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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon GL2, GL1 and PAL versions XM2, XM1.


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Old June 11th, 2003, 11:12 AM   #16
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Focus you should be able to tell through the viewfinder (EVF) or LCD, same with composition although you are recording more than will show up on the TV screen so be careful about filling to the edges.

Color there isn't much you can do except set the white balance. Sure you can tweak your colors warmer or cooler using the set-up but in terms of hands on changes while you record, not much. Any color changes are set before the shot.

That leaves exposure. Exposure can be tough to adequately judge with the viewfinder and/or LCD. You need to work with your camera enough to know what brightness levels to set the LCD/EVF to be equal to what you are actually shooting. Zebras can really help here. If you have the zebras turned on then anything with zebra stripes will be over-exposed. Too many zebras can make it hard to focus though.
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Old June 11th, 2003, 01:50 PM   #17
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A properly calibrated field monitor is your best bet to see exactly what your getting while shooting. In addition to color and exposure it's much easier to make sure your focus is dead on.
The downside, however, is that they are quite expensive- roughly $1000 for a decent 8-10" model and it might not be suitable for the type of shooting your doing. I'd love to have a field monitor during wedding shoots but it's just not feasable due to the shooting enviroment. Besides who want's their wedding to look like a movie production....it'll draw the guests attention from the ceremony it'self to see me fiddling around with all this gear!

Another option would be external LCD, I know I know you already have one...but the GL-1 should be ashamed to still be using such a small LCD! I know from using both my DVX100 and GL-1 extensively that the DVX100 is alot more pleasant to monitor with it's built in 4" monitor. At least I can tell if my focus is on.
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Old June 18th, 2003, 09:35 AM   #18
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image suggestions for GL1

Chris,

I'm relatively new to the GL1 myself, just having gotten mine a few months ago. I can see in your questions some of the same problems I was dealing with. So, if you don't mind a little blind leading the blind, I could add a few tips that I learned the hard way.

1) Video gain on the GL1 is weird. Even when you're in full manual mode, it automatically sets the gain in reference to how much light is hitting the ccd when you turn the camera on. What this means is that if you turn the camera on before you take the lens cap off (or if you turn it on in a low-light situation), it automatically sets the gain at +12...ack! Even if you're using one of the auto modes (which the purist in me does not recommend), make sure you go over to manual and reset the gain to 0dB to reduce grain. (It also helps to be shooting with 1/60 shutter speed, although there are some unusual exceptions to that rule.)

2) It's true that the LCD is a lousy gauge of picture quality. Having a properly calibrated field monitor in tow is going to help you get a wysiwyg image. But, obviously, that's not always practical. If you want to shoot good footage without worrying about a monitor, it isn't too hard. Start with what I already said, 0dB gain and 1/60 shutter speed. Adjust your exposure with the iris. (If you're going for a specific depth-of-field effect, you may have to break this rule, but that's a separate issue. )

3) Then, all you have to worry about it is proper exposure. Here's where the zebra stripes are handy. You can't trust the LCD for exposure. Even if it's properly calibrated, which is almost impossible given the limited controls, it's going to be highly succeptible to bad information from glare and off-angle viewing. The eyepiece viewfinder is better but still not ideal. The zebra stipes are great, however. They're like a poor-man's waveform monitor. I'm not sure how much you know about zebras, so forgive me if this is redundant to you. The zebras on the GL1 are set to 95 IRE. That means any time you see striping in your viewfinder, those areas have exceeded 95 IRE in brightness. 100 IRE is generally taken as the maximum brightness for an element in a shot. (There are obscure instances where you might want something to blow out over 100 IRE, but they're relatively uncommon.) So, as a general rule of thumb your highlights should be around that 95 IRE mark. There is an aesthetic choice here. You can either set exposure so you just start to see some stiping on the hightlights. Or, if you prefer a slightly darker image, find the point right where the stiping disappears and go from there. The GL1 iris moves in increments of full stops, so the difference here is pretty small.

Anyway, sorry to be so long-winded. Bottom line: avoid gain, avoid fast shutter speeds, and use your zebra stripes. You'll be pleased with what you get.
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Old June 18th, 2003, 10:58 AM   #19
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Stu,

Thanks for the tips for sure! I was out all weekend taking outside shots of Glacier National Park here in Montana, which I'm grateful to say I have such a natural wonder right here in back yard! I kept close tabs on my gain, as well as used the zebra stripes to monitor my exposure. I haven't had the time yet to compare my footage to see the results, but I remember the shots appearing to be dark on LCD, so we'll see how they turned out.

On the topic of Shutter speed, I'm a little embarrassed to say that I've never messed with the shutter speeds, mainly because I'm not sure what results I'll get from the different settings.

Needless to say, I think with the help of your comments and the comments of the other members, Iíll be able to shoot with a little more confidence that itís taking the quality shot I expect from this camera. :-)

~Cheers~
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Old June 20th, 2003, 12:53 AM   #20
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Thanks for the tips guys!

Looks like I'm 80% there.... Next I'll be adjusting the shutter speeds to 1/60 as suggested to hopefully give me even a better shot. Thanks again for all your help.

I have noticed however, the graininess is gone, but I don't have the color that I would normally expect. All color settings are set to neutral. Is this common? The only lenses I was using was my UV and a Polar lense for the outside shot...

I can fix it with some color correction, but it seems that the shots should be more vivid without the need for any color corrections. It's mainly the greens arn't rich enough. Almost everything has a brownish tone, maybe too much red....

Thanks again,

Chris
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Old June 20th, 2003, 01:04 AM   #21
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Chris,
It's hard to comment on footage I can't see. But I can say that a polarizing filter can significantly affect apparent color saturation in bright sunlight. Perhaps it merits further experimentation.

BTW, your noted location is making me wistful. For several successive years I spent a week or ten days out in Glacier. There's just no country like it anywhere. I haven't been back for nearly 20 years. Maybe it's time!
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Old June 20th, 2003, 01:59 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ken Tanaka : Chris,
It's hard to comment on footage I can't see. But I can say that a polarizing filter can significantly affect apparent color saturation in bright sunlight. Perhaps it merits further experimentation.

BTW, your noted location is making me wistful. For several successive years I spent a week or ten days out in Glacier. There's just no country like it anywhere. I haven't been back for nearly 20 years. Maybe it's time!
Ken,

Definitely more experimentation is in order. :-)

I will add that every day I am grateful to live in such a majestic surrounding. I am truly blessed to be just a half-hour drive from the park's west entrance. I grew up in Hawaii, and upon moving here, all the Locals would ask how I could leave such a beautiful place for Montana. They really had no idea how much beauty they had right in their back yard. If you going to make a trip back, you had better make it soon. There's talk that they will be rebuilding the 'Going To The Sun' road which is expected to close that pass for a few years anyways. :-)

In an experiment, I uploaded a color correct sample of my footage from Father's Day this past weekend. I was driving and holding the cam at the same time, so immediate adjustments on the exposure was rather difficult at times, but this is not for you to critique my work, but rather to have another glimpse of Glacier National Park. I did have a little fun with it, so I hope it doesn't give you a headache. :-)

Click Here

~Cheers~
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Old June 20th, 2003, 02:30 AM   #23
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Chris,
Thanks for that clip. Sun Road looks just like I remember it! Of course I drove a bit slower <g>. Yup, spring time is goat time up there. I must have a box full of slides of those mountain goats (not to mention Douglas Chadwick's "A Beast the Color of Winter" as a result).

Going To the Sun Road and Highway 1 near Big Sur must surely be the most awe-inspiring drives in the U.S.

Thanks!
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Old June 20th, 2003, 03:08 AM   #24
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Sound?

Chris - Just reassure me that you haven't applied sound? - Apologies if you've said this in your very informative posting - maybe I missed it . . . I've just tested my system by downloading from the Vegas Users website and audio is working.

Oh yeah - Your clip is stunning!

Grazie
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Old June 20th, 2003, 10:12 AM   #25
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Graham,

Rest assured, there is no sound. :-)






This was probably a bad example, but I did manage to get rid of the grain. Some important lesson's were learned from this shoot:
  1. Use the Zebra Stripes to keep a check on your exposure.
  2. Take the lens cap off before turning on the camera. Check and re-check the video gain.
  3. If youíre going to shoot through a windshield, make sure it's clean, and try to use manual focus so the camera doesn't focus on dead bugs splattered on the window.
  4. If youíre going to shoot from a car, try to rig up a mount for the camera so you don't have to hold the camera and drive at the same time.

In using the zebra stripes for monitoring exposure I'm finding the choice of shots and what content is in the shot to be important. In this example, where there is Sun and Snow, but also trying to take good shots of Non-Snow area's becomes a difficult task. It setting the exposure to reduce the strips on the snow, and clouds...the foliage and mountain area's turn out rather dark, losing most of their detail. The next time, I'll play more with the white balance settings, as well as, being more particular with the shots I take.

Until next time,

~Cheers~
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