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


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Old July 9th, 2007, 03:37 PM   #1
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Is the GL2 worth it if that's all you get?

My employer wants to purchase a digital video camera and have me shoot training videos. A camera, tapes, and possibly a microphone is all we'll be buying. I researched the GL2 and a couple of single-ship cameras. While I know that 3 chips are better than 1, I'm wondering if the extra expense of the GL2 is worth it if we don't plan on using lighting (other than the overhead flourescents) or a decent microphone, and we'll probably have just a cheap tripod. Given those limitations (and probably many more), is a lower-end 3-chip camera worth purchasing over say a Sony DCR-HC96? Would you buy a 3-chip camera to shoot under home video conditions?

Thanks for your help.
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Old July 9th, 2007, 05:00 PM   #2
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That's a tough call. I'm probably gonna say it wouldn't be worth it. Pick up a ZR800 for $300 and call it a day. It has a mic jack in case you ever want to use a microphone. I think your employer would be happier about the savings. But that's just what I'm thinking. If an extra $1000 is no big deal to your company however, might as well go for the GL2.
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Old July 9th, 2007, 05:09 PM   #3
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Do you get the difference in the money? or is this coming out of your pocket? I would go with the best you could afford, it may save you time in post "fixing" issues with not-so-good cameras. Why not make those videos with a nice camera lol/////


my $.02
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Old July 9th, 2007, 08:45 PM   #4
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Thanks for your replies.

An extra $1,000 is a big deal, but they'll spend it if the results are worth it. But if the results aren't much better than a home movie, I'll have some explaining to do (and lack of quality lights, etc., won't be a valid excuse).
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Old July 9th, 2007, 08:57 PM   #5
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Then I guess the true question is how confident are you in your abilities with a camera like the GL2 vs. camera "x"? If you can operate a camera decently than the picture only gets better with the model of camera. If you are new, then the footage is going to look about the same on either camera (aside better colors on the GL2).

Lighting seems to be more of an issue to you as well. Are you filming in a super poorly lit environment? Why not introduce the idea of a cheap light kit, or even Home Depot lights? Have someone bring in a lamp, lol...

I've been in this situation before and even if I didn't know jack about operating a camera, I'd get the GL2 and crash course learn the dang thing in a day or three...

If they say your footage looks like crap after getting and filming with the GL2, you can retort with "Imagine what it would look like on a $300 camcorder." tee hee
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Old July 9th, 2007, 09:35 PM   #6
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It sounds like they'd be happier with buying a cheaper camera. The GL2 might not look all that great without putting in some work. The ZR800 is a pretty decent cam, and you can do some nice work with it. I would recommend getting that, a tripod, and picking up a boom mic or some other external mic. In my opinion, to the average viewer, using no special lighting, you won't be able to see $1000 worth of difference between a GL2 and a ZR800. Having more money to buy a mic though, WILL make a difference. I've seen masterpieces come out of both the GL2 and ZR800, and I've seen complete garbage come out of the GL2 and ZR800.
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Old July 9th, 2007, 09:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Boyer View Post
A camera, tapes, and possibly a microphone is all we'll be buying. ..... I'm wondering if the extra expense of the GL2 is worth it if we don't plan on using lighting (other than the overhead flourescents) or a decent microphone, and we'll probably have just a cheap tripod.
Although Chris and I are both leaning toward different ends on the camera, we are both singing the "you need lighting and def. good sound" song...
He's right, without good lighting and a little work, you won't SEE $1000 difference with GL2.
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Old July 9th, 2007, 10:04 PM   #8
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I think that perhaps one of the most important questions to ask might be, "who is the intended audience for these videos you'll be making?" If you're making a video for a new employee to learn how to assemble Turnip Twaddlers on the assembly line, then your needs are very likely different from a video to train salespersons in the field how to demonstrate your product. For strictly "nuts-and-bolts-how-to" videos, you may be just fine with the single chip.

I made a demonstration video (with my single-chip Sony) of a product that my company manufactures to teach sales reps how to assemble it. It was fine for our purposes. Then I got a GL2 and used it to make an audition video for a friend. My boss saw it and asked me to reshoot the demo video for a trade show.

Using a nearly identical setting and lighting the results with the GL2 were dramatically better.

I suppose my knee-jerk reaction would be to go for the cheaper camera for "inside" work, but the GL2 for anything that will be viewed by people outside the company.
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Old July 9th, 2007, 10:10 PM   #9
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Here are two screen grabs, one from a GL2, and one from a ZR800. I won't say which is which just yet. This isn't a very scientific test, but it should give you an idea of the difference you'll see using no additional lighting.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v3...s/PowerOut.png

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v3...ris/Stairs.png

Anyone want to take a guess?

Last edited by Chris Harris; July 9th, 2007 at 10:11 PM. Reason: additional info
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Old July 9th, 2007, 10:54 PM   #10
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Stairs = GL2?
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Old July 10th, 2007, 05:51 AM   #11
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It would be a lot easier if they were pictures of the same thing, but I'm also guessing the GL-2 for the stairs. There's a degree of fuzziness in the figures at the top of the stairs, but that appears to be a depth of field issue. Foreground is pretty sharp. Nothing in the Banquet room shot seems quite as crisp so I can't put the fuzziness down to depth of field. Some noticeable distortion in the banquet room shot but maybe due to a wider angle - hard to compare such different images and figure out what is camera and what is lighting/focal length related.

But I still vote for GL-2 on the stairs.
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Old July 10th, 2007, 07:59 AM   #12
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With very good lighting, you can use almost any MiniDV camcorder. But if you have less than optimum lighting, the GL2 will produce a noticeably better image than any 1-CCD camcorder. Also, the image stabilization, manual exposure options, and zoom range can help deal with cheap tripods, available lighting, etc.

The issue is how good does the video need to look. If video image quality is not an issue, pick up a used VHS or 8mm camcorder at a garage/yard/rummage sale for $5 (give or take) and use it. If delivering the video to customers, it should not look low/home video quality, that can reflect poorly on the company's other products.

What do they plan to use to edit the video?
What is the delivery format, DVD?
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Old July 10th, 2007, 08:25 AM   #13
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I'll be editing the video on Vegas and most of the video will be shown on a projector in our training room for both employees and clients.

The hard part of all this is that I used to own a DVX, light kit, tripod, and a couple of mics. I sold them because they sat around unused for months and months. (I never took the time to learn to use them properly.)

This is a helpful discussion and I appreciate everybody's time and replies.
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Old July 10th, 2007, 10:34 AM   #14
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If this is a one-time deal, you might be able to rent.

Making good training videos that will hold the viewer's interest is not a trivial task.

Quality sound properly synchronized and a well developed script are essential if there is any on-screen narration.

Projecting video makes high quality essential. Large screen projection really shows up the imperfection in the original video material that would he hidden on a standard-size TV screen.
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Old July 10th, 2007, 12:49 PM   #15
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The stairs was the ZR800! Thanks for playing guys! Jim's right though, there's other factors at play here. I just wanted to show that if you're not careful, it's hard to see a difference.
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