Just got my XL2 and boy do I have questions!..... at DVinfo.net

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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 September 19th, 2004, 08:59 AM   #1
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Just got my XL2 and boy do I have questions!.....

Considering my last camcorder was an L1 (Hi-8) I've been WAY away from the bleeding edge for, oh, about ten years now....

I've read through the book and have done a bit of experimenting with the camera but I'm still more than a little confused. The book does a great job of telling me how to access all of the controls that the camera has, but it doesn't really tell me what I should be doing with them. So, my first question is regarding any type of learning material that I should get, book or otherwise, that might tell me more about how to get the most out of this camera. Example: zebra bars. I know what they are, I know what they do, and I know how to turn them on. BUT... I don't really know how to use them in practice, not to mention tweaking the settings.

Also...

When I shoot in frame mode (in this case 24p) every time I move the camera it gets blurry, like the image is in slow motion. Is this normal? I'm assuming it isn't and I'm doing something wrong, but I can't figure out how to do it.

I saw the footage shot and posted here by Barry Goyette and he stated that he shot that video in frame mode (30) with all settings as they are right out of the box. My video doesn't look like that....

Help me learn....

Please....

Thanks,

Matt
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Old September 19th, 2004, 10:16 AM   #2
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Hi Matthew,

I'm learning too, but may be able to at least partially answer some of your questions. Hopefully some of the experts will add their 2 cents as well.

From earlier posts I've read, people use the zebras in different ways so there's no really "right" or "wrong" way; the main utility of them is to make you aware of areas that may be bright enough to clip. From what I understand, a niggle underexposed is better than a niggle overexposed, because once luminosity reaches 100 or 110 IRE (for DV), white is white and you can't recover any detail. In case it matters, I guess TV studios won't accept footage if a wavemeter shows too much clipping. My current (always evolving) technique is pretty straightforward. I set up the exposure so there is no more than minimal zebra showing when set to 90 or 95. In scenes with only small hot spots that I can't otherwise get rid of, I accept that. If I'm stuck with a really unevenly lit scene with large zebra area (such as part in sun, part in shade), I'll dial down the exposure to just barely eliminate the bulk of the zebra so no large areas are clipped. If some areas are a bit dark, that'll be at least partially "fixed in post" (not desireable, but often necessary) but clipped areas are just white and generally can't be fixed.

I suspect the blurring you're describing is motion blur. If the lighting was a little low, the camera probably chose a lower shutter speed for you in the 24p mode than in shots where you were shooting 60i -- resulting in more motion blur on each of the full (non-interlaced) frames. I think I've read that most cameras' auto mode algorithms lean toward using up F stop first, then start dropping the shutter speed as lighting diminishes. Try shooting a few test scenes using shutter priority (Tv) or full manual at a few different shutter speeds and I'll bet you'll see a logical change in motion blur at the different shutter speeds.

Hope that is at least a little helpful.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 04:25 AM   #3
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What you are seeing is motion blurring indeed. In which shooting
mode where you? Green box? Full manual etc.?

Two things effect motion blurring. The framerate (ie 24p, 30p, 60i)
and the shutter speed. 1/24th shutter speed will have much more
motion blurring than 1/48th or 1/100th will have etc. Usually a bit
of motion blur is a good thing to have to not have stuttering
motion and have a more pleasing look to the eye. Too much is
usually not good either (but can be used for specific effects like
someone being drunken [used a LOT for that]).

And ofcourse it also depends on how fast (new operators tend
to move camera's too fast usually) you are moving the camera
and/or how fast things are moving in your frame. What might
work with 1/48th shutter speed in one scene might require a
higher or lower setting in another.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 08:39 AM   #4
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Thanks...

I was shooting in full auto, figured it was best to try that first. I will try playing with the shutter speed. I'm not sure what the defualt shutter speed is in that setting, I'm assuming it is variable depending upon available light and what not.

Also, your right, I was moving the camera too fast. I think the biggest hurdle I'm going to have in getting a "film look" with this camera is to teach myself to think like a DOP and not a videographer.

Oh and another question or maybe I should post this in the film look section? Any recommendations on camera settings (beyond the standard cine settings) that I should try? I'm just looking for a starting place, somewhere where other folks have gotten looks they like.

Thanks again,

Matt
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Old September 20th, 2004, 06:36 PM   #5
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Matthew,

As for your questions about zebra bars. Think of them as 'contrast meters'. DV has a limited lattitude when it comes to contrast. In trying to properly expoose a scene, the zebras will help you in re-composing your shot if there is too much between the light and dark areas of the scene.

If you run the camera in full manual mode, there will be an 'exposure' meter in the upper left corner of the VF. You can adjust shutter and/or iris to get that meter to center or a little below. Then, if you have areas that are zebra striping, you can add light to the darker areas with lighting, or try to remove the offending highlights using zoom or repositioning the camera.

Enjoy your new camera!!

=gb=
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Old September 20th, 2004, 06:42 PM   #6
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Ahhh.....

So, the zebra bars don't necessarily mean that an area is "overexposed" (past 100) just that there is too much contrast?
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Old September 20th, 2004, 07:10 PM   #7
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Matthew


Regarding the settings for a film look...like you said in your other post (Second Impressions: color and sharpness thread), this is a huge question as the term film look means many different things depending on who you talk to.. but as a start, take the settings I posted and take the color gain down to +1. this will give you a slightly saturated, slightly warm look with a compressed highlight and midtone curve....that some people might consider film-y...As a test, with the tape running, cycle through turning this custom preset on and off...this will show you what its doing to your scene. Look at it on your TV, Then build a new preset that improves on this to your eyes, and again cycle through the new, old and off presets...This is a good way to arrive at something that works for you.

Barry
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Old September 20th, 2004, 07:19 PM   #8
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I love you man.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 10:22 PM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Matthew Cherry : Ahhh.....

So, the zebra bars don't necessarily mean that an area is "overexposed" (past 100) just that there is too much contrast? -->>>

No, they DO mean that an area is above 100IRE (or whatever level you have the zebra set to). On the original XL-1 however, the zebra was fixed at 100IRE.

What I was trying to say is that the reason you are pushing brighter areas into the zebra bar mode is because you are either manually setting the exposure to get detail in the darker areas and are 'blowing out' the highlights or, the camera's auto exposure is trying to bring up the darker areas and you have parts that are too bright.

The above solutions I offered still work. Either light the scene to reduce the contrast, or get the bright stuff out of the shot to reduce contrast. It can be a little confusing but leave them on and you'll soon see what I'm talking about.

regards,

=gb=
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