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


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Old December 31st, 2003, 02:39 AM   #1
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New GL2 Owner, Many Questions

Bear with me here...

I've been reading posts for the past few days, but I'm still not clear on a few things (ok, a lot of things).

My situation: I make videos all the time -- in the past with my sony DCR-TRV130 (a piece of sh*t, but quality never mattered because I export them to the web massively compressed anyways). Since I'm starting to take the hobby quite seriously, I invested in a GL2 (after much research). Come next week, me and some friends are filming a short movie for school, which will be displayed on a TV (not the internet), so I want it to look good... Most of the filming takes place outside, more specifically in a car. Now for the questions.

People talk about "using your camera correctly", so I'm trying to figure out how I should be customizing all the settings... I think I've decided to go with frame mode, as I'm seeking a more professional look (unless someone gives me a good reason as to why I should use interlaced). From what I read, everything should be done on manual. My shutter speed should be set at 1/60th of a second, right? What should my gain and aperture be set to? Should I keep the gain at 0, and just tweak the aperture until the image isn't overexposed?

I turned my sharpness down two notches to keep things from looking grainy, should I modify any of the other custom presets?

As to white balance... I'm not sure I understand it fully; the first click seems to hue everything blue (even when I hold a white piece of paper in front of it), what is the purpose of this? Should I just be going with the "outdoor" preset?

Basically I'm just trying to figure out the process one of you goes through to customize your camera for a new shooting location... Keep in mind additional lighting is out of the question, as I'm outside, and also broke. I'm going to have to use natural light for everything.

When I pan the camera at a medium speed in frame mode, everything seems to leave a trail behind it (on my tv)... Is this normal, am I missing something, or should I just avoid panning in frame mode?

Any other tips for making outdoor footage look good?

I'll probably be back with more questions... Thanks in advance to anyone who helps me learn the ropes.
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Old December 31st, 2003, 03:29 AM   #2
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Welcome Aboard!

James - Welcome Aboard! I don't need to tell you, that you've got a WELL KOOL piece of kit in the XM2.

Your enthusiasm is superb. I wont go into too much "detail" here . .others can pitch in .. and they will!

My main advice to you is that of keeping your cammie healthy.

You say you've been reading posts here - right? Well, my advice is that, no matter who "pushed" you are to insert new tapes into the tape caddy, do it slowly and methodically. Don't be rushed. Keep the cammie on a level safe place. Make sure there is nothing in the way of the opening of the caddy door. Allow the caddy to emerge in its own time. Insert the new tape correctly. DO make sure you PUSH on the place that caddy and manual tells you. ALLOW the caddy to swallow the tape correctly. DON'T be in a hurry to close the caddy door. Make sure the tape and caddy has come to rest THEN snap shut the caddy door. All this stuff is offered so that you get years of use out of your Cammie.

Really do pursue White Balance - in your own time. You will be truly impressed with the results - honest! I recently did a chapel shot with some light, but this was assisted with candlelight. The results were stunning!!

Oh yes! Never ever film in the rain or even light drizzle - unless you've got the necessary protection for your expensive cammie. Also, going from a "warm" environment to a chilly one can produce fine condensation on or within the cammie. There are solutions to this, but that is for later - yeah? Remember electricity and water is a very powerful combination - you gotta a load of miniaturized, delicate electronics housed all over this performer - yeah? Again, don't be pushed to do filming in an environment that could damage your cammie. Just say NO!

. . oh yes!! HAVE FUN!

Best regards,

Grazie
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Old December 31st, 2003, 03:07 PM   #3
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What kind of difference in temperature are you referring to? Is the indoor/outdoor temperature in the winter enough to affect it?

So I was just messing around with the settings, and I can't keep the camera from overexposing. I have the zebra stripes set to 95. I turn the neutral density filter on, set my frame rate to 1/60, and then started messing with aperture... Even at 8.0, my white t-shirt was still overexposing the camera, and the image was extremely dark behind me. Setting the aperture to around 4-5, the colors looked good, but again anything white overexposes. Anyone have experience filming outdoors?
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Old December 31st, 2003, 03:41 PM   #4
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James,
Considerations for shooting outdoors with the GL2 are essentially the same as for other video cameras. The primary consideration, as you've discovered, is the challenge of managing the relatively limited exposure latitude of these cameras.

Jeff Donald recommended, in another thread, that you shoot as bright as possible without blowing-out too much of your highlight details. This is sage advice (as it would be, given Jeff's experience), since this will help to preserve most of your details and leave you with more options during post-production color correction.

Whenever possible avoid shooting in bright midday sun. The contrast range of such conditions can be nearly impossible to manage. On many such shots you'll end up having to choose between blowing-out highlights or crushing your shadow areas.

Having mentioned "contrast" I'll add that this is really the property you need to manage and that you must train your eye to assess. Controlling the difference in brightness between the brightest and darkest areas of a scene is a key to getting good images.

Since the GL2 has only one built-in ND filter I recommend buying at least one supplemental ND filter. It can be used either in combination with, or in place of, the built-in.

While a shutter speed of 1/60 should be considered the normal setting for NTSC video it's not a law. Feel free to bump it up as the situation may demand.

There are many other tips that others might offer. Some, such as scrimming-down your subject, may not be appropriate for shooting in uncontrolled settings.

The bottom line: practice, practice, practice. Pay attention to what you're doing. Shoot small clips, take note of your settings, review the clip. After a while you'll begin to develop a sense for how to manage exposure with that GL2.
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Old January 1st, 2004, 12:38 PM   #5
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How do I know when I'm blowing out highlight detail, or coming close to doing so?

And after doing more reading, will buying a UV filter help filter out some of the white sunlight reflection?
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Old January 1st, 2004, 05:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
How do I know when I'm blowing out highlight detail, or coming close to doing so?
Using the GL2's zebra overlay set below 100% will help to give you the warning. It may be hard to detect by simply looking at the lcd or an external monitor until you have some practice. But practice will train your eye pretty well.

Quote:
And after doing more reading, will buying a UV filter help filter out some of the white sunlight reflection?
No, a UV filter will not mitigate the brightness of the image. That's a job for a neutral density filter.
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Old January 1st, 2004, 08:13 PM   #7
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Today I bought a UV filter, neutral density filter, and circular polarizer... The polarizer seems to do exactly what I was looking for.

I have zebra lines on 95, and they always seem to be present somewhere in the picture. If it's something like the sky that's being blown out, should I just ignore it, or does that look really bad?

I've been messing around with my camera every day, I'm getting a better feel for it. Hopefully I'll know what I'm doing by the time we start filming on monday. When the video's finished (estimated a week from monday), I'll put it up on my website so I can get some comments on what I'm doing wrong :)
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Old January 1st, 2004, 09:57 PM   #8
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If the sky is "blown out" I just switch on the onboard ND filter, has worked so far! I would not just ignore it, as Ken has said practice and review (before your main shoot).

I look forward to your results, have fun as you have a great Cam.
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Old January 2nd, 2004, 01:00 AM   #9
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Look foward to seeing your video, i'm going with the XM2 soon after a LOT of reserach, its deffo the best cam in the price range, congrats on your buy!
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Old January 2nd, 2004, 02:05 AM   #10
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Hiyah Richard. I see you are based in London. Do you want to "chat" off-forum? I'm based up in North London, not far from Wembley Stadium. Be good to share and compare XM2 experiences. Are you going to the Video Forum in Feb at the Wembley Exhibition Centre?

Grazie
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Old January 2nd, 2004, 09:31 AM   #11
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Hey Graham, cool, i'm in north london aswell (enfield/southgate area)

I didnt auctally know about the video forum at wembley so will probably go to that:D

if you have msn and wanna chat mangl3r@hotmail.com

Richard
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Old January 2nd, 2004, 10:13 AM   #12
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Riichard, I don't know from MSN . . . what is it a live chat room thing or is that your email? . . .

Grazie
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Old January 2nd, 2004, 12:17 PM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Richard James : Hey Graham, cool, i'm in north london aswell (enfield/southgate area)

I didnt auctally know about the video forum at wembley so will probably go to that:D

if you have msn and wanna chat mangl3r@hotmail.com

Richard -->>>

Richard James... London... You aren't by any chance Aphex Twin, are you? :)
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Old January 2nd, 2004, 02:27 PM   #14
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<<<-- Originally posted by Richard James : Hey Graham, cool, i'm in north london aswell (enfield/southgate area)

I didnt auctally know about the video forum at wembley so will probably go to that:D

if you have msn and wanna chat mangl3r@hotmail.com

Richard -->>>

Richard,
look at your hotmail email!

Alan
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Old January 3rd, 2004, 04:18 AM   #15
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Hehe, full name is auctally Richard Johnson, but someone was already registered with that name awhile ago, (i think it was me ages ago before they changed to real names only):D

K added u to list alan.

Graham its my email, but also what you enter when you use a hotmail program that allows you to chat live, can download it at http://messenger.msn.co.uk/

:D
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