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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.

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Old September 15th, 2005, 01:57 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 1,719
No need for expensive raid for SDI!

People keep talking about how useless the SDI port is because uncompressed HD takes up too much space and bandwidth. Why would you need uncompressed when you could capture to a codec and still have higher than HDV quality?

Take the Decklink products on a Final Cut Pro system. $600.00 for the SDI card.

1. You can capture to DVCPRO HD at only 14 MB/S which any off the shelf hard drive could handle.

2. You could get the bitjazz codec which you can capture to in realtime and the uncompressed file size gets cut roughly in half. In my case it may be even better for bluescreen work where most of the screen stays the same color. This is the only option to get any level of compression but still keep 10bit video on the mac. While you will still need a raid for this you may be able to get by with just a 2 disk raid 0 setup inside of your mac.

3. PhotoJpg can be even higher quality than DVCPROHD and it is full 1920x1080 resolution. The only problem is currently I think you can only capture in realtime at 25% quality which isn't the best. With faster systems however hopefully that will be back up to 75% like it is with SD.

4. Lacie is coming out with an external SATA 2 tower for only $2000.00 that could allow you to capture uncompressed HD. While still not dirt cheap it is a lot cheaper than other HD uncompressed storage.

5. You could always build a raid array with the cheapest smallest hard drives for $50.00 a piece or less to just make a capture drive. 4X 80GB SATA 2 drives = 320 GB for $200.00 It wouldn't fit a lot of video (20-30 minutes) but once you have your FX shots captured you convert them to photojpg at 75%.

I think many users at first would be happy with capturing to DVCPROHD for FX work until they could invest in some large storage system. I personally do not like DVCPROHD for 720p but it's 1080 format is much better. You get almost the same resolution as HDV but 4:2:2 color and much less compression.

On the PC side you could get a Cineform Prospect system although those are not cheap. Once you have it though almost any hard drive would work to capture 1920x1080 at 4:2:2 in 10bits in the Cineform format for I think around 24 MB/S. Or you could do the small cheap capture raid thing listed above and convert to the Cineform codec to make the files smaller and easier to edit.

For those who do want a higher quality capturing method for live FX work remember that even though the XLH1 costs about 3-4 grand more than other current HDV cameras you save 1.5-2.5 grand by not needing an analog to SDI HD converter.
Thomas Smet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 15th, 2005, 02:12 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 547
You're totally correct there Thomas.

I was just over at the Cineform site, and there's loads of options for a ProspectHD system that could handle everything discussed here. Currently they're estimating a fully HD-SDI ingest system at $12k. That isn't half bad!

Steven White is offline   Reply

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