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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old December 13th, 2004, 08:54 PM   #1
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Advice About On Camera Lights

Would anyone like to share their experience using on-camera lights on the XL2? I really don't like the harsh look of most on-camera lights so I was thinking for a while that I would just avoid them and use practicals and natuaral light. But upon consideration, I have come to the conclusion that in many run and gun situations, like it or not, I may have little other choice than to use the on camera lights.

Anybody found a winning combination? Gels? Diffuser, tough spun, half spun? Barn doors? Brand of light?

Any help?

Thanks much. This board is great.

Douglas
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Old December 13th, 2004, 09:55 PM   #2
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Let there be...

We have XL-1s cameras with AB UltraLight 2s.

http://www.antonbauer.com/ultralight2.htm

The soft box for the UL is terrific.

http://www.antonbauer.com/ultralight_accessories.htm

I keep a 25w bulb in it for normal, close-in work and swap it out with a 50w for when I anticipate needing more punch out of the light.

We power both the camera and the light from AB TrimPac batteries on Gold Mounts.

RB
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Old December 13th, 2004, 10:15 PM   #3
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Well, it's not a cheap solution, but it sure works well. The Lite Panels system (www.litepanels.com) is very nice. I bought a set and used it on an XL1s last week for a live event shoot. The reasons I decided to pay a bunch include:

-It has a self contained battery pack. You can take the light off and use it elsewhere on a c-stand/light stand. It is not a "spot" type of light...very soft and wide.

-It is dimmable and the color temp stays the same at all settings

-It is LED which emits a very nice, cool and soft light. What I was looking for.

-Because it's LED, it is heat free. You can use this for an hour and it stays totally cool.

Thought I used it on a live event, I cannot wait to use it in a set up situation. I've done some testing and it looks really nice for soft key. It comes daylight balanced, but includes a set of filters for the front.

It's not cheap. My single light kit was nearly $1000, but it is really nice. ZGC sells/distributes them.
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Old December 14th, 2004, 08:14 PM   #4
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RB,

The AB Ultralight 2s look like a nice solution, especially with the little gels and diffusers set on barn-door like swinging mounts. But is there some way to buy this kit and attactching it to the XL2 to use the XL2 battery power or do I have to get an AB battery system for the lights?

And if I do get the AB battery system (1) can I power the camera with it (2) where do the batteries go (on camera, on the operators belt etc.) and (3) how much money am I looking at?

THanks much

Douglas
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Old December 14th, 2004, 08:23 PM   #5
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Kevin,

I just took a look at the Lite Panel solution. Goddamn that is a nice rig! I wish I could justify that much money for an on camera light because the Light Panel looks like a dream come true. The diffusion is amazing and the fact that it is 3xs more efficient than tungsten and has its own battery is just fantastic. I'm putting this thing on my wish list, but I fear I won't be able to justify the purchase for some time. Thanks for the heads up on this amazing product.

Douglas
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Old December 14th, 2004, 08:38 PM   #6
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Never used Sun Guns, never will.

Sorry to be the desenting vote here

DBK
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Old December 14th, 2004, 08:40 PM   #7
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Yeah, I definitely splurged for that one, but I think over time it will be well worth it. So far, I really like it.

It's funny. I originally bought it thinking it would be a better live event light since it's cool and dimmable. But after a few tests, I think it's going to be even better for a nice soft key light in talking head setups. It also won't be bad as a utility light to add a splash here or there. Since it's cool, you could throw this thing behind a plant and not worry about anything burning.

As far as live event usage, it did well. It definitely doesn't throw light that far...it has a pretty steep falloff after 10 feet or so. But, if you're fairly close to the subjects, it does very well. I used the dimmer constantly while moving in close to people who were about to turn around into the light path.

Save those pennies! It's worth it.
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Old December 15th, 2004, 08:29 AM   #8
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Too much draw...

The UL draws too much power to use with the available Canon batteries.

As it stands, using the Trimpac, the XL-1s will record for approximatley 4 hours without a light. Approximately 2 1/2 hours with a 25w bulb and about 1 hour and 20 minutes with a 50w bulb.

You can attach the Gold Mount with the supplied bracket to the back of either the MA-100 or MA-200 microphone adapter / shoulder pad.

You can see one of my rigs at http://home.mindspring.com/~ricks-pics/

Darren, I'm kinda curious about your "Sun Gun" comment. Could you elaborate?

RB
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Old December 15th, 2004, 12:06 PM   #9
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I just bought a Cannon VL-10Li for my XL2. If this is supposed to be a joke it's a cruel one. I can illuminate a frame in 30p to proper level with a 1/15th shutter, the lens wide open and a gain-up. Have other people had similar experiences? If this is really all the thing is capable of I can't imagine that it would be good for much of anything.
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Old December 15th, 2004, 01:32 PM   #10
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A.J,

Your not trying to light a whole room with a ten watt light are you? The VL10 is good for close range fill, like for a run and gun interview.

John
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Old December 15th, 2004, 01:41 PM   #11
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vl-10

As a cost savings, this low output lamp works well up close but you must use one half tough spun to diffuse it. The first thing out of your non-experienced talent's mouth will be " Holy sh*t that is one bright light!!"

It works ok for quick, no setup time interviews.
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Old July 18th, 2005, 07:42 AM   #12
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7 months later - opinion on lite panels?

Kevin,

After doing a search in this forum for any feedback and info on lite panels, your information came in handy. I need a lighting solution for interviews / testimonial / talking heads kind of stuff and you said:

"But after a few tests, I think it's going to be even better for a nice soft key light in talking head setups."

Have you used the lite panels on any of these setups yet? Mind if I ask your thoughts on what you think of these lights since this post was first created. I'm leaning towards them for the same reasons you like them and I'm shooting with an XL2 as well. Have you been able to use any of the 16 filters yet? Those looked kind of interesting.

Thank you.
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Old July 18th, 2005, 11:16 AM   #13
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Anton/Bauer Mount for XL-1/XL-2

Take a look at this rig with the Anton/Bauer setup.

http://www.abcdv.com/article/articleview/115/1/32

BOB
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Old July 18th, 2005, 01:55 PM   #14
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I got the Canon VL-10Li on an impulse buy for events and interviews, and for the money it's quite good. I bought a cheapo flash soft box at a photo store, connected it with some adhesive Velcro, and it helps a lot. You can't beat it for a handy accessory that will actually fit in your bag.

Anton Bauer is nice, but ouch the price hurts! Anyone use the Frezzi kits? They seem nice and portable on the web site.
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Old July 18th, 2005, 03:09 PM   #15
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I've been using the Frezzi mini fill with a 50 watt dimmable. I also bought the Frezzi soft box. It's a nice set up, but not cheap (over $500).I power it with an AB Dionic 90 attached to the XL2 gold mount (another nice chunk of change...).I'm happy with the set up.
Bruce S. Yarock
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