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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old May 30th, 2005, 07:55 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2005
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Dental CE videoes?

I am considering the Canon XL2 for making educational videos for dentists. Color and clarity are VERY important. I need to shoot in Macro mode with the camera at least 30 inches from the surgical field. The mouth is small and teeth even smaller. I operate with 6X magnification. 90% of the video will be intraoral but I will also shoot some wide-angle shots to show the surgical team working in concert. The camera will be mounted on the bracket that holds the light over the patient. I will need a significant amount of light so I can see to operate while making the video intraorally but the wide-angle shots will not have a lot of light in the field. I will use the video over the web but would like to use it in my seminars as well.

Is the XL2 overkill for my needs?

Do I need a macro video lens or will the standard lens serve my purposes?

Can I record directly to my Mac?

Where can I get a bracket to clamp onto my overhead light and hold the camera?

Which video projector would do the video justice?

People posting on this forum seem so nice and friendly. I hope my novice level is not too much of a negative.

All the best,

Bill Strupp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 30th, 2005, 08:17 PM   #2
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Hi Bill,

Welcome to DV Info Net. You're definitely in the right place.

Based on the description of your shooting requirements, in my opinion the XL2 is definitely overkill for your needs. I think you'll be much better off with a smaller camcorder such as the Canon GL2, which is the little brother to the XL2. Here's why.

The XL2 is a modular camera system with many interchangeable components. It is meant to be configured in a variety of different ways to suit a videographer's constantly changing shooting environments. Your environment does not change. You will not benefit from the ability of the XL2 to use different lenses and whatnot. Also, the XL2 has the ability to shoot in different frame rates and aspect ratios. For your purposes it is highly unlikely that you would ever need to shoot in widescreen 16:9 using the film-like 24p frame rate. Also the XL2 is quite large. No doubt it would appear to be quite intimidating to a patient in an environment that is already intimidating. Even if your patient is "under" and will never see it, the XL2 is still going to take up a lot of space and could block lights or other equipment.

The GL2 is much smaller and will provide excellent video coverage for you in the standard "television" aspect ratio of 4:3 at a standard video frame rate. The lens on the GL2 has most of the same properties as the standard lens that comes with the XL2... it has a 20x zoom range, contains Fluorite elements for the best optical quality, and has optical image stabilisation should you ever need to shoot handheld. Plus the GL2 has the ability to take print-worthy 1.7 megapixel stills on its removeable flash card, which the XL2 does not have.

You could go even smaller (and considerably less expensive) and still preserve excellent image quality with the Canon Optura series, such as the Optura 50 or 60. These little camcorders perform just as well as the GL2 under very good lighting conditions such as yours plus they can record 2 megapixel still images. The small size of the Optura may suit your purposes better, and the color accuracy and sharpness and clarity of the Optura video image is nothing short of amazing. We have an entire forum dedicated to them if you'd like to learn more.

The more distance there is between the camera and the subject, the more you can zoom in. If the camera is too close to the subject, it will not be able to focus at the higher zoom ratios. All camcorders work like that.

Yes you can record directly to your Mac.

The Bogen SuperClamp should be sufficient to attach a camcorder to your overhead.

Video projectors are an entirely separate topic. Please look for an ongoing discussion thread about video projectors in our "Totally Off Topic Everything Media" forum... we call it the T.O.T.E.M. Poll. Hope this helps,

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Old May 31st, 2005, 08:23 AM   #3
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chris is giving you some excellent advice. i would add that the standard settings on the GL2 are much brighter than the XL2, and its low-light, in-the-mouth, down-the-throat performance are superior (you will probably find that mounting a small light on the camera would be easier and the projection of the light itself will be more maneuverable with a smaller camera). you won't have to monkey with the GL2 too much to get what you want. if the 20x lens doesn't get you exactly what you're looking for, you can add achromatic diopters to the GL2 and get good control of a super-close image, though with a 20x lens, i doubt you will find that you need it. still it is there if you do. the main attraction of the XL2 is that you can engineer your own individual "look" for your video, and it is loaded up with controls to help you do this. if you are looking for an out-of-the-box solution, the GL2 would be perfect. if you are secretly looking to get addicted to video production and throw away your career as a perfectly competent dentist in order to spend all your time obsessively tweaking camera settings in the search for the ultimate perfection of the moving image, then by all means, grab an XL2 and have at it! but if you want to complete a good-looking, solidly-produced project in a timely fashion, i'd go a bit smaller.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 07:36 PM   #4
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Chris and Meryem,

Thanks for the informative posts. I believe the GL2 would do all I really need. The real problem with being a dentist is that I spend all my time on learning dentistry and cannot afford the time for video education. This few hours on the internet has been very interesting to say the least.

I ordered the SuperClamp. It turns out I used to have one exactly like it and it must have been "accidentally" packed when I had the professionals in to set up my video operatory for over the shoulder courses. I spent about $80k to go Digital S with a 4 camera switcher and sold the whole mess 2 years later for $10k. I should have waited for real digital to evolve but tend to be a bit impatient.

I looked for an on-camera light and found only a 3 watt one. Will this light the field enough for intraoral operations?

Thanks again for the help.

Bill Strupp

PS Does anyone make a 3ccd lipstick camera?
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Old May 31st, 2005, 09:44 PM   #5
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Hi Bill,

My wife is going from spacers to braces this Thursday, and I'll be shooting it using my XL2 fitted and 3x wide angle lens. If she'll let me post a clip or two from her Orthodontic Odyssey on our web site, I'll do so (I think she will; she's a pretty cool lady!).

I do agree, though, that if your final product is going to be 4:3 internet clips, the GL2, or possibly even an Optura, will be more than adequate in picture quality, easier to handle, and a lot less expensive.

In addition to the little camera-powered VL-3 light -- which isn't bad at all on the GL2 for closeup work -- Canon also makes a larger VL10 that uses a rechargeable battery. Not to mention any number of 3rd party lights.
Pete Bauer
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Old May 31st, 2005, 10:39 PM   #6
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An associate of mine did a video like this. He used the GL-1 on a crane while the dentist performed the work. I didn't ask about how he lit it though. I would try to get the light source as close to the mouth as possible to avoid more light in the patient's eyes.

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Old May 31st, 2005, 10:48 PM   #7
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Safety and ringlights

I agree with Chris the XL2 is a bit much for what you require. The GL2, or similar smaller sized video camera.

I suggest that you get some safety cable, like the ones used for hanging lights from a grid, to safety all the equipment that you will be flying from the lighting rig. Be sure that the light and it's arm and supports can hold the extra weight. Malpractice insurance is high enough, it would suck to actually have to use it.

Kino Flo makes the Kamio, which is a ringlight that surrounds the lens. I don't know if this is bright enough for you needs, or not, but it's worth looking into. You'd probably get about f/2.8 to f/4.0 at 30 inches with the Kamio.
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