XL-2 thoughts after screen test shoot at DVinfo.net

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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old November 13th, 2004, 07:34 PM   #1
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XL-2 thoughts after screen test shoot

We did our day-for-night and night shoot test yesterday and I've come away with several impressions on the XL-2.

I hate the lens. Lack of focus marks (either in camera or on the lens body) and a clear sense as to what focal length you are zoomed to is hugely frurstrating. The power saving function when recording to tape is also annoying. In the end we captured direct to disk on our laptop and that worked fine. No wear on the heads and the battery seemed to go a little longer by not having to turn the capstans and pulling tape through the recorder.

The lens is something that we will have to address in future. It seems fine for nearly everything but the way we intend to use the camera.

Low light recording: I am rather happy with how this turned out. Gas light makes a decent fill, superbright LED's work nicely for key lights and kicker. I really think there is a lot to be said for having enough light and yet it can be "fun" to make it work with what you have on hand.

I need to go through and check all the footage and make some notes, but will be quite happy to share some stills if anyone cares to see them.
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Old November 13th, 2004, 08:56 PM   #2
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Old November 13th, 2004, 09:10 PM   #3
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Chris, I feel your pain regarding this lens. I too am used to marked barrels and reproductible results. I think for your peace of mind you'll need to get one of the 16x or 14x manual lenses.

That being said, I've come to like the stock lens on other levels.

1) The OIS is superb. Never seen one as good on a lens in this price range. It will allow you to mix and match handheld footage with tripod/crane/glidecam shots.

2) The telephoto is huge. When you have the room, you can use this advantage to throw the background completely out of focus.

3) It is very sharp. You can dislike its lack of manual adjustments, as I do, but I own both the 14x manual lens and the 20x and you'd be hard pressed to differenciate the two in a side-by-side comparison.

Overall, I feel that the stock lens and manual one complement each other perfectly. Each have their pros and cons. I do mainly fictional stuff and so far I've found use for both, even though I'll still probably be using the manual one a little more.

Regarding the power saving function when recording to tape, there's an easy and practical way around. This feature is designed to save wear on both tapes and heads. There's a VCR OFF function in the menu that you can assign to one of the 2 custom keys (I have the VCR OFF and the ZEBRA functions in permanance on those 2 keys). It will allow you to only turn the VCR part of the cam off, so the XL2 won't try to shut down every 5 minutes since the heads and tape will no longer be at risk. That way you can leave the XL2 on as long as you want while doing your setup and when you're ready to shoot, you just turn the VCR back on. It will go from STOP to REC/PAUSE mode again.

Looking forward to seeing some grabs from your work.
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Old November 13th, 2004, 10:13 PM   #4
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For the moment I can offer some production stills - grabs to follow in another day or two as I need to go through our footage first.

Have a look at: http://www.livejournal.com/community/blackspotfilm/ for the production shots. And stay tuned for grabs.
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Old November 14th, 2004, 01:26 AM   #5
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Haha. Chris, I went to your site and saw on your page,

Sponsors - Weta Digital and Hallensteins...Weird I thought - Is this a New Zealand film? Then I went back here and yes, you're in Wellington I see. We have quite a few NZ people here it seems. I guess that speaks volumes for this site because we all end up here..

Great stuff on the film and hope it all goes well!

Cheers
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Old November 14th, 2004, 09:36 AM   #6
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Chris,

Off topic a little. I really like your web page design. I hope you don't mind a suggestion. Maybe make the menu choices larger or a different color so they stand out a little more and fix them so they don't scroll off the screen as you navigate down.

Good luck on your project....

Regards,

Mark
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Old November 14th, 2004, 02:02 PM   #7
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Cheers, Aaron!

Mark, we are using LiveJournal as our hosting environment for the moment - it has some limitations with how much one can mod the layout, but thank you for your comments.
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