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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 June 24th, 2005, 12:07 AM   #46
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This whole idea that you need a 2/3" or film camera or even 35mm adapter to get a decent DOF is silly. If you can learn to use your camera at a partial zoom and not in the full wide mode, you can get a very small DOF. While it will not equal or be as easy as a 2/3" chip or film cam/adapter it certainly will work for most applications. FYI, the XL2 has a shallower DOF than most 1/3" cams because of its longer lens.

When I log tapes I always do some grabs so I will know what the footage on the tape looks like. Here are some grabs taken by a stock XL1s with a stock lens with natural light (which was at times almost ZERO). These are RAW interlaced video grabs with no color correction or anything from a documentary I have just wrapped up shooting. Click around on a few and you will find some with a very small DOF.... I can get an even smaller DOF with the XL2...

http://members.aol.com/ashvid/Grabs/



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Old June 24th, 2005, 06:06 AM   #47
 
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Ash, nice work! Where did the "grain" come from? Sometimes it looks like it was shot on old Tri-X. I'd love to see this when it's finished!

Jay
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Old June 24th, 2005, 07:57 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Struthers
If you want more arty, super-shallow "Lost in Translation" dof, use a different cam.
What kind of camera? The kind I would have to sell my car to buy? Or the kind I would have to sell my house to buy?
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Old June 24th, 2005, 11:12 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ash Greyson
This whole idea that you need a 2/3" or film camera or even 35mm adapter to get a decent DOF is silly. If you can learn to use your camera at a partial zoom and not in the full wide mode, you can get a very small DOF. While it will not equal or be as easy as a 2/3" chip or film cam/adapter it certainly will work for most applications. FYI, the XL2 has a shallower DOF than most 1/3" cams because of its longer lens.
There are specific reasons to shoot a given shot at a given focal length. It's not really about "learning" to shoot everything on a long lens if that isn't appropriate to the shot. I prefer to prioritize the composition of elements within a frame over getting shallow focus, except for very specific moments where I feel that the foreground must be emphasized and I cannot do it with lighting alone.

Take a two-person conversation shot in over-the-shoulder shots, for example. To get a shallow DoF you have to get the camera a considerable distance back, perhaps 15+ feet. This is good for isolating the characters from the background, but sometimes you don't want that. To include more of their world, you can shoot it at 6 feet, keeping the same image size but on a wider lens which brings in more of the surroundings. In certain ways this becomes more intimate, you feel closer to the action. Either can work, but it is a choice to make that I feel requires weighing against the hard-and-fast rule of using long lenses simply for shallow focus.

Regarding the XL2 comment: all 1/3" cameras have the same DoF, but yes, a longer focal length will inherently deliver less DoF. In the 4:3 mode of the XL2, you will actually see greater DoF than most comparable cameras since it is essentially using a smaller chip size.
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Old June 24th, 2005, 05:50 PM   #50
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I agree Charles, I am not saying that you can just sub a 1/3" camera in all cases. I am just saying that creatively, you can use one when needed.

You hit on something most people overlook, the compostion of a shot. So many people become obsessed with 24P and DOF they forget to compose interesting, diverse and appropriate frames. Composition is the number one thing for a true film-look.


Jay, as far as the grain in some of the images... that is a result of having almost NO light. What I did to combat that, is create a "look" for situations with little to no light. In the XL1s I turned the sharpness way down and the gain up to 30db, this creates a TON of noise but with the sharpness down it more closely similates old film grain. I also crushed the blacks as much as possible. Some of those scenes were lit mainly with Xmas lights. Also, where there was so little light, there was almost no color information so I went with B&W which ended up working perfect with my story.

I have a rough submitted to Toronto which will screen for the committee on July 4th... wish me luck!




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Old June 26th, 2005, 08:47 PM   #51
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"4-Shallower DOF-Move camera as far back as possible, zoom in"

A couple people pointed this out but i think ill reiterate... because i want to be in on this thread. :-D

Anyway, I've noticed almost the exact opposite with my digital films, as far as getting a film look. I find wide angle lenses give me a more professional, filmic look (and i mean real wide angle, not "meh" wide angle, like the difference between a 37mm lens, and a 24mm lens). The reason i think this works is because, in professional 35mm productions when wide angle lenses are used, the shallow depth virtually disappears (virtually), and in video, the depth that was hardly there also dissappears, so you have extremely similar depth to them.

Also, you can make really interesting compositions with nice wide angle lenses. The trick, in most situations, is getting really uncomfortably close to your subject, causing that wide distortion that looks really cool, and having the background small and distorted as well.

Alot of cool movies were shot with nearly all wide angle lense, my favorite example being Requiem for a Dream.

Another thought i had, if DOF is determined by A) how wide your aperature is open B) the size of the medium and C) the focal length of the lens, would the diameter of the lens also be a factor? I was thinking this because f-stops are measured from the outer edge of the lens in, so if your diameter was bigger, your aperature is bigger. Would that work?

I also noticed that my XL2 has very similar depth to my K3 (16mm camera).

Thats jes my XL2cents, feel free to disagree (that most totally rhymed).

PS: I dont know if anyone has tried this, but as an artistic experiment, wouldnt it be interesting to see if you can use that same DOF isolation theory, but with lighting. Where you isolate your subjects with lighting, kinda like theatre productions. Im not sure if that would look cool, hokey, or a cheap alternative to 35mm DOF.
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Old June 26th, 2005, 11:59 PM   #52
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No, it is not that bad...

Since I started this thread as a prepurchase question, I thought I might touch base again once I got the camera and started shooting with it.

I shot some of my first sequences (with any camera!) this weekend. Here are some of my results:

I had one shot with a fixed frame and no zoom where the focus shifted from someone's reflection in a mirror to the actual person to an object in the foreground. All the objects were within a distance of 8 feet and I was about 6 feet from the nearest object. It worked out perfectly.

I had another shot where someone was looking in a mirror (I know, I was just fascinated with mirrors...I'm a beginner). The mirror was about four feet away form the camera and the person was between us. I was able to blur either the person or the reflection of the person very easily.

I had a closeup of the inside of a toaster from about six feet away. I was able to focus on different elements inside the toaster very easily.

So, to answer my question, the DOF is really not that bad as long as you are either zoomed way in from a distance, really close to one subject with another some distance away, or you have a great distance between your subjects.

In normal (not super close ups) distances to subjects, I think the secret is just some depth to the shot, which is a good thing for shot composition anyway (at least to me).

I can tell you that with 24p, depth in my shots and decent lighting, I was able to get shots that looked just like the "film" look I was going after.

Anyhow, I should be receiving my micro35 ground glass mechanism within a few weeks, so I'll be able to compare with that. I picked up a 50 mm lens to use to start out with.

Thanks,

Kelly
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Old June 27th, 2005, 04:27 PM   #53
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I agree with Jon, in that, a well framed wide shot can be as dramatic and add as much production value as a shot with a shallow DOF....



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