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Capturing Canon XH A1 at 60i

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Anna Tam
Capturing Canon XH A1 at 60i
on May 28, 2016 at 2:54:28 pm

Hi, I posted about this in two other forums (Premiere and Final Cut) because I'm really at a loss as to where to begin problem solving this.

I shot a video on a Canon XH A1 and filmed it in HDV 60i settings.

The footage looks nice in the viewer in the camera (it was shot in a studio with good lighting), but it looks pretty bad (definitely doesn't look HD) when I capture it in Premiere and FCPX under the HDV capture settings.
I haven't even put it on a sequence/timeline yet (I deinterlaced it in FCPX). I'm just capturing and then playing back the captured video (the playback is on 'full' not '1/2' quality).

Does anyone have any advice on how to capture the footage so it would have better quality?

Thanks so much!

A.


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Roger Van Duyn
Re: Capturing Canon XH A1 at 60i
on May 30, 2016 at 8:33:12 pm

The first step would be to determine how the native footage actually looks. If you have an HDTV with component inputs, or perhaps a friend has one, attach your DTC-1000 component video cable that came with the camera and play back the tape directly from the camera.

Then you'll know if the footage is actually bad, or if the problem is with the settings in Premiere or Final Cut X.

I have an XH-A1, and an XH-A1s. Both give beautiful footage in good light. Can't advise on the settings in Premiere or FCX. I use Avid Media Composer and Lightworks. Footage from the Canons work well in both programs, as it did in older programs from years ago I've used, Liquid, Pinnacle Studio, even Windows Movie Maker, as long as I chose the correct settings.

I never de-interlace before starting editing. I save it for one of the last steps before final encoding. Usually in Squeeze.

Again, first find out how the footage really looks on an HDTV.

Hope this helps.

Roger

By the way, I still use both cameras, but have gone tapeless. Both cameras have a DataVideo DN-60 recorder saving to CF cards. Really speeds up the workflow.

Roger


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Roger Van Duyn
Re: Capturing Canon XH A1 at 60i
on May 30, 2016 at 9:02:47 pm

By the way, I normally encode my final output from the 1080 60i at 1080 30p. I checked your other threads in the Premiere and FCPX forums and saw you were trying 60 fps progressive. Whatever software you use, it's going to be interpolating like crazy, creating frames you didn't actually shoot.

I have once or twice created 60p videos, but I shot on a different camera in 60p to start with.

I'm afraid you won't achieve good looking 60p video using 60i footage from an XH-A1. But you CAN create great looking 30p video.

Roger


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Anna Tam
Re: Capturing Canon XH A1 at 60i
on May 31, 2016 at 3:37:54 am

Hi Roger, thank you so much for the helpful replies!

That's a great idea -- connecting the camera to an HDTV and checking the footage that way.

The room I filmed in was very well lit with continuous lighting for green-screen. I uploaded a few seconds from the footage to the FCPX post and was told by someone who works on FCPX and reviewed the footage that the blurry frames I see are camera motion blur, and that they are not a result of an issue with capturing. But still, on some of the other shots, particularly the long shots actually (as opposed to medium shots and close ups) I find the amount of noise in the image very surprising. I filmed it in a very very bright environment.

From your experience, do you think that this kind of camera motion blur and noise has to do with incorrect shutter speed settings? I left the camera on A, and focused manually.

Thank you,
A.


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Roger Van Duyn
Re: Capturing Canon XH A1 at 60i
on May 31, 2016 at 1:23:05 pm

I never use A on the camera, always M, but I do use auto focus a lot on M. With M, the exposure stays constant unless I change it with the iris ring or the shutter speed wheel. Gain stays set at -3, 0, or my maximum of 6. Any more gain gives grainy footage. The shutter speed stays set at 1/60, but occasionally indoors I'll go to 1/30 if there isn't a lot of motion in what I'm filming. That brightens things up without having to set up lights. But I do set up lights at times.

I also use the light temperature presets on the top of the camera most of the time. In really weird light, I'll do a manual white balance.

Motion blur can come from too slow a shutter speed, or panning the camera too quickly. Pans need to be really SLOWWW, if at all. I often do pan and scan (Ken Burns effect) in post on video footage like on stills instead of panning while shooting. A lot of the camera moves in videos I make aren't really camera moves at all, but done in post.

Now, when you freeze a frame, it's not really abnormal to see a little motion blur in well shot footage. The fast shutter speeds have traditionally been used when wanting to be able to do slow motion, like shooting sports. But if you use a fast shutter speed for everyday shooting your videos won't look natural, but too stacatto, or too crisp, too sharp and artificial looking.

By the way, I suspect a couple of the posters in the other threads were confusing frame rate with shutter speed. 30P, 60P are frame rates. Shutter speed is different. You've probably heard of the 180 degree rule, why traditionally the shutter speed has been 1/60 sec for 30 fps playback. The 30fps can be either 30p or 60i.

Don't want to talk down to you, but didn't want to leave an important basic concept out of my explanation just in case. I still have gaps in my knowledge to fill. Lots of them.

Hope this helps. I still like my XH-A1 and A1S. I've been on shoots with guys using the XF-300 and 305. The big difference was tape less workflow. The recorders solved that. Footage was nearly identical, to my eyes at least. That's why I just bought the recorders instead of new cameras. 90% of the benefit for about 20% of the cost.

Roger


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Anna Tam
Re: Capturing Canon XH A1 at 60i
on Jun 2, 2016 at 1:21:31 am

Wow thank you so much for this incredible explanation!

I really appreciate it. I'm primarily a musician, and only make videos to accompany my music work. I don't know much about photography, so this is super helpful. I feel like I have a much better understanding now of not only the XH-A1, but how to approach shooting video in general.

I'm going to print it up and use it as a guide for shooting for next my project!

Thank you,

A.


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