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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).

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Old July 3rd, 2010, 10:40 PM   #1
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A1 Evaluation weekend in progress HELP


I'm currently exploring the capabilities of this unit especially the hi def aspects and have some questions.

1) This may be wild, but I’ll just throw this concept out there. Is it possible to record a live HDV signal to tape & at the same time “export”/output a SD feed to a video mixer? It makes sense if you knew why I asked that question. It actually fits a need.

2) How does one export a DV .avi file from an onboard tape shot in HD to my computer? Anotherwords, how easy is it to down-convert from an HDV tape and export SD to a computer? Does software do a better job at conversion or does the A1’s internal hardware conversion process produce good results? All options are on the table at this stage. My top goal is always quality.

3) What settings are best to shoot live fireworks? Any advice? May shoot in the next day or two.

4) How does one optimize the onboard mikes audio performance? Earlier today was only my 2nd full service shoot in HD and the audio was disappointing. I thought my GL-2’s audio from the very same spot last week sounded much better & that doesn’t make sense to me.

5) What mode should I be shooting given my usage and venue? 60i or 30f? Footage is recorded in a church sanctuary with some movement (but not a whole lot) as the subjects are mostly stationary. What are the pros and cons of each and what type of events is each mode best suited for? Is there an appreciable/noticeable difference when looking at & directly comparing similar footage…. each shot in one of those modes?

Thanks in advance for you participation.

A very happy 4th to everyone!
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Old July 4th, 2010, 01:42 AM   #2
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Hi Bruce .. hope this is not too late .. here goes .. someone else chime in here.

1) No you're either in HD or SD. You may be able to send a feed and down convert in another rig .. I don't know.

2) I capture all HD as HD from a HV20 and mostly down convert to SD in VMSP 9b. So I've kept all the original material in HD.

3) Never shot fireworks but try a search there's stuff there.

4) The onboard mic is only good for sfx providing you're close enough and lay enough level on tape.

5) I'm in PAL land usually have plenty of light and after much mucking around only shoot 50i. I've been building HARS archives for 2yrs on the A1 now the A1s and need to have all the material consistent.

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5A) You need to have various custom presets available for everything you shoot. PFVISION would be good for the low light sanctuary.

If you're considering a Canon .. the A1S model is definately worth going after. HTH

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Last edited by Allan Black; July 4th, 2010 at 02:07 AM. Reason: can't count.
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Old July 4th, 2010, 03:52 PM   #3
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2. In general, higher quality video can be achieved by shooting in HD and downconverting to SD using video software. BUT, not all downscaling algorithms are created equal. I have found that downscaling in-camera using "HD down-convert" is one of the lower quality methods. In fact, just shooting in SD to begin with looks much sharper than down-converting in-camera during capture. Most NLE's (non linear editing software) do an O.K. job of downscaling. In Premiere Pro CS4/CS5 there is a Maximum Render Quality option that does improve scaling and deinterlacing quality. The best method of downscaling I have come across is using Dan Isaacs' HD2SD. Dan's method uses only free and open source software. Here is a HD2SD video tutorial created by Independent Videographer, Jeff Bellune.

3. Experiment with the first couple of fireworks to get the optimal exposure settings. Don't use the Auto mode.

5. 30p has smoother motion; 24p emulates the look of film. Interlaced material (60i) should not be used on the internet, it is used for interlaced displays (TVs) and when viewed on progressive displays (computer monitors) it produces interlacing artifacts.

Enjoy the XH-A1. It's a great camera.
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Old July 4th, 2010, 04:15 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bruce Pelley View Post
1) Is it possible to record a live HDV signal to tape & at the same time “export”/output a SD feed to a video mixer?
Absolutely yes. There's a BNC video output jack on the right side
which is always live standard definition even when recording in HD.
Also, the component video output can be forced into SD via the
Signal Setup menu. Hope this helps,

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Old July 4th, 2010, 05:36 PM   #5
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Hi Bruce, I shot the fireworks display at the link below using my XH-A1 last year. I was adjusting the settings as I shot so some of it is a little ragged!

YouTube - Blackheath fireworks bonfire night display 2009

Seems to work best if you run everything on manual, set the focus to infinity, don't apply any gain and set the f. stop to about 3.5. It'll look a little dark when you're checking through the viewfinder but when it comes to the edit it should come out very nicely.

EDIT: Forgot to say that I shot using the 25f mode. Apologies.


Last edited by Henry Williams; July 4th, 2010 at 05:39 PM. Reason: Omission of important information
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Old July 4th, 2010, 08:12 PM   #6
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Henry, thanks for the fireworks link. Nice job! I suspect that due to the present state of the economy a lot of towns & cities in my neck of the woods either skipped them in their enitrety, scheduled them for next weekend or even in August! Go figure.

Chris, You made my AV directors day and then some due to your response because he claimed that he had read somewhere that it could be done. To be honest I was somewhat skeptical when I heard that because I like others thought it was one or the other but no both. 2 options too boot! Thanks so much, we'll give it a try soon perhaps this coming weekend.

Mitch, I'm sold on this camera is just a matter of finding the right used deal. Editing and processing the video after importing it into a PC and splitting it up with HDV Split appears to be quite another kettle of fish however. I reviewed your suggestion/link to Jeff Belunes conversion HD to SD workflow however it assumes you have access to... or own Premiere CS4 or even 5 which I do not currently have. I use release 3.2. Yes, I could spend yet another $300 to upgrade to a higher version, in this case 4.x, however I was hoping to get around that somehow. Perhaps I should shoot in 30p not 60i from now on.

To All:

OK, so I now have a bunch of .m2t clips on my master APP timeline with limited export options.What's the best I can do to get the highest possible quality ultimately to DVD?

It seems to be that any export and/or conversion operation would cause the quality to take a hit.

Wouldn't exporting to tape after doing the slicing and dicing result in .avi files, or are the .M2T/clips files still preserved in that highly compressed format should they be reimported into Premiere from mini-dv tape at a latter date? Please let me know.

Thanks for be willing to continue the dialogue.

Happy 4th or at least the few hours that remain of it!

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