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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 February 7th, 2013, 08:56 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Cusco, Peru
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Tips for A1 and DN-60

I've read through I think every post and article available about using the Datavideo DN-60 with the XH-A1, but it's been awhile since anything new has been posted.

Now that some of you have been using it for awhile, I was wondering if you might have some tips that you've picked up with experience with this combo that you could share.

I ordered a used DN-60 from Adorama that should arrive tomorrow and am looking forward to giving my old A1 some new life. I'll be playing with it this weekend. It's not my main camera -- have a Sony EX1r -- but would like to use the A1 when I travel overseas and would rather take something better than a consumer cam, but don't want to risk the expensive EX1r.
Phil Murray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 12th, 2013, 01:57 PM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Reading, PA USA and Athens, Greece
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Re: Tips for A1 and DN-60

Hey Phil, i had one when they first came out, through i believe the 3rd update which solved most issues. It was somewhat clunky to use, but it worked and i only had a few issues (dropped frames and unable to 'make movie' on certain cards.

Go with SanDisk Extreme III CF cards; the only card that worked flawlessly. I had a 32GB or 16GB and it worked great. Buy a few extra firewire cables; the one that came with it would 'drop out' or not recognize that it was connected; i forget the brand but i can look it up if you want. I would mount the DN-60 on a hot-shoe gimbal mount and use a 2' HDV cable routed through/in the mic attachment on the XH A1, and make sure you have slack behind the DN-60 and ESPECIALLY the firewire port on the XH A1.

i would sync to tape; if there is a dropout on frames either on the tape or CF card, there normally wasn't on the other (so the dropouts were related ONLY to tape issues or DN-60/CF card; NOT sensor related). I cannot stress this enough. I filmed a lot of scenes in cars, following cars, or trucks on tracks, airfields, and closed off-road courses. Chase car was usually my heavily modified 300ZX turbo with the camera mounted on a custom tripod base where the passenger seat used to be, sticking out the passenger side T-top using my AVIC-D3 video input as an in-car field monitor; bumps caused dropouts on the DN-60, not to my knowledge tapes.

You may want to modify the firewire cable to sit firmly on the back of the XH A1. i molded the back of the XH A1 with some crayola clay, made a crappy plaster cast of it, and then used a product called 'goop' (clear plumbers glue) to make a flat solid base on the end of the firewire cable (no pics, sorry), so that it would sit firm and square where it should with no wiggle, which is what caused most of the 'not connected' related issues.

batteries, batteries, batteries, and the A/C adapter. I found i got maybe 4 hours out of cheap alkalines, and maybe 3 out of rechargeable batteries. Also be careful with the battery door; i would lightly file down the tabs, as it tends to snag and its damn near impossible to get the cover off with batteries in.

The screen and user interface is pretty horrid, lots of lag, but it works. If i still had an XH A1 i would use the DN-60 again. I had the Sony whatever-it-was CF recorder as well; never worked right with the XH A1.

We shot with the XH A1/DN-60 to tape and CF, with/without a Letus 35mm adapter for a web show, and after the 2nd firmware release most issues were taken care of. After switching firewire cables, making sure there was slack, and making the aforementioned flat/solid mount, it worked fantastically. Drug that camera and DN-60 all over the place; Europe, Canada, Mexico, etc. Just be sure to format cards in the DN-60 and hit 'make movie' more than once (sometimes it didnt work first time) and dismiss any popups on your PC that say 'CF card needs repaired/fixed'.

I used Quicktime 7 Pro for the .m2t files as well as Squared 5 Mpeg Streamclip to convert to H264 and import into CS4/CS5.

Any questions shoot me an email, and enjoy your trip!
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