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Could someone clarify for me the answer to this question. I have borrowed a Canon XL-H1 with less than 100 hours on it. I am able to see the raw uncompressed HD-SDI signal off the bnc. However, having recorded to the HDV tape, I am unable to see this recording on the HD-SDI output. (compressed or otherwise) (yes selected in menu). I can see the component HD video fine. I read the manual as being able to playback from tape thru the HD-SDI output. I need a confirmation that this can happen or is HDV only available via FW. Please advise. Thanks
I may be speaking a little bit out of turn here because I don't know exactly the answer to your question (don't you love those people), but I know what might be going on...
Before retiring the camera a few weeks ago I used the H1 almost daily since right when they first came out... but we didn't use the HD-SDI much. If I recall the specs, the HD-SDI port only outputs 60i, it does not output 24p (or rather, Canon's flavor of 24p, 24F).
It might be the case that HD-SDI will not output already-recorded footage, if it was recorded in HDV mode and in 24F mode. HDV in 60i mode would probably be fine, as would standard-def in either 60i or24F (that's because although 24F is actually true 24p when shooting HDV, in standard-def mode it's actually 60i... 24p in an NTSC wrapper).
That could be why you're not seeing your footage via HD-SDI. At any rate, it's really a bit of a moot point... you might as well just capture via firewire. HD-SDI snags the output before it is compressed into HDV, if you are recording live footage straight into your NLE, or using an external recorder. But once it is recorded onto the camera's tape, it's compressed to HDV and there's no way to uncompress it. Quality-wise, capturing via HD-SDI doesn't have any advantages over firewire for footage that you have already recorded to the tape. At that point it's the exact same ones and zeros whether you snag it via firewire or HD-SDI... there's no difference at all.
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Thanks, I was holding out thinking someone could answer this. In my case firewire is not a good solution and really like to enable the HD-SDI so I could port to the server directly. I will give Canon a call monday.