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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old November 16th, 2007, 06:13 AM   #1
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Short film

Hi guys,

I am student, and I recently directed a short film named 'Crying in the Dark' in Singapore with Canon XL2. I have posted the links. Please check it out and I would be glad to hear your feedback. :) I had to rush up shoot in less than 30 hours. So the quality got a bit affected.

This is my first short film. Hope to recieve feedback and encouragement from you. Thanks a lot! :)

Cheers,
B.Prasanna

PS : i could upload only a low quality wmv file. so even the aspect ratio is not correct. dont mind. :)

Part 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ki_qsY67YNs

Part 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmS8aJQ5DbQ

Part 3 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QezzWUIciY8
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Old November 17th, 2007, 11:52 AM   #2
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I quit! I'm selling my XL2 and all my equipment! Two years, and I'm still struggling to get this far.

What a fine piece of work, Bala. The mood, the music, the dialogue - everything. I couldn't have put this together in 30 days. Many, many congratulations.
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Old November 17th, 2007, 03:53 PM   #3
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Thankyou! :)

Thankyou so much Mr. Jack Barker! :)

I just wanted to ask. My next project, I want the visuals to have english colours - grim, a bit pale yet providing a good pallette..like cool blue, white, lighter shades of brown, orange, etc. Its for a romantic comedy.

My friend suggested me to use dvx 100 for the project and not go for xl2. He said the tones are warmer in dvx and would suit such a project.

What do you think? Could you post your views on this?
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Old November 17th, 2007, 04:18 PM   #4
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Excellent work

I agree with Jack. Everything was very professional and polished. Color and mood was perfect. Very nicely done.

For what it's worth, I can tell you that one of the components that I'm sure contributed to the look and feel of your project was the use of an XL2. I am now using an XL2 after using DVX's for many years, and I can tell you that you will never get that kind of feeling, emotion, and style out of a DVX. The XL2 is an amazing piece of equipment that is worthy of the work you do. You would not be happy with the DVX.

I have used both extensively, and I will not use a DVX again.

Again, congratulations on a very well produced film.

Tim Hodgson
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Old November 17th, 2007, 05:36 PM   #5
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Bala, I love it! "english colours - grim, a bit pale..." Well, we are grim and a bit pale, my friend - and with good reason.

The possible settings on the XL2 run into the Billions, and I am not exaggerating. You should start a new thread to describe the settings you want, in case people pass this one by. Though I am not sure I associate cool blue with romantic comedy.

PS - need someone to come light your next shoot? It's only mid-November, and I am already fed up with the weather in the Northeast United States.
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Old November 18th, 2007, 09:44 AM   #6
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Short Film?

Bala--what can one say -- the feel of your film from lighting to subject matter was moody--thought invoking--beautifully done!

So my question is--what do you intend to do with the film--is it for release via TV- DVD or?

I am curious--as I'm sure are others that have read your post.

and although I am not a fan of youtube--this is one of the better examples of a film promoted via youtube--and would recommend anyone shooting with an Xl2 to view it!

Thanks for sharing

Ron
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Old November 18th, 2007, 11:46 AM   #7
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Bala - try posting on another website with better resolution than YouTube, which is almost any other website.

Vimeo (they also support HD)
http://www.vimeo.com/

BlipTV
http://blip.tv/

YouAreTV
http://www.youare.tv/

If you have a Mac, you can get iWeb, create a Podcast, and upload it to the iTunes Music Store.
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Old November 18th, 2007, 02:23 PM   #8
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Hi Bala,

Many thanks for sharing the excellent video - great job! I started to reply yesterday but my IE crashed midway through so hopefully I'll recall most of my prior feedback.

Your story and actors were very strong, two extremely important areas. Here's an area where most of us easily fall down, but you and your crew deserve top cudos - congratulations to all on an awesome job!!!

I was particularly impressed by the audio/music mix. It's clear that's an important area for you, too. You and your crew were spon on - excellent work. On my speakers, some audio segments had a distinctive low-frequency mic hum which could be reduced using a high-pass filter in post (about 80 hz), otherwise most of the audio was nice. I suggest wearing a good set of headphones when taping. The Sony MDR-7506 Headphone is very good for the price, and with the Headphone Softie you can comfortably wear them all day. Still, I love my Sennheiser CX-300 earbuds for non-critical work - I can wear them all day and forget they are on; they also have an incredible frequency response range for a $60 set of speakers; of course they won't block out extraneous ambient noise but that's seldom an issue when doing a film.

The video editing was fine. In time, you'll improve the pacing and shot transitions but you're definitely far ahead of your contemporaries. By the way, I did enjoy your special effects, especially nice touches like the color saturation on the flowers near the end - beautiful touch. And near the beginning, I really liked the added luminence on the actors with the window backlighting - great effect (although missing on the perspective cut shot).

As you probably know, your lighting was somewhat checkered. I think viewers will be okay with non-optimum light, yet try to ensure your lighting isn't too dark or inconsistent between camera angles in the same scene (I'm aware that some scenes should be obscure due to the nature of the theme).

The camerawork was nice. Again, in time you'll get more creative with new techniques and improve on a few of the basics, but all in all everything was solid and worked well. For an aspiring filmmaker of your caliber, I recommend the DVD series "Hollywood Camera Work" - while it's $400, if you look around you can find significant discount codes and I understand they will be offering holiday discounts.

http://www.hollywoodcamerawork.us/

All in all, your video is certainly a real winner. Again, two thumbs way up to your actors, scriptwriters, audio/music mixer, and you for pulling it all together!

Warm Regards, Michael
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Old November 20th, 2007, 12:32 AM   #9
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Thankyou so much!

Thankyou Mr Jack! I live in Singapore! I would love it if you are interested to help out! :D I am tentatively flying to India to shoot my next project. I want to set the theme in the december rainy season in Southern India. Its the season for classical music in southern part of India.

Thankyou Mr Ron! Actually I really dont know what to do my with my short film. I have sent it to a few film festivals. White Light Pictures is my own banner. Its not a big production house or anything! So there's no selling or distribution associated with it. Just showing it around to people, hoping for some recognition somewhere.

Thankyou for that detailed review Mr Michael! I will try n get better next time. :) Thankyou so much. We couldn't work much on camera angles this time because the location was available to us for a very short period of time. It was a rushed up shoot.

One doubt - I had some DOF problems with XL2. Is it genreally a weak area in XL2 or I just didn't know how to handle it?
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Old November 20th, 2007, 03:24 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bala Prasanna View Post
<clip>

One doubt - I had some DOF problems with XL2. Is it genreally a weak area in XL2 or I just didn't know how to handle it?
Rehi,

Actually, DOF is a strong area of the XL-2 (16x9 and 24P) as compared to many other prosumer cameras (of course, not quite as good as real film). In essence, the more light on the CCD, the better the DOF.

So open the aperture, use 24 or 30 FPS, back away with camera and zoom in on subject (better yet, use a lens shorter than the 20X), and of course do not use a ND filter. But if you're stuck shooting with the stock 20X lens in a small room, you've got a problem - consider something like a 72mm Red Eye FX Aspheric .7 or .5 lens adapter, or invest in a 3X lens.

http://www.vfgadgets.com/RedEye.htm

And if possible, move the camera outside the room and zoom in on your subject.

I suspect you're up to speed on DOF, but if you want to play with the numbers, try this link:

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...h-of-field.htm

Good luck, Michael
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Old November 20th, 2007, 09:45 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Bala Prasanna View Post
One doubt - I had some DOF problems with XL2. Is it genreally a weak area in XL2 or I just didn't know how to handle it?
DOF is weak on all small CCD cameras, but the tricks of opening the iris as much as possible, moving the subject away from the background, and/or moving the camera away from the subject, then zooming in work quite well, to give the illusion of a more shallow depth of field.

Here's an article on how that illusion works:

http://www.bluesky-web.com/dofmyth.htm

---------------

Michael: Could you explain why you said, "and of course do not use a ND filter"? I use the internal ND filter sometimes to compensate for opening up the lens, and I have never seen a problem.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 02:17 PM   #12
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Michael: Could you explain why you said, "and of course do not use a ND filter"? I use the internal ND filter sometimes to compensate for opening up the lens, and I have never seen a problem.
Hi Jack,

Yes, I agree we use ND for compensation. My general point was that all things being equal, whenever we reduce the light on the CCD we increase the DOF. Sorry if that was confusing - our Jeff Donald submitted an excellent DOF article here:

http://dvinfo.net/articles/optics/dofskinny.php

Warm Regards, Michael
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Old November 20th, 2007, 02:37 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Michael Nistler View Post
Jeff Donald submitted an excellent DOF article here:

http://dvinfo.net/articles/optics/dofskinny.php

Warm Regards, Michael
Well now, it's even more confusing. Donald says, "If I want less Dof, I can lower the f/stop number, add Neutral Density filters or a polarizer to reduce the light, thereby forcing the f/stop number lower," whereas you said, "and of course do not use a ND filter," which is just the opposite, and you also said, "whenever we reduce the light on the CCD we increase the DOF" I don't think I have read anywhere, that the amount of light falling on the CCD, (or frame of film, come to that) has any impact on the DoF - real or perceived.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 12:48 AM   #14
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Rehi Jack,

Sigh, let me give you a final reference at our site:

http://dvinfo.net/canon/articles/article3.php

Hopefully we're all up to speed that a lower f-stop number (say from f2.0 to f1.4) puts more light on the CCD, resulting in narrower (or reduced) depth of field; conversely, shutting down the aperture to f16 allows very little light on the CCD putting almost everything in focus, i.e., a wide depth of field. Arithmetically speaking, f stop = focal length of the lens divided by the aperture diameter. So it's clear both the focal length and aperture influence the CCD light and depth of field. Ditto with shutter speed, so a faster shutter speed (say 24fps to 60fps) reduces the light on the CCD.

Looking at my earlir post, I should have made it clear when I said "the better the DOF", I was referring to a shallower depth of field. And since it's easier and more practical to think ND filters (or amplifier gain settings) as being used more to compensate for other DOF settings, let's forgo this topic (for those who can grasp the correlation, adding a ND filter requires us to do an offsetting action such as opening the iris to a higher f-stop, thus decreasing or narrowing the DOF to put the foreground/background out of focus).

If this doesn't work, please start a new thread or try PMs so we don't hijack Bala's discussion. Back on that note Bala, I scanned through my files with a shootout comparing the XL-2, DVX100A and HDV FX1. As we discussed ealier in this thread, Canon's telephoto 20X lens can provide a narrower depth of field, given an adequate distance between camera and subject (which most videographers would say is a figure of merit). We do this by zooming in on our subject, obscuring the background out of focus. Anyway, here's the thread that should address Bala's question about XL-2 DOF:

http://www.dvxuser.com/articles/shoot3/

Good luck, Michael
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Old November 21st, 2007, 09:31 AM   #15
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Thanks!

Great stuff..reading through them. However, I just realised that there is no XL2 available for rental in India. I badly want to shoot with an XL2 and experiment with it. I am not sure how am going to work it out now. For my previous project, I was lucky as my XL2 was sponsored by CANON Singapore.

=(
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