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


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Old December 14th, 2002, 06:40 PM   #1
John Clodfelter
 
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GL2 - Capturing Stills from dv Tape

After capturing stills to dv tape on the GL2 how are you able to get the stills to a computer for printing? My assumption was that I could pause the tape at a specific frame, press the "photo" button and save the still to the memory card. This is how my Sony PD 100 works but on the GL2 the Photo button does not seem to be active in the Tape/VCR mode. I looked through the manual and fiddled with all the menu setting but couldn't figure how to do this.

When the GL2 is connected to my computer (Titanium PowerBook) via the USB cable the software only seems to be looking at the memory card to pull stills (not at stills stored on a dv tape). The only way I can figure to use the stills on my computer is to transfer a whole sequence via firewire cable to my NLE (Final Cut Pro) and then export individual frames from there.

Is there an easier way to utilize these stills captured on dv tape?

Thanks in advance for your help,
John Clodfelter
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Old December 14th, 2002, 09:33 PM   #2
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When stills are recorded to tape, they are simply recorded like a progressive mode movie that just doesn't move. All you have to do is capture the video into your video editor, then export a frame of the video. There should be 150 frames (30fps * 5 secs), worth of your still image to capture, and it will be 720 x 480.
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Old December 14th, 2002, 09:47 PM   #3
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After browsing the GL2 manual in my Acrobat reader, I'm surprised to see that there's no tape-to-card feature, which is found on consumer models such as the Elura 40MC.

So yes, you'll have to transfer via FireWire cable and export the stills from iMovie, Final Cut or whatever NLE you're using.

In my opinion, it's always best to record stills with the card (get a high-capacity one) instead of the tape.
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Old December 15th, 2002, 07:19 AM   #4
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The stills captured to card are higher resolution, but you lose some very significant control over image exposure, a limitation I simply to this day do not understand. Therefore, if you're in a low lighting situation and don't want your image to be full of gain noise, you have to use still to tape, and you get only half the resolution.

I wish Canon would come up with some kind of firmware upgrade to fix this (if that's even possible). The GL2 could be an outstanding still camera if not for those limitations.
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Old December 15th, 2002, 11:43 AM   #5
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Why in the world would anyone care about the GL2's still photo abilities? Buy any good, small 2.1 mp digital still cam and keep it in your video bag. When you feel the urge to stop the world, use it. You'll get a much better still shot than any video camera will produce. They're just not designed for that job.
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Old December 15th, 2002, 12:52 PM   #6
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Stills & the GL2

even though I aggree with Ken, I think it would be nice to snag a few stills now and then from the GL2. I also think it's odd than you can't grab a video still to the (notso) smart media. While in Victoria BC this fall I went to several places where It just wasn't practical to haul my Nikon D1 digital for a couple of reasons.

First; I wanted to travel light, and if you own a D1 you know what I mean.
Second; I wanted to be a "tourist" and not draw too much attention to myself, which I found out was hard to do anyway with the GL2.
Third; I was, in fact, on vacation and wanted to go places and just enjoy them and not worry about "shooting".

I did use the still mode for a couple of shots, and they were nice "vacation" photos. But it would have been nice to be able to just snag some stills from my video without the hassle of loading into FCP. etc etc...

Maybe an upgrade is in order for the GL3?

Mark
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Old December 15th, 2002, 02:36 PM   #7
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"Why in the world would anyone care about the GL2's still photo abilities"

I paid $3000 for a wonderful video camera. That camera happens to have a still image feature that is pretty nice - an added bonus. Fine. But then there are absolutely POINTLESS limitations on the exposure settings for stills. They make no sense at all. Why on earth would someone desgin a camera with a still photo system and intentionally restrict exposure settings?

If you don't want any still ability that's fine, but if you're going to put it in and theoretically give someone the option of NOT having to buy a 2+ Megapixel camera (which probably won't have the other nice features I like about the GL2 like all the color adjustments, lens adapters, etc.), why would you tantalize them in such a way by castrating its still abilities for no reason?

That makes much less sense than me wanting to use my GL2 for stills. In other words its much more bizarre for them to have these limitations than it is for me to want to use the GL2 as a still camera on certain occasions. If I want to use the advertised feature then that's my business - but them placing senseless limitations on it, that makes no sense to anyone.
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Old December 15th, 2002, 03:01 PM   #8
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"Why on earth would someone desgin a camera with a still photo system and intentionally restrict exposure settings?"

Excellent question. Can you say "marketing considerations"? Canon can't seem to decide whether it wants the GL line to be sold as a "Super Daddy-Cam" or as "My First Professional Camera". Consequently it offers concessions to both strategies. A higher resolution CCD block, improved audio controls...and a flash-card still photo facility (largely because Sony offers this on some of their consumer cams.)

I've wondered if Canon might be able to use the feature to bolster the GL's professional capabilities profile. Some of Sony's professional cams (ex: DSR570) offer a still capture feature (onto a Sony "memory stick") which is used as a scene continuity feature. The still shot can be overlayed onto the live scene in the viewfinder to check for continuity errors before shooting the next scene or take.
Of course you can probably also use a DSR570 to shoot stills that look like crayon drawings compared to a good still camera.

I think Canon ought to just give you a free digital Elph with every GL2 and XL1s. It's a good camera and probably wouldn't cost Canon a fortune if done for a limited time. <g>
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Old December 15th, 2002, 06:27 PM   #9
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I agree with Ken. This effort of adding still photo capabilities is just Keeping Up with The Jones'. The image quality of these cameras leaves much to be desired. Most of my students (introductory class) are disappointed with their 2.1 megapixel cameras once they get a few weeks into the course. I think it's a marketing device (I wouldn't even want to call it a feature) that best left alone. If you want decent still pictures carry the new 3.3 megapixel ELPH. It's not a D1, but it takes a nice picture.

Jeff
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Old December 15th, 2002, 07:31 PM   #10
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Maybe I'm obtuse, but I just cannot understand how from a marketing standpoint it helps them to actively restrict certain exposure settings on still photos.
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Old December 15th, 2002, 07:58 PM   #11
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I think the inclusion is little more than an after thought, so if someone compares it to a similar Sony, the outward appearance is that it has a similar feature.

Jeff
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Old December 23rd, 2002, 03:51 PM   #12
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My last camera was a Sony 900 and I could go through the tape and whenever I wanted to make a picture of that frame, I simply paused the tape, pushed the photo button and recorded the image to my memory stick. I asked the question if the GL2 could do the same thing before I purchased it.

I was told that I could do the same thing on my GL2, and now I find out that I can't. I would have purchased the Sony vx2000 had I known this before hand.

There is no question that I can get a better image from my Sony DSC707, but sometimes you can't get the picture. I hope these pictures come out.

http://www.michigan-sportsman.com/ph...hlightning.jpg

http://www.michigan-sportsman.com/ph...pine_river.jpg

The first one would be very difficult to take with a still camera or with my GL2 in the photo mode. The second picture I climbed out of a small boat and filmed this young deer on the bank of a river. Since it was the only camera I had with me, I used it. The picture was used in a wildlife calendar for 2003.

Besides lots of other wildlife that won't hold still for a still camera, the video camera is excellent like for bird watching. Many small birds are very difficult to capture on a still camera because they just don't sit still long enough. With my video camera I have found that I could take some excellent pictures with my Sony Video Camera. The picture quality with my GL2 is twice that of the Sony.

For me it is a real disappointment that I can not readily use this feature. I am sure there is a way to get them and I plan on learning how to do it, so not all is lost.

For you guys who know how to do all this stuff, that's great, but for someone like me who doesn't have as much time and a long learning curve, it is a pain. With a high quality printer, many of the pictures I have are fine for framing. I have an entire wall full of them. Darn!
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Old December 23rd, 2002, 07:04 PM   #13
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At least you can grab the still frame, even if you can't easily do it to the tape.

But come to think of it - I don't have my GL2 manual in front of me, but are you sure you can't transfer a video still to memory stick? I could swear I remember reading something about that in the manual.
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Old December 23rd, 2002, 08:34 PM   #14
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GL2 Manual

No, you can copy images from the card to tape but not reverse.

A handy link to keep around:
http://www.canondv.com/downloads/manuals.html
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Old January 1st, 2003, 11:30 PM   #15
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SceneAnalyzer (http://www.scenalyzer.com/ ) allows you to capture a tape through firewire to a Mode1 or Mode2 AVI file with scene detection.

You can also use it to grab still frames (JPG or BMP). The BMP option might be interesting in order to get a cleaner file.

Like the other people, I was not planning to use the GL2 to take still pictures. I tried it because the SD if a convenient form factor but couldn't believe the exposure limitations of the CARD mode. So from now I will probably only use the TAPE mode to get pictures mainly for web publishing.

Canon should have ignored the SD connector and put 2 XLR connectors instead of !
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