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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old March 17th, 2005, 05:39 PM   #1
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Xl2- Buy Now or wait till NAB?

I know this is a very typical question, and I'm of the sentiment to not wait for the next best thing, because there will always be something around the corner. But, NAB is so close. I'm prepared to upgrade my xl1s to an xl2, except for all this business with hdv. With NAB 05 coming up in a month, I'm a bit reluctant to make the dive.

My question is twofold:
1. Is it a good idea to wait till nab to see what happens, or should I forget the hype and buy the xl2 now.

2. If I wait, and the holy grail of cameras is shown at NAB 05, is there an actual workflow for HDV? How can I watch it? How can I monitor the edit? Do you have to downconvert to see it on anything other than an HD tv or projector? If I were to watch it on an hd tv/projector, how would I do it, does the camera have component out (i think the answer is no). Is down conversion for viewing on an SD tv through dvd going to make it worse quality than the xl2?

Is this format only worth it if your blowing up to 35?

perhaps this question is not in the correct forum. If it is, my apologies.

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Old March 17th, 2005, 09:47 PM   #2
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Hi, first post,

As far as I am aware, converting your HD content to SD doesn't make it look worse than normal SD. It is always better to start with a crisper image and down-res.

The question that becomes, "how worth it?". I don't think very. I am planning on buying an XL2 this summer. it has native 16:9 chips, so a higher res image anyway, and I don't want to have to convert to an HD work flow (if you can even call working in HD a flow:P).

When is NAB anyhoo?

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Old March 17th, 2005, 10:21 PM   #3
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The question about whether to wait or not can be answered by asking these two questions:

1) do you use your camera in work? And would having an XL2 bring enough new business to pay for the camera in relatively short order? If so, get it now.


2) what if the "holy grail" of camcorders *is* announced? Will you feel like you just torched $5,000 and now you'll resent it? If so, by all means wait. JVC and Panasonic have both announced plans for high-def 24P cameras, and either of them may very well qualify for what you would consider the "holy grail" camcorder for your purposes. So, if there's no compelling reason to get a camera now, why not wait four weeks and see what's announced?

I also suspect Canon will announce an HDV GL3, which could be an interesting camera too, so there may be several new announcements.

I'd think you'd want as much information as possible before making a significant purchase. But, that depends on how you use it. If you've got a $5,000 job booked in April, dependent on if you have an Xl2, then by all means get the camera now, book the job now, etc. If the "holy grail" is announced, you could always sell the XL2 on ebay and put the sales proceeds towards the new camera. Or, it may turn out that the new cameras will be months and months away from being ready, and you may determine that you need a camera *now*. If that's the case, the XL2 is an excellent choice.

I'd say get what you need when you need it, but if you don't *need* it, wait as long as you can so you have the most information and the most choices to choose from.
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Old March 17th, 2005, 10:32 PM   #4
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As usual, some excellent advice from Barry Green there.

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Old March 18th, 2005, 08:00 AM   #5
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Hi Stephen,

Good advice so far. I'll offer myself as a datapoint: Shooting with a GL2 with good-but-not-great 16:9, I was beside myself with impatience to move up to whatever HiDef (native 16:9) I could justify to myself as a hobbyist. When the XL2 came out as an SD camera, I was a bit disappointed that HDV -- which looked at the time to be the Holy Grail for guys like me -- wasn't quite taking off yet.

But the XL2 offered unquestionably great 16:9 for SD and I got the feeling it would be a while until the HD situation shook itself out. Seeing how the GL2 -- like the one I now have sitting unused -- was (and still is!) selling for good prices both new and used, I felt comfortable that if I was wrong and HD suddenly became mainstream, the XL2 would still have a strong resale value. So I bit and got one the moment they came out, knowing that it would sell for a large fraction of the original purchase price.

I still lust after the best camera I can afford to buy. So while I enjoy the heck out of my XL2 and learn more every time I put my hands on it, I'm fully prepared to divest whenever something good enough comes along. I'm watching developments, too!

It kinda looks like the HD explosion we hoped for last year may finally transpire over the next year. And straight-up HDV specifications already don't look like a Holy Grail anymore! Honestly, the Holy Grail is only a figment of our imaginations anyway, because the market is always advancing -- maybe not evenly -- but always there will be a better mousetrap just over the horizon. With NAB looming, I wouldn't be afraid of a "must buy" situation; the XL2 will do very nicely for now and fetch a fair re-sale price whenever it becomes time to sell. But if you're just as happy to wait a few months, a patient eye on the scene isn't unreasonable, either.

As far as workflow for HD, I can't speak from experience. From all the posts, it looks a little rough around the edges unless you have a fast computer and are willing to buy fairly expensive plug-ins. Not a problem for a pro or serious hobbyist with cash, but for the casual videographer with a 3 year old computer...might be a hassle.
Pete Bauer
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Old March 19th, 2005, 09:16 AM   #6
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I just bought an XL2...in fact delivery s/b today or tomorrow. (And, yes, it was literally bought for that $5,000 job. )But, here's my rationalle for the XL2/16X9/SD over HDV cam's...

First and foremost, as I understand it there really is no delivery mechanism currently for HDV, short of the original camera, or broadcast in some limited situations. There are currently no DVD players that deliver HDV, and the battle looming there could have a HUGE adverse impact on investments by the public in HD-DVD's.
The public has not truly embraced and demanded HDV; no matter how much better WE feel the standard is, consumer demand has not created a groundswell of support for HDV.

I've looked at the situation like this: As of today, there is not one HD-DVD playback device (legally) available for sale in the United States, and there are no businesses or homes that have that can play HD-DVD. There is not one feature length movie available today in HD-DVD format.
Then, I look at DVD's, and how fast they were adopted. (As we all know, the fastest accepted technology in history...) For DVD's to get truly accepted, it still took over 5 years to be adopted, and they worked with every TV set in the land, all meeting just one standard.

When will I know to buy HDV? First off, the Titans need to resolve their battle over standards, Secondly, we will need to see most broadcast networks and stations adopt HDV as their standard, and deliver content in that fashion.

Ask yourself, when do you think that'll happen???
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Old March 19th, 2005, 09:55 AM   #7
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There is actually one HD delivery format: DVHS. However, I have
no idea how many people actually use that (I doubt there are
many) or how you could other for that.

I agree with Pete & Bill a lot. But in the end it all boils down to
yourself, what you need and want.

Rob Lohman, visuar@iname.com
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