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Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?

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Rob Gutermuth
Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on May 28, 2015 at 12:38:14 pm

Hi all,

just wondering some opinions on how well other cameras work together in post, etc..

lately, I've been shooting with a combo of HDV cameras and the newer CMOS cameras, like the Canon G30/XA20...

so, Im fighting with stuff like 1440 vs 1920 and different codecs that treat color a bit different, 3 chips vs one CMOS, etc....

But, the control I have with the XL-H1 is still a lot more than the XA20... for example, when you are recording, in the XL-H1 I can change every setting, including shutter speed, aperture, etc while recording... with the XA20, 1/2 the menu options are greyed out... so if Im filming something where I need to drastically change the exposure, my only option is exp compensation, which does do ok, but not as big of a swing as what can happen with the XL-H1

So, Im now looking at cameras like the XF300 - but I want to know what I'd loose/gain by going with that camera, and how well does it cut with the XA20, being a 4:2:2 camera vs a 4:2:0.... and different codec too, etc... at least they'd both be 1920 cameras to start with though... but would it cut better with, say, the XF100 as my cover? which is a better camera, XA20 or the XF100? Im usually in pretty well lit venues, but can I use my G30/XA20 with a XF300 and be fine?

I do 3 camera shoots in long form, so I need to have cover shot(s) that can run sometimes 3 hrs at a time without doing a card change too.

Does anyone shoot HDV anymore? or has that been dead for too long now? I usually tether the XL-H1 to a firestore and that way, I can have my Tape as a backup, in case the FS dies, etc... but SD/CF Cards seem so much more appealing... but I can't have drop outs either....

all opinions are welcome here...

Rob Gutermuth
Media Creations


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Declan Smith
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on May 28, 2015 at 2:28:21 pm

I wouldn't be without my XL-H1. It's an unbelievably versatile and flexible camera both with lenses / adapters and more importantly, picture control (and global shutter!!). It's audio section is simply excellent as well. A very underrated and forgotten camera.

Yes, it's long in the tooth, but the picture is still incredible, if HD is what you're after. Just to be clear though, the XL-H1 is a 4:2:2 camera not 4:2:0. The only thing that makes the XL-H1 apparently 4:2:0 is recording to HDV (either tape or firewire).

I use the Atomos Samurai external recorder and record HD-SDI out of the camera which retains the full 4:2:2 signal. I can't comment on how it will cut with the XA-20 but I have successfully cut in Canon 7D footage (and the XL-H1 picture is better).

It doesn't natively have the shallow depth of field, but sometimes this alone can be a bonus, especially for event filming, and if that's really required, I use a lens adapter. Also the EF adapter is great for telephoto (especially wildlife) as the sensor uses the best part of the lens (the middle) and hence the magnification factor.

It's going to be down to a personal choice, but I have always rated the XL cameras as my favourite, and the XL-H1 being at the top of that tree. You need to be familiar with it's limitation as well such as low light performance, dynamic range etc. All of these factors will need to be taken into account.

Declan Smith
http://www.madpanic.tv
After Effects CS6/ FCS3 / Canon XLH1 / Canon 7D / Reason / Cubase

"it's either binary or it's not"


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Rob Gutermuth
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on May 28, 2015 at 2:47:09 pm

Yes, I wonder how much better the SDI capture would be at 4:2:2 most likely a dumb question, but I do know that the camera will only output video and not audio in that stream, unlike the S version.... so, I'd still need something else to capture the audio... correct?

I actually also love the camera - but it's a lot to deal with, having ext fw drive, adapters, etc etc - I was hoping someone could comment too about the XF300 vs the XL-H1... all things being equal...

I guess what I really want to know, if I usually just use the 20x lens on the XL-H1, (so apples to apples) - what would I love/hate about shooting with an XF300 vs the XL-H1?

Thanks much!

Rob Gutermuth
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Declan Smith
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on May 28, 2015 at 3:00:52 pm

If you use the Atomos Samurai, that has an analogue audio input which can take the audio output from the XL-H1. So in short, this will simultaneously record video from HD-SDI, and audio from analogue output and the result is synched audio in a ProRes 422 (or DNxHD) file. No need for an additional device.

Declan Smith
http://www.madpanic.tv
After Effects CS6/ FCS3 / Canon XLH1 / Canon 7D / Reason / Cubase

"it's either binary or it's not"


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Rob Gutermuth
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on May 28, 2015 at 3:07:56 pm

Yeah, I just checked that out - nice box - you are talking about the Blade 5?

The thing is though, isn't the resolution still 1440x1080? I get that the color space is better, and uncompressed, but 1920x1080 is still a bigger frame? Am I missing something here?

does the 4:2:2 footage "blow away" the compressed footage from tape? or is it only a little bit better? I hate to drop a grand on something that wouldn't make that much of a difference, but I like the whole hot swap drive thing... if SSD drives were a little cheaper, that would be a no brainer!

have you had any issues with these dropping any frames at all? do you use HDD or SDD drives? Apple Pro-res I take it? what if I want to use the footage in Premiere Pro? I see there is a choice for Avid, but how about Premiere?

Thanks

Rob Gutermuth
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Declan Smith
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on May 28, 2015 at 4:17:24 pm

The resolution is FULL HD, i.e. 1920x1080 when recorded through the HD-SDI. As for the question is it better, then visually you can see a difference in that you don't get the blockiness around edges, important for green screen as is the 4:2:2 colour space. You can also push colour correction a little further too because of the colour space. One thing you may notice though is a little more noise as this gets masked by the HDV codec, but having said that, the NR settings on the XL-H1 can get rid of it (as can post production tools like neat video if really really needed).

I use the original Samurai and picked one up on ebay. The screen isn't as good as the latest, but as a framing tool, it's fine. I use the XL-H1 viewfinder for focus anyway (FU-1000).

I have not had issues with dropping frames. I have used this configuration to record a 2 hour stage performance. I use both HDD and SSD, mostly SSD as the price of these has fallen. I generally record in ProRes 422 as I edit on a Mac using Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro. If I was using a PC I would probably record on DNxHD.

As for Samurai, I rate this product highly as well!

Declan Smith
http://www.madpanic.tv
After Effects CS6/ FCS3 / Canon XLH1 / Canon 7D / Reason / Cubase

"it's either binary or it's not"


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Rob Gutermuth
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on May 28, 2015 at 7:23:15 pm

Thanks -all good info - let me ask you this - so, it captures to Prores... is that Prores 422 HQ? Just wanted to know the specific codec for sure...

how much time can you record with, say, a pair of 1tbHDD's? or better than that, how much storage will I need per min? - is there a limit as to the size of the drives? Say, doing it like you do, with analog audio input being recorded as PCM audio with the SDI datastream?

THanks

Rob Gutermuth
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Declan Smith
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on May 28, 2015 at 8:55:21 pm

On the Samurai model I have (the original), you have the choice of ProRes 422 LT, ProRes 422, and ProRes 422 HQ.

In terms of space requirements, it depends on your frame rate and which codec. Below are some examples per minute for full frame.


Frame Rate Codec Space/Minute
25 fps ProRes 422 LT 0.64Gb
25 fps ProRes 422 0.91Gb
25 fps ProRes 422 HQ 1.34Gb
30 fps ProRes 422 LT 0.76Gb
30 fps ProRes 422 1.08Gb
30 fps ProRes 422 HQ 1.61Gb


With a 1Tb drive using the worst case scenario (30fps ProRes 422 HQ) you're looking at approx. 10 hours

Declan Smith
http://www.madpanic.tv
After Effects CS6/ FCS3 / Canon XLH1 / Canon 7D / Reason / Cubase

"it's either binary or it's not"


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Rob Gutermuth
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on May 29, 2015 at 12:00:27 pm

So, it seems like capturing uncompressed is the way to go, but now Im a bit concerned with the added noise introduced, esp if Im in low light, and need to go to something like +6 or +12

I rarely need to go to +12, but I have read now that noise is noticeable at +3 even... and I guess the HDV codec masks this, as part of the compression.

So, my new question is... how best to fix this in post? - so I have my Prores 422 files, and I'm assuming I can just open them in FCP 7, etc - and now what? is there a good filter choice to bring down the noise? or am I worrying about nothing here?

One thing that I think will be of benefit, is it would seem that I would loose many of the motion artifacts? - Sometimes when I shoot something like a sports game, if I follow the ball when panning, things are not quite as crisp as when I stop panning... zooming not so much, but it would be nice to have a clearer image with motion (either me doing it, or them doing it :-)) - Is that a true statement?

Can I assume that going uncompressed with allow me to go head to head with something like a XF300 that is natively 4:2:2 but uses the new MXF codec, and CF cards...

I just don't want to waste time or money - I guess that's what these forums are for!

thanks all!

Rob Gutermuth
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Todd Terry
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on May 28, 2015 at 3:16:30 pm

I can't comment about the "vs" situation, but I'll gladly chime in about the H1.

The H1 was, and remains, one of my favorite cameras of all time. I used it daily for about 5 years before retiring it a couple of years ago (although we didn't use it "stock," we used it with a P+S Technik 35mm lens adapter and cine primes). It's just an awesome awesome camera.

And you hit the nail on the head about control. One of the things I loved about the H1 (and same with the C300 that I shoot now), is that there are tons of actual real physical buttons/switches on the camera... if you want to dial in a slightly different color temperature, or almost any other change, you can do that on the fly and never have to stop and dig into a menu (hate menus). That and its picture performance is just incredible. With our lens converter we were able to intercut it with real 35mm film on a number of occasions and it was absolutely seamless.

When we retired it, I thought about selling it, but it broke my heart to think that I could only get about $1500 for what was a $10,000 camera, so we kept it (same for the lens converter, which was $13,000 new, and I'd be lucky to get $500 now). So we are definitely keeping it as a backup rig. I will say that we have had to replace the "guts" of the camera (tape transport mechanism, heads, etc.) twice, but considering that was over several years and very heavy use, I'm not complaining about that. It also has four dead pixels but they really don't show up unless we crank the gain way up in dark situations, so that's not too much of a factor.

I've considered buying a recorder to use with it, but like yours ours is an early-model H1 before the audio signal was embedded in the HD-SDI (I still don't know why Canon did that) so it limits our recorder choice, but as was pointed out it still can be done.

In your case I definitely wouldn't ditch the H1.

T2

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Todd Terry
Creative Director
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Rob Gutermuth
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on May 28, 2015 at 3:32:19 pm

Hi Todd,

It's really not that I dislike the H1 - I wish Canon would have made the XL-H2 with Card media replacing tape, etc... but everyone can dream.

So your upgrade path was to the C300 - sure, but it's $15K with lenses, correct?....

Im looking more in the $3-4K market - was hoping that the XF300 would be close to the H1 for buttons and overrides - yes, I love that you can adjust the gain settings by turning a knob, etc... color temp, etc...

I just sold my original XL1 - I think I kept it for sentimental reasons since it was my very first Digital Camera... I started with an L1, so I've always been a fan of this line...

I own a few XH-A1s's as well, and those are like the H1's little brother - the footage matches very very well... but HDV is getting long in the tooth, and I'm looking to make a leap, but need multi cams...

does anyone out there have both experience with the H1 and the XF300 or 305?

BTW the reason Canon didn't include audio was that because of the licensing required, it would have added a Grand to the camera - but they DID do it with the H1s of course... Im considering those as well as another way to go.... again, all about price.

Rob Gutermuth
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Todd Terry
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on May 28, 2015 at 4:20:33 pm
Last Edited By Todd Terry on May 28, 2015 at 4:21:30 pm

[Rob Gutermuth] "So your upgrade path was to the C300 - sure, but it's $15K with lenses, correct?...."

Well, we got the C300 when they first came out. The body was, if I recall, $20,000 then. Major price drop though, you can buy it for $6500 now. That should make me go "Grrrr!' (and does a little bit), but I really don't begrudge it as the C300 has been worth every penny. Canon has slashed the current C300 prices because the C300 MarkII will be out later this year ($16,000 for the body).

As for "with lenses," it just depends on the glass you want. I shoot superspeed primes that are worth several times as much as the camera body... but on the rare occasions that I use a zoom I use a dirt-cheap vintage Russian Foton zoom that you could probably buy for a grand or less. I've used the same lenses with multiple cameras through the years (the C300, the H1, and 35mm film cameras).

That part is wildly variable... you can get a Canon SLR EF mount zoom (admittedly pretty crappy) for $200... or you can get a set of matched Cooke PL mount primes for $100,000+.

Canon presently has two lenses that are on my wish list... but I don't have them (yet... maybe someday) because they both clock in at just under $40K each.

The good thing about glass though is that it holds its value. Just about every piece of gear we own starts depreciating like crazy the second you drive it off the lot (especially anything computer or electronic-camera related), but lenses do not. In some cases lenses even appreciate.... we paid more for our primes than the previous owner did, and if I were to sell them today I could get substantially more for them than I paid myself. I always beg people to not skimp on lenses... they are definitely the top of importance in the food chain, and your images will never be any better than your worst piece of glass.

T2

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Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Rob Gutermuth
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on May 28, 2015 at 5:00:44 pm

Being that Im also a photographer, I do own many canon primes and zooms, so some are very fast.

I guess I've been of the mindset that the cameras are still separate in my head - I own a 6D and love it, but would never use it to film something like a long form video (wedding, recital, play, etc) - but for a 60 second commercial? or head shot interviews, etc? sure!

so, yes, good glass is good glass, and my guess is that 20 years from now, these lenses will be a fortune to buy new, if they even make good glass still... and yes, I have seen that myself - certain builds fetch higher prices than others... not just the speed of the lens, but other factors as well... and of course, the L lenses are a whole other story.... you get what you pay for in lenses.

how well does the C300 work in something like iAF, if the lens is set at something like f/4 or f/5.6 - if you are zooming, will it keep focus on a moving object? (sports games come to mind here)

$6500 is a bargin for that camera for sure... but even that, knowing it will be 1/2 that in 2 years, like all this stuff, it keeps diving in value.

still hoping for someone to chime in about the XF300 - it's been out for a couple of years now, and I would love to hear about controls, etc... people say it's a better camera than the xl-h1... but "better" how? just image quality?

Rob Gutermuth
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Todd Terry
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on May 28, 2015 at 5:20:55 pm
Last Edited By Todd Terry on May 28, 2015 at 5:21:38 pm

[Rob Gutermuth] "I guess I've been of the mindset that the cameras are still separate in my head"

I completely agree, I'm definitely not a DSLR fanboy for cine work. We've used our T2i and 6D on rare occasions for "emergency" motion footage work, but I hate it hate it hate it. Don't get me wrong, a DSLR is a fantastic tool, but for cine work I still think it's a wrench when you need a screwdriver.



[Rob Gutermuth] "good glass is good glass, and my guess is that 20 years from now, these lenses will be a fortune to buy new"

Very very true. Newer is definitely not better when it comes to glass. My most-used lenses are from the 80s (Panavision re-barreled Leitz/Leica f/1.3 primes) and it would be almost impossible to find "new" lenses today that are comparable, without spending roughly the equivalent of a new decent-sized house (literally). I know a couple of big-time DPs who prefer not to shoot with anything made after 1965. The Cooke Speed Panchros from the 1960s are especially in huge demand by feature-film DPs, and if you can find them they cost several times what they did when new.


[Rob Gutermuth] "how well does the C300 work in something like iAF"

Couldn't say, I manual-focus only, my lenses are all PL mount (as is my camera body), so obviously there is no auto-anything. I focus the old-school Hollywood way... with my bare hand like an animal (well, with a follow-focus rig). It is my understanding that the upcoming C300 MarkII has some fairly advanced autofocusing (in the EF mount version only, obviously), but couldn't say how well it works.

T2

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Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Rob Gutermuth
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on Jun 2, 2015 at 10:36:21 pm

Well, I bit the bullet and found a used Samurai -came with everything plus an SSD drive for $500 - I did find a sandisk extreme II SSD as well, so Im thinking I will use that one to start with, and see how I like it...

I know I will need an RCA to 3.5 mini jack for the audio (any thoughts there?) - but now I can record to tape, Firestore and Samurai all at the same time if I wanted to :-)

My biggest fear is dropping frames with this thing... prores right away will be great to have, esp since I shoot a lot of long events, and have 1-2 hour files... but if there are any dropped frames, it will be worthless to me... (well, ok that's an extreme, but I just want it to work!)

That being said, do you find using prores is "safer" than Prores HQ? or maybe a better question is, will I even see a difference between prores and prores HQ? Im shooting 1080i 59.97...

I hope this is the sort of thing, where I say "man, how did I live without it for so long!" - 4:2:2 and Prores right off the drive is very appealing to me, and would give me a couple more years out of this camera for sure, until clients "demand" 4K+ by then, 10K Panels will be $1500 at bestbuy lol

Thanks

Rob Gutermuth
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Todd Terry
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on Jun 2, 2015 at 10:47:00 pm

[Rob Gutermuth] " Im shooting 1080i 59.97"

That's good, because... (and I MAY be speaking out of turn here)... I think the H1 will only output 60i via the HD-SDI spigot. I seem to recall that even if you shoot 24p as I usually do (or as that camera calls it, "24f") it still comes out of the HD-SDI port as 59.97 video (although it looks like 24p, as it has a 2:3 pulldown in a 60i wrapper).

I'm not 100% certain of that, but I think that's the case. It's a moot point for you since you want 60i video, but if you ever want 24p video it might not be recorded as "true" 24p video. Not that there aren't ways around that.

T2

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Todd Terry
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Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Rob Gutermuth
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on Jun 2, 2015 at 10:57:12 pm

well, I can let you know - when I ever have time to play :-) - I do know that in some cases, you have to "force" the sammys to lock to the frame rate, pulldown, etc...

I remember years ago, when panny came out with the first "affordable" true 24P camera, and I think Canon then rushed it, since I always heard that 24F and 30F were "not quite" true blue 24 and 30P - so this would not surprise me...

but, I'd love to prove us both wrong, and see what 24F footage would look like from the sammy via SDI out... I bet the XF305 with SDI out does it well... but for $5K it should... :-)

Cheers

Rob Gutermuth
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Todd Terry
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on Jun 2, 2015 at 11:01:49 pm

24f actually is 24p, when you shoot in HDV mode (it's not when you shoot in standard-def mode, in SD it's 23.976 progressive frames in a 60i wrapper).

"24f" is just not called "24p" because that was actually a trademark owned by Robert Faber the inventor of "FilmLook" (remember that company in the 90s?), and Canon wouldn't pay the licensing to officially call it "24p."

T2

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Todd Terry
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Rob Gutermuth
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on Jun 5, 2015 at 1:30:55 am

Hi All,

ok, got my XL-H1 connected to the samurai - but Im not getting any output out of the RCA jacks from the camera - Im just using the front stereo mic...

the unit gets audio, as when I output the headphone output to the input, I can see it there, (as A or analog input) - but no dice when trying to use the RCA's....

stupid question, but is there a switch or setting somewhere that Im missing to make the RCA's OUTPUT and not INPUT or something else Im missing here? I tried both sets, and none work...

I'd rather not use the headphone output of the camera......

Thanks to all...

Cheers,

Rob Gutermuth
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Declan Smith
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on Jun 5, 2015 at 7:39:42 am

There is a setting you need to change (or check).

1. In the XLH1-Menu, select audio setup


2. In the audio setup menu, select "AUD.M.SET", at present, it's probably set to "NORMAL"


3. Now change this setting from "NORMAL" to "LINE OUT".


Hopefully that should be all that is necessary. You should then connect your Samurai via the AUDIO 1 Ch1/3 & Ch2/4 outputs (the lower two RCA sockets).

Declan Smith
http://www.madpanic.tv
After Effects CS6/ FCS3 / Canon XLH1 / Canon 7D / Reason / Cubase

"it's either binary or it's not"


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Rob Gutermuth
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on Jun 5, 2015 at 9:27:05 pm

Wish that worked, but still no audio...

I know its not the cable, cuz I tried 2 others...

I know it's not the samurai, cuz I used the headphone 3.5inch jack to connect and I see the audio fine that way...

I guess aud M set means AUDIO MONITOR SET? - I have the switch for ch 1/2 set for front mic - and can see and hear the audio from that mic....

is it possible that the camera doesn't send this signal for some reason to the RCA outs... I guess I can try plugging in an XLR mic just to see that?

Any other ideas? - I really wanted to use the samurai for Sunday's shoot... I guess I could use the audio off of the headphone outs if I really had to, but I really wante this to work out with the RCAs....

Glad Im checking this all now :-) I wonder if using the headphone out to the Sammy input is a better idea than capturing the audio from Tape in post (yes, I know it would be compressed vs PCM, correct?)

ummm so many questions, but thanks! - I hope there is something else that Im missing here, and my line out is not hosed.

Thanks

Rob Gutermuth
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Declan Smith
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on Jun 5, 2015 at 10:59:43 pm

That's odd indeed.

I know this is obvious, but have you tried putting the RCA output into another monitoring device, such as a recorder or amplifier, to make sure you are getting audio out of the RCA sockets, and that the cables you are trying are working end to end ?

I have attached two photos showing the RCA sockets to use, and check on the Samurai, Also, in order to register audio on the Samurai you will need to connect up the HD-SDI so the Samurai knows it can record something.

1. RCA Sockets - Check you are using the ones shown


2. Select Audio channel to record from on the samurai


It wouldn't hurt to record to tape as a backup, just in case, and you could sync the audio later, and perhaps use the headphone out into the Samurai. I'm surprised you're not getting anything from the RCA outs when set to LINE OUT unless there is problem with the audio section. I don't know what else to suggest, I've even tried switching the video out / composite switch in case that had any influence but it doesn't.

Declan Smith
http://www.madpanic.tv
After Effects CS6/ FCS3 / Canon XLH1 / Canon 7D / Reason / Cubase

"it's either binary or it's not"


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Rob Gutermuth
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on Jun 8, 2015 at 12:28:16 pm

well, I tested the camera itself, and just recorded onto tape a 30 sec clip of me talking, and then I tried playing that back from the camera, in VTR mode off tape - I saw the meters moving, so I know audio was there on the tape, but no output from the RCA jacks....

I don't think I ever used them before, since I usually have used FW for capture for video and audio, either off tape, or from my firestore - guess I need to send the camera into canon for repair... hopefully, it's just a loose connection inside... maybe the last guy that replaced the tape transport and fw port, forgot to re-connect that board?

I used it yesterday - and ended up running the Headphone jack into the audio in of the Samurai, and just as you showed. gonna transfer the footage later... but I did monitor the audio with my headphones to the unit, and it sounded "ok" no distortion, etc... the levels, even maxed, were only about 3/4 of the way up on the meters, but I backed the output off just a hair to be sure it would record clean...

I do have a tape backup and also the firestore too... I like being able to record to all 3 things at one time... a back up for my back up :-)

when you record from the XL-H1 to the samurai, do you use Prores or Prores LT? - I heard that LT is all you need from the XL-H1... I know that HQ is overkill... correct?

Rob Gutermuth
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Declan Smith
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on Jun 10, 2015 at 12:06:59 pm

Presumably you tried setting the RCA to LINE OUT in the menu system so it does sound like a hardware issue, Good to hear that the headphone socket worked out ok. Did you plug your headphones into the out socket of the Samurai ? (I don't think I've ever tried that socket on mine!).

As far as which ProRes version to use, I don't' tend to use anything less than ProRes 422. The LT version will create files ~35% smaller but as there is a tradeoff between quality v file size I tend to use ProRes 422. For pulling green screens it has served well, as has colour correction, I have not seen any notable difference using ProRes HQ, although I haven't carried out any scientific tests, so all subjective. However, on the lower codecs (Prores 422 proxy & LT) I have noticed a difference with fast moving subjects or lots of movement in terms of more artefacts. So it depends on what you are shooting.

A good guide on the subject can be found here https://larryjordan.com/articles/picking-the-right-version-of-prores/

Apples own guide on it: https://documentation.apple.com/en/finalcutpro/professionalformatsandworkfl...

Declan Smith
http://www.madpanic.tv
After Effects CS6/ FCS3 / Canon XLH1 / Canon 7D / Reason / Cubase

"it's either binary or it's not"


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Rob Gutermuth
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on Jun 10, 2015 at 12:27:14 pm

Yes, I had to use the headphone 3.5 mini jack on the xl-h1, and took it into the analog audio in - isn't there just the one on the samurai? mine has SDI in and out, Control L in and out, and Headphone out, and auido input... those are the only jacks on the unit...

even cranked, it was only like at about -12db... I kept the gain at 0, since I was trying for clean as possible audio... Im sure the RCA's would be MUCH better... will see if it's worth repairing, or getting another body, or even a "s", and then, the Audio and video are together in the file via SDI to start with.

Thanks for clearing that up... on Sunday, I shot with Prores (not LT) so, that is what I will stay with then, since I do shoot a TON of stuff where high motion is involved (sports, dancing, etc) I opted for 2 smaller SSD drives instead of one or 2 larger HDD drives, just because I like the piece of mind knowing that the drive will not have a problem... SSD drives are so cheap now, seems like the better way to go.... Glad to know I don't have to go all the way to HQ though...

Looks like Im getting about 1gb per min... that's 59.94 60i - and I have a 480 and a 320 gig SSD - so 800gbs - I'd never need 12 hours + before I could off load anything, so that should work out... sometimes I do need 5 or 6 though in a day... what do you like for SSD's in higher capacity - I have a sandisk extreme ii - 6/gbs and 545/mps (guess thats read/write rates?)

Thanks for all your help on this, Declan - you da man!

Rob Gutermuth
Media Creations


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Andrew Johnson
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on Feb 22, 2016 at 4:02:31 am

Hey guys, I have a question or 2 (I hope it is alright to post here, if not please forward me to another thread) but after reading this i am possibly changing my mind on what recorder i am about to purchase. I have just purchased my first cannon XH-A1S (finally getting into the HD world) and since i do not have firewire on my computer and would also like to have it in another form for quicker editing then DV tapes, I am looking at a DTE. I have 2 that i have been looking at, a Focus FS-H200 and a Focus FS-5 (both are firewire in and USB out). But after reading this thread, would I be better to pay just a little bit more and get the Atomos Samurai Blade?

I edit with the consumer version of Sony VEGAS and am using the camera for to display on a big screen while recording for some events, so I will have to have a video out to my mixer at the same time (that will bring up some questions after i get a reply). Thanks


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Rob Gutermuth
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on Feb 22, 2016 at 1:58:15 pm

I own a few of these in this same line, and while you CAN use the Blade with the XH Cameras, it's a bit of doing, since the blade needs clean HDMI, and the XH cameras do not have this as an option.

I have several DTE's as well… and with this camera (the xh-a1 and a1s) they work well - just be sure not to buy the ones that only record in 1080P or they won't work in HD mode, since these cameras output 1080i

Here are the pros and cons to using either with these cameras:

DTE:

Pros:

Cost - slightly less money, depending
Direct Connection via Firewire for video and audio

Cons:

doesn't bypass the 1440x1080 processing, nor the compression used for tape (same as recording to tape)
Files have to be transcoded in most cases (easy to do now a days, but adds a step)
most of these use spinning platters - if dropped, or bumped hard, your done!
Most of the FW drives aren't supported any longer

----

Atomos:

Pros:

True 1080 full frame - bypassing the FW/Tape processing
Files are ready to be edited/copied over to your computer for editing right away. Apple ProRes
Ninja has a nice LED display, which shows you a preview of the material
better made box - love the fit and finish of Atomos products.
lots of other pros here, but….

Cons:

Cost - more expensive than a DTE recorder, but worth it in the long run
Connection with the Canon XH-A1s… you need to use the special component connection, into a component to HDMI converter box, and then you can connect to the unit via HDMI
You will have to run Audio separate to the unit from the camera (RCA to 1/8 plug, stereo fixes that)
-----

I have used both over the last few years, and it's hard to beat the Atomos units - they are really worth the money for what they do, and work 100% of the time correctly in my experience.

I have a XL-H1 and can actually record to my Atomos Sam, my DTE and TAPE all at the same time if I needed to for some reason (Tape is the back up of my back up!) - it's nice if you have a client that wants the raw footage of what you shot, right after, but also you wanted the footage to edit too.

I think the Ninja is what you want to use… don't get the first issue - be sure to buy the second one… then, when you upgrade to modern cameras that all have HDMI outs, you can use it with those too.

I do love the Samurai as well - the Locking BNC connectors are great, but you need SDI with that recorder (as found on the XL-h1)

Let us know what you end up doing…

Cheers!

Rob Gutermuth
Media Creations


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Andrew Johnson
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on Feb 22, 2016 at 6:37:47 pm

ok thanks for the reply, (please excuse my ignorance on the subject as again, this is my first step into HD and Pro style world from SD and small handhelds- while trying to stick to a budget) . Since i am looking at doing a lot free hand and mobile shooting, i am a little concerned about the bulk of converters (or maybe i need to just start using a pod.... Would that extra equipment be a con for the Atmos (blade or ninja)? Or are they pretty compact enough to attach to the atmos and ultimately the mount on the handle of the cam Ect...

Also one of the DTEs i am looking at uses CF cards and one is a Hard drive base.

What converter are you using with both your ninja 2 and your samurai? And what about Power to the converter? Thanks


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Andrew Johnson
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on Feb 23, 2016 at 2:51:20 pm

ok thanks for the reply, (please excuse my ignorance on the subject as again, this is my first step into HD and Pro style world from SD and small handhelds- while trying to stick to a budget) . Since i am looking at doing a lot free hand and mobile shooting, i am a little concerned about the bulk of converters (or maybe i need to just start using a pod.... Would that extra equipment be a con for the Atmos (blade or ninja)? Or are they pretty compact enough to attach to the atmos and ultimately mount it on the handle Ect...

One of the DTEs i am looking at uses CF cards and one is a Hard drive base.

What converter are you using with both your ninja 2 and your samurai? ANd do you use a power pack to be able to go mobile?

I have also noticed that the Atomos units record in apple Prores, I have read where that has given guys using Sony Movie Studio Plat. 13 on PC fits ( i know that mine is not a fan of the Apple stuff). Have you all see any probs with it?


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Rob Gutermuth
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on Feb 23, 2016 at 3:22:02 pm

First, I can't speak on compat of ProRes to anything PC related, except I know that PP will open them on a PC for sure, which is what most people use on the PC - not sure about sony - you can of course, always transcode, but that sort of kills the whole workflow.

I think in your case, I'd opt for the FS-5 which is the unit I think you are talking about that takes CF cards - those work good, and you can just direct connect them to your FW port on the camera with no other adapter, etc…

I don't recall the name of the adapter I used - but it needed AC so, was mostly a studio/tripod use sort of application - for mobile, I would then need a battery pack, and then it's getting to much like a band aid looking set up where you have a cable into a box, and then another cable into the ninja.

The samurai doesn't need anything additional with a SDI direct connection… and it can all be portable, but you don't own an XL-h1 so, kind of a moot point…

I may be in the minority, but I do still use tape as a reliable back up of what Im shooting - I shot 50 jobs last year, and didn't need to use any, but it was nice to have it there, in case the samauri had an issue, etc

So, as I said, in your case, for what you want to do, the FS-5 seems like your best option - the good and big CF cards are not that cheap though… that would be the only draw back, but besides that… no problem I can think of

Rob Gutermuth
Media Creations


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Andrew Johnson
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on Feb 23, 2016 at 4:01:19 pm

Great thanks, I really like the prospect of the Atomos for in the future. But, since i will be out in the field and need to be mobile, i am afraid the electricity factor could be a problem... May have to get me a one for doing green screen and shots in studio though... but that will be for another day.

I have been reading up on the Focus FS-5 and the FS-H200 since both have USB out, .

I really want to thank you for replying back, I am sure i will have more questions come up..

Thanks Andrew


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Declan Smith
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on Feb 23, 2016 at 4:53:19 pm

Not sure about the other units, but the Samurai also has an option to record using the DNxHD codec which is both Mac and PC compatible.

Declan Smith
http://www.madpanic.tv
After Effects CS6/ FCS3 / Canon XLH1 / Canon 7D / Reason / Cubase

"it's either binary or it's not"


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Andrew Johnson
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on Feb 23, 2016 at 5:10:59 pm

yeah i had read that too, some forums were still talking about how VEGAS and it's consumer version, MSP13-which i am using , were still having problems with it (codec issues i believe)and that it had to converted to different format.

I know i have had a problem with some files like that where it might render most, but it would fail to render all the clips (especially with .MOVs coming out of my helmet cam) ... Just very cautious on what and how much ($). But again, still on that budget issue for now....Got too many expensive hobbies and projects :P

This may be a "DUH" question, but since i have not used DV tapes for a long time,

1. what tapes do you recommend for the canon series,
2. If you are simply making a back up for the DTE or Atomos, do you ever re-use tapes- and if so is there a max number of times?

Thanks Andrew


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Declan Smith
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on Feb 23, 2016 at 7:53:28 pm

I can't speak for Sony Vegas and codec support issues, but there are many tools out there for converting between them.

With regards to tapes, I tend not to use tapes with my Canon XLH1 anymore, but always have them on standby. I've only every used Sony DV Premium tapes (MEDVM60). When I went HD, I switched from tape based XL2 to XLH1 with Samurai. The advice I always went with is to use the same brand / model of tapes and not to interchange them, so if you went say Panasonic tapes, stick with them. Not sure whether that was sound advice or not, but I never had tape issues. One thing I also never did was re-use tapes. Bars & Tone for the first 30 seconds, record then write protect. That was always my method of working. With HDV, dropouts on tape can be more of an issue because the amount of frames that could be affected by a dropout.

Declan Smith
http://www.madpanic.tv
After Effects CS6/ FCS3 / Canon XLH1 / Canon 7D / Reason / Cubase

"it's either binary or it's not"


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Rob Gutermuth
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on Feb 23, 2016 at 8:27:47 pm

He is not using a XL-H1, if so, easy solution of course…. Samurai is a no brainer. He has a xh-a1s which has no HDMI on it, so FW is his course…

If you have to transcode prores footage in Vegas, that sort of defeats the whole purpose of using it too, and might as well just use the M2T files from the FS units.

I would disagree with use of tapes - They are Really cheap insurance, and costs you nothing more in equipment to use them, since you are already operating the camera. $2 a piece for 1 hour back up - just silly not to do it… the only thing you might loose is a little bit of battery life, but not much on the XH-A1s

Again, as a BACKUP - not as the main way of recording your footage these days.

note on tapes:

Tapes can be switched, however it's BEST to stick with either Panasonic or anything else - the reason has to do with how the tapes are lubricated - Panny was different than anyone else and used a wet, vs Sony and everything else that used a dry…

The other issue is that the heads will "get used to" how a certain tape "feels" almost like breaking in a pair of shoes - they just are used to the track alignment, etc and will wear correctly with the same brand of tape like that…

you actually can switch though… what you need to do is to run a cleaning tape a couple of 10 sec passes FIRST before you switch… and it's a good idea to run one about every 15 hours of head time just to keep them clean - not for longer than 10 secs though… or you will shorten the life of the heads.

I personally have used both, and find the Dry lube to be better for the canon cameras (Sony tape) - the panny tapes always gave me drop outs, more than what was acceptable… Sony tapes - I might get one drop out in 55 mins, usually none, just depends. been about 4 years since I used tape now as my primary way of ingesting footage.

Rob Gutermuth
Media Creations


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john knight
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on May 4, 2016 at 4:23:42 pm

hello, i am using a xl h1 with the samurai blade, i was wondering what bit rates you get in prores 442, i think my unit has a fault, as it only records at 13.3MBs thanks for you help


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Rob Gutermuth
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on May 4, 2016 at 8:24:42 pm

yeah, that's too low for sure... heck, MiniDV is 25 - I wanna say it should be 30 but I can't recall.

I would try prores HQ and see if it creates larger files (not needed, and prores 422 (regular) is fine, and all I ever use with that camera)

how do you know it's only 13.3? I don't have a blade, I have the original Sam - works fine with the XLh1 and the XLh1s....

there could be a firmware upgrade you need for the XlH1 for it to work with the blade? - or vice versa? - I think this is a good question for Atomos too. the only way to really troubleshoot this, is to try the blade on another camera, and see... then you can rule out one or the other for sure.

let us know what you find out... also, do you have another drive you can try? might be a bad HD?

Rob Gutermuth
Media Creations


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john knight
Re: Does the XL-H1 Still hold up?
on May 4, 2016 at 8:31:03 pm

i shot some video to test it, analysed it in premier pro. proress LT is 9.2MBs 422 is 13.3 and HQ is only giving me 20.5 MBs.. tested the SSD as well, data rate and through put are all to spec. sent a request to atomos to see if they have any ideas, off to CVP tomorrow, and see what another camera does on this unit.... thanks for your input


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