GL-2 for filmmaking at

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

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Old May 9th, 2004, 01:54 PM   #1
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GL-2 for filmmaking

I've been looking at the DVX100a for the longest time as it is the most obvious choice for independent filmmaking. I've read almost every bit of information on the camera as well as looked at every downloadable video/still. It has 24p, cinegamma mode, all the manual options one could want, Leica lens, XLR inputs, and nice big 1/3" CCDs. As expected, a camera of this caliber would come at a price. That price is $3500 dollars. It's not unobtainable, but after adding a good $1000 worth of accessories, it would be pushing it.

This is when I started looking at alternatives. The GL-2's price really caught my eye and I started reading this forum. There are some nice features on this camera, and I was impressed how well it fared with the PD-150 and XL1s. The frame mode is nice, but I'd probably be shooting in 60i for bigger projects just incase it somehow has a chance to get put on film. The 20x zoom is also great to have. I've realized that I'd lose a lot of resolution shooting things in 16x9 however, and 16x9 is quite important to me. This is when I started looking at the Sony PDX10. The 16x9 mode is a huge plus in my book, but the smaller CCD size is a huge minus. 1/4.7" just seems too small since I already consider 1/4" to be small. Not only that, but the odd flaring that people have been complaining about worries me as well. The XLR inputs and DVCAM features are nice, but not too important to me. The only feature of this camera that is highly important to me is the true 16x9 mode. I really think it's a great feature and I'm disappointed that it's missing from other cameras in this price range. On top of everything, the price is a good amount more expensive than the GL-2 plus rebate.

Another thing to note is that while I will be doing a lot of filmmaking, it doesn't mean that I won't be using the camera for other purposes as well. I take it that for wedding shooting, 1/4" CCDs barely cuts it while anything less (ie. 1/4.7") would yield useless footage with just available lighting. I'm also interested in run and gun documentary work. I tend to travel a lot and would bring my camera with me wherever I went, dimly lit or not.

I'm leaning towards the GL-2 as it seems more versatile overall and also since it has a wider community. My biggest worry is how 16x9 cropped plus 24fps converted footage would look. It just seems cropping kills enough vertical resolution already (25%), but on top of that deinterlacing will reduce up to 50% of the remaining vertical resolution. Also the Century 16x9 adaptor for the GL2 is $1300 which is obviously out of the question for me. With the PDX10's excellent 16x9 feature, the only vertical resolution lost would be from convering to 24fps since no cropping is required.

I guess the only thing preventing me from deciding on the GL-2 is the question of how well it can be used for 16x9 24fps filmmaking. And I mean that from a DP standpoint (so you don't need to tell me the importance of good writing/acting/etc. :).
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Old May 9th, 2004, 10:07 PM   #2
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The GL2 is a very versatile camera with excellent imaging. But it is not a native 16x9 camera, nor can it shoot 24p. There are various work-arounds for these deficits, but that's the way it is. Can you make a dramatic feature with a GL2? Certainly. Is it the best choice for that work? No, but it's no slouch, either.

You'll have to honestly assess your true needs and make a choice based on your realistic assessment and your budget. The GL2 is an excellent price/performance value but it's in a tier just below larger CCD cameras such as the PD-170 and XL1S. It's also in a different class than the Panasonic DVX100A. You'll have to decide for yourself how critical the differences are for your success and enjoyment.
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Old May 30th, 2004, 07:10 AM   #3
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I think this has been posted by the makers of the movie
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Old May 30th, 2004, 08:52 AM   #4
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If your looking for 24p you could consider a PAL camera,combine that with something like Magic Bullet Suite(which i've never used but heard excellent things about).I have no idea what results this would yield,but may be worth considering.Iguess the main problem would be that you would have to convert everything you tape to NTSC before you'd be able to play it back on NTSC equipment.
NTSC 30fps 720 x 480,PAL 25fps 720 x 576.
The PAL DVX100 doesn't have the 24p feature.
The film 28 Days Later was filmed with XL1-S's(which i guess were PAL due to the higher resolution.)I know they spent millions in post but it is a good example of what can be done.
Another important factor would be what software you already have,After Effects(worth every penny) with the Magic Bullet suite is supposed to yield good results,but it aint too cheap.
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Old May 30th, 2004, 12:23 PM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Eric Gaston : I think this has been posted by the makers of the movie -->>>

Go to the "Bonus" section for details on how they made the movie and what they used. ;)
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Old June 1st, 2004, 06:29 AM   #6
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Hey, thanks for linking our movie's website :-)

The Canon XM-2 is a great camera, especially in this price range. The frame mode (progressive mode) is really nice, sure it doesn't have the resolution of the DVX100 but many consider it even more filmlike, looks really good. They did use it for 28 Days later after several testing of desinterlace method,...

24p is not that important, if you shoot in 25p (PAL Progressive), film transfert will be great, 1:1 transfert (audio will be a bit slower but they can correct the pitch). Dancer in the Dark, Anniversary Party,...and many other DV movies have been transfered that way. Anamorphic16-9 can be done by using an anamorphic adapter from Century Optics or using the in-camera stretch mode (not really interesting in terms of resolution gain). November was shot in 4/3 and then letterboxed to 16/9 ratio using DVX100 and did won the cinematography award at Sundance.

The audio is weak but there are great XLR adapter from Beachtek (haven't use it yet).

We used this camera for all of our small productions. You can see them at .We've written a small guide about our camera setup and how to configure the camera settings, it's in the bonus section of, we hope it may help.

Olivier & Sebastien
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Old June 1st, 2004, 01:02 PM   #7
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Gerald: As an owner of a GL2 I can tell you that it is an excellent camera for the money.

I was going to hold off and get the DVX-100, but I was more comfortable with the GL2's price. So, I saved $1000 or so, but I lack the ability to natively capture true progressive video, and 24p recording.

So, I spent the money I saved on a WD-58h wide angle adapter, Beachtek DXA-6 audio adapter w/ phantom power, and an After Effects plugin or two.

I got the WD-58h for around $180.00 from B&H.

The DXA-6 is around $250. (Also from B&H.) I boom w/ a studio mic, believe it or not, and I get really nice results.

I use Twixtor very frequently to convert my footage to 24p. There was a write-up in DV magazine on Film Look techniques, and Twixtor was given a good review. Obviously, the best thing to do is to capture at 24p, but I think Twixtor does a superb job on 30p and 60i footage. However, you have to deal with render times at this point. I think Twixtor costs somewhere over $300.00.

As far as 16:9, I don't have an adapter, but I am currently researching to determine which I want to purchase. They aren't cheap, though. After being set on the Century Precision 16:9 adapter, I came across this article, which shows the Optex adapter to work better at full zoom:

Hope this helps your decision making.

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