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


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Old September 9th, 2003, 04:04 PM   #1
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Color and Sound questions

I recently acquired a GL2 for use in the church I attend. It's got much better color and sharpness than the 10 year old Sony camcorder we were using and the picture looks much better in general. It's much more powerful and sophisticated than what I have been using and so I have some questions

Question 1: However, the skin tones as seen on the TV that I monitor with and on the TVs located around the church is noticeably "redder" and I'm not certain how to bring the red component down. The lighting in the auditorium is from incandescent bulbs and during the day there is also light from the windows. (The walls in the background are kind of a cream color and look fine.)

(A side effect of the skin tone problem is that there is a reddish ghost or blur from the skin tones on the VHS tapes I make. I haven't reviewed it from the mini DV tape yet.)

Would this be a white balance issue?

Question 2: I have a line level audio input available, and would like to use that as the audio that goes on the miniDV tape. How best to get that audio into the GL2?

Question 3: Where should I look to find out about how to use the color bars and the zebra bars?

Thanks for your help.

-- Will
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Old September 9th, 2003, 07:49 PM   #2
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Canons just naturally have a warmer color than Sony. Sony tends to bluish colors, especially on lower light levels.

You maybe able to correct this by manual white balance and/or adjusting the tint setting in the camcorder. If you have strong mixed light sources, it may never be right all the time for all the scene. In that case you should consider modifying the lighting to provide a more uniform color temperature

Saturated reds tend to smear, especially on analog video output, and VHS. You can often help this by reducing color saturation when you make the copies.
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Old September 9th, 2003, 07:52 PM   #3
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Adjusting the white balance might help, but you can also desaturate some of the red color using the Custom Preset button. (See page 83 of the manual.) If you have fancy editing software, you can also color correct the footage you've already shot before printing it back out to tape.

Not sure what you're trying to do with the audio... what are you trying to connect? CD/tape player? Microphones? There's a MIC input on the side of the camera that might work, otherwise you'll have to buy an adapter or mix the audio in post.

For the other stuff, check the manual: color bars are on page 67, zebra pattern on page 85. If you don't have a hard copy, you can download it from the Canon website:

http://www.canondv.com/downloads/product_manuals.html
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Old September 9th, 2003, 09:08 PM   #4
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Hi Will,
Ditto Don's and Andres' remarks on the reddishness of the GL2. Personally, I prefer to use the Custom Preset to desaturate the reds a tick or two. That works independently of your white balance settings, a good thing.

Re: color bars, this is generally a tool for calibrating monitors or adjusting color balance to footage while editing. I generally record 30 secs of bars on the start of every tape, although I do not use them as anything other than a leader. The Video University site has a good tutorial on using bars to calibrate production monitors.

The zebra display is a tool to help you judge how hot (overexposed) your image is. Areas that are at or above the preset tolerance of the zebra filter will appear with the stripes. Setting the zebra to 100 will stripe areas that are at the maximum exposure (and blown-out). Setting to 95 will give you some headroom. Etc. Experiment to see what settings work best for you. It's handy to use the custom button to de/actictivate zebras.
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Old September 9th, 2003, 10:24 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info

Don, Andres and Ken: Thanks for pointing me to the custom presets. I'll check it out. Knocking down the red a bit is exactly what I think needs to be done.

Ken: You correctly surmised that I'm a greenhorn with respect to anything much beyond point-and-shoot video. Hence, I knew that color bars and the zebra display had some important use for more advanced videographers, but I couldn't glean anything useful from my initial reading of the manual. The manual assumes you know what the functions are there for -- but I don't!

With regard to the audio, the sound from the auditorium is distributed to the video room I tape in at line level (or more). To videotape the sermons, I plug the video signal from the camcorder into a VCR and the sound from audio distribution in to the VCR's audio inputs. However, if I want to record right on the camcorder, I will need some way of converting the line level sound (from the distribution system) to the mike level needed by the camcorder's audio inputs. I hope that explanation makes sense.

Thanks again for the excellent input and suggestions!

-- Will
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Old September 10th, 2003, 05:26 AM   #6
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You can buy attenuators, offerd by Shure, etc., that will reduce line to mic level. A 30-dB in-line attenuator should be sufficient. Need one for each channel, and probably set the GL2 to MIC ATT setting. You also will need appropraite adapters to get from the attenuator to the 1/8" input jack. Total cost well under $90. Radio Shack may even have simple attenuator cables for this purpose, but I've not used them and quality could be "consumer".
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