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Old November 25th, 2006, 09:28 PM   #1
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XL1s video in or recommended device

Hi all (first post),

I recently purchased an XL1s, Final Cut Studio and am starting to learn the ins and outs of both. I plan on making videos and combining them with some old family VHS tapes. I have to import the VHS to either miniDV's or directly to the Mac. Having read all of the XL1s instructions, can I assume you CAN import video into this camcorder? (search the site and then found on P 30)

Would this be the best method to import these VHS tapes or if not, what device would you recommend to get from VHS output (R,Y,W) to my iMac?


Last edited by Thomas E. Dean; November 25th, 2006 at 09:54 PM. Reason: found on p 30
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Old November 25th, 2006, 11:33 PM   #2
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you can import thru the camera in vcr (you might have to record to minidv). I don't know if other solutions would work better tho. I suspect that the vcr or tape player will be the weakest link and the difference in quality between importing to the camera or thru some other device would be minimally different. Of course if you have to record vhs to miniDV and then to computer it will take twice as long.
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Old November 27th, 2006, 03:19 AM   #3
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Be aware that is unlikely that the XL1s will record directly from copy-protected (e.g., Macrovision encoded) VHS tapes.
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Old November 27th, 2006, 11:02 AM   #4
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You can indeed import either composite or S-video into your camera. I have always recorded it onto mini-DV tape, but there is no reason the data port would not pass the video directly into your computer.
However, be aware that the quality of the video on those old VHS tapes can be very poor, sometimes to the point FCP won't be able to work with it. iMovie is much more forgiving in this regard. In most situations I have observed the main issue is the signal strength of the vertical and horizontal reference frequencies on the recorded VHS tape as being very weak. Routing the video through a proc amp, a video switcher, or an inexpensive signal booster (if you can find one) will help to stabilize the images.

A better approach, in my mind, is to purchase a good digital encoding device for around $100 or so. These connect directly to your computer, bypassing the need to route through your camera.

Whatever path you take, be prepared to do a lot of color correcting. FCP's color corrector filter is absolutely great. Be sure to use the 3-way color corrector filter, select the color correction screen layout (Window>Arrange>Color Corrector). By the way, you will have more control if the video you wish to correct if it is on the Timeline. Most important, send the video and audio through your camera to an external video monitor. This is a very big deal because your computer monitor will not accurately display the video as it will ultimately be seen on a television.

Every commentary I've read on this subject will say to use a calibrated broadcast quality video monitor. That is indeed correct, but the smallest monitors of this quality start at around $700. Because I couldn't justify that kind of cost, I purchased the best 24" TV I could find and left all of the luminance and color adjustments at factory presets. This has provided me with a reasonably good measure of color, and by comparing my finished dvd projects on a variety of other TV sets I have yet to be disappointed.

The easy way to set up playback on an external video monitor is to do the following:
1. Connect Firewire cable between computer and camera.
2. Connect camera to TV via either RCA video or S-Video cable, and set TV to appropriate input.
3. Turn on camera in VCR mode.
4. Start Final Cut. If all connections are correctly set, the TV's (Camera's) Blue screen should go black once FCP is fully loaded. Then what is selected in either Viewer, Timeline, or Canvas will appear full screen on the TV.
5. If this doesn't happen, then navigate as follows:
First: VIEW>(all the way to the bottom of the drop down menu) VIDEO PLAYBACK>APPLE FIREWIRE NTSC 720X480.
Second: If you don't see an APPLE FIREWIRE option available, then VIEW>REFRESH AV DEVICES. That should make the APPLE FIREWIRE option available in the VIDEO PLAYBACK menu item. Select that item.

You should be set to go.
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Old November 27th, 2006, 04:39 PM   #5
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Great info and thanks. We will give it a shot. I have about 30 hours to do, so it is a long project. Heck, it will take at least 30 hours to get up to partial speed on FCut Studio!

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