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-   -   XL H1 broadcast quality? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-xl-h-series-hdv-camcorders/84068-xl-h1-broadcast-quality.html)

Andrew Davies January 16th, 2007 04:48 PM

XL H1 broadcast quality?
 
Just been to see a TV company who makes programs for BBC Wales and they expressed concern over using the XL H1 for wildlife shooting. I would appreciate any comments on this, particularly from someone who has come across this problem before. I would be using the supplied lens as well as Nikon prime 35mm lenses.

Many thanks

Chris Hurd January 16th, 2007 04:57 PM

Is the broadcast to be in HD or SD? If it's in SD, no problem... there's a famous example of an entire series having been shot for standard definition broadcast on American television using several XL H1 camcorders (the sit-com Lovespring International, on the Lifetime channel, plenty of other posts about this program elsewhere on the forum).

Bill Pryor January 16th, 2007 06:19 PM

I bet if it's an HD broadcast you could shoot and edit and give 'em an HDCAM or whatever master and they'd be happy. I've always found that when people think some cameras or formats are not good enough to shoot something and give it to them in a format they like and let them try to figure it out.

Brian Drysdale January 16th, 2007 07:22 PM

The BBC are do allow a limited amount of HDV material in a HD production. I've seen HDV material mixed with HDCAM material and you can tell the difference, even on PAL SD.

HDV is listed as being regarded as being standard definition by the BBC, however, you can use up to 25% SD material in a HD production for the BBC. If you want to use more it has to be cleared.

BTW This includes Super 16 film regardless if it's been tranferred to HD or not.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/dq/p...rmats_v1_3.pdf

Dave Perry January 16th, 2007 07:41 PM

I'll have to agree with Bill on this. Shoot and edit how you like and deliver in the format a broadcaster requires. The XL H1 was designed for many things, broadcast being one of them. What some people have a problem with is HDV material.

We shoot 90% of the time uncompressed HD capturing live to a MacPro. From time to time we will add some HDV from tape if needed and for the most part none would be the wiser when viewing the final cut.

Obviously one can't drag a full blown capture/edit station into the wild very easily but shooting to tape works well.

Brian Findlay January 16th, 2007 10:43 PM

I believe..but almost don't
 
I've got a good friend of mine who shot a documentary at some organic herb growers up in Maine this summer. He edited the material on my Apple before heading back to CA, so I looked at it after reading some of the posts here.

Honestly.. the detail is almost unbelievable, closeups of flowers, pans of fields, humming birds.. all perfect, stunning, no artifacts.. all shot in HDV with an XL-H1. (that footage was why I bought one)

Are there really people who could tell the difference? I suppose there could be, but I know I couldn't. I guess I would go with my gut feeling that if it were given on HDCAM, the would tell you how much better it was than HDV.

I have a friend who told me he once gave some good wine to some connoisseurs in a really great wine bottle. They loved it. No doubt they will remember how amazing it was even on their death bed.

I guess I would want to ask .. if you can tell the difference, what cameras were used and was the material of comparison filmed at the same time under identical circumstances?

Tony Davies-Patrick January 17th, 2007 03:22 AM

The BBC and other channels such as Discovery H&L and Animal Planet are still accepting marterial originating from old XL1 SD cameras...so I have very few doubts that they will turn away XL-H1 HDV material, even for their rare HD slots. Some major big-budget series such as Blue Planet etc have a lot of HD material in, but still include SD material if it is good enough or shows special sequences.

What Dave says is right, and as long as the end results are of high quality and interesting for the viewer, I doubt if BBC or Discovery etc would not use it.

Brian Drysdale January 17th, 2007 04:44 AM

The main difference is the colours are handled much more smoothly on the high end cameras and plus you have much higher quality glass in front that also helps. Motion tends not to be handled so well. Highlights tend to be handled better as well.

Basically there's a bit less of a video look on the high end cameras. Also the compression on HDV is a problem, I know editors who complain about the compression on HDCAM and HD DVPRO.

If you've got the budget, shoot with the best camera you can afford, unless it's a factor in how you're planning to tell the story. Effect shots are OK. Lipstick cameras have been used for years, even through the quality is considerably less than that on the main production camera.

Tony Davies-Patrick January 17th, 2007 05:14 AM

If money is no problem, then of course we'd all be using the most expensive top-of-the-range HD equipment and glass. Outside of the main big-budget Nat Geo and Planet Earth etc series, most wildlife programs shown on TV networks are low budget small-crew series or one-man events where a single cameraman is doing almost all the footage & sound. This means that they use the best equipment within their budgets, which is often XL2 or XL-H1 or GY-HD101E etc.

This online article may be of interest to some wildlife HDV or HD cameramen:

http://www.dvuser.co.uk/content.php?CID=133

Brian Drysdale January 17th, 2007 05:48 AM

For the wild life filmmaker, cameras like the SI or RED will be ideal because you can use still camera telephoto lenses without all the optical problems of the prism found on traditional 3 CCD cameras.

At around $20,000 upwards, they won't be that expensive for people making broadcast programmes.

Andrew Davies January 17th, 2007 05:52 AM

Many thanks for all of your replies.

Chris - broadcast will be in SD unless the BEEB go HD by 2008!

Bill - the company will know what I'm shooting with.

Brian - program will be SD so I guess these guidelines don't apply in this case.

Dave - a portable HD-SDI capture solution would help alot.

Brian - this is what the producer said. They would prefer to film with hi-end cameras using their own camereman but they do not have the same opportunities as I do because I live almost on location.

Tony - thanks for the link. Which is better - the JVC or the Canon?

Tony Davies-Patrick January 17th, 2007 06:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andrew Davies

Tony - thanks for the link. Which is better - the JVC or the Canon?

I would steer you towards the Canon, simply because I use and prefer them to the Sony and JVC models, but I've not had enough experience with the JVC, so maybe it is wiser to ask a few JVC owners on the JVC section of Dvinfo.net and make up your own mind.
Both cameras handle differently, so try to spend some time in the shop or rent/borrow each camera to see how they feel and handle in your own hands before making the final leap.

Bill Pryor January 17th, 2007 09:12 AM

The Canon is higher resolution and probably would intercut better with other HD formats.

It's really not possible to meaningfully compare HDV to HDCAM because with HDV you're shooting with a $5K-$10K camera with 1/3" chips; HDCAM camcorders are all 2/3" chips and cost 10-20 times what a 1/3" camera costs, and even its lens will be several times the cost of the smaller camera. The only way to make a legitimate comparison between the formats would be to use a camera like the XL H1 and record simultaneously to its internal deck while also recording out to an HDCAM deck. So I think when people are saying they want HDCAM material, they're really saying they want stuff shot with a high end 2/3" chip HD camera, versus the 1/3" chip "prosumer" cameras.

Duane Burleson January 17th, 2007 03:59 PM

I believe the HDCAM HD (PDW-F350L PDW-F330L) is a 1/2-inch chip. The 2/3-inch camera is due out later this year or early next.

Duane

Bill Pryor January 17th, 2007 04:16 PM

All HDCAM cameras I know about are 2/3" chips.

The XDCAM HD cameras (330 and 350) are 1/2" chips.

Andrew Davies January 17th, 2007 06:46 PM

I guess the footage would be cut into digibeta taken of the human interest side of the program filmed by the companies own cameramen. So, will the wildlife footage be of high enough quality to be accepted?

Jim Martin January 17th, 2007 07:39 PM

The H1 was built for the broadcasters. It is now approved by DiscoveryHD for 100%(HDV) content and they are thought to be the pickiest. Also, what has developed in the last year is that all these cameras are being called aquisition devices of which, when getting to post, everyone changes codec and after the master is done, send it out whatever codec you need to satisfy the client. All the restrictions on HDV were from the problems that the Z1 had/has. I'm sure the BBC will come around soon and OK the Canons.

Charles Perkins January 18th, 2007 02:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim Martin
All the restrictions on HDV were from the problems that the Z1 had/has. I'm sure the BBC will come around soon and OK the Canons.

trust me, there not going to. hdv to them is useless becuase when they have to compress it for broadcastHD it gives far to much noise and pixelation. you can blame this on the compression codec they use, but its the one they use and they are not going to change that now. also, they have said that even 16mm telecine to HD is not good enough becuase of the film grain it also messes up the compression and doesn't look like HD. if you record 4:2:2 out of the HD-SDI port then they will accept the camera, but not if you are recording HDV to tape.

Andrew Davies January 18th, 2007 03:40 AM

Is this just a problem if the final broadcast is to be in HD? As far as I know, the program would go out in 2008 so I guess it will be PAL SD.

Andrew Davies January 18th, 2007 04:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim Martin
The H1 was built for the broadcasters. It is now approved by DiscoveryHD for 100%(HDV) content and they are thought to be the pickiest. Also, what has developed in the last year is that all these cameras are being called aquisition devices of which, when getting to post, everyone changes codec and after the master is done, send it out whatever codec you need to satisfy the client. All the restrictions on HDV were from the problems that the Z1 had/has. I'm sure the BBC will come around soon and OK the Canons.

I hope this is true but this link suggests not:

http://www.discoverychannel.ca/_incl...d_Specs_04.doc

HDV footage content is limited.

Brian Drysdale January 18th, 2007 04:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andrew Davies
Is this just a problem if the final broadcast is to be in HD? As far as I know, the program would go out in 2008 so I guess it will be PAL SD.

It isn't a problem for SD, it's a HD issue for the BBC. People are pretty annoyed over the Super 16, even though the BBC uses it for slow motion in their HD productions.

The Canon to HD SDI holds up against an F900 on HDCam... that is until you record the HD SDI off the F900. I expect by the time the BBC goes fully HD, the Canon H1 will be replaced by a new model and a new wavelet compression format will have replaced HDV for low budget production.

Andrew Davies January 18th, 2007 05:16 AM

So, in your opinion Brian, the XL H1 will be acceptable for a BBC SD production?

Alex Leith January 18th, 2007 06:05 AM

From experience, if you're going to use either DV or HDV in a UK terrestrial broadcast then you need to get clearance from the broadcaster beforehand.

Ofcom (the body that regulates UK TV standards) allow broadcasters to "get away" with a certain amount of material that they consider "lower-than-broadcast-quality" (basically stuff that is not originated on high-end cameras). But the broadcasters have to justify why they needed to shoot it with a lower quality camera.

And don't think that you can necessarily "get away with it", either. Even if you shoot HDV and edit DVCPro50 or 10bit SD, most engineers worth their salt will be able to spot what format it was originated on - and they may reject it - even though it looks great!

It's always best to check. And if the H1 isn't good enough then you need to sting them with a higher budget! :-D

Andrew Davies January 18th, 2007 06:31 AM

I guess the problem is that the BEEB in Wales probably hasn't come across wildlife footage shot on a XL H1 with still lenses so will not be able to give an informed response. I'm trying to ascertain whether anyone else has crossed this hurdle before.

This will be a low budget production with the wildlife footage shot by me over a couple of years taking advantage of good light conditions and good wildlife action. Money isn't there to buy or hire a high-end camera.

Alex Leith January 18th, 2007 06:45 AM

Personally I'd say that's justification enough to use HDV:

It's a long term project, where the producer (you) needs to have a camera on hand so that opportunities (in weather and wildlife action) are not missed waiting to hire a camera, and where the budget is not sufficient to support the purchase of the next level of camera (eg a Sony F330/F350).

BUT... I still think it might be a good idea to shoot some H1 footage and get their engineering department (or whatever it's called these days) to take a look at it, and approve it for SD acquisition on this project.

I recently saw a wildlife show shot in the Shetland Islands (incidently where I grew up) shot at least 50% on either an XL1S or an XL2. It was half about the wildlife and half about the guy shooting the wildlife.

Good luck!

Tony Davies-Patrick January 18th, 2007 07:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andrew Davies
I guess the problem is that the BEEB in Wales probably hasn't come across wildlife footage shot on a XL H1 with still lenses so will not be able to give an informed response. I'm trying to ascertain whether anyone else has crossed this hurdle before.

This will be a low budget production with the wildlife footage shot by me over a couple of years taking advantage of good light conditions and good wildlife action. Money isn't there to buy or hire a high-end camera.

Andrew, in your case, the XL-H1 + SLR lenses will be more enough quality (in fact, so would an SD XL2)...as long the end result has content that is interesting enough, beatifully shot and well edited. Take your XL-H1, go out there and get some great footage in the can!

Brian Drysdale January 18th, 2007 07:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andrew Davies
So, in your opinion Brian, the XL H1 will be acceptable for a BBC SD production?

Yes.

People having been shooting on Sony PD150s for SD broadcast on the BBC for years, so the XL H1 will be fine for SD.

Best way seems to be to keep it HD and then downconvert to SD for delivery, I assume on DigiBeta.

Andrew Davies January 18th, 2007 08:31 AM

Many thanks for the replies and the encouragement. The crux of the matter is that I don't own an XL H1 at the moment and my purchase rides on whether it is suitable for this project and for subsequent stock footage that I would try and sell through an agency such as Oxford Scientific Films.

What I could really do with is some sample footage to show the BEEB. I'll try contacting Canon now to see if they have anything relevant.

Andrew Davies January 18th, 2007 09:40 AM

Just rung Canon UK and was put through to the usual call centre assistant who logged my call (request for sample XL H1 footage) and said that someone would get back to me within the next 2 days!!!

John Miller January 18th, 2007 10:29 AM

Why not contact the BBC's wildlife unit in Bristol? They'd probably be able to give you an answer (they are the mecca for such things!)

Andrew Davies January 18th, 2007 11:42 AM

The producer in the company that I am dealing with used to work in the Bristol wildlife unit and is going to do some research himself. I am trying to gather all the information I can to either support the use of the Canon or not as the case may be.

Robin Davies-Rollinson January 18th, 2007 11:43 AM

Andrew,
For what it's worth, I shot ten docs last year in SD (four for BBC Wales and six for S4C) all on the Z1 with no problems from the broadcasters. They knew what they were getting anyway.
I'm just wondering in your case whether the company just doesn't want to intercut Digibeta with the Canon, though if it's "separate" wildlife material, I don't see the problem...

Robin

Steve Rosen January 18th, 2007 12:19 PM

This question is one of the most frustrating things about dealing with television and theatrical distribution - often flat rules are adopted by these organizations because (to be perfectly honest - and in their defence) there are a lot of bozos out there shooting a lot of crap - and these "guidlines" give the networks an easy way to say "Thanks but no thanks!"...

I have dealt with it since the early days of super16 (1972), through U-Matic (early '80s), Mini-DV (late '90s) and now HDV... Since I make documentaries, these "accessable" formats have always appealed to me...

I've had to literally yell at tech-types to get them to "stop watching the scope and start watching the picture"... I've fought, successfully, to have films blown up to 35 that were shot on a Bolex, a doc shot on B&W reel-to-reel VHS (1978) televised nationally, and archival footage (from the Nat'l Archive) with blanking problems aired on PBS..

There is no easy answer. If you can get a special dispensation in advance that will certainly help... but sometimes/oftentimes the hardest part of filmmaking is fighting to get your show past the Blue Book and into the heads of people that really don't care about all that stuff...

In the case of the H1, which I am using daily and loving, I have personally never seen any footage in a documentary that is so much better that it would cause me to spend an additional 100 gs for it... In SD it is certainly better than BetaSP, which had been the standard for over 20 years, and in HDV it is stunning.. But the cutting edge isn't always a safe place to be...

Ian Thomas January 18th, 2007 02:13 PM

all this talk of is the XLH1 been good enough for broadcast has given me the jitters, After reading all these forums and speaking to alot of people who had nothing but praise for the camera i shelled out 5000 on th camera,

The reason! because i do wildlife films and i have a project comming this summer which i hope to get broadcasters interested in but now with all this iam begining to wonder why i bothered and just kept my XL2

But i will tell you why, people told me that i would stand a better chance of getting it broadcast if it was in HDV!

To sum up i think we are going to far with this will it be or won't it be, i think that if it was shot in hi8 but shot well and interesting broadcasters would snap it up

So come on instead of debating it get out and shoot some stunning stuff with the XLH1 and then see the broadcasters snap your hand off

John Richard January 18th, 2007 03:49 PM

Well if it's any help, the Pappas broadcast network of 22 stations located throughout the US has just setup and opened an awesome all digital jewel of a broadcast studio - there are actually 2 channels served KREN and KZAR - they broadcast in both SD and HD - and guess what -

The 3 In-Studio floor cams are all H1 cameras! They take the HD-SDI feed off the floor cameras.

And for their field kits they use H1 cameras and use the HDV tapes. The results of the broadcast are awesome and outshine anything else in their market.

Here is a link to an article describing the operation. And if you are ever in the Reno, NV area be sure to check out their studio - the whole thing is located behind glass and fully available for the public to view the operations. When I saw the 3 Canon H1's rigged out for floor cameras in a studio - well it brought tears to my eyes.

http://broadcastengineering.com/hdtv...h1-hd-cameras/

Leon Lorenz January 18th, 2007 09:29 PM

A major producer of nature and history films here in Canada will be buying wildlife footage from me shot with the XLH1 after viewing it on a large HD monitor. They shoot on large Sony HDCAM cameras and after viewing and comparing footage all day I must say they were very impressed how tack sharp and rich it was. The footage was on grizzlies, moose, caribou, birds and other things of nature. They also said how their big cameras are too heavy to backpack in rugged and steep country where I film. For myself a weeks worth of gear carried on your back is a lot of weight, so the XLH1 is the heaviest camera I care to pack along. I plan on using mine until a better camera comes along and is no heavier.

If any film is well shot, well told and tack sharp it will be still enjoyable to watch 50 years from now regardless of the latest formatt.

Leon Lorenz
www.wildlifevideos.ca

John DeLuca January 18th, 2007 10:58 PM

I am also a bit uneasy about jumping into the XLH1. I think the real question is- will the broadcast look about as good as the first generation HDV tape image?

Tony Davies-Patrick January 19th, 2007 02:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leon Lorenz

If any film is well shot, well told and tack sharp it will be still enjoyable to watch 50 years from now regardless of the latest formatt.

Leon Lorenz
www.wildlifevideos.ca

Couldn't agree more, Leon!

Adrian Paul Spiteri January 21st, 2007 07:23 AM

There seems to be a general agreement that the canon XL H1 has the best resolution and colours when compared to other cameras in its price range. When one compares the XL H1 to a 2/3 ccd HD camcorder, what are the evident differences.

P.S. It would be great if someone could post footage of a side by side comparison. (XL H1 vs. 2/3 ccd HD camcorder)

Dan Keaton January 21st, 2007 07:41 AM

With a 2/3" camera, you can control your depth of field better without resorting to 35mm adapters.

It is assumed that the Canon XL H1 is an 8 bit camera, while 2/3" cameras may have more than 8 bits of color depth.


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