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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 May 1st, 2005, 09:56 PM   #1
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Program Modes

Hey i just wanted some opinions on the specific uses for each of the program modes( EXT. CONT. , A , Tv , Av , M ). I have seen them before on other canons but i just wanted some "professional" opinions.

Last edited by Derek Hoffman; May 1st, 2005 at 10:20 PM.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 05:06 AM   #2
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A = Auto, don't use (basically)
Tv = TV mode, you set the shutter speed and the camera will automatically change the aperture (iris opening) to maintain correct light levels
Av = Aperture mode, you set the iris opening (f-stop) and the camera will change shutter speed to maintain correct light levels
M = Full manual mode, this is what most people advice to use. Since you have full control over how bright the image should be and thus which shutter speed, f-stop and gain etc. you want to use

External control allows the camera to control an external record like the
Firestore (ie, it controls it to start and stop recording).
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 09:55 AM   #3
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No Auto

Now i know as a professional Auto is hardly ever the way to go, expecially when you are dealing with the XL2, but do you really think that Auto is that bad? I have used it before and i have gotten great results, sure there are many suitable uses for the other modes but auto might be good in some situations.... right? Give me some feedback as to WHY exactly auto is a bad way to go. What makes it so bad? Thanks for the reply btw.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 10:30 PM   #4
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Derek, if you are happy with auto mode, by all means use it. It is your camera and there are no video police who are going to stop you using whatever settings you want. :)

The other settings are more concerned with control, and I think this is the basis for Rob's advice. In Auto mode, the camera selects aperture and shutter speed according to some unknown algorithm. The resulting exposure should be OK, but the picture may not be what you are looking for.

For example, if you want to control depth of field, you could select Av mode. If you want to control motion blur/sharpness, you could select Tv mode. Since these modes are still partly "Auto", the exposure should be OK, however the camera will continue to make adjustments if the composition of the shot changes (or the lighting conditions). So if you want to stop any fluctuations occurring in the middle of a shot, you should go fully manual (or press exposure lock).

Unless you have a good external monitor, or strong faith in what the EVF is showing you, I would not recommend going fully manual at first. Reason is, by giving you full control, Manual mode allows you to really screw things up! Until you know exactly what your EVF/monitor is showing you, be careful when using manual, and always try to compare your settings with what the camera auto modes produce.

Most of the time, I use one of the AE modes to let the camera decide the exposure, and then I press exposure lock to fix it. If necessary, I can also tweak the settings while in the "Exposure Lock" position. But that's just my way of working. In the end, the decision is entirely up to you.

Richard
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 10:19 AM   #5
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Control Over the Film Look

Thanks Richard for that reply, it cleared things up a bit. One more thing, most likely im going to be shooting some sort of movie where im going to want the universely desired "film look". I understand that i will want to shoot in the 16:9 aspect ratio, 24p, 1/48 shutter speed, and then should i leave the aperture for the camera to figure out or is there a distinct position i should set the aperture in? And with the exposure, depending on the situation i will most likely leave it locked. Does this all sound good right? Oh, and ill probably tweak the gamma and knee and all that good stuff as well but i just want to get some opinions on the major settings i should worry about. If you want to give me tips on how to configure the image control settings then by all means, spill. Thanks for your help, and i do understand that everyone has thier own look and there are many different opinions out there on how to acheive the "film look". Thank you for yoru advice anyways....
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 08:40 PM   #6
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Hi Derek. I'm not the best guy to advise you on the "film look" I'm afraid. First of all, I'm in PAL land, and have never had to handle the complications of editing 24p footage. (You will need to deal with this if you want to maintain the 24p effect through the editing process.)

Also, I am by no means an expert in this area. I tend to pick up things as I go along, and by browsing forums like this one. There are very experienced people on this forum who can advise you better than I can.

Having said the above, I am happy to share with you what I have learned, just as some input for your consideration.

I have done some shooting in 16:9 25p mode, and the effect is generally pretty good. Most of the time, I do not have control over lighting conditions. If you do, you will have much more flexibility. Anyway, if I want to have a narrow depth of field for a particular shot, and 1/50s gives too small an aperture, I will first try to reduce the amount of light using the Neutral Density filter on the lens. If that is not enough, I set the gain to -3dB and try again. If necessary, I will just give up on the 1/50s shutter speed and set a faster one until I get a wide enough aperture. By pressing Exposure Lock I can see what the shutter and aperture settings are at any time.

Another way to get narrow depth of field is to move further away from the subject and zoom in more. This changes the perspective as well though, so it's not always the best solution.

Regarding gamma and knee, I don't think there is much point in telling you what settings I use, because you don't know what results I am getting. I suggest you connect your camera video output to a TV and play around with the settings. The TV will let you see what is going on for each adjustment so that you can have a better idea of what does what. If the TV is set up properly, you can also use it as a reference to adjust the EVF (for brightness and contrast) on the camera. This will make the EVF more trustworthy if you want to use it to judge exposure while shooting, especially in manual mode.

Richard
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Old May 5th, 2005, 07:01 AM   #7
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One of the most important things I ever used in full manual mode where the
zebra stripes. At first I found these annoying or perhaps even consumer-ish,
but they really are a great help since you basically cannot trust a viewfinder
(unless it is the B&W one from Canon perhaps) or LCD screen.

These zebra stripes basically tell you when something is over exposed or is
about to be (depending on your setting).

I had them set at 90% on my XL1s. I knew that when they started appearing
I needed to be careful about my exposure but nothing had been lost yet.

If you set them at 100% any part that has zebra's will already have been
lost (ie, over exposed).

Sometimes (bits of) over exposure are okay to have, depends on the look
you are after or how much dynamic range you need for the shot (most
difficult in outdoor shots with shade and [harsh] sunlight).

As always learn your camera, practice with it as much as you can. This will
help you develop the skill needed to operate it fast, correctly and get the
maximum from the camera!

Good luck!
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