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


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Old August 18th, 2005, 11:49 AM   #1
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Tape preferences and other things

Any Canon users have a preference with mini DV tapes? I have used Maxell and Fuji, both sixty minutes. Any worry about the thinner 80 min tapes? I thought I read that Canon had problems with Sony tapes.

I know I will need to go wireless soon and have read the posts and will deal with that later, but I am buying the DM-50 (130 bucks). Is it much of an improvement over what is on the camera?
Any suggestions on setting a good sound level with it.


I am buying two Power 2000 945 replacement batteries. Is this a good idea? I have read good and bad on here.

thanks, mike
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Old August 18th, 2005, 12:26 PM   #2
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Tape is such an active topic that we actually have a whole section of the forum devoted to it: The Long Black Line! Personally, I always opt for 60 min tape and prefer the Panasonic PQ or MQ brand/grade. I've never had a tape problem with them.

The Power 2000 batteries are terrific. I've used them for years and they really do have much better capacity and excellent longevity.

Can't say about the DM50, as I don't have one.
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Old August 18th, 2005, 01:56 PM   #3
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I use the Panasonic 63 minute MQ tapes. According to Pro Tape, Panasonic has discontinued the MQ tapes in favor of the more expensive 'AMQ'. I checked another tape place and the AMQ tapes are about $8 more..ouch!
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Old August 18th, 2005, 07:52 PM   #4
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I've used Sony, Fuji, Maxell and (mainly) Panasonic, have often reused them, both in SP and LP. I'm not a believer in any of the cautions about tapes. I've had no trouble with any the tapes.

But more importantly I definitely find that smoothness of the cassette mechanism variies from cassette to cassette in all the brands. Some of them are pretty bad. I detect this in the noises the cassettes make and the straining sounds they cause in my Maxell cassette rewinder. The GL2's tape transport has been proven in the field to be frail, so I never rewind tapes in mine, and I throw away ones that cause excessive drag in my rewinder.

The DM-50 is an improvement over the GL2's built in mic when you need a directonal mic. It's also very convenient to use since it draws power from and delivers signal to the camera through the hot shoe. But I found it to be mediocre in tone and sensitivity. I sold mine.
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Old August 18th, 2005, 09:41 PM   #5
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I've had good luck with Sony tapes, and the Power 2000 batteries have worked fine for me as well. Just be sure to get both from an authorized dealer and not from eBay. B&H is my favorite. Good price and you can't beat the shipping speed.

I actually am a believer in the woes of tape-changing, as I have my own sad tale of switching from TDK to Sony tapes and losing functionality almost immediately (in a JVC cam, not my GL2s). Then I ran a cleaning tape and cleared up the problem temporarily, but it keeps coming back (whereas there was no problem before). I dunno. Seems silly to tempt the already-fragile ("frail" is a good word for it, Fred) tape mechanism of the GL2. Especially if the cam is used for important, official, one-time-only events. But do whatever works for you.
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Old August 18th, 2005, 10:42 PM   #6
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I'm heading over to the tape thread now, but while I have a ear or two in GL-2. The camera is last than a month old. It has only touched a fuji tape. So what single brand would you or anyone choose if you had to start at the beginning?

btw: if not the DM-50, what direction/boom mic would you get? Same ballpark price.

Sorry for the quick snappy questions

mp
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Old August 19th, 2005, 10:09 AM   #7
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Mike, audio also has its own dedicated forum here. It would be preffered that you post future mic and audio questions there. Meanwhile, since my answer does have some specificity to the GL2....

I haven't tried one yet, but based on the reviews and testimonials, I'm considering the new Rode VideoMic (about $150). Do a search on it here and you'll see what I mean. But to avod disappointment, it would be good to get specific about what you seek as "improvement over what's on the camera," because mics are somewhat specialized.

The one that's on the GL2 is a sensitive omnidirectional stereo mic. It's neither a really good one or a horrible one. As a mic type, it's the kind that will provide reasonable coverage for the most situations encountered by the casual user -- a sensible goal for the designer to shoot for. For recording music that fills the room I'm in, I find that it does okay, but there are stereo mics with better frequency response, and overall tone that I could buy. For recording the voice of a person speaking at an average distance in an average indoor room, the supplied mic absolutely sucks. But so would a top quality mic of the same type.

The Rode would do a lot better at isloating the sound of the person speaking in a room, and give them better tone, but I will still have to accept some undesireable room reverb and deal with the fundamental problem of distance between source and mic. To get really excellent sound in that situation I'd have to use a lav mic, or a boomed mic held a few feet from the person's mouth.

I believe that the Rode would still sound good in a room filled with sound from one source. I'd expect the tone and frequency response to be better, but with less spaciousness than the on board mic. I would not expect the Rode to do well at all if there were sources of different sounds coming from the front, rear and sides, because it's a directional mic. In those cases I'd unplug it and revert to the on board mic.

All in all, I believe that the Rode may be the best single choice for expanding the camera's sound capabilities at a modest price.
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Old August 19th, 2005, 01:16 PM   #8
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Fred, you are correct!

I just did a review of the RVM.

Now, you and I KNOW there ain't a mic for all seasons - yeah?However, if I had bumped into this RODE when I started in this craft, back in Nov '02, I may have very well believed the contrary! - I was hard pressed to hear ANY behind the camera sound, very important capturing a talking head ion a noisy environment. I then used it in a reverb-ing echoey aircond-ed reception hall and the RVM just ignored most of the background. There was plenty good audio, IMHO, to allow me to use it.

It appears Rode have made a majestic steal on this far too long ignored niche in the market - a need for a design worthy solution. So, at one stroke, their production of this very reasonably priced mic has got to be making "other" main line manufacturers thinking, "Now, why hadn't we done that?!" - They could have, they didn't! - RODE did . . It's here and it is very good! - Oh, and stick it on a pole and you've got a very affordable boom recording option too . . . And guess what? Once "sold" on this videographer-centric product, where will be your up and coming video making going to go, when he or she needs to step up? - Yes? You getting the drift of my argument?

Seriously? I just liked it. And I like a company that recognises the needs of a videographer that maybe just needs a lower priced mic.

Oh yeah, it comes with a right-angle mini 3.5mm plug - A RIGHT-ANGLED PLUG? Now how easy was THAT people? Smaller sticky-out dangerous things on the side of the XM2 has got to be good.

I understand Rode will also be supplying more higher-end shotties in the future.

Grazie
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Old August 19th, 2005, 05:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Retread
Mike, audio also has its own dedicated forum here. It would be preffered that you post future mic and audio questions there.
Sorry Fred- justa excited new newbie.

I know I came across like a bat outa hello but since the GL-2 is the only camera I have and the DM-50 is a proprietary Canon product- I was just trying to reach their users. I just wanted to know if it is much of an improvement over the omni-directional built-in mic. I figured the GL-2 forum is a good place to talk about the GL-2 and what to build on it. I will direct my questions more carefully.


Thanks for the heads up on the Rode VideoMic.

mp
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Old August 19th, 2005, 05:25 PM   #10
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Nah, Michael, you'll do! You'll do very nicely .. have some with the camera .. It is a great piece of kit.

Grazie
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Old August 19th, 2005, 06:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Plunkett
Sorry Fred- justa excited new newbie... I figured the GL-2 forum is a good place to talk about the GL-2 and what to build on it...
Michael, no problem. It made perfect sense to post as you did. I wasn't implying that you had committed a faux pas. We just try to guide the newly arrived to use the site the way the owner intends it. So that when you inevitably start asking about mics and audio in general, the questions and answers can be easily discovered by and benefit the most people.
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Old August 21st, 2005, 12:29 PM   #12
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I've always used Maxell 60-minute tapes. Here in Chicago, I can find them at just about any discount or drugstore and there are frequent rebates. I've had no problem whatsoever with them.
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