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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 October 10th, 2004, 09:20 PM   #1
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White Balance with XL-2

One of my biggest gripes with my original XL-1 was the camera's inability to white balance properly. Using an ordinary white object or 18% gray card left me with colors that were very blue. I tried Warm Cards and all manner of gels placed in front of the lens while setting white balance but I never could quite get it.

I won't upgrade from my DVX-100 unless this has been fixed. So can you place a gray card in front of the XL-2 and get a good white balance?

Greg
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Old October 10th, 2004, 09:57 PM   #2
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Greg

I think the manual white balance produces a very neutral result....some may consider this "cool"...as in "not warm"...The nice thing about the xl2, is that you have a lot more color control in the menus to adjust a white balanced image...similar to the DVX color controls...so you can white balance...and then warm the image up as needed.

Barry
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Old October 10th, 2004, 10:03 PM   #3
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Barry,

If the XL-2 will allow me to tweak the image to get white balance right, then I won't complain. I just hate messing with gels.

BTW, do you know of anyone who has real full resolution 16:9 XL-2 footage on-line somewhere? Everything I have seen is MPEG4 or WMV. At 3.6 megs per second it is easy to see that a 30 second clip that is only 40 megs in size is not real DV.

Thanks for the reply.

Greg
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Old October 11th, 2004, 05:11 AM   #4
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<<<-- Originally posted by Greg Matty : do you know of anyone who has real full resolution 16:9 XL-2 footage on-line somewhere? -->>>

Greg, I posted couple sample files at

http://www.luontovideo.net/XL2-lens-test.html

but it's a PAL video. In additon, the files are rather big ones --the other is more than 200 Mb and the other more than 40Mb.
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Old October 11th, 2004, 08:57 AM   #5
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Lauri,

I'll try those out today. I believe my U.S. version of FCP can handle PAL as well as NTSC. Thanks.

Greg
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Old October 11th, 2004, 09:04 AM   #6
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There is no US version of FCP. All NLE's will handle both PAL and NTSC.
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Old October 11th, 2004, 09:04 AM   #7
 
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I've found that by using the RGB channel adjustments, coupled with a Vectorscope, I can set quite acceptable white balance on my XL2. I usually end up setting the Red channel up +1. The neutral WB setting still appears a little blue.
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Old October 11th, 2004, 09:18 AM   #8
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Bill,

I have spent time color correcting XL-1 footage but was hoping to get a satisfactory enough white balance so as to avoid this step. I'll try to demo one to find out for sure.

Greg
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Old October 11th, 2004, 09:26 AM   #9
 
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This may seem obvious, but, setting cinegamma helps a great deal in getting a warmer look without fussing with individual color channels.
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Old October 13th, 2004, 09:44 AM   #10
 
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Greg--

For what it's worth, having spent many, many years in both film and video, I haven't seen anything come straight out of the camera that didn't need some color correction (in film it's called "timing").

Jay
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Old October 13th, 2004, 08:36 PM   #11
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Jay,

That does sound about right. Still there are times I am doing something for a friend or family member and a good enough white balance would save me the post production hassle. It isn't that big of a deal to do with today's faster computers and sophisticated software.

Greg
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Old October 13th, 2004, 08:44 PM   #12
 
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Greg--

Okay, now I see where you're coming from. There are so many variables involved, it's hard to say where the problem lies. I've used the XL1, the XL1s and now the XL2 and (excluding my comment above) I can't say that anything I've shot was so far off that is was unacceptable or in dire need of color correction, especially when it comes to "good enough" white balance.

Jay
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Old October 13th, 2004, 09:01 PM   #13
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Jay,

That good enough comment of mine was for the family/friends stuff. When I am doing a more serious project, I am pretty particular. That is why I tried all manner of gels with my XL-1 in an attemp to get the XL-1's balance as good as I could. I now shoot a Gretag Macbeth color chart at the start of each shot to aid in CC work.

Greg
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Old October 13th, 2004, 09:17 PM   #14
 
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Greg--

Yes, I fully understood what you were saying and I'm in total agreement with you. I've just never run into the level of frustration that you seem to be having when it comes to white balance.

What kinds of things do you normally shoot?

Jay
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Old October 13th, 2004, 10:44 PM   #15
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Jay,

My first real project was several years ago. I was in Costa Rica and Belize for 7 weeks and ended up leaving my XL-1 in auto mode as far as white balance went. Any one frame seemed to be "close enough" but as you know, auto means continuosly varaible and I hate to see the subtle changes in color. When I tried using a white card or white t-shirt, the colors were always too cool and I never really could resolve it. Two trips to the Canon XL-1 owners club did me no good as Canon always claimed to have returned the camera to factory specifications.

Indoors I had the same trouble. If I went so far as to gel my window full CTO and use Lowel 500 watt lamps at 3,200 kelvins to make sure I had only one color temperature light I still would get a funky white balance. This indoor stuff is/was more the friends and family shooting so I wasn't too worried.

Currently, my DVX-100 is easy to get good enough. A straight gray card and maybe a slight software tweak via one of the setups and I am pretty much happy. I am sure the XL-2 works in a similar manner given the newer technology.

Lastly, maybe my XL-1 came from a bad batch of camera's. Most people never had the troubles I had and they probably think I don't know a good white balance when I see one. But every once in a while, I run into someone who had the same problem I did so I know at least a few XL-1's had that problem.

Probably the worst conditions are the gray overcast days that Seattle gets so many of. I don't even try to get a perfect white balance. The same goes with my Canon digital SLR.

Thanks for all the tips and have a good night.

Greg
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