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xdcam ex or xl-h1

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Martijn Scholte
xdcam ex or xl-h1
on Dec 20, 2007 at 2:32:13 am

Hi all,

i'm choosing netween the xl-h1 and the xdcam ex
so far i have some conclusions
+gen+tc in (for use with my lockit)
i like the picture don't like the hdv format slow rendering
tape based
sdi-out direct into hdextreme
true 25 fps?
easy cheap backup media

xdcam ex
no tc or lanc
true 1920x1080 cmos
under over crank
true 25 fps?
sdi-out direct into hdextreme
fast transfer when used with a expressslot card but much slower with supplied usb2 card reader?
no good backup methode?

i think both have the hd-sdi out before the compression?

what do you think?

i like to do blue/green screen work using the hd-sdi out or on recorded material when in the field

i have a 744t and a lockit so locking tc would be a big plus

i think i will be using the proress hq 422 a lot for speed /storage sake would recording from the hd-sdi out from prerecoded material (hdv xl-h1 or the mpeg2 into mpeg4 container xdcam)

if recording from the hd-sdi out from the xl-h1 tape would the tc still be in the file? kristian oonce told me i needed premiere pro for that (rp-168 protocol if i remeber)
i.o.w. is the tc maintained in the sdi output? does fcp handel this tc information?

also i just read about the hdv firewire to proress direct capture methode would this contain the tc

thanks in advance for feedback



The box said 'Requires Windows 95, or better.' So I bought a Macintosh.

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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: xdcam ex or xl-h1
on Dec 20, 2007 at 3:28:41 am

I will let others speak to all your various technical requirements, but one thing that you didn't mention is the lens.

If you think you will be perfectly happy with the stock as-it-comes-on-it video zoom, then it is not a factor. BUT, if you sometimes like the option of choosing different/better lenses (either directly or with a depth-of-field converter) keep in mind that the EX has a permanently built-in zoom lens... whereas the XLH1 has interchangeable lenses. Now, understandably that is not a big deal at all to a lot of people, but as for me personally I almost never shoot with the stock zoom (or any zoom, actually) so it's a big deciding factor for me. Unfortunately, that's one of the reasons that I haven't considered the EX, and won't (I love everything else about it). We have, however, shot with the XLH1 for about a year and a half, and continue to be extremely happy with it.

[Martijn Scholte] "i think both have the hd-sdi out before the compression?"

I can't speak for the EX, but the XLH1 definitely does have pre-comp HD-SDI out.... use it all the time.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Gavin Dunt
Re: xdcam ex or xl-h1
on Dec 20, 2007 at 10:46:40 am

Which to buy ... such a big question.

We have just upgraded to HD from a Canon XL2, and also looked at all the options. In the end, we pushed the boat out and opted for a Sony XDCAM 330 with Canon lens.

For your choice, I would consider the following pros and cons which will depend on how you work.


The Canon has the better lens. It is a true 'L' Canon pro lens. very high quality. The only annoying thing is the lack of focus markings. It is also interchangeable, although there is limited choice for 1/3 chip lenses.


Canon uses standard HDV, whereas the Sony EX uses much higher quality VBR MPEG HD. The quality of the our XDCAM is outstanding, so the EX should, in theory, be the same.


And this is probably the biggest consideration. How much do you shoot, do you keep all your rushes reels.

The work flow is very fast on the EX, but the media has limited capacity and is very expensive (this should come down once Sandisk are licenced to make the express cards).

DV tape is cheap, and easy to store ... but you have to digitize it in real time.

If you are planning on 10 hour day shoots, you need your laptop handy to dump media, or you need a hell of a lot of media. You then have to archive your rushes, so you either dump back to tape (which defeats the object of tapeless workflow), buy a stack of 500Gb drives (all eggs in one basket analogy springs to mind), or dump your rushes after the edit.


These were the factors that influenced our decision, and in the end, our conclusion was that neither camera was right, particularly as the Canon is getting old now and is very pricey. So we went for the disk based XDCAM.

If can handle the workflow of the EX, and if Genlock is not a problem, then I would go for this solution. The quality is far better.

Hope this helps.


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Don Greening
Re: xdcam ex or xl-h1
on Dec 20, 2007 at 8:28:54 pm

[Gavin Dunt] "so you either dump back to tape (which defeats the object of tapeless workflow), buy a stack of 500Gb drives (all eggs in one basket analogy springs to mind), or dump your rushes after the edit. "

.......or back up to XDCAM disk, or back up to standard Blu-ray writable disks. If you back up to Blu-ray you can change the .mp4 filename to .ts and that will allow anyone with a set top Blu-ray player or PS3 to view clips from the EX1. This is huge if you need rushes done every day.

- Don

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