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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old November 24th, 2003, 08:00 PM   #1
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GL2 the perfect wedding cam?

I bought a GL2 in Early August and am very happy with it. However I have been reading a lot of stuff about it that sort of contradicts what I read about it before I bought it. It seems that people write this camera off as just a wedding/sports/nature camera that does not lend itself as a tool for creative invention. What makes this camera so consumery? Is it truely capable of making film-like video? We all know it shoots superb video, but is that where it stops? It has an excellent lense, no? Awesome CCD's? Good level of manual control over it....what's keeping this camera from being compared to PD-150's, or DVX-100's? I mean, it seems that the power is there, nobody is really utilizing it for that purpose, though. Resolution, manual control, zoom, lense quality....What's missing in this picture?

In advance I don't want anyone saying, "well, whatever works for you best is what works best." I want a technical comparison here. What is keeping people from making movies like "In This World" with the GL2?
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Old November 24th, 2003, 08:07 PM   #2
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GL2 the perfect wedding cam?
No. But it's fine for shooting weddings.

http://www.videouniversity.com
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Old November 24th, 2003, 08:42 PM   #3
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Corey,
I think what you're seeing are principally the incarnations of various marketing maneuvers. I own a GL2 as well as a DVX100 and an XL1s. The GL2's a fine camera, certainly for its price point.

Regarding my marketing remark, there are two influences. The first culprit is Canon itself. Its marketing crosshairs seemed aimed primarily at the high-end consumer rather than the low-end professional. The second culprit is the advent of new cameras such as the Panasonic DVX100 and the JVC HD10, each of which have brought new facilities to the realm of the home budget (or at least to the realm of the average Visa limit).

The GL2 is not exactly a peer to the venerable PD150, due largely to the latter's 1/3" CCD's (-vs- the GL2's 1/4" CCD). In that regard the PD150 is more of a peer to the XL1s.

I suppose that some would argue that the DVX100's "true" progressive frame capture facility and its 24 frames per second facility set it on a filmmaking plateau far beyond the GL2. And they certainly would have a valid point. (Note, however, that that the DVX100 also has 1/3" CCD's, more akin the PD150 and XL1s.) But, to me, the aspect of the GL2 that makes it a second choice for filmmaking (i.e. shooting scripted and controlled material) is its servo-controlled focus. It's just too darn hard to manually manage the GL2's focus accurately.

I suspect you don't want to hear this, but "film-like video" relies more on lighting, movement and composition than it does on the camera. A lowly Canon ZR40 in the hands of a skilled photographer will beat a Panasonic Varicam HD in the hands of an amateur every time.

But for weddings and other event coverage it's a fine camera that's easy to shoot with, has a zoom reach that leaves other cameras in the upper deck and features good manual control of iris, shutter and sound.

So go forward with a GL2 in confidence. Learn its every nuance and make it part of your eyes. Mastery of the tool is key to success and satisfaction.
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Old November 24th, 2003, 11:28 PM   #4
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"...."film-like video" relies more on lighting, movement and composition than it does on the camera. A lowly Canon ZR40 in the hands of a skilled photographer will beat a Panasonic Varicam HD in the hands of an amateur every time."

Ken, what an intriguing statement! Could you give some examples how to achieve a filmic video look? My lowly Canon ZR65 is arriving tomorrow and I want to immerse myself in learning videography before graduating to a GL2/3.

Much appreciation!
Dorothy
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Old November 25th, 2003, 12:46 AM   #5
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Hello Dorothy,
Good for you! Well, we have a forum devoted to just such an objective.

Many of the discussions you'll find there center around software, camera frame rates, gamma and other "circuit-based" techniques. Yes, these are all valuable tools but the basis of a "film look" is a professional and deliberate look.

Here are additional directions I would recommend for your study and practice.

Good lighting techniques are fundamental for creating compelling images. There are dozens of books on this subject. John Jackman's "Lighting for Digital Video & Television" is a good, practical primer to familiarize newcomers to the basic principles involved.

DVCreators has some excellent 1-2 day seminars that cover camera techniques, lighting and many related topics. They're a very professional organization that has highly refined insrtuctional products. They also have an instructional video CD that's a pretty good primer.

If you have a chance to do so, try to catch one of Bill Holshevnikoff's seminars. Bill authored the Arri Lighting Handbook (ships with Arri lighting kits and available from his site as "Power of Lighting") and is an experienced DP and lighting DP. He frequently speaks at trade show seminars, such as the upcoming DV Expo West. I'm not a big fan of trade show seminars (or trade shows, for that matter) but Bill's sessions are worth the effort

Beyond this, developing good camera handling skills (rarely shoot hand-held with that ZR65, use your zoom only for framing a shot, never during a shot, press the REC button with a plan not with a hope, etc.) and learning to use the language of film is key. Wide shots, medium shots, close shots, extreme close-ups. This is where so many, if not most, amateur filmmakers fall flat on their faces and what leads to such frustration.

Perhaps the best single book to which I could refer you on this subject is Steven Katz's "Film Directing Shot by Shot". Just buy it. I guarantee it will become your go-to reference for many years.

I could go on and on. But this is the general drift of what I meant.

Have fun!
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Old November 25th, 2003, 12:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
give some examples how to achieve a filmic video look?
Check out our film look forum:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisp...ne=&forumid=34
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Old November 25th, 2003, 07:30 AM   #7
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Ken, thanks for the fast/in-depth reply. Despite the fact that the XL1 and the PD-150 has 1/3" CCD's, I couldn't really find a reason why the GL2 isn't used more to explore the depths of film-like video creation. Yeah, I agree that lighting and composition (even post production and audio editing) adds to the filmesque feel....But I don't think that the GL2 is utilized as much as it should be in the field of such invention. There is a quote by somone, "War is the mother of all invention," I guess that means when we really need to develop new technologies, it's easier to do so. Maybe this is the nature of the GL2?

Either way, I'm going to keep trying to perfect my look, despite the lack of GL2-specific resources on such a topic.

Thanks again, I'll keep everyone posted.
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Old November 25th, 2003, 07:36 AM   #8
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I couldn't really find a reason why the GL2 isn't used more to explore the depths of film-like video creation.
The GL2 is quite popular here in Vancouver. May I suggest this article for those seeking a good read about some "film-like video creation" tips?

http://www.dv.com/features/features_...02/jackman1202
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Old November 25th, 2003, 03:16 PM   #9
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Grateful thanks, Ken, for your encouragement and suggestions. And thanks, Frank, for the film look forum plug and John Jackman's article.

Appreciate your book recommendations, Ken! I'm picking up Steven Katz's "Film Directing Shot by Shot" as well as his other book, "Cinematic Motion", today and will order John Jackman's "Lighting for Digital Video & Television".

I usually write, produce, direct and edit so learning how to shoot (AND shoot well) is pretty formidable. But I must admit I'm terribly excited by the prospect of such a creative and technical challenge!

All good wishes to my fellow and sister forum-ees for happy, peaceful holidays!

Dorothy
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Old November 25th, 2003, 04:17 PM   #10
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Ken, you wrote:

"...use your zoom only for framing a shot, never during a shot"

I don't quite understand your statement and would appreciate an explanation.

The cameramen on my shows - taped on Beta SP - have elicited good, dramatic footage by zooming in and out of shots of people, scenic views, art and still photos.

Dorothy
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Old November 25th, 2003, 05:14 PM   #11
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Creeps and crawls can certainly be used occasionally to build an emotional effect. But very carefully, very sparingly. Never zoom to hunt for your frame while shooting.
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Old November 25th, 2003, 08:12 PM   #12
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I played around with some of the gamma things that the film-look tutorial type thing mentioned and man! What a difference it made! I don't think I'll ever be able to go back...It just opened a whole new dimension to making movies. I'm not very good with After Effects, but I guess now is the time to learn.
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