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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old May 24th, 2005, 08:02 PM   #1
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My XL2 Impressions

Wanted to take a few moments to share a couple of my impressions, which might or might not reflect what's already been said in the past. I recently did a gig recording a rap Artist at a sound check, and later the show itself. it was at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma WA. Did the whole shoot handheld. Depending on what angle I was shooting on, I got to admit that the front weight of the camera was a bit taxing on my back after not too long. (A back brace certainly would have come in handy:) And also had a difficult time balancing the camera on my shoulder without having to brace part of the camera with my other hand. I've got to still work out a way to compensate. (so any recomendations from others would be more than welcome). And I'm still trying to get used to focusing with the color viewfinder it comes with. I'd rather be able to use a external monitor instead if I get the opportunity. As far as picture quality. I'm more than impressed, especially if it's under the right lighting conditions. I've been experimenting with different shutter and gain settings. But over all, I just love the look of what I'm getting so far. Especially when shooting in 16:9, regardless of 24p or 60I mode. It also impresses me that even in 60I, it looks less like video to me. and of course, when some of my friends see the 16:9 footage, the usual comment is, "it looks like a movie!" I love the way the camera handles shadowed areas. I did a quick experiment in my appartment one night, and set up some film noir type lighting, leaving some areas in complete shadow. The end result impressed me. I couldn't see any detail at all, just total blackness where the shadowed areas were, which was what I was tyring to acheive. I guess I was expecting to see lesser positive results. Well, there's a lot more I can reflect upon, but got to go for now. But to say i'm excited so far with the camera is an understatement.
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Old May 24th, 2005, 09:25 PM   #2
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Want to see my impression of an XL2?

*does impression of XL2*

BRILLIANT!
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Old May 24th, 2005, 09:34 PM   #3
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My God, the brilliance is blinding

Who says Frank Gorshin is dead?

Joe, thanks for your comments.
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Old May 24th, 2005, 09:38 PM   #4
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To compensate for the awkward balance, try to add weight to the back of the camera or add a rig that will transfer weight. I use a Steady Stick which works quite admirably, there's also the DV Rig Pro but I can't comment on its use. Of course if you want to raise the coolness factor, get a vest & arm steadycam! ;-)
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Old May 25th, 2005, 07:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
To compensate for the awkward balance, try to add weight to the back of the camera or add a rig that will transfer weight. I use a Steady Stick which works quite admirably, there's also the DV Rig Pro but I can't comment on its use. Of course if you want to raise the coolness factor, get a vest & arm steadycam! ;-)
The steadycam will definitly add to the coolness factor and smooth the footage, but will do nothing for pain in the back on long shots :)
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Old May 25th, 2005, 08:46 AM   #6
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easy solution

The xl2 is undoubtedly front heavy, but there's an easy solution. Many people
buy a three hundred dollar shoulder brace unit for the xl2 because it transfers
the weight not only to the shoulder but, more importantly, to a front handle that
sits below the lens (thus compensating for the forward tilt of canon's iconic
lens). I have to say, though, that it's ridiculous to spend several hundred bucks
on what one can easily make for, say, ten dollars. I bought a few wheel chair
parts for pennies at the goodwill center a made a rig that's adjustable, affordable, and--best of all--I think it works better than many of the expensive
rigs. I fixed it so that the handle is very far forward and that a triangle is
formed by the a) support platform that the camera mounts to, b) an aluminum
pipe that extends from the platform to a hip belt, and c) my sternum. It's worked well for news capture, documentary work, and performances.

Cheers,

Van
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Old May 25th, 2005, 08:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean-Philippe Archibald
The steadycam will definitly add to the coolness factor and smooth the footage, but will do nothing for pain in the back on long shots :)
Time for sit ups! And who needs a healthy back with that much coolness?

er... ok I admit I was kidding with the steadycam part, in case that wasn't clear. The other 2 rigs are legit choices though.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 08:53 AM   #8
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hedonist or puritan?

Let's face it: when engaged in video art one has to decide whether
to buy, buy, buy, buy new gear (because yes, it's addicting) or to
be a bit more puritanical and use what one has. Gear or talent? I
hope there's a balance between the two.

van
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Old May 25th, 2005, 10:05 AM   #9
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No pun intended Van, but that balance is pretty hard to achieve with the XL2, as it is a modular camera that will tremendously benefit from added accessories such as the FU-1000 or different lenses.

Plus the physical balance is a real issue. Trust me, no matter your talent, if you shoot all day without support, only handheld, with a FU-1000 pulling the camera to the left and the 20x lens pulling the camera at the front, you'll have some seriously hurting wrists and arms at the end of the day.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 01:48 PM   #10
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There's a video of the SteadyStick on this page:

http://www.dvcreators.net/products/steadystick.html
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Old May 25th, 2005, 04:20 PM   #11
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In all honesty, the dual battery pack at the back eens things out pretty well. Also, a matte box with rails with a nice left-hand hold.
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Old May 29th, 2005, 04:34 PM   #12
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thanks all for your responses :)
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Old May 30th, 2005, 01:18 PM   #13
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I recently acquired a Tiffen Steady Stick and it is fantastic as far as taking the weight off of your arm. I went on a 5 hour whale tour, and this would of simply been impossible without the Steady Stick as far as being able to hold the camera in a ready position the entire duration. You do lose some flexibility, but it has a quick release mechanism for those moments you need to go handheld. A great investment at $120 after rushed shipping from ebay.

Kevin
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Old June 1st, 2005, 12:27 AM   #14
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Hey Matthew,

Could you do that XL2 impression again? I missed it the first time.

Thanks in advance,

-M
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Old June 1st, 2005, 02:09 AM   #15
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It is really hard to hold the cam for a long time. I tried holding it in front of me with my left hand under the lens, but that's awkward as well. So, I just ordered the battery pack to balance the front and back. Now I'm worried. Could someone tell me if this will help? I'll know in a few days....I'm sure interested in the wheel chair rig, but couldn't get a picture in my mind of it in terms of making one myself. Any better imagery on that one?

Lucinda
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