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Finally moving to HD. Want to stick with Cannon

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Matthew Swager
Finally moving to HD. Want to stick with Cannon
on Jan 5, 2015 at 9:32:57 pm

The program I work for has been using Cannon cameras since 2000. Some of the cameras we have, GL1s & GL2s, even date back that far. We also have a 9 camera fleet of VIXIA HV40s. All of these us miniDV and in some cases HD miniDV tape, but I know it's time to change.

I would like to stay with Cannon seeing they've been are go to for 15 years and so far we've had a great cusomter service relationship with them seeing how often we have to send in cameras for repairs due to... Er, students being students.

Right now I'm looking at the VIXIA HF R62 to replace our current HV40 fleet and I would like to get at least 5 XA10 to replace all my GLs. The only problem is that outside of using HD miniDV tapes we have no work flow for HD. We have 9 Macs running Final Cut 7, soon to be replaced PCs running Adobe Premiere CS6, and we use our videos for TV (We have an in-house closer circet system, live news, and a cable channel to half the county).

So now that you know my I'm coming from here are my questions:
Is the AVCHD a reliable format for TV video?
How well does FCP7 deal with AVCHD compared to CS6?
What are the file sizes I'll be looking at to keep it all broadcast quality and readably available via NAS storage?
Are there better quality cameras I'm not looking at?
Why didn't I do this sooner?

Any help would be welcomed. For me this is a longer term project, but I'm looking at mid-March for when I need to get all of what I need and need to know set in stone.

SKHS Video Tech
SKHS Video Production


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Al Bergstein
Re: Finally moving to HD. Want to stick with Cannon
on Jan 6, 2015 at 4:54:20 pm

I'm sure there are folks here who deal in your type of video broadcast and I'll let them answer. From my own point of view here's my thoughts:

AVCHD is fine for much, I'll let others comment on that, but I would be worried about naming conventions. I hate working with it, because I constantly have to strip out the MTS files and rename them after every shoot. When I've worked with MXF files, it has always been easier, the tools are easier to strip and rename, etc.

There is also the idea of working with mov wrapped files, like on Canon 5Ds, which are much easier to rename as the whole file is contained in the mov file. (MXF and AVCHD have multiple parts to the container) or even the MP4 formats.

Certainly each format has its pros and cons. I would be more concerned about your choice of cameras. While the GL1s and 2s were serious prosumer cameras in the day, the Vixias are consumer grade cameras. The first step into better quality, and what I would consider from Canon is the XA series.

Can you not afford buying Canon XA or XF series?

Al


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Matthew Swager
Re: Finally moving to HD. Want to stick with Cannon
on Jan 6, 2015 at 7:34:16 pm

To answer your last question we can't. Money over the last few years has gotten tighter and tighter and as things stand now I'll have $10k at best to replace my current 14 camera fleet. Now as a school, 10-12 high school, I've been looking for grants but they either end up being too small or for items we don't need.

Also I need to take into account that I'm handing these cameras off to students who might only be in my class for half a year or less. The XF100 would be a great field camera for my advance students but with most of the students being beginners I still need something basic and in bulk they can use that can be a reliable fallback for the advance class.

The formats do make me worry. I was under the impression that I could just plug in a Vixia HF series via USB to a computer and capture through the video program of my choice. Is that not the case or is that not recommended?

SKHS Video Tech
SKHS Video Production


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Al Bergstein
Re: Finally moving to HD. Want to stick with Cannon
on Jan 6, 2015 at 8:04:30 pm

I totally understand. No you are correct, in that you can use Premiere and take the card (or just import from the camera), and bring the clip in. But my comment is about how there is no way (that I'm aware of) to give unique names to those AVCHD file structures. I use a tool from Canon called Data Import Utility, that does pull the MTS files out and renames them. You don't get a choice of what to call them, but you do get unique names. However, the actual AVCHD file structure is still the same, and I put copies of original file structure in a separate hard drive as the original media. It's just frustrating, and not as easy as other formats are. If you don't do that, and you lose the link inside Premiere to the original AVCHD footage, you end up having to search through file folders that only use the top level folder to id the footage.

So teach them to use the data import facility, rename the MTS files so that it will be easier to find the footage later if needed.

As to quality in your county video channel, it should be just ok. These cameras video often look pretty much like amateur footage, due to auto focus misuse. But given your students, etc. they'll be fine.

Have you seen the iOgrapher for the ipad? It was developed by a high school teacher that wanted to use ipads for his classes. I bought one and it works really well for the price.

Al


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Matthew Swager
Re: Finally moving to HD. Want to stick with Cannon
on Jan 6, 2015 at 9:40:25 pm

It just wouldn't work for us and our workflow. We do too many things like promos, PSAs, news stories, and even short films that I feel there wouldn't be enough there to supplement the use of a normal camera.

SKHS Video Tech
SKHS Video Production


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Craig Alan
Re: Finally moving to HD. Want to stick with Cannon
on Jan 20, 2015 at 6:02:00 am

I used the Canon HV 30/40s for a few years for the cheaper cams in our arsenal. Became a pain when our macs would balk at the firewire in - not seeing the canon at all. Tried one of the new HF Vixia-s and was not a happy camper. I would combine those resources and update your entire workflow. I would consider cameras that use a better codec.

Rather than buying a lot of cheaper cams I would pool that money and buy better ones. Have your students work in teams and take turns as camera operators. Do your really need that many total cams? Are they loaners? The prosumer cams are more robust and the beginner classes would feed the more advanced classes with students gaining experience with the same tool set. Card based cams have less parts that break than tape based. Those little consumer cams will break. And they just don't work as well in this day and age as the HVs did back then.

Adobe says they are supporting CS6 on the current releases of Windows and Mac OS, but do not have plans to support it on the next releases coming out from Microsoft and Apple… In other words, within less than a year it’s likely that CS6 will not be supported to run on newer operating systems.

I would go with either CC or FCP X not hang on to legacy software from either company. Money being tight I'd go for FCP X which by the way is an easier program for the beginners and will grow with the advanced students.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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