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Canon Optura Junior Watchdog
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Old June 8th, 2004, 07:29 PM   #1
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Optura tips

I thought we could share some tips on using the Opturas.

1. As Kevin Sturges pointed out in his thread, using the 1/30th shutter speed in Tv mode makes the image look less like video and more dreamy - like film. Another upside, at 1/30th, you get some decent low light shots.

2. Manual focus and zoom - it's very common to lose focus when you're using the manual focus and zooming in/out. A fast way to get the focus back is to press the autofocus, let it hunt, then go back to manual focus and fine tune it from there.

3. Use some scotch tape on the multimedia card door. On the Optura Xi that door is on the bottom of camcorder right where I hold it for shooting, I've popped that thing some many times during shooting - I wanna kick myself to the moon and back.

4. Av mode - using a wide aperture gives you a thin field of focus - so the subject in your image will be in sharp focus while the foreground and background can be blurred. It also let's you do a limited rack focus, where you can have subject close to the camera, in focus, when you re-focus on something in the background the the foreground will go out of focus.

* The widest aperture on the Optura Xi is F1.6.

5. If you are shooting a spaghetti western, squished 16:9 video becomes a "feature".

Feel free to add more!
Michael Wisniewski is offline  
Old June 9th, 2004, 10:42 AM   #2
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7. If you plan on adding a wide angle lense and a BP-535 battery to the Xi - you'll want to look at bags designed for something as large as a GL-2 because even the "large camcorder" consumer bags are a tight fit.
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Old June 9th, 2004, 03:37 PM   #3
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Interesting about that 1/30 shutter thing. People who see my video ( they are not into camcorders) the first thing they all say is "It doesn't look like video, it looks like it was shot on film. This looks a lot better".

I have 10 new Panasonic DV tapes coming this week. The ones I have been using are consumer grade Sony's and were sitting in a box for about a year. I am getting an alarming amount of dropouts - so much so that I am wondering if there is something wrong with this camcorder. I have used a new DV cleaning tape twice for 10 seconds, it seemed to help. I noticed the tapes glitch in the same place each time, but the camera also seems to skip for the first first second occasionaly when I first start recording.

This morning I put in the last new Sony tape. After about 3 minutes of recording a big red message came up in the LCD saying "Warning! Tape Heads are dirty. That's just great. I looked at some of the footage on this fresh tape and mostly it was good, only an occasional little jiggle.

Is this normal? Has anyone else had this happen? Hopefully, I just got some bad tapes, or it doesn't like the Sony brand ones, and the Panasonics will cure this.
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Old June 10th, 2004, 07:55 AM   #4
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I went down to the marina and used up that new tape last night. Good news. No dropouts. What a relief, it was just my luck that the first two tapes I had to try the camera out with, were bad.

The footage of the boats in the harbor came out fairly amazing on my HDTV. It almost looks like watching a movie from a DVD. The thing I like about this camera is that there is no synthetic edge enhancement. Also there is almost no zipper effects on straight or diagonal lines. All those masts with the rigging looked like a photograph. Great lens on the Xi too. I used the TV mode with the 1/30 shutter setting. The dreamy soft motion of the gulls flying overhead the boats looked very cinematic. Good stuff, I can't wait to do more taping this weekend.
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Old June 10th, 2004, 01:51 PM   #5
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Kevin, definitely use a cleaning tape before switching to Panasonic.
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Old June 11th, 2004, 08:37 AM   #6
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I will do that. Thanks for the information here, I would have had no idea about that otherwise.
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Old June 12th, 2004, 10:35 AM   #7
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Here's an audio tip: Has anyone tried using a Mic Modeleling program in their editor?

Recently I did some videotaping of someone playing an acoustic guitar in the livingroom. Turns out I had forgotten to change settings on the Xi, and still had the audio set to "Wind". Uh-Oh. Later when I reviewed the tape, I ended up with very low level, thin sounding audio. It seems the Wind filter rolls off all the low end.

I saved the take by using the Antares Mic Modeling DX plugin with Vegas Video. I simply dialed up a Neuman U87 Gold (nice!) and boosted the proximity to bring back the low end. The build in Tube Saturation adds a lot of nice warmth too.

No, it didn't really sound like I used a $4'000 microphone (x2 for stereo...) on my videotape, but it saved the track, and sounded pretty good. Can't wait to try this technigue with some properly recorded stuff.

PS> That Antares program does wonders for acoustic guitars with direct pre-amps. Really warms them up. Hey, I will have to try that with my guitar plugged straight into the camera :)
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