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Movies and Video For people making movies and editing video with their Mac.

A few questions about the Canon Vixia HF20


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output555

 
Member Since: Dec 04, 2009
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I just received my new HF20 and hope more experienced users can provide me with some guidance. Note: I am a Mac Pro user with OS 10.6.2 (Snow Leopard) installed so all questions will be relative to this system.

* What is the best general setting for the HF20 when shooting in daylight? There seems to be some controversy about the 60i default setting. For the best overall quality, should I use custom settings? If so, what are they?

* The HF20 is notorious for video noise in low light when in Auto mode. What is the best setting to reduce noise in low light? Is the Night setting sufficient or do I need to adjust the shutter, aperture or other settings?

* Using iMovie, can I import raw video directly from the SD card using a card reader or must I import it from the HF20 connected to a USB cable (SD card in the camcorder)?

* Can I fully edit and burn a video to a Blu-ray disc using iMovie and Toast Titanium 10 HD or must I use additional software like Compression or Final Cut?

I think that covers most of my questions. All help/advise is much appreciated!
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Nethfel

 
Member Since: Feb 25, 2009
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I can't necessarily answer specifically for the HF20, but I use an HF100, perhaps some of my thoughts on your questions may help you find good solutions for your camera...

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Originally Posted by output555 View Post
* What is the best general setting for the HF20 when shooting in daylight? There seems to be some controversy about the 60i default setting. For the best overall quality, should I use custom settings? If so, what are they?
I'v used the PF30 and the i60 settings on my camera, as well as adjusting the recording brightness - the settings on record mode should be accessible through the camera control menu (func button should bring up a set of main options, then at or near the bottom there might be an icon that looks like a square with a set of lines in it which would bring up the main camera control menu) - brightness is controlled through the general set button menu (the joystick on the flip out screen, press it in to get what I'm calling the set menu).

In terms of whitebalance, I've set manual, and I've let it do auto and I've selected a preset (like indoors, overcast, etc.) I've actually had really good luck with auto on the whitebalance.

Quote:
* The HF20 is notorious for video noise in low light when in Auto mode. What is the best setting to reduce noise in low light? Is the Night setting sufficient or do I need to adjust the shutter, aperture or other settings?
Manually set the brightness. Press the set button - if your camcorder screens operate like mine (they're probably similar, both cameras by canon and relatively close in model timing) - in the lower right corner on the screen a little square will appear. This is a bit of a weird tool to get used to. You use the joystick DOWN to cycle through options, UP to select an option to modify, LEFT and RIGHT (after selecting an option) to change its setting, and SET to make the menu go away. If you want to cancel your settings, with the set menu open, scroll down until you find the setting you've changed, then press UP which should disable the manual changes.

To adjust the brightness (gamma, exposure, or whatever the manual may call it) scroll (using down on the joystick) until you see something that looks like the sun (well, the sun icon that's normally used for indicating whitebalance type) then press UP to indicate you want to modify the setting. Then use the LEFT arrow to reduce the brightness - this, at least on my camera, appears to affect the gain of the camera - less gain = less noise. I usually move it to between -2 and -4 on the brightness and that tends to improve my low light image quality - at least enough where I only need to do minor tweaking in post (and I mean minor, if any). Depending on how dark will kind of determine how much you can adjust, and how much noise there will be no matter what if you still want a picture.


Quote:
* Using iMovie, can I import raw video directly from the SD card using a card reader or must I import it from the HF20 connected to a USB cable (SD card in the camcorder)?
You should be able to import either way. I usually import from a separate reader as I find the data transfer times faster on my reader then from my camera hooked into my Mac.


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* Can I fully edit and burn a video to a Blu-ray disc using iMovie and Toast Titanium 10 HD or must I use additional software like Compression or Final Cut?
I can't fully answer this - I don't have a bluray burner setup, and I haven't tried making an AVCHD DVD from my exported footage with Toast yet. I *think* you can, but like I said, I've never tried it.

My Macs: Late 2013 rMBP w/ 750m; Mac mini G4, 1.25 GHz, 512m ram (server); Late 2011 11" MBA, 1.8GHz i7, 4Gig Ram, 256Gig SSD, HD3000; Powerbook 12" G4 1.33GHz running Debian as a server; Apple TV (1080p version)
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output555

 
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Thanks very much for your advice, Nethfel. I'll fiddle with the settings you recommended.

I also welcome additional recommendations from others. It would be useful to know what manual aperture and shutter settings are best for low light.
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bobtomay

 
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You may want to try a Canon video camera specific forum for that.

Maybe this one.

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