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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon XL2 / XL1S / XL1 and GL2 / XM2 / GL1 / XM1.


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Old August 6th, 2004, 03:28 PM   #1
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What's the worst you can imagine?

Here's the deal - I'm about to shoot a mini-DV Indy film with a budget of $500,000 in October. Initially, I was going to use the Panny camera. However, with my budget, I would be able to purchase the XL2 if I wanted to. And I would like to!

However, I'm not big on being an early adopter. I'm terrified that if I purchase the camera, something glaring will stand out and I'll be stuck dealing with it. So I'm curious -

Given the release history of Canon's XL line of camera, what is the worst that has happened traditionally? What is the worst you can imagine now?

Thanks!
Nick
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Old August 6th, 2004, 03:37 PM   #2
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With a relatively liberal budget for the project why are you buying a camera at all? Why not rent a camera like the Panasonic SDX900 and a DVCPro50 deck for editing?
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Old August 6th, 2004, 03:43 PM   #3
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Ken's advice notwithstanding (assuming you still want to buy rather than rent), look at the type of technology the XL2 represents.

The XL2 is 'evolutionary' not 'revolutionary'. This is not a slam at all and in fact supports your decision to acquire an XL2. What I mean is that many features have evolved over the development period which includes the XL1 and XL1s. The JVC HD cam is, however, revolutionary. It is trying a format, codec, etc, that haven't been completely ironed out over a few year history and thus, while providing possibly greater capability, it is also with greater risk (namely the risk of the unknown).

My 2cents only, you mileage may vary.
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Old August 6th, 2004, 04:29 PM   #4
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The JVC HDV cam may be 'revolutionary', but unfortunately it is 30p, and so I assume with your budget in mind you may go to film which would present huge problems.

I agree with Ken, if I were given a budget like this to make a feature I would seriously think about renting a camera/deck like the SDX900/DVCPro50 deck - much better than any XL2 or DVX100a an DV25.

If you really must have your own camera then bear in mind that although the XL2 looks great on paper it is totally unproven - it will depend on when you plan to shoot and how you are able to test it out.

Another possibility is approaching Canon to see if they will supply you with some (more than 1) XL2's either as a rental or as some kind of sponsor. You seem to have reasonable indie budget and they may see a possibility in the publicity. Just a thought.

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Old August 6th, 2004, 06:19 PM   #5
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I personally wouldn't buy anything unless I see several reviews give it very high marks in all the areas you need. With a budget like that, I'm assuming you're doing a Film-out for distribution? Native 16x9 is definitely best for that, but it remains to be seen if it's better than the DVX100 w/anamorphic adapter.

I assume XL2 reviews will start popping up in the next few weeks. Wait if you can, just to be sure. I do agree that you may do better renting an SDX900 (or even buying it!) since it's basically a DVX100 on steroids (Native 2/3" 16x9 CCDs, etc.).
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Old August 6th, 2004, 06:29 PM   #6
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With a budget like that, you can afford to hire a Director of Photography. Let him or her choose the camera of their preference.
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Old August 6th, 2004, 07:14 PM   #7
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You should probably rent the DVX100, try it and see the results. Then add 10 to 20 % improvement and that's what the XL2 should do for you..

Keep in mind the Mini35 and research "28 Days Later" and all those big time video features out there.

Only a thought!
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Old August 6th, 2004, 07:19 PM   #8
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Chris is right, plus a DP might know a camera operator with their own equipment. Not uncommon.
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Old August 6th, 2004, 08:47 PM   #9
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with a 500K budget i would also have to ask does the "look" of the hand size XL 2 or dvx 100 fit the project ? this is DV25 with basically a low end camera head ( 1/3" CCD"s) .. a 2/3" CCD will have a much better look and even though they are interlace if you look at the films that were shot on them and converted to 24fps FILM they look better then a hand size Dv camera..
next up would be 2/3 CC'd camera with a 4:2:2 tape format which would give you more detail , smoother colors .... next ?? HD which could hit your budget too much ....

if the hand size camera 'look" fits the script/project then just pick either dvx100 or XL2 ..however if you are looking for little more of the film richness then IMO look at the 2/3" CCD camera's that shoot 4:2:2 format....

as others have suggested RENTING is a option on the larger camera's ....
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Old August 7th, 2004, 11:27 AM   #10
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If you could shoot the film within a week or so, I would rent a Panasonic VariCam. You have enough budget that you really should shoot your film on HD. But it's up to you. However, if you did buy a Canon XL2, I don't think you'd be disappointed.
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Old August 7th, 2004, 12:55 PM   #11
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The worst thing that I can imagine happening would that there would be some sort of issue with the compression on the camera, so that when it crops down to tape (if shooting 16:9) it ends up giving you strange compression artifacts. The next worse thing I can imagine is that DV ends up not having the resolutions (even at 480P) that you would like it to. I think traditionally the worse thing that has happened has been lens issues with the camera system, however I imagine if you have the budget to do so you'll probably be using a Mini 35 adapter which would introduce a new set of limitations and possible problems.

At the end of the day the worse thing that could happen is you don't test out your camera first before you buy it. I would say there is a less then 5% chance you'd have any problems at all with this camera if you bought it new, and I think that if you bought it and then ran it through it's pases that number goes even further down.

It may seem odd but you might also consider renting over buying because if something does go wrong with the camera you have more insurance (as far as getting a new camera or an insurance company paying for lost days of shooting or someting along those lines)

I imagine if you're lookin to spend so little of your production money on your camera then the rest is gong to be spent on production value, or post production. If this is not the case I think you shoudl really consider hiring a DP to shoot Film or HD.
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Old August 7th, 2004, 01:28 PM   #12
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Or, you could try to hire Charles Papert... ;)
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Old August 7th, 2004, 01:56 PM   #13
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Re: What's the worst you can imagine?

<<<-- Originally posted by Nick Carr : Here's the deal - I'm about to shoot a mini-DV Indy film with a budget of $500,000 in October. Initially, I was going to use the Panny camera. However, with my budget, I would be able to purchase the XL2 if I wanted to. And I would like to!

However, I'm not big on being an early adopter. I'm terrified that if I purchase the camera, something glaring will stand out and I'll be stuck dealing with it. So I'm curious -

Given the release history of Canon's XL line of camera, what is the worst that has happened traditionally? What is the worst you can imagine now?

Thanks!
Nick -->>>

What is the ultimate destination (be realistic) of your movie? Festivals? Theatrical release? Straight to rental video? Private DVD distribution?
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Old August 7th, 2004, 04:34 PM   #14
 
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He said the movie was budgeted for $500,000. He didn't say they had secured $500,000 in funding. There is a difference! Which is it, Nick?

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Old August 7th, 2004, 07:15 PM   #15
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Aww Keith, that sure was swell of ya! Do you want 10% commission if I take the job? Which of course hasn't even been offered to me!?

I'd hate to jump on the bandwagon since poor Nick has to wade through a real one-day deluge on this, but I'd have to agree about the need to move up to at least the SDX900. And you wouldn't even HAVE to rent the DVC Pro50 deck for the duration if you had time-code accurate MiniDV copies struck for editing, bringing the deck in at the end for the final output (half the disk space in the meantime).

I'm of the mind, as are the others, that MiniDV as a projected medium is a bit dodgy due to the compression. At a $500K budget, it would seem a bit of a stingy move, more in line with a sub-$100K show. At that stated budget, film isn't even out of the question.
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