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Tools & Techniques for Nature, Outdoors, Wildlife & Underwater Videography.


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Old January 21st, 2007, 01:49 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leon Lorenz
P.S. Out for a snowshoe walk the other day and watched a marten trying to catch a fleeing snowshoe hare.
Did you get any footage of this? I think that would have been a terrific shot to have.

I haven't been using my XLH1 for so long yet. But before that I have been shooting wildlife with XL2 for a long time. Comparing those two, I must say that the H1 is several "lightyears" ahead in getting the details of the scene.

I can not in my wildest fantasy understand why BBC (or others) would reject footage shot in HDV. This would be very snobbery.

I'm filming alone out in the wild, a long way from any roads etc and I have to carry with me all equipment on my back. The XLH1 or equvalent in size are the the limit (in size and weight) that I am able to carry with me. I also don't have any possibilities to back up my footage to any harddrive or charge any batteries during my stay out in the wild, wich can last for at least a week. The small tapes (Sony HDV digital Masters) and batteries (BP-970G) are very suitable for this. And this equipment also handle the cold and winter conditions very good.

My point is that if you have to send in a film team with huge equipment to film wildlife you will not get the genuine scenes where species behave natural. Beeing alone with small equipment you can hide and be a part of the landscape. In this way you get the scenes that film teams with millions of dollars in budgets maybe not able to get!
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Old January 21st, 2007, 03:15 AM   #17
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A lot of the the time with TV companies its the old saying that applies "He who pays the the piper calls the tune" I other words if they commission you they will dictate the format they rquire it filmed in. On the other hand if you have recorded a project in your own time and expense and then try to sell it, if its good enough and intereting enough and they buy it they will re-edit and convert to the format they require it in. Judgeing by some recent footage I have seen here on TV the Xl h1 is more than able to hold its own. Even BBC south here still gather their news items useing DVcam and mini dv.

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Old January 21st, 2007, 05:35 AM   #18
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I'm hoping that as this is only a BBC Wales program, they will accept the footage from the XL H1 as there is not the budget for a full-blown wildlife crew that they would use for Planet Earth.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 12:37 PM   #19
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Per Johan, I never had my camera but it happened too fast too fast unless you were filming something else and the chase came in your viewfinder it would be impossible to film. Sadly these type of rare shots are often staged by big companies.

I agree with you 100% that a lone filmmaker will more often get the rare things that a film team with a big budget won't. Hard work more often pays off than big budgets to capture nature's secrets.

Leon Lorenz
www.wildlifevideos.ca
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Old January 31st, 2007, 04:11 AM   #20
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I've finally had a definitive reply from Canon UK 12 days after I lodged my enquiry. I requested some sample wildlife footage but they do not have any. I asked if I could do a test with the H1 and they could then get some sample footage but this was declined as they have a strict policy that cameras can only be distributed/hired/loaned from their restricted number of outlets in the UK.

I contacted Creative Video Productions who were helpful and sympathetic but they do not have sample footage and cannot let me have a camera to trial. They tried to steer me in the direction of an XDCAM Sony 330K at 10,500 Exc VAT. An adaptor for 35mm lenses is around 200. I doubt if the budget will support this.

Calumet may be able to help and are looking into doing some kind of favourable hire rate.

So, I am still looking for some sample first generation wildlife footage shot with 35mm still lenses in order for the production company I have approached to evaluate its quality. If anyone can help, I would be most grateful.

Andy
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Old February 6th, 2007, 11:20 AM   #21
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It is not so much that networks are not excepting HDV, they are not accepting it as an HD format. You can shoot it, but submit it as SD. To be on what is Classified as HD, it has to be a higher end camera. As companies like Nat Geo and Discovery are moving production into HD, they will not supprt HDV, because to them it is not going to have shelf life after a few years.

With budgets the way they are now, you will start to see networks bending rules.

Having done a lot of research for my own productions, I would not want to use HDV, as it is incredible bad to work with!!! This group of pixels thing is one of the worst inventions! You may want to look at other options such as upconveting, and changing to intraframe compression.

I think with Panisonics P2 camera you are close to Broadcast HD, but still off. I have been looking at Ikagami's HD camera that uses notebook harddrives, and it is by far the best setup out there for tapeless. If Canon and Panasonic could realize that off the shelf HD's are the way to go, we can jump to an intermediate HD format, and skip HDV. Why spend 1200 for 8gb card when you can get a 120gb hard drive for $200? For someone shoting in the field, you can just take 10 drives with you and get 15hrs of full HD.

I too was looking at the XLhd1 as I shoot my current series on an xl1s, and have all the gear, but with Canon using the same chips as sony, it will be my last Canon camera (they are also really fragile in extreme conditions)

my two cents..

Michael
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Old February 6th, 2007, 10:49 PM   #22
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HDV problematic for wildlife shooting

I recently shot doco material in Borneo and Sumatra on DVCPRO50 and a Sony HC1 HDV camera. When a still subject like a closeup of an orangutan was filmed with the HC1 in good light and contrast, and the ape didn't move much, the result was almost indistinguishable from the big camera.

But when I filmed the orangs swinging through the contrasty jungle in wide shots, it looked dreadful. And I mean DREADFUL. Artifacts, noise, smearing, you name it.

Peter
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Old February 7th, 2007, 05:14 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Corbett
But when I filmed the orangs swinging through the contrasty jungle in wide shots, it looked dreadful. And I mean DREADFUL. Artifacts, noise, smearing, you name it.
You don't tell anything about your settings in this shot? All the described faults could easily be due to wrong settings on the camcorder (aperture, shutter and gain settings).
What was your settings on the DVCPRO50 system compared to the HC1? As far as I know the HC1 dosn't support 720p, did you shoot 1080i with both?

Camparing the Sony HC1 HDV a $2000 camcorder using a CMOS-chip with a DVCPRO50 3ccd system dosn't make sense at all IMHO.
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Old February 7th, 2007, 05:45 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Per Johan
You don't tell anything about your settings in this shot? All the described faults could easily be due to wrong settings on the camcorder (aperture, shutter and gain settings).
What was your settings on the DVCPRO50 system compared to the HC1? As far as I know the HC1 dosn't support 720p, did you shoot 1080i with both?

Camparing the Sony HC1 HDV a $2000 camcorder using a CMOS-chip with a DVCPRO50 3ccd system dosn't make sense at all IMHO.

Okay, we had to use the HC1 because I fell into a river with the PRO50 and had nothing else to use. The PRO50 was PAL interlace SD. The HC1 was used in 1080i mode. We had to shoot for the last three days in the jungle with the HDV as our A Camera. The HDV was downconverted to SD for editing. We tried various means and found the best way was to digitise native HDV then export to uncompressed 10-bit HD then scale to SD.

Andrew wanted to know if it was suitable for BBC-quality wildlife shooting. If the subject matter warrants it, probably VHS would be acceptable. But what I'm saying is when conditions are difficult and they were difficult every day in Sumatra, then the compression system of HDV just doesn't hold up. We were filming oragutans in heavy contrasty jungle panning slowly (and rapidly) with them through trees. We often had bright overcast sky coming through the clouds. The PRO50 coped well with this, but the HDV just broke up with artifacting in the pans and camera movements.

I'm not comparing a PRO50 3-CCD camera with a single CMOS chip camera. I'm comparing a 4:2:2 low compression format with a more compressed lossy MPEG2 format. If I could have I would have input the HCI CMOS into the PRO50 VTR and recorded as a stream.

As I said in my previous post with the right conditions the HC1 looked very close to the SD PRO50. But when the lighting, subject movement and detail in the frame got excessive, HDV couldn't cope. The resultant video is shown daily on a $15,000 50" HD plasma and the diference is obvious to me and others. With all due respect the evangelism that people have towards HDV bamboozles me. Yes used in the right circumstances, HDV is great but Andrew is talking about flogging videos to the BBC and I doubt a Canon H1 would crack it unless the DOP and subject matter are extraordinary.
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Old February 7th, 2007, 05:50 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Per Johan
All the described faults could easily be due to wrong settings on the camcorder (aperture, shutter and gain settings).
Sorry, meant to add. The shutter for the HC1 was set to auto with an optical 0.3 ND, no gain. We monitored on a Sony PVM-L3 component monitor.
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Old February 7th, 2007, 07:20 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Per Johan
... before that I have been shooting wildlife with XL2 for a long time. Comparing those two, I must say that the H1 is several "lightyears" ahead in getting the details of the scene.
.....
My point is that if you have to send in a film team with huge equipment to film wildlife you will not get the genuine scenes where species behave natural. Being alone with small equipment you can hide and be a part of the landscape. In this way you get the scenes that film teams with millions of dollars in budgets maybe not able to get!
Two more clever observations from the voice of informed experience ... the sort of thing that might be included under "UWOL #2 How to get it better" (where they are looking for you Per);

But whenever you've time I'd be most interested in your views about shooting vulture flight with XLH1. I accept it is much too heavy to be hand-held but I am particularly interested in how you find that it improves "details of the scene". Do you mean it can pick up details that are "far away"; or details that are "in background and foreground or midway" or some combination of these; or details of the target "in manual focus" to the exclusion of background. Your footage of the gulls in the gale was shot against a fairly bright background and plumage details rarely showed apart from the remarkable moment when one gull looked straight at you. So that footage does not tell me what XLH1 could achieve shooting bigger birds in flight. Any observations or suggestions would be as welcome as ever.
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Old February 8th, 2007, 10:07 AM   #27
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Mike Linley

Hi just been told that my name was mentioned recently so i thought I'd raise my head above the parapet for the first time. must just say that I have been watching this forum for years and found it absolutely INVALUABLE for finding out about my cameras so thank you Chris.
Yes i do run courses for the xl series of cameras and i do have a 3 hour training video coming out on the use of hdv cameras for wildlife film making using the jvc as an example....and its a great camera.....but i own an xl1, xl2, xlh1 and an xm2.
I'd be happy to contribute further now that i have dipped my to in the water.but i am not that great at typing !!!
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Old February 8th, 2007, 10:54 AM   #28
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Hi Mike,

Thanks for coming on board, Im sure your input will be greatly valued especially as you have first hand knowlege of both Canon and JVC HDV cameras.

Regards

Mick
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Old February 12th, 2007, 08:42 PM   #29
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What cameras for BBC?

Does anyone know what cameras BBC used to shoot the series Planet Earth? I noticed some low light and night footage that looked really good. The night footage of some of the wildlife however looked lite-up and may have been staged. I hope they haven't gotten into staging the rare and difficult shots as I would lose my interest in their series pretty quick.

Thanks,

Leon Lorenz
www.wildlifevideos.ca
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Old February 13th, 2007, 08:19 AM   #30
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The BBC used Panasonic Varicams

https://eww.pavc.panasonic.co.jp/pro...o/ibc/022.html
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