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


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Old January 26th, 2004, 11:50 AM   #1
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GL-2 Videography Qs

so i've just purchased a GL-2, and have spent an evening buried in the manual, and a couple of DV how-to books, and find i still have questions. the film i'm preparing to shoot is a documentary that is mostly interview based, and i want to get rolling. i'm curious about the steps that experienced videographers take when they set up and shoot. i plan to start shooting using the "shutter priority mode" so that i can keep the speed at around 60. beyond that, i'm in the dark.

some Q's: when and how should i set the white balance? when, how and at what % would you recommend i set the zebras; and should i strive to completely eliminate the zebra pattern? at what point should i be fiddling with the gain? (and so on...)

a breakdown of the procedure you use to get the camera up and running would be hugely helpful here. the books offer a hodge-podge of tips--what i'm hoping for is an idea of how a real videographer works... imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

much thanks,
phb
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Old January 26th, 2004, 04:27 PM   #2
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Paul,

While you're learning the camera, my suggestion to you is to keep it in the "A" (automatic) program mode. The GL2 will set itself to what it thinks are the best parameters for shooting. Contrary to the popular belief of some folks, the Full Auto mode is actually quite smart and very useful, especially for beginning videographers. As you gain experience and learn your way around the camera, you can begin to move into manual controls such as the Tv (shutter priority) program mode. If you're just starting out, trust the "A" program mode to do the work for you, while you concentrate on framing and composition and other concerns. Hope this helps,
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Old January 26th, 2004, 05:00 PM   #3
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Yes, a little knowledge is dangerous. . . but experience is tempting?

Hiyah Chris . . Aint seen yer round these parts for sometime . . Good to see you appear . .

Anyways . . I've had my XM2 for over a year now . . Simple questions about what thses settings can do for me . . I do understand what they "do" . . but what can give me . . out and about, as it were . . .

Av - What can it give me? And what conditions?

Tv - Again, what can it give me . . again what conditions would I use it?

In Manual Mode, I get to play with the 3 Settings, under what circumstances would I want to alter these?

. . . I've found the Ae settings very valuable to "blow" a background - Sun behind subject, yeah - so I can "see" the subject, and not just an outline.

But these other settings, maybe low light . .and the parameters with the XM2 are fairly narrow . . one actually "needs" lighting to cover this . . on balance what features do you use and advocate . . where? Why and how?

Chris, please don't give up on me . . Sometimes the penny has a very very long way to fall - yeah?

Grazie
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Old January 30th, 2004, 06:56 AM   #4
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"Av - What can it give me? And what conditions?

Tv - Again, what can it give me . . again what conditions would I use it?"

Sometimes I like to kip the irris wide open (along with a long focal) to narow the DOF a litle. Other times, like when I shoot in frame mode, I like to kip it in 1/50 or 1/25 (PAL land here) so the image won't shutter that much when panning (I also pann very slow). When the light is difficult (hard contrast) I work in full manual. Also, if you wonder of how well this camera adjusts the light in auto when you have a bright sky in the upper part of the image - it is because the XM2 gives more importance to the light from the lower midle part of the image. Kip this in mind, it might help!
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Old January 30th, 2004, 07:24 AM   #5
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Paul,

I agree with Chris, the GL2 is capable of some pretty good auto work. Two additional thoughts:

1. Zebra - Turn it on. I use it at 90. It will tell you if the lighting is really working the way you want. If you adjust so only areas showing zebra are not critical, you'll be sure that the exposure will be OK.

2. Once you are satisified with your lighting, white balance. We've all seen blue video that resulted from someone not white balancing. Any time the lighting changes, do another white balance.
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Old February 1st, 2004, 08:18 PM   #6
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Hi Paul, Here's some of my thoughts.

Are you doing the interviews inside or outside?

What I generally do for inside interviews is firstly consider location and composition & props. If the person you are interviewing will be sitting down then that will make a lot of things easy.
So:
1. Camera on Tripod
2. Compose the shot (using and external monitor is a great help for composition, lighting and focus)
3. Setup your lighting and exposure. Auto works great most of the time but so does spotlight mode too depending on the background colour and illumination or if the subject doesn't fill up much of the frame and the background is very dark or light than Spotlight mode or Exposure compansation may be in order.
4. Hold a white cloth in front of your subject, zoom in to fill the frame with white, Manually white balance on this, zoom back out and recompose the framing
5. set camera to Manual focus and focus on your subjects eye.
6. Now do a sound check (I would use a shotgun Mic on a stand to get in nice and close to the subject for best audio but make sure it stays out of shot) or use a Lapel mic if you prefer. & perhaps you need another mic for your voice

I used to make a check list of all these things to remind me. There seems like so much to remember, and each shoot may difer in requirements too

If you are shooting outside then you have to white balance regulary as colour temp chnage quick especially if the sun get obscured by clouds.
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Old February 3rd, 2004, 06:02 AM   #7
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I have recently purchased and excellent DVD which explains the operation of the GL2 in abut 39 minutes. The DVD also has an excellent tutorial on how to set up your shots. The DVD is entitled "Shoot for the Cut using the Canon GL2 Camera".

This DVD can be purchased at
www.digitalmediatraining.com
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Old February 3rd, 2004, 06:40 AM   #8
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Phillip thanks! - I 've sent off an email enquiry to the company to see if there is one for the XM2 and how I would obtain one in London UK?

Grazie
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Old February 3rd, 2004, 03:22 PM   #9
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The GL2 is the same as an XM2 but made for countries that use the NTSC format (diferent frame rate and size). I'm sure they wouldn't make one specifically for the XM2, there would be no need.
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Old February 3rd, 2004, 03:51 PM   #10
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$80 USD for a 39 minute video? Is it really worth that much?
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Old February 3rd, 2004, 05:21 PM   #11
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Chris, I think that it was well worth the money. In addition to seeing somebody show me how to use each feature of the camera they showed me how to hold it, and how to make shots count, yes it was worth it. After paying $2000 for a camera, I really find it odd that someone would question spending a few dollars more to learn how to use it. I have practiced and have read the manual and have been a faithful reader of this forum for quite sometime. It is one thing to read and experiment for myself, and another to see an expert use it and explain its capabilities as well as when to use certain features. Would I recommend the DVD to someone well versed, no, would I recommed it to someone new like me, you betcha. I am also thinking of spending even more money to attend a workshop. I haven't yet decided which one. Again, I would find it odd that someone would ask whether this was worth it, after spending as much as we all did for the camera. And by the way, I love the camera, I just want to be able to use it with as much capability is it and I possess.

Cheers,

Phil Coolman
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Old February 4th, 2004, 04:19 PM   #12
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I have to agree, that price seems steep. I'm sure by closely reading the manual and hanging out on this message board, you can learn plenty without paying any more money.
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Old February 8th, 2004, 05:26 PM   #13
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Auto-focus

Hello everyone.

Just joined this thread after purchasing my GL2 last week. Very helpful info thus far.

Shot my 1st video on Sat. at basketball game under flourescent light. Great results shooting in auto w/ manual white balance, an F-D filter & wide-angle converter. I did have a little trouble w/ some footage slightly out of focus. Didn't even attempt to use manual focus w/ all the panning required back & forth.

Does anyone have suggestions on what to try at next week's game? I'm thinking of shooting some in Av to expand depth of field, but expect to have light limitations being indoors. Also, blue's were way off (in LCD during shoot & tv playback after shoot) appearing royal when they were actually dark navy. Any suggestions here?

I have a lot of work to do learning this camera & basic videography. Thanks!
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Old February 9th, 2004, 03:59 AM   #14
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Keep in mind that zebra's are only useful (and only work?) when
in a manual mode since the camera will control everything else
in automatic mode.

My advice would be to practice practice and then do some more
practicing. I found it very helpful to have the camera next to a
TV shooting outdoors and changing settings (like shutter, iris,
gain etc. etc.). Repeat these changes when shooting moving
objects as well.

After a while you should get a feeling of which does what and
how you could use that. Basically you want to change Iris first,
then shutter and then gain. But normally you wouldn't want to
drop below 1/30 or 1/25th shutter speeds so you might drop the
shutter to 1/30 for example and then up the gain to +3 or +6 db.

I try to shoot everything at -3db (yes, negative) gain on my XL1S
if possible.
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Old February 9th, 2004, 11:02 AM   #15
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Frame vs. Normal mode

Thanks Rob for your insight. I have much practising & studying to do. Will hopefully be prepared for an important project next weeek - taping son's team batting practise. Vidoe will be used to analyze swing mechanics (slow motion) and fluidity/effectiveness (full speed). I need to capture as many frames as possible w/ resolution good enough to see bat relative to ball, eye and and hand position, etc.

Filming will be done indoors under Na-vapor on fixed tripod. Plan is to follow Rob's iris, shutter then gain perscription plus man wb & focus. Not sure whether normal or frame mode will work best. Anyone ever do similar project and/or have insight? I've practised in garage w/ son hitting from tee under poor/mixed lighting. Did not get the detail needed (normal or frame)w/ Iris 1.6 & shutter varied until resolution is lost @18db. Lighting will be much better next weekend. THanks in advance for any suggestions.
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