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


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Old January 12th, 2005, 09:02 AM   #1
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Filming Insects

Hi There,

I'm trying to film insects with my GL1, ants in paticular.
I have two major problems:

1. I want to fill the insect on the tv screen and Gl1 does not let me do that.

-But it does however allow me to macro focus as long as I'm zoomed all the way out/wide. But it still leaves the ants very small on the screen.
-I've attached my wide angles lens to zoom in a bit more while having focus. Result being 2x larger ants on screen.



2. I want to gently pan my camera ever so subtly within the "ant world", but ofcourse I get a TV jitter, no matter how steady I make my hand to be, it's just too jittery.

-Has anyone filmed insects before?
-Do major studios use remote controled pan and tilt Heads to acheive this?
-There is a great film called "MicroComos" a film on insects. (I highly recommend it anyone) One clip showed two snails courting and mating. They filmed it like they were in a ballroom dancing! Camera circled around them... ariel shots, then panning closeup shots... Just a fantastic piece.

My Equipment is a GL1 & XL1s with a bogen 3036 head.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!
Thanks,

John
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Old January 12th, 2005, 10:30 AM   #2
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You'll need some achromatic diopters.

http://www.centuryoptics.com/products/dv/diopters/diopters.htm
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Old January 12th, 2005, 11:09 AM   #3
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I would think the XL1S would be better suited for this kind of thing, since you can buy a much more zoom capable lens or lenses. I think the EF adapter with one of the EF lenses would do pretty well in this situation. I don't know what to tell you about the whole panning thing (snails are much bigger than ants). I believe a Steadicam or Glidecam would be an option (though, I don't know if they work when you tilt them). Perhaps a heavy duty tripod fitted with smooth rubber wheels would be your best bet. That, plus the close up EF lenses, should do the trick I would think. But you need to be on your toes when panning and such because you're moving at almost three or four times the speed of the ants (1 foot to you is like a mile to the ant). You may need to practice a little.

I'm also a GL1 owner and I can tell you that you won't get very far with this camera and what you're doing. Whereas the XL1S can use a lense to get much more zoom right off the bat, the GL1 would need to be zoomed to the max, thus making the movement jitter of the camera extremely sensitive. So, unless you have the steadiest hand in the world, the GL1 isn't gonna cut it.
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Old January 12th, 2005, 11:14 AM   #4
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Try to mount a 50mm photographic (SLR camera) lens in front of yr camera lens.This is the equivalent of a 20x achromatic diopter, and will do what you need. And what do you mean by "TV jitter"?
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Old January 12th, 2005, 11:20 AM   #5
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I believe he's talking about camera shake, right? Interlace artifacts would be another issue if you're not in Frame Mode.
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Old January 12th, 2005, 03:16 PM   #6
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I think the achromatic diopters would be a good bet, as Marco mentioned.

I have the EF adapter, but it has the enormus 7.2x magnification.
Maybe it can work with an Ultra marco lens.

50mm lens, really? I'll try that on my XL1s.

Yes, the camera shake. At that zoom range a slight tap is very noticable.

Has anyone heard of a remote control pan and tilt device that has ease in and out functionality?


Thanks for the reply guys.
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Old January 12th, 2005, 03:46 PM   #7
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.....you can also get 58mm close-up filters that will thread right onto the lens itself- this does a fantastic job- the more you spend generally- the better the output.......you can also reverse mount a 50mm & higher (mm) lens right onto the lens- you'll have super macro......you will NOT be able to handhold it- so you'll need a tripod or beanbag etc......

..for the best video quality- try this----> http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=87494&is=REG

The best setup is an XL1S with macro lens via EF adapter...but that's a whole 'nother matter.

Have fun

(The Canon Opturas do really good macro stright out of the box- you can fill the frame with an ant with a scope eye-piece threaded on!)
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Old January 12th, 2005, 09:07 PM   #8
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Hi Steve,

What kind of setup do you recommend for the XL1s via EF?

Thanks! Your Nature photography is awesome by the way!

How did you film that Bee with that much stablity!!! Let alone even find and track the little guy! That is a sweet shot!

John
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Old January 12th, 2005, 10:26 PM   #9
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John, I sold my XL1S quite some time ago- but i remember putting on a cheap 70-300 lens and was amazed at how I could fill the frame with a ladybug from about 2 feet away! Talk about zoom- that thing was awesome.....

.....I sold it and bought a DVX100 and wasn't happy with it's wide-angle- I needed zoom- so it was the wrong camera for me--- I've also owned a DVC80 (pretty much same as DVX) a PD10 and GL2 (sweetheart of a cam!) and a few consumer cams......

...I'm looking into the new HD Sony but they just announced support for FCP Exp and iMovie- I was hoping for FCP HD editing- so I'll wait- i've been reading that people expect Apple to ad HDV support silently in an upgrade (hopefully)....

......sorry- back to your question: I'd recommend an XL1S, EF Adapter and a 50mm macro lens (Sigma has an awesome 105 2.8 that's super high rated).......anyway- that's the route you might be looking at if you're gonna get into macro shooting- the XL rules with that EF adapter!!!!

Tripod shooting will be mandatory- and you'll loose AF with the EF lenses (if i remember correctly_ but the aperature works.....give the XL a look.
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Old January 13th, 2005, 07:27 PM   #10
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I tried using my Tamron 28mm-75mm on my Xl1s and it got me a
bit more closerer than before. (I can focus 6 inches away from the subject)
It still miles away from getting a full head shot.

I can't wait to try out Canon's macros lenses.

Yeah, I love the GL1.. Awesome crip images, small, 20x, less attention grabing...

I went to the recent DV Expo and saw the Sony HD camcoder
It is simply amazing!
I tried hard to pck out some artifacts off of its recordings, but couldn't really see it.
I can't believe they are able to compress it without any noticable
quality or artifacts...

I'm sure Canon's going to do HD cam in a couple of years.
I hope they keep the EF Adator at 7.2x magnification for it.

Speaking of 7.2x magnification.
I'm curious to know if you can "trick out" the Canon 10D to do a simliar effect.. What telephoto lenses do you use with 10D?

I'm using the 100mm-400mm, but it's still a normal zoom without the Xl1 mutation. It too bad you can't take high res photographs with the Xl1s.
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Old January 13th, 2005, 09:38 PM   #11
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John, for the EOS line of cameras- about all you can do is to add 2X tele-converters- I think you can stack them but be aware you do lose some light gathering capabilities- the image will appear darker......but you will gain zoom!
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Old January 14th, 2005, 04:37 AM   #12
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John, set yr cam manually at infinity, the Tamron at 28 mm and get very close to the object (<1") to get focus.
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