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By: Danette Mckay
Modern digital video camcorders can produce high quality videos for a relatively low price. Digital camcorders have many benefits over old analog tape camcorders. The Canon XH A1 is one such digital camcorder. Here are some tips about it and about shooting videos.

Lets get the technical bits and bytes behind us first. The Canon XH A1 is a true 16:9 wide screen high definition 1080i camcorder. It sports a 20 times optical zoom and an image stabilizer that is really necessary to make using such a powerful zoom practical. The Canon captures color using 3 CCDs 1.67MP each.

Taking videos involves lots of movement. Camera movement is not a problem with still photography for example a fast shutter speed can compensate for those. Video on the other hand includes camera movements by definition both the photographer and the objects move as the video is taken. Professional video photographers know how to smoothly move the camera to get stable videos. Amateur videos on the other hand seem to be unstable with sharp camera movements. Such amateurs would gain a lot from the Canon image stabilizers that automatically compensate or movement and result in smoother and more professionally looking videos.

The Canon XH A1 uses a 3 CCD system for color reproduction. Lower end camcorders use one CCD to capture the video. While one CCD can do the work it does not provide the same color reproduction quality and image clarity. Each CCD captures one color element optically filtered.

I opened the box to try out the new camera. The first thing you notice is that the manual is not consumer oriented. It is very hard to follow unless you are a professional. For example a simple thing like how to turn the camera on is missing and finding the on button for this camera is not an easy task.

And finally here are some general tips for using a camcorder. Camcorders are heavier and bigger than still cameras (unless you plan to use one of those low quality camcorders which I do not recommend). Get a comfortable carrying bag that you can put on your shoulders for the whole day. Carrying a camcorder is a nuisance but the great videos are worth it. Like any other photography pay attention to the composition and lighting these are the most important elements. Try to avoid sudden moves or zoom changes, videos should be smooth and zoom should changes should be slow and should be done at the right timing (again composition is king).

Like any other electronic device camcorders run on a power source that is finite. Batteries can last from less than an hour to a few hours depending on the camcorder and your usage. The Canon XH A1 battery can last up to 7 hours but it would be a mistake to rely on that. Buy two spare batteries and carry them with you. It is a good practice to always recharge all your batteries whenever you get a chance so that you never run dry.

And lastly camcorders also capture audio. The Canon XH A1 has a sensitive high quality microphone. Remember to take advantage of it but also be careful from scenes that result in an annoying to hear sound track. For example block the microphone from wind or try to avoid shooting video when there is lots of ambient noise.
Danette Mckay explains more about many subjects on canon xh a1 1.67mp 3ccd high-definition camcorder wit...
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