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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old September 12th, 2004, 07:16 PM   #1
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New XL2 User with some questions

Let me start off by saying this is my first post, but I have been following the site for awhile and this forum since a couple days after it was set up.

I have the XL2 in my hand (actually it is on the table downstairs, but you get the idea).

I also have the EF to XL lens converter which is the number one reason I chose the XL2 over Panasonic or Sony. I also plan on getting the 3x wide lens in the near future (like probably by the end of the month, which leads me to the point of this message...)

I will be traveling up to NY and with some luck BH photovideo store and could use some suggestions on thinks I am needing or may not know I need yet.

I know I need a bag or case to carry it in. My requirements at this time are:

- I need one that will go in the overhead bin of an aircraft if possible.
- It needs to fit the XL2 with 20x mounted and the 3x wide stored along with the EF converter and at least my EF 100-400 Lens along with both 1.4 and 2x etenders (for that lens) plus a couple spare batteries, tapes, cables, filters, paperwork and the like. Room to spare would be nice if possible.
- easy access to the camera would be good
- must provide hard use protection for the camera (I am tough on my equipment)

I have noticed that the audio is picking up a lot of extraneous noise and I am not sure if this is equipment or lack of knowledge on my part (I am presuming lack of knowledge at this time), but if the equipment is the issue, recommendations are welcome (cost is a major factor after getting camera and second lens)

Lastly in my first attempt to do wide mode (while playing with the camera) the computer software I had converted it to a standard TV mode. I currently only have Pinnacle Studio for computer editing, although a friend has recommended Adobe Premiere . Suggestions for better software are also welcome as one of the minor reasons for getting the XL2 was 16:9 format (the other was 24P mode).

So far I am very pleased with the camera and it was very cool to shoot accross the James River and still be able to pickup people on the other side (4.8 miles away) with the 100-400 with both extenders attached (bit shaky though, even on a tripod)

If it helps, My uses for the camera are primarily to shoot background material for my photo shoots, maybe a few craft tutorials and some in store advertising of products.

Thanks for any recommendations you can give and I am sure I will have more questions after I get some more practice with it.
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Old September 12th, 2004, 07:46 PM   #2
 
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Go to the Sony Media Website and take a look at Vegas 5. It's considerably more stable than Premiere, has a much friendlier user interface, , is substantially cheaper, and has quite a good following among other pro's.
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Old September 12th, 2004, 08:18 PM   #3
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Re: Case
A PortaBrace Quick Draw case could do what you want, although you might need a custom protector for your EF 100-400 lens. I have one, and can pack a ton of gear into it. One time I put two Canon XL1's, including both lenses, a Canon ZR40, and an EOS Elan 7 with a 28-200mm lens in it, plus enough snacks to last me a 4 hour flight.

ANd it will fit into MOST overhead compartments in airplanes. I only ever found one plane where it had to go at my feet.
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Old September 13th, 2004, 04:01 PM   #4
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I looked at the Portabraces, the pictures made it look like they barely had enough room for the XL2 and maybe one lens. If they have enough room for two XL-1s, then I should have no problem with one XL2, two spare lens, and assorted other stuff.

I still have the pouch for the 100-400 which will offer it some protection already, maybe just need a bit extra padding, but I have that around also. Thanks,
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Old September 14th, 2004, 09:55 PM   #5
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For my next stupud question...

Hoping that someone can answer this one for me.

Problem: I am not happy with the audio.
Question: How do I make it do what I want? Do I need a different audio setup to the camera?

Other data: I finally got to play with my XL2 the way I intended to use it, which is background for my photo shoots. Ignoring the fact that I put it in the wrong location (lack of a good tripod for my camera is my current excuse as my good tripod (a video tripod actually) was in use by my camera). The issue is the sound was in no way directional, it was picking up the background music better then the model and myself this is bad to me, because we were actually in front of and closer to the microphone then the speakers. I recognize the speakers were probably boucing the sound off the wall, but that should have only increased the distance.

Second there was a sharp drop off in sound as I moved away from the camera. I was under the impression that sound was more of a linear drop off, verus light which is range squared dropoff. Am I wrong on my impression or doing something wrong?

And lastly, when out this weekend I could hear the wind blowing through the mike and other sounds all around the place. So I figured I needed to turn the audio down. However, I forgot to turn it down and it seemed it was at a much lower volume overall. Reading the manual indicated that it adjusts the sound levels during recording. How do I make sure they are consistant from recording to recording. On my still camera I have my histogram (or a light meter) to verify similiar results. Am I missing something on the audio that works the same? The L/R audio slide bars did not seem different from this weekend and tonight in overall range. Is it more subtle between various levels then it seems?

So that is my problem right now, any help would be appreciated, including web or book resources to help me learn the audio aspects of the video system.




As a side note: I figured out how to get 16:9 mode into my computer or at least the video (using S-video cable). I can't yet get audio at the same time in 16:9 mode, but it is either the software or the lack of a real sound card on my computer (I did not see reason to need a real sound card for my photography computer - not anticipating getting a video camera when I bought it. Still playing with it though, wish I didn't have a day job, but then I would not be able to get the nice equipment.
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Old September 14th, 2004, 10:41 PM   #6
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Sound is like light in the sense it adheres to the Inverse Square law. Move twice the distance from the source, get 1/4 the sound level.

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Old September 14th, 2004, 11:26 PM   #7
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Check my web site to get more stability with your 100 - 400 lens.
www.ronsrail.com
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Old September 14th, 2004, 11:31 PM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Tim Dolan : I looked at the Portabraces, the pictures made it look like they barely had enough room for the XL2 and maybe one lens. If they have enough room for two XL-1s, then I should have no problem with one XL2, two spare lens, and assorted other stuff.

I still have the pouch for the 100-400 which will offer it some protection already, maybe just need a bit extra padding, but I have that around also. Thanks, -->>>

It was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle. You'll have to remove the EVF and lens of course, but if you are flying with it, that's a good precaution anyway.
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Old September 15th, 2004, 05:37 AM   #9
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Tim:
A microphone is a rather dumb thing, it picks up what ever sound is presented to it. Directional mics just tend to reject sounds out side their acceptance pattern - they are not telephoto, and have infinite depth of field loud sounds behind or in front of the subject will be heard and infocus, so to speak. And all on-camcorder mics will have this problem. The way to get good voice is to have the mic close to the sound source/person speaking (i.e., within a foot or two). In your described situation it sounds like a wireless mic or two might be the ticket to much better sound - and in any case, turn down the speakers.

Air moving though a mic causes sound. Wind noise can be a pain. THe foam paddign helps some, but is effective only fol slight breezes. Better wind suppression material is available from professional audio shops, for a price of course. Also worth noting that your ears and brain can process sound to fish wanted signal out of the noise,. The mic is not that smart - it hears all sound equally.

The stock microphone is a stereo with each direction (left and right) having a generally cardoid pattern at ~45 degree angle from fronts. This nets to about a 300 degree acceptance angle. Shotguns (typically mono) can reduce pickup of sound from the sides, and can help reduce unwanted sound pick-up, but effectiveness will depend on the sound sources and acoustic charactristics of the venue.

Automatic gain control on the audio can help keep recorded sound level consistently loud, but it can destroy the dynamic range of the sound environment as well. Use it if it meets your needs.

Lastly, the Shure web site has some interesting white papers on characteristics and use of microphontres, etc. Worth surfing to and reading.
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Old September 15th, 2004, 05:30 PM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Aaron Koolen : Sound is like light in the sense it adheres to the Inverse Square law. Move twice the distance from the source, get 1/4 the sound level.

Aaron -->>>

This explains the sound drop off then. That and I just realised that I had put my camera almost exactly where I had set the sweet spot on my speakers for.

I thank everyone for giving me good info that I will be able to follow up on.

BTW: my speakers were at a fairly low volume by people over 40 standards (which is what I am) which is what surprised me about them showing up louder then us.
But if it is inverse squared for sound, then that would explain things much better given the location of the Camera.
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Old September 15th, 2004, 05:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
As a side note: I figured out how to get 16:9 mode into my computer or at least the video (using S-video cable). I can't yet get audio at the same time in 16:9 mode, but it is either the software or the lack of a real sound card on my computer
Tim,

Don't know if you are aware of this but S-Video jacks don't carry audio. You'll have to run separate l/r audio cables. Check to see if your computer has a 'line in' jack on the rear. It's usually a 1/8 stereo mini plug and there are ready made cables that will plug in there and split to separate l/r RCA jacks which would attach to your camera.

Hope this helps.

-gb-
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