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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 21st, 2004, 03:34 PM   #31
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Marty,

What setting did you use for those images? From the few you posted I like the look - especially the horse frame-grab.
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Old September 21st, 2004, 04:02 PM   #32
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Barry,

I appreciate the camera set-up that you posted earlier. A good place to start.

When you are playing with your camera set-up, are you focusing on something in particular and viewing on your calibrated studio monitor? Did you calibrate the monitor to the camera's bars?

I really want to play with the set-up and my first thoughts are to wb the camera and do a 1st set-up shooting a test pattern and then a few items in the real world. ie different colors and different details, int/ext. I know that this can get to be a rather involved process but to build the appropriate presets (I wish there were more than 3) I guess it might be necessary. As far as more presets (involving filters etc.) I guess for now I'll just need to take good notes.

I was looking through the "Read About It" threads and nothing I read there really talked about a particular publication that covered this (or maybe I missed it).

Do you have any advice on how to run these tests that might be more efficient than what I mentioned or possibly a guide or publication referral that may help?

Thanks,

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Old September 21st, 2004, 04:20 PM   #33
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I never, ever said the viewfinder is broken! I said that in my experience so far it is not that accurate as to what you will see on the final tape. I even said the DVX isn't either. Don't know why that is being taken way out of context. I even said I will learn to adjust to the XL2's settings like I did with my DVX.

I also have posted some beautiful images to try and couteract the theory that the XL2 has poor color. I may have even been partly responsible for that starting. I am trying to make ammends that I may have jumped the gun before checking all of the options.



I really don't appreciate the tone here because I have clearly stated that there must have been something wrong at circuit city as it looked awful. The DVX too. The theory was that DV as a whole is having an issue looking good on an HDTV. But since my test was less than scientific I would just let it go.

IF you are happy with the XL2 Barry that is great. I am still on the fence. I like it's image quality but am a little uncomfortable with the design. We are entitled to our own opinions.

Did you even read the message above where I posted some good stuff about the cam?

Feeling frustrated at the lack of people to acknowledge that I am trying to work with the camera and not against it.

I posted one set of images and asked for opinions. The next set I posted I am bragging about how good they are and how colorful they are. How do you derive that I have made a habit of posting images with flaws?
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Old September 21st, 2004, 04:30 PM   #34
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<<<When you are playing with your camera set-up, are you focusing on something in particular and viewing on your calibrated studio monitor? Did you calibrate the monitor to the camera's bars?>>>

Yes, the studio stills I shot were monitored on a JVC studio monitor. I wasn't going for any kind of "match" so I didn't try to calibrate the monitor specifically (not a bad idea though). My process was to set everything at default, manually WB the camera, and then make adjustments to the presets...largely to find out what affect they have on the default image. In a production environment, I would be taking that info and applying it to tweak the image in the direction I envisioned for the project, so it would be more important to calibrate everything on down the line.

>>I wish there were more than 3>>Hopefully soon the SDK will allow us to store a number of presets on a laptop.

A good resource for this subject is probably the ASC video manual

http://www.theasc.com/cgibin/store/a...talogno=10203#

haven't read it myself, but it looks like it has several chapters on setting up your camera...it will probably be more general, but these books are essentially filled with articles by some pretty great minds.

Marty- your stills look great...really great...I can't figure out why a guy getting such great stuff can be so conflicted about his camera... : )...buyers remorse is a terrible thing.

Barry
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Old September 21st, 2004, 05:06 PM   #35
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<<<<Did you even read the message above where I posted some good stuff about the cam?>>>

Marty..sometimes a timewarp exists on the web...like when you and I are typing at the same time

<<<Feeling frustrated at the lack of people to acknowledge that I am trying to work with the camera and not against it. >>>

I think It can be painful and frustrating to watch someone work through their difficulties in a forum like this. Like you said, you may have been (partially) responsible for more than a little fodder on the web regarding the supposed weak color of the xl2, and then you write:

>>> Cause it looked downright jagged and blocky much of the time. And the colors!!! Holy Cripes they were way too brilliant.<<<

Now, someone (like me) is going to copy that line, take it out of context, and start a new thread over at DVXUser...well you know what happens next....

you post a set of beautiful images, and tell us how happy you are with the camera.

Maybe it would have been best to work through the "issues, problems etc." and then post your conclusions rather than your fears. Early on several users (and I think you were one of them) referred to the images from the camera as blurry (we'll this didn't match up with my experience, but I kept my mouth shut). I then did some testing and found what I believe to be the cause of the issue...and I posted it in a direct and measured (unemotional) fashion. I think this does service to everyone. In fact, as you now know, the camera produces an image of incredible integrity...but when someone posts a blanket statement to the contrary...it seems to have legs within this and other forums, and it's misinformation that we all have to spend energy correcting.

<<<I posted one set of images and asked for opinions. The next set I posted I am bragging about how good they are and how colorful they are. How do you derive that I have made a habit of posting images with flaws?>>

I said you have a habit of "reporting" ...not posting.

Marty...please don't misread my "tone". If you read the last line of my post you'll see that I'm encouraging you to dig deep for the flaws of this camera...if you find them, we all want to know...not so we won't buy it, but so we know the limitations of the tool. I reported on several this morning, for exactly that purpose.

Barry
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Old September 21st, 2004, 05:11 PM   #36
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EDIT------Barry.....(timewarp again....apparently you were typing the one above this while I was typing this!)-----

"Marty- your stills look great...really great...I can't figure out why a guy getting such great stuff can be so conflicted about his camera... : )...buyers remorse is a terrible thing."

Barry....You have hit the nail on the head. My budget has allowed for me to barely.....barely buy the XL2. I sold my DVX and came up with the difference. Now I am concerened I made the wrong decision as I need a new 16x9 field monitor, new batteries, a new case and apparently a new Canon ta-1000 tripod quick release plate as my high end bogen tripod and head has a plate that doesn't fit on the camera right. I mean...it does but when you need hand held shots it is seriously in the way of your hand....no ammount of moving it forward or back alleviates this.

On the other hand I could have gotten the DVX, anamorphic adapter, 16x9 field monitor, 3 batteries and case and still have change to buy some other extras. My initial impulse is to do that!

However after 5-6 days with the XL2 I began to see it's impressive image clarity and resolution. I loved it. On the pro monitor it literally smokes the DVX. When I watch the same footage on regular televisions I don;t see the clarity. And I have tried it on 5-6 different brands and models and they don't show the advantage of the Xl2 over DVX. In addition the noise or graininess of the DVX is also lost on the regular televisions. So both the DVX and XL2 are essentially rendered equals. (image wise...not funcionality).

So I am left wondering if the advantages of the extra clarity and resolution I am seeing is worth it when nobody but me will ever see it. And then only on my studios monitor.

If my trying to justify the extra $2000.00 for the XL2 over the DVX is making people uncomfortable I am sorry. But I need some clarity on exactly what to expect.

I'll leave it at that for a while.
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Old September 21st, 2004, 06:57 PM   #37
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Marty,

I have said before and I'll say it again.... It boggles me that ANYONE would even dare compare XL2 footage to HD. It's not even in the same league...not even close!!!!! Anyone who tells you that XL2 footage looks as good or close to HD is not serious!....unless they're watching fooatge on a small 6" LCD.....
Like you I am not impressed by the overall camera....and that's why we returned ours.... the price/performance ratio being our biggest gripe...now if it was priced similirarely to the DX100a it would be a no brainer! :-)
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Old September 21st, 2004, 07:56 PM   #38
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Maya-

Just for the record, here is what I said:

We were viewing the footage on a 34" sony Wega HD set. The footage I shot was primarily in 16:9, stretched manually by the monitor. Well, all I can say is I've never seen anything like it. Viewed from about 10 feet the image was remarkably detailed...but when I got close to the monitor there was almost no evidence of the sharpening, noise, and aliasing that I expected to see (from viewing a SD-DV source on a HD monitor). Much of the footage was relatively backlit surfer-in-the- water stuff, and so it had very high contrast edges...I thought for sure that this would bring out the aliasing that "the famous cinematographer" spoke of in his "report" from dvexpo. Sorry (ok, happy) to say...I have never seen a cleaner, more HD like image projected on my HD set...not from my dvx, xl1s, gl2 or the compressed streams off of DirecTV. The color seems natural, the contrast about what you'd hope for.

Ok, now I don't own a $90k+ HD camera, so you'll notice I made no comparison to such a thing..I spoke only about how the image looked on the set, and compared it to other DV cameras that I have experience with, and a comparison of the satellite HD streams I have seen.

Regardless, a more appropriate comparison will be with Sony's upcoming HDV offering...there we are looking at two consumer formats in a relatively similar price range. From what I've seen so far (which isn't much), I don't think the difference is going to be as great as one might think. While the sony might hold a theoretical edge on pixel resolution, there is nothing in any of the images posted that indicate the lens is up to the challenge, add to that the poor color and compression artifacts, and I think the XL2 (and DVX) will probably hold up well in comparison.

Barry
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Old September 21st, 2004, 10:14 PM   #39
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<<<-- Originally posted by Maya Taylor : Marty,

I have said before and I'll say it again.... It boggles me that ANYONE would even dare compare XL2 footage to HD. It's not even in the same league...not even close!!!!! Anyone who tells you that XL2 footage looks as good or close to HD is not serious!....unless they're watching fooatge on a small 6" LCD.....
Like you I am not impressed by the overall camera....and that's why we returned ours.... the price/performance ratio being our biggest gripe...now if it was priced similirarely to the DX100a it would be a no brainer! :-) -->>>

I never compared it to Hi def....just hoping a hi def monitor would be able to deliver the sharp crisp details that I see on my professional monitor. Thats all. On my pro monitor there is a significant increase in clarity over any other DV camera out there. HAnds down the XL2 blows then all away. But on a regular monitor the playing field is leveled. It's then that I start to question if it is worth it.

But I never expected it to look like hi def.
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Old September 22nd, 2004, 03:26 AM   #40
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Marty: I have to ask why you bought the camera when you could
barely affort it. Why did you buy it the minute it came out?

I'm really wondering why certain people are buying the equipment
as soon as it comes out. Can you shed some light on this for me?

This question has nothing to do with how you feel about the
camera, I'm just trying to understand certain reasoning behind
things like this.

Thanks!
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Old September 22nd, 2004, 08:35 AM   #41
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Rob,
I currently film 50% of my work footage in 16x9 and was using the dvx100 which means I have to scale the footage in an effort to get the proper aspect ratio. The other 50% is still in 4x3 land. I sold my DVX100 with the intentions of getting the DVX100A as it was the best option for 16x9 (Squeeze mode or anamorphic) at the time. With the announcement of the XL2 I shifted my direction based on its 16x9 mode. I previously owned the Xl1 for 4 years and loved it, except for its low res viewfinder servo-controlled focus. I know that all cameras in the prosumer range have these but the XL1-2 servo behaves completely different than the others.

And to clarify this. I had already sold my camera and had no camera to complete upcoming jobs. I absolutely needed to make a purchase and the decision between the DVX and XL2 was made. It was a timing thing. I hesitate to purchase the DVX100A when I knew the next great thing was lingering. And the XL2 is a great camera. But in my case I don't know that it is $1500 better that the DVX100A when I won't be using the interchangable lens features anytime soon.

I had about $3500.00 to spend when a side job came up that bumped my allowed expenses to hit $5000.00. I decided if I was going to upgrade my camera the XL2 was the best path. I knew it would be tough money-wise but I figured the increase image quality would be worth the struggle ( have to add 300-400 dollars for batteries and case on a credit card or something). Plus it would hold it's value more than a DVX should I choose to sell it down the road.

Anyway...based on expectations from early reviews and images posted of the 16x9 mode I was hyped! I may have expected too much from a DV camera based on the early reports. I also expected a much bigger impovement in the viewfinder. When I received my camera I was underwelmed. I found the quality of the image not as impressive as I expected and the viewfinder left me still guessing if I was in focus. However I worked with it and shot 1 event that I had scheduled. I now see in 16x9 mode it has some amazing clarity. I still don't feel 100% comfortable of when I am in exact focus or not. But that is a different issue.

So I now accept the camera for what it is. But because of the need for a new case (bigger cost 2-3 times more) new batteries, a new tripod plate.......I am looking at spending another 500-600 bucks beyond what I imagined. Add to that I need a field monitor capable of 16x9 display you are looking at another 600-900 bucks. I didn't expect all of these extra things just to use the camera. The case and batteries yes....a new field monitor and tripod plate no. MOst of this I was willing to accept based on the res and clarity I see on my pro JVC monitor. However as soon as I started bragging about how clean and hi res the image looked and started taking it to all of my peers who watch it on regular tvs and plasma monitors they all think I am crazy. They don't think it looks any better than what I have shot on DVX.

So I take both cameras and shoot 10 scenes at my workplace. I closely mimic footage on both. I capture them and drop them in the timeline and do A/b switching. On my pro monitor I am seeing amazing results in the favor of the XL2. It looks much cleaner and sharper than the DVX. The DVX is showing noise and grain even in well lit shots. I am prepared to prove that the XL2 looks better.

But upon taking this footage to be viewed by several other pros in the field I find that the footage loses all of its main advantages on televisions and retail caliber equipment. In addition the offensive grain and noise of the DVX are gone too so the camera appear about equal. Now....my one justification for paying all of this extra for the cam...and now all of the extras I need......is gone. I am told by my peers that if all of my clients are going to be viewing it on this equipment then it is not worth it at this time. It is easy for them to decide as I have essentially become their Guinea Pig and indirectly have tested the XL2 for them and validated their reasons not to get one. They add that by the time the clientelle get up to speed with better equipment the next gen of cameras will be out and the XL2 would never have really seen its potential. In my case anyway.

I realize everyone has their own reasons for owning whatever camera they want. I have mine. I wanted the XL2 and I still really like the camera a lot. It's image is amazing on a good pro monitor. But in the end I am not seeing any noticable improvement over the DVX100 on a regular television and that has me feeling that I should reconsider the XL2's value to me at this time.

If I ultimately decide on the DVX100A I will be forever looking at the footage on my JVC monitor thinking how much sharper and cleaner the XL2 would be. BUt when I hand over the footage on DVD or tape to be displayed on 55' plasma screens at the tradeshows I know there will be almost no difference.

All of this is my opinion which I hope is respected. If my budget was a few grand more then this cam would be a no-brainer. At lease for now.
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Old September 22nd, 2004, 08:57 AM   #42
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Thanks for the detailed response there, Marty.

<< But in my case I don't know that it is $1500 better that the DVX100A when I won't be using the interchangable lens features anytime soon. >>

I think this is one of the major factors (not the only one, but a very important one) which everyone should consider when choosing between these two cameras.

<< So I now accept the camera for what it is. But because of the need for a new case (bigger cost 2-3 times more) new batteries, a new tripod plate.......I am looking at spending another 500-600 bucks beyond what I imagined. >>

Yes, it's like I've always maintained, a person should budget at least 15% and sometimes up to 50% of their total available finances for the required extra gear for the camera. Spending the full amount on the camera alone has the potential to be a crippling mistake.

<< Add to that I need a field monitor capable of 16x9 display you are looking at another 600-900 bucks. I didn't expect all of these extra things just to use the camera. The case and batteries yes....a new field monitor and tripod plate no. >>

When I suggested a high-res monitor in my article "Five Essential Items for the XL2," I wasn't kidding. All of those really are essential and should be budgeted for, right away.
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Old September 22nd, 2004, 09:32 AM   #43
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rob, it's all about NOW NOW NOW!!!!!! =^). a VERY easy example is the recently released star wars. it was just released yesterday 9/21. i had to have it then so i immediately got it! but it was around $40 whereas XL2 is $5k... if i had $5k laying around i would have gotten it right away as well. it's all about the having of things more than anything else =).

as for buying without thinking, hindsight is 20/20. i bought my XL1s in january but haven't really used it much (save for june wedding shoot) since. i thought i was gonna have time to do some short DV moviemaking but haven't touched since i got in january. canon had a $500 rebate. i dunno what rush i had in getting it... it was kind of an 'expensive' hobby. if i had waited and not purchased XL1s i would have utilized my budget to buy the XL2!!!! *sigh*. the cost of selling XL1s and then buying XL2 is too rich for my blood. besides i've barely used XL1s, it just doesn't make sense. i know that you all know that, so why do i even have it? instant gratification? i suppose. but it was mostly in preparation for the second coming... second coming of what? i dunno. =). when XL2 came out, i salivated but then this time my wallet kicked my arse and my mind thought it through. i will get XL2 eventually but not until i have an immediate need for 24p.

so what's the lesson here? make sure you have an overwhelming need for the cam and THEN buy/rent it. otherwise it's just an expensive piece of paper weight!
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Old September 22nd, 2004, 10:01 AM   #44
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Based on what you reported Marty, it seems like there are some pretty clear advantages for people using the camera to make fictional work that might be projected in a theatre one day, or transferred to film. It seems like Canon has really made this camera more for the fictional/film-oriented crowd than for videographers. In the 16x9 image, 24p, the addition of more controls affecting the way the image looks during shooting, as opposed to tweaking later, and the increased resolution that might not be visible on SD tv's. This is good for me, and others that plan on shooting scripted stuff, but I understand how someone in your position could be disappointed. Maybe you should just return the camera?
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Old September 22nd, 2004, 10:05 AM   #45
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<<<-- Originally posted by Aaron Shaw : Marty,

What setting did you use for those images? From the few you posted I like the look - especially the horse frame-grab. -->>>

Sorry to get back to you so late. I don't have the camera currently as Canon requested to look at it based on a few comments I made about it. I should have it back soon.

I will try to recall my basic settings.

I turned Cinegamma on
I turned on Cinecolors
I bumped up the color gain 2-3 steps
I increased the sharpness by 1-2 (i think 1)
I turned on noise reduction to medium...
I turned on Coring

This was based on some input from Don Berube. I was initially biased that the camera wasn't very colorful or sharp in low-average home lighting. I felt that I should not have to turn on gain and image enhancement features to get good color and clarity. This is from a past that demanded you never use gain if you want clean footage.

I had to reprogram myself and start realizing that these same features are there to use. And in the XL2 there seems to be no penalty in image quality or very little for using them. (+12 gain may be pushing though)

In fact....I found myself turning the gain to +3 when I was shooting an outside scene with the horse. I had both neutral density filters on and the horse was travelling through a wooded area behind my house where the proper exposure was changing dynamically as he went in and out of sun and shade.. I found that without gain a wide open iris was not enough in the shadows. However taking off the ND would force me to stop way down and I would lose my shallow DOF. So with both ND's on I gained up to +3 and now I had a comfort zone on the iris wheel/switch. I could easily traverse between 4.0 range to 2.2 and get all of the exposure latitude I needed. Without the gain.....I was stuck in this strange area where I would need to keep taking the ND on/off , accept underexposed footage or take off 1 ND and step down so far that the DOF would increase too much for my taste.

Anyway.,..I saw no drawbacks to +3 gain in this setting at all! IN fact....the 4-5 minutes of footage looks much better than the rest as it was all properly exposed and you can tell I was concentrating on my shot compostion and not fighting the iris/exposure.
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