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Old October 16th, 2003, 11:07 PM   #1
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Optura Xi-- desperately need questions answered!

Hi guys and girls-- I just bought an Optura Xi, waiting for it to be shipped.

First off, I do a lot of indie filmmaking... stories, fiction, etc. No sports, no weddings. Cool intellectual short films (romantic comedy and dark sarcastic style primarily) and working on some feature-length ones.

I need to know many things.

1. The shutter speed settings. Can I get a decently quasi-"film look" with 1/30th? I used to have a Canon GL1 but recently sold it because I needed some extra money for a car downpayment. Yes, yes I know that the GL1 is an acclaimed camcorder, with 3 CCD and all... but I'm not THAT concerned about how sharp and colorful the footage is, nor do I care a lot about low-light performance. It's all about setting up some extra bowl lights (cheap from Home Depot), to get rid of the grain.

I need to know if I can get somewhat of a "frame-mode" look using 1/30th shutter speed. The GL1 never could go below 1/60th, but it had frame mode, which is 1/30th, am I right?

I just want to make footage look somewhat like a fantasy, obviously because the stuff I write is fictional and needs to look fictional, instead of home-movie-like. You know what I mean? ;)


2. How are all the other features (OIS, manual focus, manual audio control, etc.)?


I basically want good quality video, most importantly. And from what I read in the only two reviews I could find online, the video from the Optura Xi is very, very good. Of course it may suck in low-light, as all camcorders do, but as I said, it's nothing a few bowl-lights couldn't fix.

As far as sound, I am not worried... I use a Sennheiser ME66, MKE300, and a couple lavs. I have the Beachtek XLR adapter, and VU meter left over from my GL1.

Please help! There's gotta be some owners of the Optura Xi on these forums. These are the best and most informative online.

Thanks for any detailed help whatsoever. :)

-Skippy
http://monochromevision.net
http://beautysconfusion.net
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Old October 17th, 2003, 04:42 AM   #2
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No, frame mode is not the same as 1/30th shutter speed. It
will alter the look and might change at what settings you would
use for shutter speeds.

Frame mode is just an in-camera de-interlacing/field blending
method to get a progressive like picture. It is NOT true progressive!

Now my Canon XL1s happely goes into 1/30th shutter speed
so I'm inclined to say the GL1 can as well. You might have to
enable some menu setting for this though.

As has been said here numerous times film-look is not a simple
setting. It is a combination of things that begins with a good
story and clean and professional shooting. Shoot at what
shutter speed LOOKS good TO YOU. If 1/30th produces way
to much strobing during a pan then don't use it. I'd say good
camera work with a solid de-interlace (if you can only shoot
interlaced), good editing and color correction together with the
things mentioned above will you give you a very nice filmic look.

That is more important in my eye then the shutter speed you
shoot at. Even if you decided to always shoot at 1/30th it might
simply not be possible under certain lighting conditions etc.
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Old October 17th, 2003, 04:57 AM   #3
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Quote:
Now my Canon XL1s happely goes into 1/30th shutter speed so I'm inclined to say the GL1 can as well. You might have to enable some menu setting for this though.
I'm sure that the GL1 shots with shutter speeds below 1/60, but you cannot set the shutter manually below 1/60th. With the GL2, you can. I can't recall if the Optura Xi has the lower shutter settings.
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Old October 17th, 2003, 09:22 PM   #4
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Some plug-ins like Magic Bullet can treat your footage so it gets the 24fps look. The quality will probably not be as good as if you shot on a real 24fps camera (Panasonic DVX100, film cameras, etc.).

Film look is overrated in my opinion. Just try to shoot good video.
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Old October 18th, 2003, 07:32 AM   #5
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Does the Optura Xi have a different name in Europe? Is it MVX3i?
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Old October 18th, 2003, 02:31 PM   #6
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Yes, it is MVX3i in Europe (PAL version).
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Old June 8th, 2004, 01:59 PM   #7
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Well, this is a very old thread. I apologize if you aren’t still looking for other people’s opinions - -I just found the Canon Forum here.

I just bought the Optura Xi a week and a half ago. Fantastic consumer camcorder. Super sharp 16/9 resolution on my HDTV tube set. Close up, simple shots would intercut very well with HD material.

Funny that you brought up getting a “film” look using the 1/30 shutter setting: I just discovered the same thing while experimenting with it! I was going to start a thread about that, because it looks very very close to progressive scan. Not really sure what’s going on there, but I did a series of tests under studio lights (Home Depot, heh, heh) and with all the manual options in there, once you set it to TV 1/30 suddenly it looks more like film than video…

A few color correction/saturation tweaks in Vegas Video, along with just a SLIGHT amount of sharpening, and wow – it’s a 70’s film documentary! I love the look, can’t wait to use it for something. Besides a few niggling faults – I love this camera.
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Old June 10th, 2004, 05:57 AM   #8
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Yes Frank, the Optura Xi has the lower shutter setting of 1/30.
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Old June 10th, 2004, 01:55 PM   #9
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Kevin, do you have any 16:9 frames you could share now that you're more comfortable with your Xi?
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Old June 10th, 2004, 03:29 PM   #10
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I own an Optura xi and just shot a scene using the 16x9 and occasional (1/30th) shutter speed.

I'm digging the look - a great little cam. The 1/30th shutter speed seems to allow for a shorter DOF as well. It doesn't really look the "frame mode" of canons gl1, gl2 etc. It looks like a slighty softer, warmer version of 60.

It also has shutter speeds of 15 and 8 for other cool looks.

Add a mike, and you're ready to rock.
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Old June 11th, 2004, 03:39 AM   #11
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Tommy,

Here's a clip shot with my XI in 16:9:

http://www.indecisionthemovie.com/me..._check_2.shtml
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Old June 12th, 2004, 10:49 AM   #12
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Tommy, yeah, now that I've got more of a handle on the Optura Xi, I would like to share some frame grabs from it. If it rains tomorrow, I might build a quickie website. I think I am just about out of server space, does anyone know if there's a free site that allows you to simply store some JPG's? Tommy, I think you had one?
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Old June 12th, 2004, 10:50 AM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Michael Struthers It looks like a slighty softer, warmer version of 60. -->>>

I don't know anything about the optura, but with most cameras shooting at 1/30 sec writes the same data to both interlaced fields of your video. This will indeed give you a softer look because you've effectively reduced your vertical resolution by 50%. I find this especially noticeable on wide shots or scenes that have lots of detail.
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Old June 12th, 2004, 12:43 PM   #14
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That's really interesting. I'm really fascinated by what's going on in there with that 1/30 shutter thing. When I looked at the footage in a computer monitor, frame by frame in an editor there is NO INTERLACING going on! How is that happening? Basically it looks like I am getting progressive scan for free.

I always shoot in 16/9. I have done a lot of tests shooting busy, wideangled shots in both Auto, then switching to TV 1/30 Shutter.
Sometimes, depending on the exposure, it may look slightly softer, but there's no way it's cutting my resolution in half. It looks about the same.
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Old June 12th, 2004, 01:42 PM   #15
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It doesn't look interlaced because it isn't. However the odd and even scan lines should be identical. If you want to test this you should be able to deinterlace a clip in your NLE such that it throws away either the odd or even lines. Give this a try, and it should still look the same. You might also try shooting this test pattern at both 1/60 and 1/30 second and you should be able to graphically read the vertical resolution.
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