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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 December 6th, 2004, 08:32 PM   #1
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Not another this VS. that thread I promise

Guys:

I know I am posting this in the XL2 forum, hence I can guarantee I will not get 100% objectivity, however I am considering spending the money for a pair of XL2's. The only thing holding me back is the release of the Sony Z1U in February. From a bells and whistles perspective, can you help me clearly identify why I should go with the XL2's? This is exclusively for event and wedding videography. There will be no indie shorts, CANN or Sundance efforts, no matteboxes, no cool jibs...you get the idea...

aside from the 24p, 16:9 and interchangeable lens, I am favoring the XL2's for the very reason that you can sync a pair in timecode using a remote and using freerun mode; therefore upon capturing assets for my NLE timeline, I wont have much fuss to sync them and will make my A/B transitions a little easier.

Now, is there anything I am losing by not going with the HDV format? is there really a market for 60i in the consumer wedding space? is it worth the extra money? am i giving up low lux performance by buying the canons?

i treasure your experience, thoughts and recommendations...

John
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Old December 6th, 2004, 09:35 PM   #2
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It really only matters if your clients have HDV capable playback. Most, I am guessing, will not and you are probably best off sticking with SD - be it widescreen or not.
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Old December 6th, 2004, 11:00 PM   #3
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I think that sync method you mentioned is a great idea and useful if you already have the cameras, but I definitely would not use that as a priority based reason to buy the XL-2(s). A flash from a still camera, a slate's sticks or even a hand clap in clear view of each camera will give you perfect sync with any camera. I use a slate's sticks with 2-4 cameras all the time with undetectable results. I am able to go to frame level on the timeline and can match 4 cameras in under 2 minutes.
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Old December 7th, 2004, 06:40 AM   #4
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You'll be missing the opportunity to market yourself as offering high definition video over your competition. If it was for indie film, I'd get an XL2. In your case, I'd get the Sony HDV cam.
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Old December 7th, 2004, 09:39 AM   #5
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The camera you want to buy now should be dictated by your end broadcast requirements
Most people dont have HD ready tv's yet, so there is no point in shooting hd if it cannot be viewed on your clients home tv (their home tv being your end broadcast requirement)

Use SD now, people have it, and it's here and now. When you can no longer make money from your XL2's then sell them on and upgrade. If you want to make money here and now over the next year I'd get the XL2's

Most wedding clients, to be honest could not even tell the difference between a wedding shot on a single chip cam compared to the XL2! Your filmmaking talent will shine through whatever. I'd market yourself in 9-12 months from now with HD - no sooner it's not widespread enough. It's like saying oooh why don't I out do the competition and deliver the film on DVD instead of VHS before the time when home DVD players became common place. We are on the verge of HD, but its not quite as accessible as MiniDV or SD. Also you are going to need a more powerful editing system to deal with HD. You will save time in that too if you film on SD and use something like the Matrox RT.x100 etc. Using a hardware realtime card is far better than software realtime - it is much more time productive. If you want an HD realtime card get $7500 - $10000 out to get the cheapest on offer called the Matrox Axio.

So you know, I own an XL2 and so far I have used it to shoot weddings more than anything else

Just my thoughts
Lawrence
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Old December 7th, 2004, 10:03 AM   #6
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I have to agree with Lawrence. I don't have the XL2 for that mather :-p but he's right: HD is really unavailable for most people. I know you ain't all living here in Belgium/Europe, but here (if I'm not mistaken) almost no broadcast channel sends in HD, and almost no one has an HD set.
I think SD will still go for a while.
(Resolution isn't that important, only if you are planning to do a blowup)

And, as Lawrence says, if you are going to HD, you have to have a heavy computer, HD monitors,... and so one.
So in the end it will be much much more expensive for you, for something most clients can't watch because they don't have the material yet...

BTW: although the remark of Lawrence ('most clients can't see the difference between a single chip and your XL2 footage...') is a little bit rude maybe, he is also right I think.
Most people just want to have a great souvenir, and they hire somebody who can shoot professionally, but I don't think they know anything about lenses, resolution, CCD blocks,...

Good luck!
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Old December 7th, 2004, 10:54 AM   #7
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John,

I think that this is a difficult choice...because you are entering the market while it has come to some sort of a dividing line...we are unlikely to see any more DV format camera's developed, so essentially the xl2 is arguably the state of the art in that camp. The Sony HDV cam is the beginning of a new ballgame...one that few of us know anything about. Having nearly 10 years of dv experience gives us the benefit of knowing what its strengths and weaknesses are. You have a choice of being a pioneer, or a craftsman who uses good solid tools to create his work. Its a difficult choice.

Everything said by others above is true, I'd like to add 3 thoughts.

I think the xl2 is a better hand held camera, which I think is important for weddings. It's shoulder mounting will give you a much steadier handheld shot, in exchange for some of the flexibility the smaller sony cam will offer. There's also something to be said for "lookiing" more professional during a wedding. You're more likely to be getting people asking for your card. The xl2 will probably have more of this "effect".

I view my xl2 exclusively on a sony HD wega 34" widescreen. The images look great. (some have tried this with a HD LCD set and not had as good of a result, a failure of the set to uprez properly, but still). My feeling is that canon tried to make the xl2 a sucessful bridge to HD.

I took a close look at Kaku Ito's post of some steady cam shots from the sony cam. My feeling was that whenever the camera started moving, the image dropped in resolution significantly. It was bad enough to bug me. HDV seems great for still pictures, but the i-frame compression scheme leaves something to be desired when the camera is in motion.

Barry
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Old December 7th, 2004, 12:28 PM   #8
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Mathiew and Lawrence, my opinion is based on marketing ability, not practicality of camera technology. Want to know the real advantage of HDV? It isn't screen size, it is the ability to stand up and scream at the top of your lungs,

"I HAVE HD AND MY COMPETITION DOESN'T. HIRE ME!"

That's all it takes to give you an instant sales advantage.
Who cares if the market place still is SD dominated... NOBODY!
Clients will chase the new technology. I'd wager not one in ten of your clients even knows what SD means. They just want the best, at the most affordable price.

Look at buying two identical cars for the same price. One has ABS, airbags, and a racing suspension. The other doesnt. Which do you buy, despite the fact you may never need those features?

Obviously if you don't have HDV, and your competition does, and the client you are trying to woo has an HDTV, you are at a big disadvantage, regardless of how good your demo reel is.

Yes, the operator is responsible for the picture, and the camera doesn't matter (I agree about the single chip vs. XL2 by the way), but your business is going to only survive on your camera skills, but excel on your sales and marketing skills.

Plus, if you had HDV and your clients were skeptical, you should easily be able to sell them on it based on the fact that the next TV they will likely buy will be HD, and when they watch it 50 years from now on their holo-box, the HDV footage will completely outshine the one from the regular camera.

Video businesses fail because people think about the creative side over the marketing and sales side. HDV is a huge hook, seize it, because your competition will.

Lawrence, as far as editing goes, you don't need a $10,000 video card to edit HDV. Ask the people shooting the JVC HD1 cameras.
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Old December 7th, 2004, 02:45 PM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dylan Couper : Mathiew and Lawrence, my opinion is based on marketing ability, not practicality of camera technology. Want to know the real advantage of HDV? It isn't screen size, it is the ability to stand up and scream at the top of your lungs,

"I HAVE HD AND MY COMPETITION DOESN'T. HIRE ME!"

That's all it takes to give you an instant sales advantage.
Who cares if the market place still is SD dominated... NOBODY!
Clients will chase the new technology. I'd wager not one in ten of your clients even knows what SD means. They just want the best, at the most affordable price.

Look at buying two identical cars for the same price. One has ABS, airbags, and a racing suspension. The other doesnt. Which do you buy, despite the fact you may never need those features?

Plus, if you had HDV and your clients were skeptical, you should easily be able to sell them on it based on the fact that the next TV they will likely buy will be HD, and when they watch it 50 years from now on their holo-box, the HDV footage will completely outshine the one from the regular camera.

Video businesses fail because people think about the creative side over the marketing and sales side. HDV is a huge hook, seize it, because your competition will.

-->>>

I'm afraid I have to disagree with you on some points. What you said about video businesses failing because... I think many people here (well I do for that mather) think it's just the opossite... damn, maybe I'm the only one, but I think (and I know 'a video business' isn't the same as Hollywood) that too many things in the movie sector are in hands of salespersons instead of people who really want to make movies.
Producers having more power then directors etcetera... I know this is going off-topic, so I'll quit that :-). Everybody his own opinion.

And I also think if you want to edit HD you really are have to gonna make some serious investments. Maybe not the numbers Lawrence said, and I have to confess I don't really know that much about it, but I really think you can't underestimate that.

And think that you maybe also are going to loose some customers if you ONLY have HD. If you give them the choice, thén you could be really strong, but if you only have HD...
You really have a point when you say many people will choose you because you can offer 'the format of the future'.
But I think people will be more interested in having a nice video, then in having it in HD and such things.
What are you going to say to some young new couples who are saving for their house and child?
"Hey, I can give you wonderfull pictures, but first you have to buy this television set and that, and that..."?
And Really, the XL2 will give you a very much more professional look, and people REALLY are going to (some will :-)) come to you and ask you card, you there... walking with such a beautifull cam professional cam ;-)

And I don't want to break your dream and plans, but don't think HD is for the next month. I personally think, looking at people around me, that it still will take some time for HD to get around.

But so far, I'm done preaching :-)
I wish you very much luck with shooting, whatever you choose :-)
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Old December 7th, 2004, 03:12 PM   #10
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Remember that the FX-1 can also shoot in DV mode (both 4:3 and 16:9), and the upcoming Z-1 can also shoot DVCAM - and is even selectable between PAL and NTSC. Furthermore, you can shoot and record HDV with these cameras but configure them to downconvert and send DV-25 over firewire. This lets you continue to work in SD for the time being, but keep archives of the original HDV footage for future use.

I'm sure there are plenty of other reasons to choose the XL-2, but just wanted to point out that buying the FX-1 or Z-1 won't lock you into HDV, but it does give you this as an option when you're ready.
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Old December 7th, 2004, 04:19 PM   #11
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<<<-- Originally posted by Boyd Ostroff : Remember that the FX-1 can also shoot in DV mode (both 4:3 and 16:9), and the upcoming Z-1 can also shoot DVCAM - and is even selectable between PAL and NTSC. Furthermore, you can shoot and record HDV with these cameras but configure them to downconvert and send DV-25 over firewire. This lets you continue to work in SD for the time being, but keep archives of the original HDV footage for future use.

I'm sure there are plenty of other reasons to choose the XL-2, but just wanted to point out that buying the FX-1 or Z-1 won't lock you into HDV, but it does give you this as an option when you're ready. -->>>

Didn't know that. Sorry, my mistake.
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Old December 7th, 2004, 07:40 PM   #12
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awesome

good responses guys, but man, no where closer a decision...i guess they both have there pros/cons. on one hand, even though the HDV format is not big now, we capture video for posterity, to be played back at the 10 year anniversary, etc...wouldnt it be nice to know that in ten years it was captured in the future format? i see the pros of the xl2 too...i mean interchangeable lens, shoulder mount, xlr inputs...at the end of the day i guess one must shoot with both and fall in love with one...i will let you all know what i decide. i guess the fact that the fx1 renders usings mpeg2 compression and the xl2 uses raw dv are another thing to consider as well.

whats a guy to do?

John
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Old December 7th, 2004, 07:57 PM   #13
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Re: awesome

<<<-- Originally posted by John Greco : i guess the fact that the fx1 renders usings mpeg2 compression and the xl2 uses raw dv are another thing to consider as well. -->>>

In DV mode the FX-1 shoots DV, just like the XL-2. It doesn't do 24p or 30p however.

I'm curious about one other thing: the XL-1 and XL-2 are pretty big and brightly colored. Is this a liability at a wedding where you're trying to be inconspicuous? Or does the larger camera make you look more "professional"?

Personally, I shoot performance videos in the house at our operas using the little Sony PDX-10 which is black. This lets me blend into the background pretty well. I think the size and appearance of the XL series would be a problem for me.
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Old December 7th, 2004, 09:44 PM   #14
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<<<-- Originally posted by Mathieu Ghekiere :

I'm afraid I have to disagree with you on some points. What you said about video businesses failing because... I think many people here (well I do for that mather) think it's just the opossite... damn, maybe I'm the only one, but I think (and I know 'a video business' isn't the same as Hollywood) that too many things in the movie sector are in hands of salespersons instead of people who really want to make movies.
Producers having more power then directors etcetera... I know this is going off-topic, so I'll quit that :-). Everybody his own opinion.

-->>>

I agree, too many salespeople in Hollywood, not enough artists.
On the other hand, any video production company, like any company, is a business. No matter how good you are, if you can't make sales, you are done.

For editing HDV (remember NOT HD!!!:) Go ask the guys in the HDV section of this forum what they use.
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Old December 8th, 2004, 12:20 PM   #15
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People seem to forget...
Every HD TV sold today supports 16x9x480p and will continue to do so for quite some time. 480p looks just great on the typical 50" and under HDTV bought by most consumers. Most of the sets have the circuitry to improve the look of the video signal coming in, just like regular SD sets do.
Same goes for PAL sets.

If you shoot 16x9 progressive, your final DVD will be just fine for a long time. And there are some excellent ways to uprez content to 1080i used throughout the broadcast world.

Just focus on what you want to do.
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