Sunday, June 22, 2008

Canon XHA1: Best of the Best - Footage

Now, when I started this series, I vowed to look extensively not only at the Sony EX1 and the Panasonic HVX-200A, but also the Canon XHA1, a significantly lower-cost alternative that does have some good potential if used in the right hands.

For the moment, I am just going to provide reference to some of the better footage that has been developed with this camera, whose price has dropped significantly from its already low starting point for a prosumer camera. Indeed, this camera seems to be the bridge between the territory of "consumer" and "prosumer."

Employed properly, though, it can produce some professional quality work.

If Philip Bloom is the EX1 kingpin, then perhaps Marlon Torres is making a similar name for himself with his Canon XHA1 work.

Here are a couple clips:


This is quite a large file at 720p. If you go to you can find links to the clip at smaller resolutions.

One thing that will stand out is Mr. Torres' talent for matte painting and post-production, which simply make the XHA1 look good through no virtue of its own. That said, the camera did give him what he needed to get this piece done. Note as well, though, that the piece seems to be heavily ADR'd (re-recorded dialogue in post). Many people have not been impressed with the XHA1's audio recording capabilities and sampling rates. I don't know if the camera was a limitation for on-set sound or not (it would not be fair to assume so - anything from sound design to microphone quality to microphone placement to an airplane overhead could have forced a need for ADR) but I just wanted to flag the issue. I wanted to flag the issue without drawing any hasty conclusions about the XHA1 and sound, that is.

Another project in the works by Mr. Torres is JUNIPERO, where a glimpse will show some of the additional imagery he is capturing with this camera.

Here, as well, is a nice clip put together by a harp player. He did some significant grading in post production but one notable thing about this clip is that he used the stock XHA1 lens - no depth of field adapter.

Si Bheag Si Mhor - harp tune by Carolan played by Mark Harmer from Mark Harmer on Vimeo.

As well:


A MUSIC VIDEO (Tamar - "A New Day") filmed with the XHA1 and a Letus Extreme.

And a pair of clips by Steven Dempsey:

Postcards from the Road from Steven Dempsey on Vimeo.

Olympic National Park from Steven Dempsey on Vimeo.

Again, the above was done with the stock lens and no adapter.

Here is a fairly cool motorbike clip. Some nice editing but do notice that the headlights of the motorcycle create a bit of vertical banding with the CCD chip as the bike races down the highway. See, I'm not making this stuff up. It actually kind of works with this clip but generally speaking, it is a pretty ugly phenomenon.

little video "SPEED" from Maxim Lupascu on Vimeo.

And some work with a macro lens...

macro snail from Marco Rognoni on Vimeo.

And the following clip... Well, I just like it. It's not a technical clinic in terms of cinematography or camera operation. The settings on the camera aren't ideal (the highlights get blown out at the end) and it's really quite simple. But hey, the guy was making his mother's birthday present and it's just a nice little clip.

So Many Colors! HD from Nick Mitzenmacher on Vimeo.

And here is the TRAILER FOR "EVOLUTION", a snowboarding piece shot on the XHA1. Looks pretty good.

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