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Getting Everything I Can Out Of The Canon HV30


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#1 JosephKHansalik

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 09:20 AM

I know it is an old camera at this point (tape based system), but it delivers good HD video and I can get a lot of use out of this camera as I work up my skill and technique shooting and cutting every day (I am up in Northern New Hampshire, New England, what a beautiful place to shoot).

 

Anyway I am a huge fan of the 70s film aesthetic as seen in TV shows like "Columbo", "Kojak", and in most any film shot on 5254 if you know what I am referring to so I am wondering how best to approximate that look really strongly on purely technical grounds (I've got the content down absolutely) without worrying too much about it.  I have Final Cut Pro X (no plug-ins yet although I am open to purchasing additional plug-ins like various types of grain and etc.) so can adjust color and especially exposure but how can I get within the general ballpark of not only 35mm film, but that sort of slow speed stock with a digital camera?  Is it normal to add an adapter and use old 35mm lenses would that help?  Audio is covered as I believe I have a Nagra 4.2 laying around with some reel-to-reel tape and a circa 70s Sennheiser along with a digital converter box so that I can import and edit into the computer.  Thanks I believe I am extremely talented and will work with whatever I've got (which right now happens to be HD digital with Youtube as my platform, I'll take on festivals when I think I have something that would be particularly interesting to exhibit), but would like to optimize the technology so that it doesn't look like crap.  Thanks in advance for your assistance.  Joseph K. Hansalik.


Edited by JosephKHansalik, 01 December 2015 - 09:22 AM.

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#2 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 12:59 PM

Well, there are lots of problems with the HD30, a camera I know quite well. 

 

1) It only does 29.97, so there goes the filmic frame rate look. 

2) It doesn't allow for smooth aperture or focus adjustment, so there goes pulling focus. 

3) It has a fixed lens, so even the adaptors won't work well. 

4) It has rolling shutter issues since it uses an early generation CMOS imager

5) It has a very limited dynamic range with limited ability to make manual adjustments in order to make it function properly. 

 

Now, I've done a lot of shooting with it's big brother the XAH1 

 

http://www.bhphotovi..._Camcorder.html

 

It's a proper camcorder, 24fps, fully manual; lens, aperture, shutter speed, etc. Plus it uses CCD's which don't have rolling shutter issues and have far better color separation then that early generation CMOS imager. The 8 bit HDV 4:2:0 color space file format is a hindrance, however with some post work (no plugin's necessary) you can make it look pretty good. 

 

Here is a short I made few years ago using free DaVinci Resolve to set a print stock type and Final Cut 7 to matte film grain which I got for free online. It's basically a 30 second piece of 35mm film that you composite into the shot. I did all of this work because the camera looks like dog shit without it, I had to do something or I'd just throw the project away and never watch it again. We recorded the audio through the XLR inputs as well using wireless mic's, but the audio was a lot of work in post production. 

 

You can probably achieve similar results with your camera... I just wanted to give you an example of what it could potentially look like. 

 


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#3 Freya Black

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 01:36 PM

Well, there are lots of problems with the HD30, a camera I know quite well. 

 

1) It only does 29.97, so there goes the filmic frame rate look. 

 

 

The HV30 shoots 24p but in a 60i wrapper and it's not properly flagged so there were only certain pieces of software that could extract the 24p properly! The PAL version shot 25p native so there were no issues there but NTSC version gave lots of pain in this context.

 

There was some cineform ssoftware that did a good job of sorting things out but cineform is now a GoPro thing and the special HV20 stuff is probably no longer available I suspect.

 

There is a whole article about trying to get 24p out of the camera here:

 

eugenia.queru.com/2007/07/13/canon-hv20-24p-pulldown/

 

Freya


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#4 Freya Black

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 01:43 PM

There also used to be special DOF adaptors for the camera and tricks to get manual control over the camera that involved an sd card and a torch and stuff if I remember but the thing was a pain to work with.

 

Still someone recently shot a movie on the PAL version of the camera.

Here's the trailer:

 


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#5 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 01:47 PM

Huh, odd... I guess the frame rate feature isn't 'unlocked' unless you go into cinema mode. I honestly never went to that mode because I color everything in post anyway and the last thing I need is more color tainting/enhancement done in-camera. 

 

I bet FCPX knows how to remove the pulldown, but it would be interesting to do some testing. The XAH1 flags properly, so it works perfectly in 24p mode. 


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#6 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 01:52 PM

There also used to be special DOF adaptors for the camera and tricks to get manual control over the camera that involved an sd card and a torch and stuff if I remember but the thing was a pain to work with.


Sure, I'm positive you can crack the camera into doing all sorts of things, maybe even make coffee if you work hard enough. Point is, out of the box the camera is pretty much a toy. Anyone who goes out to shoot a feature film on one, really doesn't know anything about cameras because even during the HDV-only days, there were far better cameras for not much more money. I mean shooting with one today is kind of a lesson in futility because there are so many inexpensive used cameras which blow the doors of it.
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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 02:06 PM

I suspect something like the free software tool ffmpeg could undo the interlacing and convert to ProRes to boot. We could probably figure out a command line to do it if someone provided a test file.

 

P


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#8 Zac Fettig

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 02:08 PM

You'll do the pulldown when you acquire the footage from the tape. Same as with Final Cut.

 

I used to use Cinema Tools to conform 24P footage with my XL2. Final Cut no longer includes Cinema Tools, but the ability is there:

https://discussions....685424?tstart=0

 

There are lens adapters (P&S Technik, Letus35, etc.) which can sometimes be found cheap. That said, I don't think I'd bother with one in your shoes.


Edited by Zac Fettig, 01 December 2015 - 02:10 PM.

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#9 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 02:38 PM

By the way, you might want to consider recording the HDMI output. You can do it on something as cheap as a Blackmagic Hyperdeck Shuttle. Vastly better quality.

 

P


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#10 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 02:41 PM

I suspect something like the free software tool ffmpeg could undo the interlacing and convert to ProRes to boot. We could probably figure out a command line to do it if someone provided a test file.


I've tried it before, it's not very good at working with transport streams. The most powerful tool I've found is cinema tools, part of the FCP 7 bundle. However, it's a lesson in futility because there are so many options!
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#11 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 02:42 PM

I used to use Cinema Tools to conform 24P footage with my XL2.


The XL2 has a real 24p mode, it puts proper flags in. So it will have no problem removing the pull down.
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#12 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 02:42 PM

By the way, you might want to consider recording the HDMI output. You can do it on something as cheap as a Blackmagic Hyperdeck Shuttle. Vastly better quality.


Again, the camera only spits out 60i without flags, so the moment you hit an external video signal, you're stuck with that frame rate.
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#13 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 02:58 PM

I'm working on the basis that you'd be committing yourself to a software step afterward to sort it out. I've never tried to do it with specifically HV30 footage, but I would be reasonably confident it's possible.

 

If someone can provide a sample file I'll look into it.

 

P


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#14 JosephKHansalik

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 03:34 PM

Thank you men lots to think about.  Seems it's time for an upgrade soon but at least this might be a good practice camera for now. 


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#15 JosephKHansalik

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 03:40 PM

I suspect something like the free software tool ffmpeg could undo the interlacing and convert to ProRes to boot. We could probably figure out a command line to do it if someone provided a test file.

 

P

Thank you very much Phil very kind.  I am waiting on a Firewire cable in the mail that will fit my current computer (MacBookPro) which I just upgraded, but if someone else has some raw HV30 footage in the meantime, great.


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#16 John E Clark

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 05:22 PM

For transforming 24p encoded in a 2:3 pulldown format  I used this tool...

 

http://jeschot.home....ll.nl/home.html

 

There is also

 

http://rarevision.com/5dtorgb/

 

I should check these tools, they both seem to have 'current' activity... but I do have old media that would potentially need these types of tools...

 

Never did use the HV30 or similar. Stuck with my DVX100B until the GH-1 came out.


Edited by John E Clark, 01 December 2015 - 05:23 PM.

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#17 JosephKHansalik

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 05:25 PM

Maybe here is a better question with this information: In the event I had up to about $1200 to invest in a camera (could be used also) in the next few months, what would be the best one (again want to get in the general ballpark of 5254 100T as seen in early and mid 1970s films and willing to spend some money on plug-ins for Final Cut Pro X if that is what is required) in case I accidentally shoot something for posterity (i.e. something I would potentially want put on 35mm, submitted to a festival, etc.)  It would be a shame if I did something artistically worthwhile but it turned out not to be so because I was too cheap to invest in good tech before I got serious.  JKH


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#18 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 05:30 PM

The Black Magic Pocket will get you pretty close for that price point if you learn how to grade your work. Get some Nikon or M42 lenses from that era too, and you'll be even closer. 


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#19 John E Clark

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 05:56 PM

Since I don't know various film stock types in 'detail'... if you can post pictures of what you have in mind to emulate... that would be good.

 

Here's a night shot from a Pocket @ ISO 1600 RAW (RAW is good, 12 bits of Dynamic range far better than 8 bit compressed...) @ f/2.0 28mm Nikon lens (70's vintage...). I was going for the silhouette look...

 

 

23159722200_2f03f05b22_z.jpg


Edited by John E Clark, 01 December 2015 - 06:01 PM.

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#20 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 06:59 PM

Maybe here is a better question with this information: In the event I had up to about $1200 to invest in a camera (could be used also) in the next few months, what would be the best one.


For that money you can buy a used pocket camera and some classic Nikon still glass off ebay. So I 2nd what Kenny and John said above, that's the right advice.

(again want to get in the general ballpark of 5254 100T as seen in early and mid 1970s films and willing to spend some money on plug-ins for Final Cut Pro X if that is what is required)


If you're using the current version of FCPX, you can integrate directly into DaVinci, which is where you'd be doing all the "film look". You don't need any plugin's, just a sample of film footage which are free online and you simply matte it onto the final output from DaVinci. It's quick, easy and works like a charm every time. Rendering takes a while, but the end result is something that looks very filmic. The sample I posted above is a pretty good representation of what it "could" look like. Though I will admit, the pocket camera will look considerably different as it's a more cinematic imager. I'm not one to screw around with looks in post because I'm more of a purist, get it in camera sorta guy. If I want a film look, I generally shoot on film.

in case I accidentally shoot something for posterity (i.e. something I would potentially want put on 35mm, submitted to a festival, etc.)  It would be a shame if I did something artistically worthwhile but it turned out not to be so because I was too cheap to invest in good tech before I got serious.  JKH


If it's a good festival piece, you will be asked for a DCP which can be made in DaVinci. Nobody strikes 35mm prints for shorts anymore, that just doesn't happen and it's overly expensive coming from a digital source. Generally speaking, if you have something awesome to make, why not find the money through donations and make it on film the way you want it to be made.
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