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HDV capture anomaly with XH-A1 and FCP

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JoePM
HDV capture anomaly with XH-A1 and FCP
on Nov 7, 2007 at 7:11:31 pm

I am witnessing a strange anomaly when capturing HDV footage from my Canon XH-A1 via firewire.

I'm using FCP 5.0 on a dual 1GHz G4/ OS 10.3.9/ with an Apple Studio Display set to 1280 X 1024.

When capturing in native HDV directly from my XH-A1, my footage exhibits an odd left to right shimmy, perhaps only one pixel to either side of center.

For several months, I've been shooting a lot of outdoor, nature scenes, and really had not noticed the problem until recently. Initially, I had been capturing my footage using Apple's Intermediate Codec then decided (after much forum perusing) to re-capture the material as native HDV.

The AIC-captured material does not exhibit this strange, left-to-right "beat," hence my delay in noticing the problem. The same material captured as HDV ALWAYS exhibits this shake.

Here's something readers might not believe: There are actually some portions of certain frames, which do not exhibit this shimmy. Typically, some foreground elements will remain stationary, while background elements dance. It gives the image a completely bizarre, 3D-Viewmaster look (that dates me).

If I connect the XH-A1 to my Mac's firewire port and "capture now" and monitor the live camera feed, the shimmy is also present.

When playing back material in the camera (something I don't normally like to do) I don't notice any dancing in my images on the Canon's LCD viewfinder. Therefore, I don't believe the shake is inherent in the recording, nor do I believe the camera to have a tape transport problem -- which this somewhat resembles.

Has anyone else heard of this problem?
Any tests I might be able to perform?
How likely is it that my Canon has a bad firewire module?
Is there anyone out there who can help me?
Am I nuts?

Thank you very much in advance for any assistance you can offer.

Joe

Oh, I have also tried to capture the same material from my camera connected to a beefier G4 utilizing FCP 5.0.4 and a 1920 X 1200 Cinema Display. The results were equally disappointing.


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Donald Berube
Re: HDV capture anomaly with XH-A1 and FCP
on Nov 14, 2007 at 2:38:49 am

Try upgrading your FCP to at least version 5.1.4
FCP version 5.1.4 fully supports Canon's HDV camocrders.
I have never seen this issue happen before - and I have captured a fair amount of material from both the XL H1 and the XH series camcorders.

- Don
http://noisybrain.com
http://www.bosfcpug.org



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Donald Berube
Re: HDV capture anomaly with XH-A1 and FCP
on Nov 14, 2007 at 2:38:50 am

Try upgrading your FCP to at least version 5.1.4
FCP version 5.1.4 fully supports Canon's HDV camocrders.
I have never seen this issue happen before - and I have captured a fair amount of material from both the XL H1 and the XH series camcorders.

- Don
http://noisybrain.com
http://www.bosfcpug.org



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JoePM
Re: HDV capture anomaly with XH-A1 and FCP
on Nov 14, 2007 at 3:39:24 am

Thank you Don -

I had actually considered that possibility, but I assumed I couldn't be the only person who was trying to capture from an XH-A1 with this hardware/software configuration.

When I brought my camera and a few tapes over to another facility to test them on a different Mac, it was with the hope that they were running 5.1, but no such luck.

I'll see if I can do as you suggest, and I'll let you know of the results. Until then, I'm with you, I have never seen this type of image malady before. I wish I could show it to you. I don't think you would believe your eyes.

Thanks again,
Joe


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Miodrag Ristic
Re: HDV capture anomaly with XH-A1 and FCP
on Nov 15, 2007 at 12:33:53 am

JoePM,

I believe your problem will be solved with upgrade, Canon cameras have always
required special treatment in their relationship with FCP (firewire, external hard drives. etc.).

What I'd like to ask you is your experience with editing HDV considering you are only
on G4.
I've read many threads on Cow where people are discounting editing in native HDV as
that was very "processor intensive bacause of long GOP structure".
In the same time, I know that "official" stand is actualy to stay in HDV, one of those is this one:

http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage/when_to_stay_native.html

I'm currently sitting on the fence (eyeing XH A1 for some time now) regarding HDV.
I wonder what is your experience with HDV, what is your workflow further from FCP,
exporting to compressor, to MPEG 2 for DVD or...
Secondly, are you happy with XH A1, any suggestions?

I'd appreciate any thougts you can share along these lines, thanks.

Mio



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JoePM
Re: HDV capture anomaly with XH-A1 and FCP
on Nov 19, 2007 at 6:46:34 pm

Sorry it has taken me so long to reply. I had to race out of town on a non-video project., but thank you for your response. I'm hopeful that an upgrade will rid me of this anomaly, as well. Although, I am a bit surprised that there aren't other 5.0 users who might be experiencing the same thing. I've not found a single write up (or forum question) related to my problem . . . but an upgrade is obviously in order to try and straighten this out.

As far as your questions are concerned:

First, at this point in time, I'm not a very good person to ask about editing HDV with FCP on a G4. I have only acquired about seven hours of material on the XH-A1, and I have nearly stopped my capture process until I rectify this video shimmy problem.

Still, I have a few thoughts about HDV and the G4. I have been a DV/DVCAM user and FCP editor for a number of years (an Avid editor before that) and I came to truly love the FCP interface, and its ease and elegance when working with DV.

My limited experience with HDV has me somewhat upset. The cool thing about my G4 and DV and FCP was how perfectly the three seemed to interact. I had very few system crashes. My image quality was great. Everything seemed to integrate nicely.

When working with HDV, I no longer feel that my Mac is adequate for the task. Instead, I feel like I need some very high-end workstation in order to obtain the same level of efficiency and reliability that I had with DV.

Yes, HDV is processor intensive. Rendering takes a long time, and it needs to be done for nearly everything. I personally did not notice an image quality loss when utilizing the Apple Intermediate Codec, but I am working out of my home at the moment, without a truly professional method of monitoring.

I'm still tempted to use AIC, but the file sizes were so remarkably large . . I think about 35GB per hour. I began to steer clear of that, when I started contemplating how hard drive intensive that must be. After all, I rarely hear of processor failures, but I frequently hear horror stories of hard drive failures. Just how risky is it to make such huge demands of the hard drive, where all my data is stored?

It's very confusing, plus, I don't feel I have ever obtained a great answer to the "which is better to use question." In addition, Apple's introduction of the new ProRes 422 intermediate codec makes me think that working in an intermediate codec might be the way it should go, but AIC wasn't quite up to par.

BTW: I really appreciate the link you sent me. Several months ago, just after buying the Canon, I was searching out a lot of info related to "when to convert." I guess this article wasn't available yet, but it is really good, so thanks. I'll keep it and review it again.

Finally, I simply have not done enough output yet -- other than tests -- to offer you a description of workflow. I really have yet to cross that bridge. I did output a small amount of HDV material to standard def DVD, without the use of compressor, simply by dragging my HDV project onto a standard DV timeline, and then examining the results . . . . which I found a bit less than impressive, to be truthful. However, it was interesting that when outputting, my shimmy problem disappears, so something happens at some point in either the standard conversion, or in the conforming that rids the image of shake.

As far as the XH-A1 is concerned. I find it both remarkable and occasionally disappointing . . . again, bearing in mind my limited shooting with it.

I come from a full-sized camcorder background, and this is my first experience with a handheld -- I've used XL1's before, but they're a bit more shoulder-mounted, though not truly -- so, I'm getting used to the different feel, but beginning to like it. I typically shoot from sticks, anyway.

The resolution of the XH-A1 is remarkable, particularly in brightly lit areas. I notice a bit more chroma noise in dimly lit scenes than I care for, however. The color reproduction is disappointing at the default settings, but everyone tells me that the customized settings that are readily available on-line really juice it up . . . I've not done that yet, as I had begun this project with flat settings, and to be honest, once I witnessed the shimmy problem, I began to lose heart for the project and my camera.

The LCD viewfinder is too small, but very usable. It's amazingly crisp, but you always wish it were just a bit larger. The standard viewfinder is simply too consumer. I wonder if anyone is making a more comfortable eye cup for it, yet. Although I'm not sure if the one it has is removable.

Low light performance is somewhat lacking, but the image does survive a step-up to 9dB gain rather nicely.

Perhaps the coolest feature is the "preset-able" zoom. Choose a focal length. Press a button and then widen out to a long shot. Hit the same button again, and the lens zooms to EXACTLY your preset spot. The zoom will occur at any of 18 preset speeds. It's almost like having someone pull focus for you, but only the zoom, instead. That said, the same feature does exist for focus, but it seems to me that there may be only one focus speed, and that is too fast to act like a smooth focus pull.

Although it is usable, I do wish the variable speed zoom rocker were slightly larger. As is, it is quite difficult to hold steady for a really slow zoom. However, it can be set to a constant slow zoom speed, and it truly is quite nice. I suppose I will get used to that.

Although others have claimed otherwise, I think the autofocus is quite good. I don't tend to shoot with it, but I have found myself getting more of an assist from it on occasion than I should ever admit.

Annoyances: The headphone jack is under a rubber cover, along with a lot of connection that I'd rather not routinely expose . . . just plain stupid.

The mic block does not allow for one audio channel to be set at Line Level while the other is set to MIC LEVEL. Perhaps a minor annoyance, if a transformer is plugged in to pad the incoming line signal . . . haven't tried it yet.

Zebras and Peaking cannot be seen in the viewfinder at the same time.

The lack of an S-VHS input/output is a bit bothersome.

I would truly love to have an HDMI output, and that is what interested me most in the Sony V1U, however, when I learned about just how beefy a system I would have to have to work with uncompressed video, I pretty much wrote this off.. It would still be helpful, I'm sure, for monitoring.


As I mentioned, I was interested in Sony's V1U, because I think CMOS chips will become more and more commonplace, but I was fearful of the 1/4 inch chips. Also, back when I was shopping, there was some concern with the quality of the 24P feature . . . which I was most interested in.

Given I only have FCP 5.0, I have not yet had the chance to "play" with the Canon's 24F, but I understand it might have a better look than Sony's 24P.

Okay, I'm beginning to babble. I'm sorry if I've left you only with a bunch of "I'm not sures," but that's where I stand right now.

I'd be happy to answer any specific questions if I am able to. Right now, although I've been a video producer form many years, I feel quite a bit like a novice. I do appreciate your suggestion, however. Very best wishes as you try to get "off the fence."

Thanks,

Joe


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Forum: Canon camcorders
User Name: Miodrag Ristic
Post Subject: Re: HDV capture anomaly with XH-A1 and FCP

--------------------------------------------------

JoePM,

I believe your problem will be solved with upgrade, Canon cameras have always
required special treatment in their relationship with FCP (firewire, external hard drives. etc.).

What I'd like to ask you is your experience with editing HDV considering you are only
on G4.
I've read many threads on Cow where people are discounting editing in native HDV as
that was very "processor intensive bacause of long GOP structure".
In the same time, I know that "official" stand is actualy to stay in HDV, one of those is this one:

http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage/when_to_stay_native.html

I'm currently sitting on the fence (eyeing XH A1 for some time now) regarding HDV.
I wonder what is your experience with HDV, what is your workflow further from FCP,
exporting to compressor, to MPEG 2 for DVD or...
Secondly, are you happy with XH A1, any suggestions?

I'd appreciate any thougts you can share along these lines, thanks.

Mio



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Miodrag Ristic
Re: HDV capture anomaly with XH-A1 and FCP
on Nov 19, 2007 at 10:45:49 pm



This is exactly how I feel; with DV I felt like "at home", but HD/V has just too many flavours,
too many proprietary codecs/formats, too much hassle.
Things are meant too be simpler not more complicated,
I feel like we are going backwards, in terms of a process, system, but yes,
in terms of picture quality we are better of.

Thanks for sharing your experience with me, I might just sit a little bit
longer.

I was thinking maybe too buy a XH A1 and shoot in DV mode until I'm ready for next step,
but again, read somewhere that XH A1 is not perfect in DV mode.

Mio


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James Perez
Re: HDV capture anomaly with XH-A1 and FCP
on Sep 20, 2008 at 2:24:46 pm

Big ups from the tropics! I'm trying to capture HDV footage from my XHA1 into my computer using FCP. I was able to digitize the HDV signal successfully only once since I purchased this beautiful, beautiful, sweet back camcorder. But since then most of my projects have been in DV format. I never had to face reality and really figure out how to properly capture HDV format. Now when I go into the Signal Setup menu the PLAYBACK STD & HD DOWN-CONV are both greyed out. Does anyone here think they can help out with this grey mystery? I know the Newb Factor is starting run through your brains, but can you please hook a brother up? I need this to work!!! Your input would be much appreciated. Thanks




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