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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old April 1st, 2008, 04:34 PM   #1
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Your technical point of view

This request may be of no interest to XL2 professionals, most of whom have more urgent matters to attend to, but if any of you can find the time would you please suggest how to make some basic technical improvements in this sort of shooting/framing/editing/audio/presentation (never mind the UWOL aspects) for any general audience ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEHsyYRjx_Q


All comments welcome, long or short, negative and positive.
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 09:25 AM   #2
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Hey Brendan,

My expertise is not in shooting wildlife, but in this particular shot I do have one suggestion regarding framing: try to keep the eagle along the upper third of the frame. The bird seems a little suffocated by the top of the frame and it is such a beautiful background that I would like to see a little more of it as the bird approaches. Other than that, it is a beautiful shot.

Ryan
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 10:39 AM   #3
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Yeah, the bird is way too close to the top. I would have framed him dead center, or even a little lower to ensure his "face space" (flight is always up, right?).

And you might consider using Vimeo.com for posting vids, rather than Youtube. Better quality.
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 11:04 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ryan Mueller View Post
Hey Brendan,

The bird seems a little suffocated by the top of the frame and it is such a beautiful background that I would like to see a little more of it as the bird approaches.

Ryan
Very thoughtful, Ryan. Framing is something I have only considered in relation to stills, but you're dead right that the eagle seems squeezed against an invisible lid, all because I did not know 2 things:
(1) whether he would land on the bait in front of the rock or on the rock
(2) I was afraid that if I gave prominence to the background I would be auto-focussed on the background as the bird arrived.

If I had used manual focus, say on the rock, would that have blurred his approach out of focus? DOF must be part of the answer. The light was fading at the time. My computer screen probably does not help me to study this in detail which I'd like to do. Anyway I'm delighted you enjoyed the clip.
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 11:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Barker View Post
Yeah, the bird is way too close to the top. I would have framed him dead center, or even a little lower to ensure his "face space" (flight is always up, right?).

And you might consider using Vimeo.com for posting vids, rather than Youtube. Better quality.
I agree that flight was way too close to the top, Jack.
Flight is usually up, alright. But to reach the bait the eagle had to glide downwards in front of the rock. By the time he did it was almost dark. The previous clip on YouTube shows a female eagle gliding down when leaving her nest.

Thanks for the Vimeo tip. I'll be checking them out.
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 04:48 PM   #6
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And you might consider using Vimeo.com for posting vids, rather than Youtube. Better quality.
Jack, you are quite right about Vimeo. This is the best quality I've seen on any public website. This link reveals clips that have never seemed as clear before on several other websites ... http://www.vimeo.com/856613

Thanks again.
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 04:58 PM   #7
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Looks good. You might also want to try www.blip.tv
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Old April 4th, 2008, 03:15 AM   #8
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Brendan,
as Ryan and Jack tells, the framing could be better as they suggest. I think this could be a nice one for establisning shoot. When you sit in a hide/blind as I expect that you where doing here Brendan, you know approx. where the eagle will land and you can frame it before the eagle appear!
To get this more interesting for viewers it also important to get some close-up of the eagle too. The Canon XL-series is capable of interchange lenses using an ef-adapter. I will suggest to use a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens in places like this. At the 200mm end of this lens you could get some stunning close-up of the bird with a beautiful dof, where only the bird is sharp. I know it can be hard to get those close-ups if the bird is moving too much, but if you sit in a hide and don't move your lens-hood or move it very carefully the change for that the bird will sit down for some time is higher!
Experience and patience is the key word here!
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Old April 4th, 2008, 11:41 AM   #9
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Per Johan
I was in a hide 35 metres from the rock. The 2 landings are really one landing; the first landing is a repeat of the second after a bit of enlarging and slo-mo. I must study the original landing properly on a good TV screen. I can't be sure how much the eagle is out of focus just when he appears from below the rock.

My prime concern when I framed the shot was that the bottom of the rock would be in sharp focus. I did not know from what angle he would arrive.

May I put a few questions to you? To what target would you have set manual focus so that you would have the best chance of getting the approach flight in good focus? Any suggestions about the shutter speed & f/stop you would use on your XLH1 (or XL2)?

I was using the XM2 then and anticipating that autofocus might give me more options so I was trying to avoid including the background in the frame. In the end I made a mess of the framing but at least I am learning, though sometimes I'm not quite sure what I'm learning!!!

Perhaps this is closer to what you would approve of : http://birdcinema.com/view_video.php...d5d5b5ca6831cf

Regarding the 70-200mm f/2.8 I notice that there is a big difference in prices between Canon ($1600 incl IS, $1200 without IS) and Sigma ($700 without IS). Is there such a big difference in quality?

Last edited by Brendan Marnell; April 4th, 2008 at 04:23 PM. Reason: to insert link to fresh clip
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Old April 5th, 2008, 05:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendan Marnell View Post
May I put a few questions to you? To what target would you have set manual focus so that you would have the best chance of getting the approach flight in good focus? Any suggestions about the shutter speed & f/stop you would use on your XLH1 (or XL2)?
Well, difficult to say without being there! But keep in mind that doing a wide shoot, putting the focus on infinity often helps.
I do mostly shutter speed for 1/50, adjusting the aperture and exposure properly. Put zebra on for most accurate exposure. In bright light there may be a need for providing some ND to dim the light some. The stock lens on the XLH1 and XL2 has inbuild ND. Ef-lenses don't, so I often use tree different ND's (0.3, 0.6 and 0.9) to be able to maintain the sharpest area of those lenses, which often is at f/7.3 to f/11.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendan Marnell View Post
Perhaps this is closer to what you would approve of : http://birdcinema.com/view_video.php...d5d5b5ca6831cf
You will be closer with ef-lenses attached. A 70-200mm or a prime 300mm would have been perfect for real close-ups at this distance! Take a look at my uwol-entry #7 - Eagle has landed (You'll find it at my website!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendan Marnell View Post
Regarding the 70-200mm f/2.8 I notice that there is a big difference in prices between Canon ($1600 incl IS, $1200 without IS) and Sigma ($700 without IS). Is there such a big difference in quality?
Sigma lenses, at least the f/2.8 series is a good buy! In fact I'm using a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 (the shoot of the Golden Eagle in my uwol-7 entry is shoot with that lens!) The cons with the Sigmas is that they don't like wet weather conditions the same way as the Canon L-serie lenses! For video work you don't need the IS so the Canon without IS will also be a good buy.
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Old April 7th, 2008, 01:57 PM   #11
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That's a great help to me, Per Johan.

I have plucked out your answers and pasted them into my Notes on Videography. After some editing I have10 pages packed with tips on XL2 use for my particular limited purposes.

Thank you all for your considered opinions.
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