xl1 quality problem

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    • #37687

      Hi..i’m new here and i have several question regarding capturing video using firewire. I’m using Canon XL1 and recently i’m trying to make a wedding video for my cousin wedding..sort of personal video just for him and i did recording it for about 10hours worth of footage. the problem is when i capture it into my pc..the quality of the footage was like a standard consumer handycam as if i’m using a handycam. is canon xl1 video quality supposed to be like that?

      is there a differences when capturing dv using different software? i’m using iMovie.

    • #167047

      Capture settings can be one of the greatest barriers in determining the quality of capture. If the format is MPEG-2 TS (format of HDV camcorders), then you should capture in MPEG-2 TS (transport stream) quality. You also shouldn’t be tricked by the quality of preview. Numerous times, I’ve let my judgement of quality suffer due to the degraded quality of preview. The preview quality does not affect the final output, but rather serves as a scope in which you preview your video while editing. Your preview box may have the option for adjusting quality.

      In Sony Vegas Pro 9, there’s a drop box for adjusting the preview to Good, Better, Best, Full, or Auto. Your software may also lack support for HDV capture, but instead capture using the DV-AVI format which only supports SD video. But if the format is equivalent, the results should not be affected. You could also test this thereom by connecting your camcorder to a TV set via S-Video and see if the result matches.

    • #167048


      The XL1 is a straight standard def DV camera. When you capture your footage you should be doing it in the Uncompressed setting provided by your NLE software. Since you’re using a Mac-based program, you should be pulling it in as an uncompressed quicktime mov.

      Now because the video is interlaced, it’s going to look odd at times on your progressive scan computer/laptop monitor. That’s natural don’t sweat it. Your camera has separate XLR and S-video connections that you can hook it up to a separate television (preferably an old 4:3 standard def job) so you can see what is actually going into your computer. Note that there will be a significant difference between what you will see in your preview as XTR suggested and what you will see on the TV. However long as you exposed, focused and composed your shots well what goes from the camera into the computer will be just fine.

      Where you will ‘lose’ quality from your images will come from the compression settings when you output your completed edit. If you stay uncompressed when you export to QT, you’ll get out what you put in. If you export to any of the MPEG settings (1, 2 or 4) you’ll get various amounts of image quality loss depending on your compression settings.

    • #167049

      Thanks composite1 and XTR-91 for the information,really really helpful! 🙂 kind of getting the whole idea of this capturing problem. anyway, iMovie doesn’t have any capture setting, it just straight away capturing without any option for the format which is the DV format. Is the the .DV format can be considered as uncompressed?

      i do have final cut pro, perhaps need to try to capture using it. However, what is the best format for the capture output beside the uncompressed mov? Let say if i’m using Sony Vegas,whats the best setting for the capture output?

      composite1, what do you mean by straight standard def DV camera? Thanks for your reply~

    • #167050

      The DV-AVI (.avi) format is not an uncompressed video format, but compresses at a high bitrate of 25 Mbps and retains a lot of original quality. The Sony RED camcorders that cost thousands of dollars are the only ones I know of that record in the RED (.r3d) uncompressed format. For the vast majority of users, an uncompressed stream of video would become virtually unbarable. A “straight standard def DV camera” refers to the fact that it is a DV camcorder that records standard definition, rather than an HDV (High Definition Video) camcorder. In your case, you should capture directly using the DV-AVI format. If you have questions about any additional settings available, then you’ll have to post them.

      Video capture is one of those things that I’ve never had to encounter, and therefore never had any problems. I’ve always recorded/edited using either my JVC GZ-MG155 or GZ-MG505 hard disk camcorder. The one side affect posed for editing MPEG-2 is the slow nature of editing and rendering. I hadn’t experienced any dramatized lag with Sony Vegas Pro 9 – MPEG-2 editing posedno exception.

    • #167051

      I disagree. He should NOT capture uncompressed. Uncompressed video requires a RAID, which I’m assuming he doesn’t have. If he was trying to capture in iMovie, that indicates to me that he is a novice and isn’t going to be doing anything wild that even requires uncompressed video.He should capture in the DV-NTSC format – capture in the format that was recorded.

      I do agree that you should be judging the quality of your image on a TV and not a computer screen, but I don’t think you’re going to be connecting your XLR connections to a TV for audio. I believe those connections on that camera are inputs, not outputs. Also, note that just because you shot with an XL1, doesn’t mean your footage won’t look like handycam footage. Good shooting requires experience and knowledge of how to use the gear. Simply using the gear doesn’t guarantee professional results.

      As for the Sony RED comment, I’m pretty sure Sony has nothing to do with RED. Sony and RED are two different brands, and RED was created by the guy who started Oakley. And the RED files are, in fact, compressed. If their 4K resolution was truly uncompressed, the file sizes would be about 35GB per minute, but I understand the point you were making there.

      In my opinion, if you have FCP, capture and edit in that.

    • #167052

      “He should NOT capture uncompressed. Uncompressed video requires a RAID….”


      I’ve captured DV uncompressed footage with my XL1s with and without RAID’s since I bought my setup in ’02. Jeez man we were using 80 and 100GB drives to edit whole films shot on DV back then. Imagine my glee when I got my hands on a 250GB portable drive! I’ll add to XTR’s explanation of DV with by using the Uncompressed setting you are not adding more compression to the already compressed video.

      Yeah, if Head wants to put all 10 hours worth of video on his computer’s primary drive you’re right that would be a problem. Getting a large volume (500GB or bigger) portable firewire drive would be the best thing. As far as ‘Wild’ goes, if Head wants the video to have as much image quality as he can, uncompressed is the way to go. The old school way was to just import at low res and export uncompressed. That worked well with tape based setups when you were outputting to tape. Outputting to DVD your settings are different as you are using a compression codec (MPEG2) and will not be able to go uncompressed.

      Head, what media format are you planning on outputting to anyway (tape or DVD?)

    • #167053

      “I’ve captured DV uncompressed footage”

      Maybe I’m just misunderstanding you because I’ve never heard of DV uncompressed. DV is compressed. Saying “DV uncompressed” is like saying “compressed uncompressed.” If I had to guess, it sounds like capturing the footage in format it was recorded in. Does your NLE call it DV uncompressed? FCP calls it DV-NTSC (unless you shot DV50…then FCP calls it DVCPro50)

      And if all he’s doing is cutting, which I’m assuming he is because he’s was attempting to capture in iMovie, then he’s not going to lose any quality at all capturing as DV-NTSC and then exporting DV-NTSC

    • #167054

      Maybe the semantics should indicate, “no further compression” just so everyone can agree on that aspect of ingesting video to the computer from the original compressed DV format.

    • #167055

      “Maybe I’m just misunderstanding you because I’ve never heard of DV uncompressed.”

      “I’ll add to XTR’s explanation of DV with by using the Uncompressed
      setting you are not adding more compression to the already compressed

      Seriously not wanting to get into a detailed tech lesson, the shot version is to do true ‘Uncompressed’ video, you need a Capture Card capable of capturing SD or HD footage without compression formats that were uncompressed at the time I mentioned (BetaCam SP, DVCPro, DigiBeta and HDCam.) You would capture the footage at low res (compressed) to use for your edit and then ‘res up’ to uncompressed to output to tape or digital master.

      On the Avid systems I worked on that only had DV capture available when you selected your capture settings you could adjust the codec by selecting ‘uncompressed’ DV NTSC or lower compression settings. Flash forward to now and depending on your nle, when capturing using qt or avi codecs you can select ‘uncompressed’ which all it will do is capture the footage without any extra compression. Using the uncompressed setting when exporting gives your digital master a bit of a bump in image quality. However, that is not the same as using a pro codec like ProRes and the like. I was trying to keep it simple for head who is obviously a novice.

      Also, you are incorrect about Vegas and RED. Vegas 9 supports r3d files in both 2 and 4k natively for editing on the Vegas timeline.

    • #167056


      You hit it on the head. I am guilty of ‘Somantics’.

    • #167057

      Lots of information there, thanks..need to digest it slowly.

      Right now i’m trying to capture it using FCP but there are option that i don’t quite know such as ApplePro Res 422, uncompressed 10-bit PAL, DV-PAL..etc. Since i’m living in a PAL country so the right option is DV-PAL?

      Let me state my situation. I want to capture all of my footage in a highest/raw/how it was originally captured quality since i’m going to edit it back in Premier (not too expert i must say). The reason why i’m capturing using FCP is because my pc doesn’t have the FireWire port so i have to borrow my friend mac and use FCP (iMovie was just my 1st attempt in capturing)

      Anyone who has ever using FCP,let say you’re using XL1 and going to capture it to a mac using FCP, what are the best option you will use in achieving the most original capture footage because i need the detail. Now, i think the best setting would be just DV-PAL or perhaps the Uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2? Is it correct?

      Sorry because maybe i’m asking too much and maybe some of it sounds stupid. i could choose the normal “send it to a tape convert shop” option but then i’ll never learn anything right? This is my first time working on a video so need to learn as much as i could. Thanks in advance for all.

    • #167058

      I don’t think you’ll be able to capture as ProRes or 10-bit Uncompressed without a capture card, and it’s only really necessary if you will be applying a lot of graphics and/or color grading. And 10-bit uncompressed requires a fast RAID.

      If you live in Europe, then yes, you have to capture as PAL, not NTSC. So go with DV-PAL. That’s what your footage was shot as if you live in Europe. Sorry, I think we were all under the impression that you live in the US.

      I’m not sure how capturing in FCP will work with Premiere since I only use the FCP suite. If Premiere accepts .mov files, which it probably does, then you should be Ok.

      “Sorry because maybe i’m asking too much and maybe some of it sounds stupid. i could choose the normal “send it to a tape convert shop” option but then i’ll never learn anything right?”

      No worries. Everyone here is happy to help as long as you are polite, which you are.

    • #167059

      Haha..thanks man..not that polite i guess..just a shy new guy eh..whatever it is..you guys do help me A LOT in understanding all of this (well..maybe part of it)

      Alright, think i’m better start off with the projects..hope it came out like the way i want.

      Now after editing it,my only problem is to import it to final output and from my past experience, it took way too huge space just for a 30 second video (I’m a graphic students in my local university and one of my assignment was to create a graphical montage for about 30 seconds). Normally after the editing, i’ll turn it into .avi but it came out as a “hella big” file just for a 30seconds montage and i don’t want to imagine how a 4-5minutes video are going to turn into.

      Is there any way to export my final video into a “not-so-big” file but still keeping at it best quality? normally i just use .avi when it come to exporting the final output. Because i can’t play a running smooth video in a PC with a big file size.

    • #167060

      Consider using Mpg 4 or H.264 (same thing).

    • #167061

      Capture with the format in which the footage was originally recorded – no conversion should happen there.

    • #167062

      I hope everyone understand when i mean final output it means my final video (after capture,edit in NLE software)..so that we’re discusing on the same PAGE 🙂 my english are not that good,SORRY.

      EarlC, what are the differences between MPG4 and .avi and .mov? I mean the quality and also the file size.

    • #167063

      .avi & .mov in simple terms is generally considered DVD quality, but that really depends on a multitude of factors regarding what compression is finally applied. QT gives options for CD quality 15 frame, High Quality, web and/or H.264, etc.

      Your best playback quality, regardless of the size of the final output WILL be larger, in most instances MUCH larger than any of the more compressed formats.

      For web, e-mail, whatever, and for iPod, iPhone, other programs, as well as for projects that are de-interlaced, rendered progressive and converted to flash for web playback (among the many and several options for web related use) H.264 aka mpeg4 is considered to be much more sophisticated and less lossy than some other choices. It is a widely accepted and conventionally applied format that offers smaller files but remains of a better quality than many others.

      Beauty is in the mind of the beholder. If I am not worried about download time, playback stuttering or choking whatever web related playback forum is in the equation then I will go with DVD quality. And, I will go with DVD quality if I am going to deliver on DVD – to heck with file size so long as it fits the blank I am using to record and deliver.

      Otherwise, I usually apply some setup with H.264. With many in the business this is a subjective argument, as visual quality again, is in the eye of the beholder – numbers, ratios whatever other methods of measure are utilized to evaluate the final output are all numbers that certainly should be considered, but I have gone strictly by the numbers and not been satisfied with the end results in the “eyeballing” of it. So, I adjust whatever I can (I am NOT a Technogeek and do NOT profess to be totally adept at understanding the many and various differences, nor can I further explain them in technolanguage) until something occurs that pleases me visually.

      I accept whatever numbers, compression-wise, it takes to get the applied purpose and visual playback I personally like and can accept. For everything else…whatever.

    • #167064

      The problem with .avi was the last time i’m exporting my project (1minute long) into .avi, it turn up to be as big as 20GB. I don’t know, maybe because of the heavy effects (using After Effects)..guess had to figure it out by changing some settings. Perhaps its different between graphical montage and video.

      Thanks EarlC and everyone..did help me a lot! And for everyone who might want to add up any information, feelfree to comment in here, i can’t stop learning 🙂

    • #167065


      I have some questions about my gear. I’m shooting with a Canon XHA1 camera. The HDV settings are 30 FPS in 1920X10080.

      I see from the above posts that you should capture with the same format that you recorded. As best I can tell, the raw footage out of the camera when captured into Premier Pro comes out as Movie Clip (.mpeg) I’m not sure what that means.

      I have set Premier to capture at HDV, 30FPS, 1920x1080i. Is that correct?

      Thanks for anyones help,


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