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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old August 27th, 2008, 07:55 PM   #1
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XL2 capturing footage, making dvd and other

Hello:

We just purchased an xl2 and are confused about some of the things related to using it. I myself am very computer savvy but do not have much experience with such a prosumer camera relating to video production and coming up with a final work. My colleague on the other hand has a lot of experience with shooting footage but not with editing so we are trying to learn as much as we possibly can about the elements involved. The software that we are using is Photoshop CS3 and the computer used is a very recent one that I built myself. Some of the questions that have surfaced are:

1. When I capture the footage from the camera, it is stored in the avi format. The footage is shot using the all auto method and 29.97 frame rate. The file size is roughly about 4.7gigs for a 20 minute file. When I play the file on the computer afterwards, it plays fine. However, when trying to stream it over the home network it plays almost like in slow motion, almost jerky. Would anyone happen to know why that is? My suspicion tells me that it has either something to do with the file being so large, or the codec that is used in streaming it. I have tried converting the file to a microsoft dv-avi format (which i am not sure how it is different from the current avi one) and a file of the same size is produced. Streaming that over the network produces the same results. If I use the DiVx converter, the end file will play fine except the 4.7 gig file is reduced to a mere 100 meg file with noticeable quality loss. What are the rough steps that one needs to follow to be able to transfer footage to a DVD, hence come up with a final product?

2. The other issue that has come up is having the date show up in recording. I find the manual to be rather confusing on this issue. We have tried many trials where we have set the display setup > guide info > date to D/T display and sometimes the camera will show the date and sometimes it will not. What makes it even more confusing is, the date will show up on playback in the camera but not on the tv so there does not seem to be a real way of what you see is what you get, in camera or vcr mode. The manual also talks about using custom keys but that has not solved the problem. How do you guys address this issue? I just cannot seem to get the logic behind this.

3. As far as tapes are concerned, i have read through some of the posts and it seems that "dry" tapes are recommended over "wet" tapes. I don't seem to find an answer about consistent use of same brand tapes. Are all panasonic tapes ok as long they are panasonic? Or do you need to use specific ones? What is the difference between a regular Panasonic super DV tape and a Panasonic miniDV professional? Do you have to clean the heads every time you change the kind of tape, same brand or not?

4. Also, 24p vs. 30p vs 60i. I am a bit confused about the last one. What would be the best setting for a wedding? At the moment, we would prefer using the A mode but I have noticed there is some motion blur in dark environments.

Thank you for reading this. I would appreciate any suggestions, advice etc.
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Old August 27th, 2008, 09:08 PM   #2
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XL2 capturing footage, making dvd and other

Hi Arber

I'm not quite with you when you say you use Photoshop CS3 as the software. Surely you mean Premiere?
Anyway... that out the way......

on your first point:

If you run a wireless 54mB/s wireless network I would not be surprised if it doesn't "stream" flawlessly. Use a 1gB/s LAN and your're sorted.

On the second point:

"The other issue that has come up is having the date show up in recording." Most probably you have "character recording" on. Go into the menu and choose "system". Scroll down onto the next page of the menu and make sure "CHAR.REC" is set to off.
If it is on it will permanently inscribe the date onto your recorded material.

Do not confuse this with the output you see on TV ( if you run composite from cam to TV)
The display ( guide info) can be toggled on or off by means of a custom key assigned to it or by going into the menu and selecting " Display Setup". From there go to "TV SCREEN" and set it to OFF. (I have it set to off and use the 2 custom keys for other functions like zebra and VCR stop)

On the third point:

Lot's of debating of which brand to use and what type. I have always used Panasonic AY-DVM63PQ tapes and never changed type or brand. Roughly 500 tapes later I had only one incident where there was a proplem with the tape.
No you do not have to clean heads everytime you change a tape. If you stick to just one type of tape and take care not to change tapes in dusty environments you would have to clean heads after 50 to 60 tapes.

On the fourth point:

24p / 30p / 60i........(or 25p / 50i - for I'm in PAL land) I would recommend using 60i as you have a much better result when you want to "slow motion" your footage in post production. (especially wedding footage)
As far as you would prefer using the A mode: if you're not sure about all other great options the camera has to offer and you really need the shot then by all means use the A setting. The XL2 does a great job of bringing good footage home. Once you get the hang of the cam then go to full Manual keep your shutter at 1/60 (1/50) and let the Iris and ND filter be the controlling factors.
Oh...and a bit of advice...I read somewhere "Only a fool shoots without Zebra pattern" wise words!
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Old August 28th, 2008, 12:13 PM   #3
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XL2 capturing footage, making dvd and other

Thank you Bjorn for your quick reply.

First, you are right, I meant Premier CS3 not Photoshop CS3. Don't know what I was thinking when I wrote that.

Second, the LAN we have is wired and runs through a 100Mb switch using CAT5 cables. And as far as I can tell shouldn't the video files, being shot at 1536 kbps be fine with such a connection?

What is the typical process would one go through to put 120 minutes of a wedding on a dvd? Do you guys use single or dual layer dvds? What software do you typically use to compress it? I guess I am trying to figure out the format path e.g avi > divx >vob etc. DVD-R or DVD+R? On this, I have heard that the +R tends to be better.

Third, I will try out your suggestions about the date. Ideally what we want to do is have the date show up for 6 seconds on the very first scene and then just disappear after that. I know the XL2 has the 6 sec function but i was not sure if it was the first 6 seconds of every scene, or the first 6 seconds for every time the camera is turned on.

The tip on using 60i is also helpful. I personally was confused about 24p being referred to as the frame rate and a shutter setting at the same time.

Would you happen to know if there is a cheaper choice for a camera bag compared to the kata or the ccc-10?

Thank you again.
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Old August 28th, 2008, 01:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arber Davidi View Post
What is the typical process would one go through to put 120 minutes of a wedding on a dvd? Do you guys use single or dual layer dvds? What software do you typically use to compress it? I guess I am trying to figure out the format path e.g avi > divx >vob etc. DVD-R or DVD+R? On this, I have heard that the +R tends to be better.
Plus and minus DVDs work fine - I think most prefer minus R.

The process (I use Vegas and DVD-Architect) is to first encode the selected time-line to MPEG-2. Your DVD authoring program will take of the rest. For 120 minutes, I would probably do a two-pass variable bit rate encode at around 7600 high - 4500 average - 3000 low.

Just remember that noisy footage plays havoc with encoders.
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Old August 29th, 2008, 09:40 PM   #5
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a 100Mb LAN is more than enough.

Two ways of delivering your 120 minute wedding video:

Make part 1 & 2. then use two discs. Alternatively render your video out to MPEG - 2 (as suggested by Randall) and then in DVD-Architect say "fit to disc".

I prefer to use DVD+R discs.

I'm not sure about the 6 seconds showing of date & time function. You could assign one of the custom keys to record date & time onto your footage until you disable it again. But do this at your own risk as it is quite easy to enable this while your'e recording your masterpiece. These custom keys are very touch sensitive.

Don't save money on your camera case. Your camera is a fine piece of equipment and you would not want to have it damaged. I use Storm cases (im2700) for all my cameras and haver never regretted the cost.
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Old August 30th, 2008, 02:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randall Raymond View Post
Plus and minus DVDs work fine - I think most prefer minus R.

The process (I use Vegas and DVD-Architect) is to first encode the selected time-line to MPEG-2. Your DVD authoring program will take of the rest. For 120 minutes, I would probably do a two-pass variable bit rate encode at around 7600 high - 4500 average - 3000 low.

Just remember that noisy footage plays havoc with encoders.
Thank you for your responses.

I am trying to encode an avi segment to mpeg-2 (under codec info this is showing as mpeg only though). It is trying to save it as an m2v file. Aren't those just for video only? What will happen with the sound if that is the case? What does a two-pass variable bit rate do?
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Old August 31st, 2008, 11:49 AM   #7
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What program are you authoring with?
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Old August 31st, 2008, 11:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randall Raymond View Post
What program are you authoring with?
Adobe Premier CS3
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Old August 31st, 2008, 12:01 PM   #9
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You mean Encore. Correct?
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Old August 31st, 2008, 12:44 PM   #10
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My bad Raymond. I thought you meant footage editing/authoring. As far as the dvd authoring goes, it is DVD Architect.
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Old September 3rd, 2008, 10:14 AM   #11
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Hi Arber,

Not familiar with DVD Architect, as I use Encore. With that said, I'm no expert, just trial and error, and many hours logged on dvinfo.net :)

Using a two pass variable bit rate increases the quality of your encoding, but the encoding time could take longer. (Using Premiere Pro's export to movie, uncompressed avi, then using TMPGenc to encode, finally authoring with Encore. Seems like alot of steps, but been really happy so far)

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Old September 7th, 2008, 09:51 AM   #12
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Your final edited 120min movie would just fit onto two seperate DVDs as Mpeg2 (or possibly squeeze onto a dual layer DVD disc) while maintaining the XL2's original quality.

I tend to edit from start to finish in Avi (never converting to Mpeg2 during editing stages, as it kills quality and things begin to fragment) until I'm finally satisfied with the complete movie/soundtack/narrative etc. All those Avi layers of clips, sound, music etc need to then be rendered. I have found that it is best to maintain the movie as an Avi and this produces a final file of approximately 14GB.

I have found that 1hr 15mins is maximum for 4:3 format or 1hr 7 mins maximum for 16:9 format to fit on a single layer DVD-R disc at maximum quality (depending on how many layers of clips and music/sound etc you add to the edited clips).

The approximately 1hr 13.9GB Avi file is then transported into the DVD authoring software, and once all the front page buttons etc are complete and working, it is finally rendered to Mpeg2 format to fit onto the 4.7 GB disc.

Usually a high quality 4.3 or 4.5GB Mpeg2 movie file in 16:9 Pal format is the maximum that will squeeze onto a 4.7 GB disc, depending how much introduction music and images that you add during the authoring stage.

I have just completed the editing yesterday of my Africa movie, and this will soon be launched as a double DVD pack, the third movie in the GlobetrotterWorld series. I am very satisfied with the end result - my very best film to date. The XL2 is an awesome camera to work with, and more than enough quality to produce commerical quality SD format DVDs.
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Old September 13th, 2008, 10:57 PM   #13
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Thank you Tony for your reply. That clarifies things quite a bit. As far as the mpeg 2 conversion goes, when I go to Premier and try to export the avi file as mpeg 2 using the mpeg pro plugin, the information displayed says mpeg not mpeg 2. Any idea why that is?

I have simply been editing the avi files first, then importing them in DVD Architect and following through exactly as you described. That seems to work best.

Thanks again.
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