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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 April 25th, 2007, 01:09 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Harbor Springs, MI
Posts: 3
Learning Methods for XH A1

I am a new owner of an XH A1 and I am very pleased with my initial experiences with the camera. My subject matter is historic steam trains in action.

The facts are that my long term experience is with film and digital still cameras and I consider myself competent with them. While I am comfortable with my early results, I am very uncomfortable with my lack of knowledge about how and "why" to use all of the controls in this camera to optimize the quality of my work. The Canon owners manual tells you how all of the controls work. What it doesn't tell you is "why" you might want to do a particular thing. In the world of "still" photography, Nikon does an excellent job with their continuing education process. I find no equivalent process for Canon video.

My question to the group is:
What references such as books, DVDs, or classes would you reccomend
to help me with my desire to learn. I know how to experiment, but I
believe learning is best done with a combination of good "teachers and
references" plus experimentation.

Thank you.
Ned McClurg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 25th, 2007, 03:27 PM   #2
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Northern VA
Posts: 4,405
For starters, read the threads in this forum Lots of tips there.
Don Palomaki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 25th, 2007, 04:14 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Corona, Calif.
Posts: 47
Hi Ned,
Cant help you with reading materials or DVD's but I can tell you how I got a better idea of the picture controls.

First I downloaded all the presets off the preset library. I then went out and shot tape of all those settings, only adjusting the camera for exposure from preset to preset. Came home, burnt a dvd and then ran through the list. Picked out the top five to my taste and then dug into the excel spreadsheet for those five to see the various settings. That helped me relate how, for example, the gamma setting varied between those looks.
Next I shot more with those five, again under the same conditions and only adjusting the exposure. This process let me pick one preset that I liked.
More shooting and now I started tweaking my setting to dial it in even more. That gave me a usable baseline.

The main thing I did that really helped me finalize my general use preset was to hook the camera up to my 42" Samsung with the supplied component cable. This allowed me to get a shot with nice dynamic range so that I could judge color. I then ran down the list of adjustments and set them to the high and low, so that I could see it's effect on the output. After about a half hour I had a pretty good grip on what I needed to do to tweak the picture to what I want.

It would be fun to rent the equipment to set the camera. That way you have hard numbers to adjust to and it would be repeatable under most conditions. Perhaps in the near future.

While this may go without saying, I will say it. Set the white balance on the A1 every time the lighting changes. For me, leaving it on auto seemed to result in a tonal drift based on the dominant color in the scene. If you dont set it manually, you may end up trying to correct for it within your preset.

Don is right in that this forum is a huge help. If you have the patience to learn how to search it correctly, you can find answers to most questions that you may have. And unlike most other communities of this type on the internet, the folks that frequent here are very kind, and more than willing to answer questions. I actually prefer this environment over reference material as the sheer number of people here provide a much more balanced and in depth opinion than could the author of a book or dvd.
Bruce Ellingwood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 25th, 2007, 04:23 PM   #4
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Harbor Springs, MI
Posts: 3

Thanks for the comments on the "structured experimentation". Very helpful.
Ned McClurg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 25th, 2007, 08:42 PM   #5
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Makati, Metro Manila
Posts: 2,706
Images: 32
I've got these on order.

VASST - Inside the Canon XHA1 and XHG1

Elite Video - Canon XHA1 XHG1 Made Easy Training DVD.
"Ultimately, the most extraordinary thing, in a frame, is a human being." - Martin Scorsese
Michael Wisniewski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 25th, 2007, 11:46 PM   #6
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Posts: 49
Michael, please let us know which DVD is best :)
Rene Roslev is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 26th, 2007, 04:43 AM   #7
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Worcester, MA
Posts: 40
Just my two cents- The Elite Video was terrible- poor production values, nothing that you couldn't get out of the manuals and some mistaken information. I was really looking for something to learn about knee, pedestal, coring, etc. but this DVD did nothing to further my education.

I'll check out the VASST product though to see if it's any better.
Bill Doyle is offline   Reply

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