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Always have a replacement battery for your XH-A1(s) I use these and they are good.


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I use and highly recommend godaddy!

It is what I use and though you have to wade through lots of ads to check out, it is reliable and the prices are very competitive and

More importantly customer service is great!

I highly recommend B&H for XHA1s and XHA1s's

and almost anything else you need for video from lights to whatever.

Their customer service is excellent and: I lost a gel holder for a 50 watt spot I ordered from them. (never open package in motel you might drop something.) When I called their supplier, Altman Lighting in Yonkers, they simply sent me a replacement part. This is a dependable company with dependable suppliers. Not a bad place to buy your XHA1s.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

Learn the XHA1

For the Canon XH-A1 and XH-A1s*






Isn't like the previous videos on DVD about learning the Canon XHA1. First of all this video focuses on the XHA1. Whether you are interested in filmmaking, video making, or movie making the Canon XH-A1 is an excellent choice.


Second this video is perfect for beginners as well as those with some video experience. It does not assume that you came to the XHA1 from another camera. So this video is more like programmed instruction than a quick tour of the buttons on the camera. It is not a talking head movie, most segments focus in on a camera part, or function and explain a specific action or setting.

XH-A1s* According to the representative I spoke to--the only important addition to the XH-A1s is a USB connector. Previous XH-A1's had only firewire. If you have firewire and the software you use can handle firewire, (for example Final Cut Pro) it may not be necessary to spend few hundred dollars more to purchase the XH-A1s. USB is a little faster. Decide based on your software. The USB port can be used to download directly to a hard drive, however, you can also do that with firewire. (In fact recording directly to a hard drive using firewire is a technique I used in creating this video.) The new USB port is not covered directly in this video, but ports are covered in general. And connections are in fact fairly straightforward and simple.

Here is what some of our customers said!

Dated 1/4/2010--5 (out of 5) Mr. Curran should be commended for this instructional DVD. Well done & informative - a terrific way to learn the Canon XHA1. I have the newer XHA1S & the material covered nearly everything I needed. The DVD arrived as promised & was a great watching & learning in front of my fire place during the cold holidays. Beats a hotel seminar & I found it to be more effective. Thank you Mr. Curran. Scott W.

5 ( out of 5) I purchased other DVDs to help me learn how best to use my Canon XH-A1. This is by far the best and the only one that I would recommend.

Mark M.

Dave, I purchased your "Learn The XHA1" dvd and highly recommend it as far superior to several other competing XH-A1 dvd - including the Vasst.

Best regards,
Elliott T

If you've ever tried to read a manual involving this complicated of equipment, then you know that they read like a quantum physics textbook. This manual is a visual step-by-step walkthrough. Excellent.

Lora H.

The DVD arrived on time. I like the detailed way the seller explains the features of Canon XH-A1. He covers more material than other teaching video I purchased before from another seller. Thanks and God bless you!


The Instructional DVD it's very useful even if you don't own a Camcorder as I don't yet, though you have to watch it a number of times for it has a steep learning curve I would recommended that you invest on a DVD before spending all that money .


4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky but great tutorial, March 6, 2011
By FreeThinker "FreeThinker" (USA)
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: 2008 Learn the (Canon XH A1, XH-A1) XHA1 TUTORIAL TEACHING PROGRAMMED-INSTRUCTION DVD (DVD)
I got the Canon XH-A1s just recently and was blown away by the amount of control you have over the settings. You have so much control, in fact, that the camera can be overwhelming once you step off the "automatic path". The other reviews capture most of the key points. There is almost no feature that goes unaddressed which is a testament to how well the instructor put time and thought into putting the DVD together.

So forget that the production is a littlle quirky, like the sound of the instructors voice switching from stereo to mono at times, this is a great way to learn the basics of using the myriad of features this camera presents.

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect to learn about my camera., July 27, 2010
By B H
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: 2008 Learn the (Canon XH A1, XH-A1) XHA1 TUTORIAL TEACHING PROGRAMMED-INSTRUCTION DVD (DVD)
Im getting into filmmaking as a hobby and this dvd was excellent! I bought a Canon XH A1s. I've had it for a couple months, fooling around with different shots but I have learned more in the first thirty minutes of this video than I have on my own. This is an easy to follow, step by step, perfect dvd for anyone who wants to start filming or even wants a refresher course. This video contains a lot of information about film as well, even if you don't have a video camera it suggests, you will still learn a thing or two about recording a decent shot. But, enough of this. I still have an hour left on the dvd and really want to finish!!!!



101 minutes (1 hour and 41 minutes) 42 Chapters.
A * below indicates a chapter heading

This DVD covers:

1 2 3 4

*Accessories--cases, inexpensive lenses to protect your expensive camera lens, and more.
*Getting Started Taping--basics of operation
*Batteries--this is the only video covering battery handling.

a b c d

*Tapes - this is the only video that shows tape preparation.... Along with tapes DROP FRAMES are defined and you'll learn the right way to determine if you should set your XHA1 to DROP, or NON-DROP, something the other videos don't do.
*Emergency Reset - how to reset the camera. This is the only video that covers the CORRECT and SAFE use of the under- LCD-display-recessed reset button.
*Date & Time--how to set up your date and time.

5 6 7 8

*VCR Controls--you'll start using these right away as we finish up tape preparation.
*Camera Settings--how to set up your camera so that you can follow along in the programmed instruction.
*XLR Input - this is the only video to show how to set up XLR connections.
You'll see how to set your camera to 24f if you plan on transferring to film.

1 2 3 4

*ND Filters --discussed with filming examples.
*Standby/lock -how to control taping.
*Auto & Green box --the auto modes compared.
*Tv, Av, and Manual--demonstrated visually.
*Spotlight & Night Modes--the benefits and weaknesses of these modes. This is the only video that discusses these.

*Manual & Auto Focus--what they are and how to use them.
*Position Preset--how to set up and use focus and zoom presets.

1 2 3 4

*Peaking & MAGN & Display - these focusing tools with black & white options are discussed and demonstrated and the display options discussed.
*SD Card Save Experiment - in this inventive first demonstration of how to save to card, you'll learn about direct to computer output.

*White Balance-in more detail than you'll find anywhere else. You'll see how to use White Balance and colored gels to get an outdoor/indoor shot.
*Exposure Lock--learn how this tool can help get the perfect mix of light.
*Manual Gain Controls--see how gain can be used and how to set values for the manual settings.

2 3 4 1

*Sound Recording Controls-- how to use the MIC attenuators for problem sounds like gunshots and more.*End Search & Review--how to preview what you just shot without loosing your place at your last recorded frame.

*Zoom Controls--both the variable and constant speed zooms are demonstrated.*Still Camera Features--everything you need to know about the fantastic still camera built into the XHA1. Includes everything you need to know about SD card handling.
*Cables--discusses the cables that come with the camera.

a b c d

*Recording & Display Setup --learn about the rest of the recording and menu display items.
And learn about UB tape naming techniques.
*Custom Keys-see how to set up custom keys.

a b c d

*Zebra Pattern-this is the only video that demonstrates how to use the zebra pattern for correct lighting.
*Advanced Time Code-shows how to use REC-RUN PS, why it is better than the UB method of naming tapes, and an in-depth demonstration of what FREE-RUN can do.*Camera Setup Redu--finishes up by demonstrating important camera setup items.

1 2 3 4

*Skin Detail-this is the only video that shows what you can do to teach yourself how to use the skin detail feature on this camera.
*Color Correction --you'll love this in-depth demonstration of color correction. Here it is used to create a black & white world where ducks have pink bills.
*Clear Scan - learn how to tape your television or computer screen.

1 4 2 3

*Custom Display & Custom Functions -- learn how to save the custom display settings discussed earlier in the video and more on what you can do with custom functions. (Also discussed, as needed, earlier in the video.)
*Custom Presets -Finally, you'll learn how to save, name, change, and find these wonderful settings that can give your video a film look, or any other look you want.

3 2 1 And Much Much More!

I created this video because frankly I needed to learn how to use my XHA1. Like everyone else I spent about $3,500 on it. (I actually did spend $3,500, they did not have a $250 rebate at the time.) And I found the available instructional video's lacking. I purchased both competing videos. I watched Vasst's INSIDE THE XHA1 XHG1 and learned a few things. But INSIDE THE XHA1 XHG1 is a talking head video, and although a vast improvement on Elite Video's "Canon XHA1 Made Easy," I felt the same way as other reviewers. When the subject matter got more complicated Douglas Spotted Eagle used more jargon. And when I got done watching his discussion of skin detail, for example, I wasn't sure I had learned anything. (Spotted Eagle has many DVDs out and is so knowledgeable about so much, perhaps if you bought all his videos you'd know what all his buzz words mean.) I just had this feeling after watching INSIDE THE XHA1 that there was some body of knowledge out there that I wasn't privy to. Still Spotted Eagle's video is worth watching. As I said, the Spotted Eagle DVD is much better than XHA1 Made Easy. The Elite crew, obviously never called or emailed Canon Tech Support. They tried to figure out stuff on their own, and consequently got at least one thing dead wrong. Their description of how to use the recessed-reset button under the LCD screen, isn't even close to how Canon says it is to be used, and could possibly damage the button. Basically, the "Canon XHA1 Made Easy" is a quick button list with a few highlights made by some guys who quickly moved along to other camcorder videos. It is worth watching-if everything had been as good as their demonstration of Tv mode this would have been hard to beat. (In fact, they have a terrific example of how they set up to tape their video as an extra feature. The only thing is the camera they show set up for taping that extra feature doesn't look like a Canon. ) But the major concern for me was to organize the material in a way that I could remember what everything is for, not only the buttons, but the menus and features. So instead of listing buttons, I start out with the basics, including those not even covered in the other videos, like preparing tapes and the battery(ies) (because this may be your first camcorder). And then get to actually taping right away, showing what things are for as we use them, giving examples along the way. And by the way, only my hands are in this video. All you can learn from a talking head is perhaps the head's mood. Every frame of this video is camera examples, graphics or both. Thus, there is a lot more packed into this 101 minutes than in either of the other videos. This is, in fact, programmed instruction. I show how to set the camcorder to the factory settings ( there are setting that can conflict with one another) so we start out on the same page, not only with the internal workings of the camcorder, but also all the external switches. Then we get to actually taping, covering everything step-by-step, learning as we go. By the time we get to the complex stuff, like skin detail and color correction, which are presented in a way that you'll understand, you'll feel like you know you camcorder. And just so you know, this is the camcorder/digital-still camera I use. This is not just a video about a camcorder I've looked at, and will not use again after this video comes out. This is the camcorder that is the most important to me in my own video projects, the one I needed to learn well, and the one I'm best able to teach you about. In fact, if you had a wedding to do, and had three camcorders, say two XHA1s and one XL1. and I asked, 'how would you set up for the ceremony,' you would be able to answer after watching this video.


This video explores aspects of using the XH-A1 in depth. And because the instruction is programmed it constantly builds your knowledge to help you not only understand but remember the myriad of taping and still photo possiblities this camera has to offer. Let's face it, the XHA1 has so many possible setting combinations that it is daunting. The video was designed by a teacher with many years of teaching experience.


Who is Dave Curran? For one thing he is the author of the bestselling Amazon short: How to Make a Low-Budget Digital Movie based on his experiences making the low budget feature film, KNAPTID: Four Days after the First Abduction. Although not everyone wants to make a movie this Amazon short has remained in the top 100 out of 3,500 Amazon shorts since it's publication and even reached #3. He makes his living making educational videos, such as the international bestseller, Learn Handgun & Rife Reloading in Under 41 Minutes. He now uses almost exclusively uses his Canon XH A1, though in this video a Canon GL-1 was also used.






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Custom Preset Links is a terrific site where you can find custom presets for you canon. I suggest joining, it is free. Here is a link. Sign up for a free membership then scroll down on the posting to

Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders

and then to

Sticky: XH Custom Presets Download Library
One cinematographer I admire is Steven Dempsey. His postings on preset setting are well worth looking at. at Here is some of his work.

Color Chart

Click on chart for full size.

Color Chart


Please do send us your questions.


Hi Dave, got your dvd and watched it this weekend. Lots of great info, though I have to go over a few things again to make sure I got it. The world of custom presets is new to me.  Also not sure I got about laying down timecode. Do you pack all your tapes? Super info ... left me wanting even more :)  




    I take it you mean ‘why’ lay down time code.    I always do.  As my experience in editing grew not having good time code, i.e. Without breaks becomes more and more annoying.  Now, I mentioned you don’t have to.  

Some people say that the added wear on the heads makes it not worth it.  I disagree for a number of reasons. If you don’t timecode you may have to do a (well on a mac with FCP it is called a) ‘capture now.’  And with that you have to capture more than you need. If you have to do a capture now for every little snipped of tape, instead of setting down coded segments the program can go through and capture on its own, you are talking a lot of personal time.

I always look at stuff I’ve taped.  (Not always a problem if you use end search to re-find the end of the tape)  And also change tapes.  (That is a problem.)  And it seems I always end up with tape that unless it was time-coded ahead of time would have time code holes.

So for me, I don’t worry about wear.

Recently someone else asked about the degree of wear time code causes.  I did contact Canon Tech Support, but understand their not wanting to to commit to a wear prediction. After all individual cameras will vary. One customer solved the problem simply by getting a 5 year extended warranty which I would recommend.  I can say, I had a Canon GL-1, used it extensively and never had a head wear problem (in 5 years).


Morning Dave, I will like to do some time lapse photography; What additional equipment do I have to get?




Check out

Need an external monitor? Try this as a lightweight, fairly inexpensive monitor. It includes a cigarette lighter adapater so you can use a 12 volt gel battery with it. (Its battery will not last near as long as the XHA1's.) You will need a "3-Way Coupler" to connect the cables to your camera (to connect the red, white, and yellow ends) which you can get at Radio Shack®. Radio Shack® has its own version of this TV called the ACCURIAN which retails for around $200.



If you are interested in filmmaking, movie making, digital movie making the XH-A1 is the camera for you.

Links Reviews of the XHA1

My favorite links

Next is one on the XL H1 but remember the XH A1 has the same CCD's i.e. the same picture quality.
And showreel may require a subscription to view these.

Links to Canon

Links to Canon support


The short below was shot entirely with the Canon XH-A1 in HD at 60i (interlaced).

It is no longer in HD but you can get an idea of the quality of images shot with this camera.

You can shoot in HD and then convert to other formats and retain a much higher quality.

Even if you don't yet know how to make a digital movie you can't lose with the Canon XHA1

Online Videos by



The following site will help with understanding sound. And some of the terms

in the book above. There are many more pages talking about every aspect

of the physics of sound in a pretty understandable way.

Time Lapse

Check this site out if you want to do time lapse with your canon.


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