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


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Old September 7th, 2002, 02:57 AM   #1
royfosroyfos
 
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Love my XM2, few quirks, fingers crossed

To all who are considering purchasing the XM2 (GL2 in some countries, I understand) I may say that so far I am absolutely delighted with mine.
Pluses include
-Outstanding image quality, better in my brief comparison than the Sony TRV950
- Superior autofocus - this autofocus is very fasts, so much so that you can take for granted completely. It just works. Again, the TRV950 leaves something to be desired in this key area in my view.
- Good controls, most fairly intuitive, but not all.

I am new to camcorders but have been using Still cameras for 35 years - Canon EOS 1NRS as it happens with Canon "L" lenses. The point I am making is that I recognise high image quality when I see it, and I most definitely see in the XM2.

Worries:
When using the fader (not the easiest of controls to use) I have noticed, particularly with 'Wipe' and 'Overlap' that there is a visual "Jolt/Jump" when pausing the amera to 'fade out' as it were. Has anyone else noticed this? Could I please ask fellow XM2/GL2 owners to investigate this on their units and let me know if they experience the same jump/jolt/ visual hop when pausing the camcorder.
Can I anyone comment on the robustness of the tape mechanism in the XM2/GL1? I hope there's not a problem in this area...

Being new to camcorder I wonder if perhaps its more usual to add fades at the editing stage?? Can someone please enlighten me? I use PC s and would like to ask which software / DV cards I should be focusing on.

My aim with the above words is to provide all those considering an XM2/GL2 purchase with my experiences and views on this camcorder. I recognise that I am not a seasoned camcorder and make no pretense in this respect. But I can see that this is an exceptional product in terms of image quality. It's as simple as that. I've tried several Sony units, including the TRV950, which in England retails at a price very close to that of the XM2/GL2 and is therefore a close rival. The Sony VX2000 is a step up pricewise, and I have not yet had the pleasure of trying it.
To my very critical eyes the XM2/GL2 produces images of outstanding sharpness and delicacy. I know that some users have questioned colour saturation, and being as yet an unseasoned camcorder user I cannot comment in a qualified way. But I can say that in my opinion the colours produced by the XM2/GL2 are true to life and a faithful rendition of what eye perceives, and indeed it's my view that this Canon renders more faithful colour than the TRV950. This will always be subjective but I have so far not lacked colour. By contrast, the TRV950 is slightly oversaturated in my opinion.

I love my XM2 and my delight increases each time I use it. I'm sure there are superior units higher up the tree, but inexperienced as I am I have yet to try them. I have tried a number of camcorders up to 1800 which was more or less my upper limit. To would be buyers of 3 CCD units in this price range I would say you must at least find a store that carries the XM2/GL2 and the other units you are interested in so that you can make an actual comparison before you buy. Even if this means travelling 50 miles or more it's well worth it.

I hope the above is helpful to those trying to make a decision about the XM2/GL2.

regards

royfosroyfos
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Old September 7th, 2002, 04:22 AM   #2
Old Boot
 
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Well, I'm in the process of purchasing this piece of kit and am juggling what extras I'm going for.

You say "Being new to camcorder I wonder if perhaps its more usual to add fades at the editing stage?? Can someone please enlighten me? I use PC s and would like to ask which software / DV cards I should be focusing on. "

I've been editing and producing short 3min to 1.5 hour vids using a range of NLE [Non Linear Editing]: VideoWave 3 and 5; Pinnacle Studio7 and now do all my editing work on Sonic Foundry's Video Factory [all these bought in UK]. There is a bewildering range of NLE options out there, and yes hardware can be bundled with OR without NLE s/w. You are starting correctly by asking your original question. My advice would be to get hold of some of the DV mags, now available on the newstands [I'm first in the queue at my local W H Smiths for "Computer Video" each month!] Within these publications you will find much valuable information - reviews on NLE's, Hardware and bundled s/w products being put through their paces.

Apart from allowing me or you to tip our toes into this exciting and sometimes confusing enDeVour, these mags also provide further information on accessing forums which relate to the products being reviewed. A REALLY GOOD WAY to access others expereinces of the products. In my opinion for a really scary experience try MGI's VideoWave forum. People are very honest about the product they have just bought!

Exploring the pc route is the way to go. I don't know of any DV enthusiast who would not use a NLE in preference to whatever FXs - fades and wipes or whatever - available on a DV cammy. I don't think I'm wrong on this! Soooo... you are approaching this DV stuff the right way.

Okay - most decisions on equiping yourself with pc-DV will be budget<>quality<>efficiency - driven. You will quickly learn that you will have more questions as you go along - I'm also a newbie to this pc-DV activity - 18 months now. However, what I have learnt is to recognise that not necessarily will one DV s/w package do what I want. Even high-end packages have their foibles. Also, DV takes up both processor muscle and becasue the nature of DV files majorlly huge chunks of hard disk [presently I'm running 2 externally firewire drives - an 80gb and a 60gb 7200 rpm Maxtor firewire drives]. Soooo... think of the option to separate your DV activity from your exsisting pc. Yes a separate pc for this work. Howver I'm running my DV projects from a Dell laptop, albeit with firewire enable PCMCIA card and a separate extra 1394 DV qualified firewire 4-pin port. - I've tested my laptop in the DV SHoppe in London and have captured some realtime video directly to my hd, edited it and have been blown away by the quality of the XM2.

Okay, my route was via the installed VW 3 package that came with my Dell laptop. I upgraded to VW 5 costing 80gb. Mistake! Got Pinnacle Studio7, saw how NLE should work. Read on the VW website the presence of Sonic Factory's Video Factory. Downloaded the 27mb s/w from Sonic's website. Liked it so much bought the product. Haven't really looked back. - The point I'm making is that it cost me something to get to Video Factory, but it has got me going and I can now make prosumer videos. Fades, dissolves, Picture In Picture, text scrolling, audio editing and Fxing... the list is quite amazing!

Sorry to take up the Forum's time and space, but having experienced some major frustrations and also some valuable "wins" I wanted to pass on my experience so that you can remain enthusiastic about this terrific activity AND make the most of your new [jealous!] XM2 without blaming the machine for something that it is done in a better more appropriate way on a pc - or if you are that way inclined an Apple. Do see the creative process being split into several stages. Dare I say, just like a major film production process: Planning; location hunting; scripting [even with a simple holiday travelogue you will need to tell a story - after all that's what good fim-making is about], film-craft; edting and then finally post production, not forgetting how you are going to get your Opus Major out of the pc and then view it [DVD,VCD SVCD, VHS tape or viewing an AVI file on your pc or Web-ready for others to view].

Finally ..... be advised that real time editing h/w and s/w bundled options are plummeting in price and for me this would be the way to go, in the not too distant future. Soooo... in the meantime I'm happy with my Video Factory for capture and editing and using Studio7 for printing back out to tape all via a Dazzle Hollywood bridge av/dv/dv/av convertor. Also, with varying degrees of success, I use U-Lead's DVD MovieFactory to dip my toe into the DVD authoring process and have made some reasonable SVCDs and miniDVDs.

I'd also like to say a thank you to yourself for providing me further quality evidence from your 35 years of still production in rating the qulaity of the XM2 image quality - thank you.

Let's keep this discussion going as I do have further experiences that might be of value to you, and I am sure others will jump in. AND ABOVE all have FUN.

Regards

Grazie
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Old September 7th, 2002, 07:08 AM   #3
royfosroyfos
 
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Thanks to grazie

Thanks, Grazie!

I am investigating the various editing packages 'as we speak' and I'm extremely glad to learn that I need not rely on the fader effects in the cammy.
I understand you are currently considering the XM2. Hope you like it.
Best regards

roy
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Old September 7th, 2002, 07:19 AM   #4
royfosroyfos
 
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Thanks to grazie

Hi Grazie

Thanks again for you advice, which I have read and re-read! All my still lenses are Canon's "L" series. Expensive but very goodo. The image quality of the XM2 also blows me away. In my inexperienced opinion, the TRV950 is no rival in terms of image quality. It does not have the fidelity or translucence. Nor was I impressed by the autofocusing of the TRV950 - ponderoso, I thought.
I would be most grateful to benefit from your experience in editing, Grazie. You've already got me wondering about the Dazzle Hollywood Bridge.... Please feel free to extol its virtues if you're so inclined.
I happen to have a 2nd PC that I can devote to DV editing, though I wonder if laptop might not be a more pleasant way to go. What do you think of Matrox's RTX100 & 110 cards?
Many thanks & regards

Roy
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Old September 7th, 2002, 08:33 AM   #5
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It's a pleasure. [I'm typing this out during the Lunch interval at the Oval - England need to shift Tendulka very very fast!]

Okay dokey:

1: "Dazzle Hollywood Bridge.... Please feel free to extol its virtues "

Connectivity: I originally got the DHB so I could get analogue footage from my ancient av Panasonic cammy into my laptop. Its a device that allows RCA connection from the cammy to the AV input on the front side of its stylish front and allows you to take DV out via a 6-pin firewire at its rear and then onto my laptop's 4-pin firewire. Soooo in reverse you need to unplug the firewire from the rear and plug this into the front and connect the RCA plugs into the rear... then onto say a VHS VCR via a Scart or other jacks - with me so far? Anyway this is one of its drawbacks - having to "swap" around the conections. I've tried leaving 2 sets of Ins and OUTs but the poor machine has a bit of wobbly. I understand there are better AV:DV:DV:AV connectivity friendly boxes out there, namely the Canopus 100DVAV - not sure on the model number!

Effectiveness: Read other Dazzle posts on this or other forums for people's success. I don't have much to complain about this part of the Dazzle - it seems as if a struck lucky when I decided on the DHB as it is THE Dazzle product that is supported by Sonic Foundry's Video Factiry. This was more luck than judgement on my part when I decided to buy the DHB, as I bought it BEFORE buying VF.

In any event you will need to get your DV into a pc somehow. Most people seem to be able to do this just by plugging into a firewire connection. Others might wish to confirm this is the way to go with the XM2. - the only time I can see that you will need to use some form of AV output is to go to VHS VCR tape, but as the XM2 has AV:DV:DV:AV it may be possible with PAL XM2's to now do this - just as a straight through. I don't know. In which case you wouldn't need a Dazzle at all - neat eh! - There was a time when UK Cammys weren't alloweed to do this - oh yes there was!

Okay, if this is possible my Dazzle would be redundant. I would also think I could use the AV output straight from my AV Panny Cammy into the DV IN on the XM2. So even here the DHB would be as much use as a choclate teapot! - Hey ho another <300.00 investment to taking up space on the Project Bank!


2: "I happen to have a 2nd PC that I can devote to DV editing, though I wonder if laptop might not be a more pleasant way to go. What do you think of Matrox's RTX100 & 110 cards"

Now this is reeeallly sexy stuff! - I've recently had the opportunity in seeing these beasts work in the hands of young pro editor - amazing! All the stuff is rendered in real-time to AV - ie you see what you've done on a TV monitor!Incredible! - It really opens up the creative options. However, [have you noticed there is a lot of "howevering" in this malarky!] - I would really suggest, if you aint a pc under-the-bonnet person - and my hat really goes off to those of you who are, I aint - you need to do a critical "audit" of what your exsistng pcs are and see if they come up to the type of specifacations needed for the application of cards Canopus or Matrox. You might even consider getting a "bespoke" editing set-up solely for the purposes of NLE work. Really give it some serious thought. Apart from being assured you could get everything you need to make NLEing possible, you will need to be assured you have the correct drivers etc etc. Also, with some suppliers, you get an "arms-length" tech support service where they will access your machine over the modem and have a look see as to what is going wrong. Just for this it is worth having a bespoke system. - NB I've also heard of problems with having something as meek as MS Word doing "things" to NLE set-ups that happen to be on the same system drive as an NLEr!

Look at the type of specs offered by those providing such systems and see if your pcs come anywhere near it.

Yes, laptop work is pleasant, but I would now never countenance having a truly real-time NLE h/w s/w on it as well. Laptops just don't have the expandability or extra ports to achieve this type of activity. I find it okay for non-realtime rendering and working with VF which does allow for small preview quality type review of work. Already, with my laptop having 80 and 60 gbs plugged into it, I've seriously reduced its transportability to that of a "flat-pc" slab sitting on my project desk. Okay I can un-dock my schlap-top and take it to a client, and throw up a presentation, but as for the type of serious NLE stuff I now do, I couldn't take with me my Maxtors. - Of course I can and do place large AVIs on it to use and edit, but there has to be a really good reason to do so.

Try and get an opportunity to see these Cards working in anger. They might sway you towards getting what I said above. If you are adamant about laptop working, I'm sure there will be perfectly good, reputable firms out there that will provide you with this high-end option - but it will be at a price.

Sooo... just to recap:

1 - The DHB? I can't see a reason for now having one - notwithstanding my knowledge on the above being correct - I just wanted to show you my learning and experience curve in getting to where I am now - prior to DV:AV:AV:DV options on the now affordable DV cammies [ooohh Tendulka just been LBWed for 53 by a Yorker by Caddick! Good decision Umpy!]

2 - Cards? Do plenty of research and see what you have at the moment and see if this "squares-up" with what really, really is needed. Do see these cards working with something like Premiere.

As an additional piece of needed info - how do you think you were going to get your XM2 DV work into and out of your exisisting PCs? Firewire or what?

Hope this has been useful.

Regards

Grazie
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Old September 7th, 2002, 04:48 PM   #6
royfosroyfos
 
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Matrox cards, etc.

Hi Grazie

hope you enjoyed the cricket!
I almost bought the hollywood bridge today, and I'm now glad I did not, since it appears I may not need it.
I think I'll look into the Matrox RTX110, i.e. the lesser beast with a more acceptable - though still high - price tag. I work as an IT consultant, and although this does not necessarily mean always having an answer, I can easily upgrade my PC and in fact had already been considering the prospect. ASUS produce a blistering motherboard using RAMBUS memory, which is about as fast as it gets at the moment and ideal for this application or any other involving rendering. I'll let you know how I get on.
Have any experience of Premiere? I browsed a book on learning Premiere and thought it looked relatively complex, bearing in mind this will be my first forray into dv editing. Should I perhaps begin with something simpler?
Best regards

Roy
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Old September 7th, 2002, 08:51 PM   #7
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Roy,

IMHO, spend just a little to see where your are going (I'm a bit of a piker). You can get Pinnacle Studio 7 (or possibly version 8) for about $100 US with a bundled FireWire card.

If you start with Premiere, you could end up chucking yourself onto the rails at your local tube station. With Studio you'll be having fun in about 5 minutes and possibly it will fill your needs forever.

We have both Premiere 6 and Pinnacle 7 and find we mostly "cheat" and use Pinnacle 7 even for money making projects.

A couple of Months ago we had to complete a corporate event Saturday shoot that involved all night editing and a screening to 600 guests at a 7AM Sunday breakfast meeting. Even with titles, transitions, sound tracks, background music, stills, over dubs and mixing shotgun and wireless mic sound tracks into our video, we used Studio 7 for the 30 minute final product.

Regards, John V.
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Old September 8th, 2002, 01:12 AM   #8
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Yes, cut your NLE teeth on a simple s/w package - Studio7 made me see the light in editing - away from VideoWave. My only comment for Premiere was that to seeing it worked by a PRO, and that it comes "bundled" with some boards and set-ups.

I am glad you waited to see my feedback on the DHB - Glad to be of help.

Grazie
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Old September 8th, 2002, 04:18 AM   #9
royfosroyfos
 
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Many thanks, John!!

<<<-- Originally posted by John VVV : Roy,

IMHO, spend just a little to see where your are going (I'm a bit of a piker). You can get Pinnacle Studio 7 (or possibly version 8) for about $100 US with a bundled FireWire card.

If you start with Premiere, you could end up chucking yourself onto the rails at your local tube station. With Studio you'll be having fun in about 5 minutes and possibly it will fill your needs forever.

We have both Premiere 6 and Pinnacle 7 and find we mostly "cheat" and use Pinnacle 7 even for money making projects.

A couple of Months ago we had to complete a corporate event Saturday shoot that involved all night editing and a screening to 600 guests at a 7AM Sunday breakfast meeting. Even with titles, transitions, sound tracks, background music, stills, over dubs and mixing shotgun and wireless mic sound tracks into our video, we used Studio 7 for the 30 minute final product.

Regards, John V. -->>>

Many thanks, John!
Having briefly browsed a book on learning Premiere I can well imagine the substantial learning curve. Sound like Pinnacle 7 will be ideal. What's your feeling on hardware options such as the Matrox RTX110 card which promise real-time editing of many functions?
Thanks again, John!

Best regards

Roy
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Old September 8th, 2002, 04:25 AM   #10
royfosroyfos
 
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Thanks again, GraziE!

<<<-- Originally posted by Grazie Bernard : Yes, cut your NLE teeth on a simple s/w package - Studio7 made me see the light in editing - away from VideoWave. My only comment for Premiere was that to seeing it worked by a PRO, and that it comes "bundled" with some boards and set-ups.

I am glad you waited to see my feedback on the DHB - Glad to be of help.

Grazie -->>>Hi Grazie & thanks again!
I very much appreciate the advice. Great to have this forum - and we make new friends in the process. Brilliant!!

By the way, in my ongoing assessment of the XM2/GL2 I would have to say that the LCD on the XM2/GL2 is useful only for playback IMHO. The Sony has a better LCD and it can be used outdoors for recording, unlike the Canon, in my opinion, which can be difficult to see in bright light. Conversely, the Canon has a wonderful viewfinder, which the Sony, again in my view, does not. The viewfinder of the XM2/GL2 is so good (bear in mind that I have only tried a few cams so far, specifically the SOny PC120, TRV950 and one or two other units) that I find I want to use the viewfinder for recording.

Hope this helps & thanks again

Best regards
Roy
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Old September 8th, 2002, 11:44 AM   #11
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Re: Many thanks, John!!

<<<-- Originally posted by royfosroyfos :
Many thanks, John!
Having briefly browsed a book on learning Premiere I can well imagine the substantial learning curve. Sound like Pinnacle 7 will be ideal. What's your feeling on hardware options such as the Matrox RTX110 card which promise real-time editing of many functions?
Thanks again, John!

Best regards

Roy -->>>

Roy, In my opinion, just try the Studio 7/8 s/w with a simple firewire card. We have completed projects showing 300 scenes/clips using dissolves and cuts blending video and stills and viewing our editing progress goes very smoothly with Studio 7.

We even have done much of our editing using a 300 Mhz system -- we've moved up to a 1.8 G system now and the rendering goes very quickly. When you use studio 7/8 you choose your final media target (avi. mpg. streaming, cd-r. vcd. vhs etc) and the program renders in the proper format for you... very simple.

You could always add additional h/w later if you found it necessary.

Regards, John V.
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Old September 8th, 2002, 02:35 PM   #12
royfosroyfos
 
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Thanks again, John!!

<<<-- Originally posted by John VVV : <<<-- Originally posted by royfosroyfos :
Many thanks, John!
Having briefly browsed a book on learning Premiere I can well imagine the substantial learning curve. Sound like Pinnacle 7 will be ideal. What's your feeling on hardware options such as the Matrox RTX110 card which promise real-time editing of many functions?
Thanks again, John!

Best regards

Roy -->>>

Roy, In my opinion, just try the Studio 7/8 s/w with a simple firewire card. We have completed projects showing 300 scenes/clips using dissolves and cuts blending video and stills and viewing our editing progress goes very smoothly with Studio 7.

We even have done much of our editing using a 300 Mhz system -- we've moved up to a 1.8 G system now and the rendering goes very quickly. When you use studio 7/8 you choose your final media target (avi. mpg. streaming, cd-r. vcd. vhs etc) and the program renders in the proper format for you... very simple.

You could always add additional h/w later if you found it necessary.

Regards, John V. -->>>

Hi John

I've found a Studio Deluxe package for a good price which I think I'll go for. It includes Studio 7. It's all very confusing for me, the beginner. I suppose all I shall need to do is edit and then output to either DV, VHS or perhaps later DVD.

Thanks again, John!! Very much appreciated!

Best regards

Roy
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Old September 8th, 2002, 04:08 PM   #13
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Re: Thanks again, John!!

<<<-- Originally posted by royfosroyfos :
Hi John

I've found a Studio Deluxe package for a good price which I think I'll go for. It includes Studio 7. It's all very confusing for me, the beginner. I suppose all I shall need to do is edit and then output to either DV, VHS or perhaps later DVD.

Thanks again, John!! Very much appreciated!

Best regards

Roy -->>>


Roy, by this time next week you'll be editing up a storm!

We've had very good luck rendering studio projects to mpeg1 and then burning the project to cheap CD-r's ($.15 each) as a simple data file.

You can easily fit more than an hour of edited video on one CD, almost everyone has a CD player in their PC and you are staying with a digital format..... plus a CD is very easy to mail, just one $.37 stamp in the U.S.

We've also been converting old slide film collections (using S-7 and a Epson 1650 scanner) to CD's. You can fit hundreds and hundreds of slides on one CD.


Regards, John V.
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Old September 13th, 2002, 02:36 AM   #14
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Wipe/Overlap

When you set up your first scene for wipe or overlap, there must not be any motion of the camera or the subject. The first scene shifts to nothing more than a freeze-frame, that is blended with a following one that is real-time. If there is movement at the point when the first scene freezes, it will appear to jump, as the motion suddenly stops. This pseudo-wipe/overlap feature has had the same limitation since Canon introduced the overlap 12 years ago, in the A-1 Digital model.
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