3316c

These clips were taken with my old XM2 (GL2).

Can you describe for me some advantages 16x manual lens would have over standard 20x with XL2, Richard, please?
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Old May 27th, 2008, 08:15 AM   #27
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Missing from this discussion is a comment on whether or not the FU-1000 has enough resolution to genuinely focus in HD. I use one on my XL2 and couldn't live without it. But, being that it's NTSC, can you really focus in HD? I know peaking helps, and the really wide depth of field helps, but is it quite enough?
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Old May 27th, 2008, 09:43 AM   #28
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I used the FU1000 yesterday with my XLh1 to shoot some segments of a memorial day parade. Initially I started out using the 6x wide but that lens has such a deep depth of field I couldn't really tell how useful the FU1000 was or wasn't.

I threw on my 16x manual lens and quickly found the focusing to be a breeze. I was zooming significantly and was able to quickly tell what was in focus and what wasn't. It seems there is less delay in the EVF also so focusing seems more "realtime" but that might be my imagination. Upon viewing the footage I noticed that most footage was right in focus. The only issues were more to do with subjects moving in and me adjusting focus as they approach. Even though it wasn't perfect, I feel I was able to track them much better than with the FU2000 LCD.

While it may only be SD resolution in the EVF, it is still better than the FU2000 which isn't even that high I believe. An HD EVF would be the ideal solution but this is a very good option, and in my opinion will help you to decrease your out of focus shots significantly.

To add, my primary issue with the stock EVF is that I often "think" I am in focus, only to find out that later when I view the footage I was off by a smidgen and therefore have a soft image. In the EVF it looked sharp and I had no idea it was soft. Hopefully the FU1000 will contribute to this happening less and less as the EVF should give me a much more accurate focus. I have only been using is for about a month so the jury is still out on this but yesterdays test is heading in the right direction.

Thanks!
Marty
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Old May 27th, 2008, 10:07 AM   #29
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Brendan,

You can do a search for the 16xManual lens on the board, and I think Chris has a review of it posted somewhere.

But basically, most people find it to be 'sharper'. Better contrast than the auto glass. It also does not change Fstop as it zooms in at wide open. It has a regular focussing barrell, so it doesn't 'spin' infinitely. This is important for using a follow focus - EVEN IF THAT FOLLOW FOCUS IS YOUR HAND.

Let me elaborate on that last bit. Just as there are no frets on a violin and no stops on a trombone slide, a good musician will 'know' where specific notes are on their instrument. So too, with a manual lens, will you become accustomed to 'racking' the focus to follow a subject. Yes, depth of field changes with aperture, but believe me, if you use the lens enough, you get fairly competent at following objects. Not perfect, but not god-awfull either. The peaking meter helps when you are doing this.

I shoot with an XL2, and I think I've used the stock viewfinder - twice in the four years I've had the camera.

AS to the FU-1000's value with HD - As many have stated, it's sharper than the LCD that is stock. I have a production partner in Houston who shoots with an XLH-1 and a 16xmanual lens all the time. In fact, he intercuts some footage with the 16x and his mini-35 footage. He doesn't even OWN the 20x Auto lens.

The 16x lens is not classified as HD - but lots of people are using it. At least untill canon releases a manual HD for the XL-h1
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Old May 27th, 2008, 02:29 PM   #30
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Gentlemen

Your thoughts on the use of FU-1000 are helpful and encouraging. Thank you all. Richard's analogy with musical instruments that don't have visible indicators for ease of finding notes is a particularly good illustration of the rule "there is no substitute for practice".

I always wish that big birds would fly close to me and sometimes they do, but I'll have to get used to intercutting really sharp close-ups of heads and tails and claws and wingspan with flight footage to bring all that bird's features into my sitting room. To get those precious close-ups I'll be practising with FU-1000.
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