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


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Old April 24th, 2004, 07:13 AM   #1
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any suggestions?

I have nominated myself to undertake the task of recording our vast family history before older members leave this mortal coil. The family have all put in to buy an XM2/GL2 and I am going to purchase Adobe Premiere off my own back. I have a further budget of about $250USD.

Most of the information I will gather will be of the oral history nature and therefore interviews will play an important part in this project. It is coming into winter in Australia and so most interviews will take place indoors with little natural light.

I really want to produce something that looks great and can be handed down to generations to come. I would really appreciate some information on how to set up for this. I need help with interview set-up, lighting type and setting, best custom presets to use, best audio set up etc.

If there is anybody who could make some suggestions I would be most grateful.
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Old April 24th, 2004, 11:29 AM   #2
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Welcome Richard,
Good for you. It sounds like you have your work cut out for you. I can offer just a few tips to get you going.

1. Take plenty of time to learn to use your XM2 well.

2. Be sure you budget for a decent tripod. With most of your live footage being locked-down interview head shots it won't have to be top-of-the-line but it should be sturdy and reliable.

3. If possible, you'll also want to get some portable lighting into the budget. Again, since much of your live footage may be interviews you'll want to study up on portraiture lighting (ex: "3-point lighting"). Even if you can't budget for a light kit now, it pays to study the basic technique so that you can at least try to imitate it with natural/practical lighting.

4. Try to watch some good examples of historical documentaries. I recommend watching nearly anything done by Ken Burns. Watch his style of blending interviews, panned and zoomed still photos, and sound/music. I think he's far and away the best at this form of documentary.

Have fun with your family history project!
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Old April 25th, 2004, 08:52 AM   #3
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Thanks for the input Ken, all taken on board.
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Old April 26th, 2004, 08:19 PM   #4
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Lighting is probably the most important thing you can do. If you can learn to use room lighting and add a simply hair light or key light, it will do wonders. Since the GL2 lacks XLR inputs, you are left with low end options on microphone. Azden makes a wirelss lapel that will mount on the shoe. I used the WR-Pro befoer I upgraded. A lapel will give you more of the person and less of what else is happening in the room. Headphones. Circum-aural ones that go around your ears. A tripod as mentioned earlier. Make sure it has a fluid head. A centerpost type will make if easier to adjust height for different people.
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Old May 8th, 2004, 06:55 PM   #5
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all good advice. But one bit of very good advice. Sack adobe prem. Get edius 2. Is amazing software. Does not require a card, just a fast processor n plenty memory. Top quality. unbelivably so and costs les. Easier to use. mpeg 2 encoder the best. And also allows you to do a voice over direct to the timeline. Very handy for naration.
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Old May 9th, 2004, 09:16 AM   #6
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I'd have to disagree about mpeg2 being the best codec to use.While editing and adding titles effects etc,it's best use uncompressed,or lossless codecs such as HUFFY UV or Quictime Animation codec.Mpeg2 is fine for final render.I use Adobe Prem 6.0 and never have any problems,and i've heard very good things about Premiere Pro and Vegas Video.But i would avoid using Mpeg2 till yiu've finished,but maybe thats just me. .One of the good things about Prem is the compatability with other Adobe software,I also use After Effects 5.5PB (fantastic prog, costly but worth every penny).If you don't already have one i'd suggest getting a dvd burner as well.
Andy
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Old May 9th, 2004, 09:49 AM   #7
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Hi andrew, i edited my above post(got my words badly minced up!), i meant that the canopus mpeg2 encoder, not codec, was good.
(an encoder being the programme that converts avi files to mpeg 2, a codec being the part of a programme that allows the reading/playing/manipulation of mpeg 2 files).
I hae used other encoders by pinnacle and nero, both gave very grainy results. Though pinnacle being the better. With reference to editing, yes i agree bigger uncompressed files are best to edit with. Never heard of the ones you mentioned, i use avi files. There are several products available that claim that you can edit in mpeg 2 format. I hear they are not reliable because of the very nature of mpeg 2 files, that involves sharing similar data throughout the length of a file, in order to reduce its size. They therefore need to be kept together, not cut up. Mpeg 2 files can be edited with nero vision, but i had many problems trying to do this. However the canopus dv storm card and very expensive sortware from final cut pro apparently do away with such problems, incredibly so. So maybe mpeg 2 editing could become a thing that is more common in future.
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