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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 July 13th, 2005, 03:42 PM   #1
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A tip on custom settings....

I dont have time to go thru every potential setting (maybe someday soon) but in general, I find that most people that are unhappy or underwhelmed with the XL2 picture can cure their perception with a couple setting tweaks.

In general the XL2 provides EXCELLENT detail in both shadows and highlights, moreso than any other SD 1/3" CCD cam. However, most people are not used to this and to their eye, this image can look flat or milky. If you are one of those people, I suggest you play with the following setting combos...

Knee - HIGH, this will emphasize highlights (you WILL lose detail)

Setup Level - turn it down anywhere from -3 to - 6 (this will darken the picture, essentially crushing the blacks, you WILL lose detail in the shadows)

Master Pedestal - turn it down -3 to -6, (this will darken the shadows even more)

If you are trying to match the XL1s, you might also want to turn down the coring and sharpness a notch or 2 and bump the Color Gain a notch or 2.

I will post my "blue sky" look settings in the next day or two... to all of you who keep your settings a secret, shame on you. Knowledge belongs to people, it is to share. Just because Eddie Van Halen lets his guitar tabs out doesnt mean everyone can play it like him =o)




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Old July 14th, 2005, 05:52 AM   #2
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Thanks for the tips Ash! Please post the other settings to this thread as well.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 01:12 PM   #3
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Do you guys really think people are keeping their settings a secret? I know I tweak mine here and there but have never thought of it as being secretive. increase the color gain 1 or 2......cinegamma, cine-colors and knee low and blacks set to middle.

If I stumbled onto anything great I'd surely share it. As it is I do most "looks" in post using COlor curves and saturation boost.

Has anyone noticed the color gain seems odd? It does not work at all like saturation in your editing software. If I have a guy outside with a green shirt and blue jeans and boost the color gain the skin tones stay flat and the green shirt and blue jeans go all "neon" looking. Very fake and a lot like colorized black and white movies.

The same shot in PRemiere PRo or Vegas and I just increase the saturation from 100 to 130 and the skin tones turn nice and greens start to look real good. If I could make some settings in the XL2 do that in camera I would.

Funny thing is with the XL2 at neutral and a DVX at neutral I find that I have to increase saturation from 100 to 130 on the XL2 and from 100 down to 60-70 on the DVX to get about the same color levels. Weird. The good thing is that the XL2 doesn't bloom or go all freaky if you have some hot reds where the DVX does. On the other hand the XL2 has a fast fall off for colors when the light starts to drop a little and the DVX still gives brilliant colors at these levels.

There is always a tradeoff!
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Old July 14th, 2005, 03:12 PM   #4
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There are many people who have refused to post their settings, silly, I know. When you stay in the cine color world it will generally NOT effect skin tones, the XL2 has seperate settings for that, a really great tool. If your image looks colorized, you might want to turn down the MP and Setup level.

If you want the saturation to act more like your NLE, then shoot in NORMAL mode, not cine mode. As far as the DVX, it has great poppy colors BUT they are not broadcast legal and can be problematic, especially the reds. The DVX also does not have near the detail as the XL2 in shadows and highlights.


ash =o)

Here is a setting good for a saturated, crushed black look...



Gain: -3dB

WB: warm (wb to gray)

Gamma: Cine
Knee: High
Black: Press

Color Matrix: Cine
Color Gain: +3
Color Phase: +2

R Gain: +2
G Gain: 0
B Gain: +3

V Detail: normal (low if in 30P)
Sharpness: +3
Coring: 0

Setup Level: -6
Master Ped: -6
NR: off
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Old July 14th, 2005, 03:51 PM   #5
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Nowadays almost all TV stations broadcast an oversaturated picture, guess for the public like rich colors. Accordingly, many assume camcorders, such as the XL2 or DVX should produce vivid colors or otherwise some start to suspect there is something wrong. Such a tendency puts the engineers designing camcorders in a difficult position for they have to balance with the marketing needs.

Thinking in terms of technical quality, I think what matters in production is that there is as much latency as possible in the signal recorded on tape, for this enables one to maximally adjust the image in postproduction. For example, if the dark or bright end has hardly any tones, it is very difficult to create them in postproduction. The other way around in postprod the amount of black can be increased as much as one wants at will. Consequently, saturation can be easily increased etc.

The dynamics of the DV video signal is rather narrow; there is less than 256 tones of the reds, greens, and blues available. If this dynamics is not properly employed when storing the footage on tape, it's difficult to compensate afterwards.

The nice thing about XL2 --in my view-- is that it yields many tools to adjust the image when shooting. For instance, if there is high contrast, setting black to stretch and knee to low does help avoiding completely black and overexposured parts in the image. Evidently, when I'm shooting white swans on white snow or a brown hawk in a dark forest I need different kinds of settings.

When comparing the images of XL2 and XL1, in my eyes the difference is indeed less saturation in colors and more tones in the dark end. But I've found this an advantage, for I get less footages to which I can do nothing in edit. Looking backwards I nowadays also feel the dark end of XL1 is too black.

So, for me there is no one settings of the XL2 which I found the right one. Instead, there seem to be a need for most of the adjustments depending on the situation, and I tend to change the settings on fly all the time.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 08:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ash Greyson
There are many people who have refused to post their settings, silly, I know. When you stay in the cine color world it will generally NOT effect skin tones, the XL2 has seperate settings for that, a really great tool. If your image looks colorized, you might want to turn down the MP and Setup level.

If you want the saturation to act more like your NLE, then shoot in NORMAL mode, not cine mode. As far as the DVX, it has great poppy colors BUT they are not broadcast legal and can be problematic, especially the reds. The DVX also does not have near the detail as the XL2 in shadows and highlights.
Ash,
How about a little more detail on what tool ( I assume skin tones detail) to get better skin tones (people tend to look washed out...I want to bring more color to them). And how do you figure the MP and setup are affecting the overall saturation? Also......how do you figure that shooting in normal vs. cine will get a look like my non-linear editor? The truth is I use the editor to get a better Cine look. I can very easily get a DVX style gamma curve that is much more pleasing to the eyes.

I am not being sarcastic. I really want to here the logic behind your statements. Because I have not been able to get anything that I really like colorwise direct from the camera. I have to tweak in post. If you can enlighten me or others and how you feel these settings affect image it would be appreciated greatly.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 10:50 PM   #7
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Post a grab of what you want it to look like and I will tell you the settings. Skin tones on the XL2 are superior because of the detail. Have you tried the skin detail settings? Once you lock it in you can choose the level of detail, low gives you a great soft look, while high emphasizes wrinkles, wiskers, etc. If people are looking washed out, you may be overexposing or what you may be seeing is increased detail due to a low knee/stretched black setting. Try pressing the blacks and turning down the Master Pedestal and/or setup level.

Master Pedestal and Setup level effect perceived saturation because they bring out detail in the default settings, more saturation in DV world = less detail. If you have a highlight or shadow that retains the detail information, that can look flat to some people.

When you start to adjust saturation in camera, the cine curve is not as effected as the normal DV video curve, at least for most colors in my experience.

The DVX, as noted has a more saturated and crushed look in camera, this is at the expense of loss of detail. If you want to match that in camera with an XL2, you can get very close.

My biggest tip for the XL2 users who are after more of the DVX look is to use a warm white balance and adjust not just the gamma curve, color matrix and color gain. The real key to more poppy video is adjusting the knee higher, the master pedestal lower, pressing the blacks and lowering the set-up level. You might also want to reduce the sharpness.

As stated by Lauri, each situation is different and should be set up accordingling. In general, I find it best to get the most detailed image that I can then tweak in post. The low knee, stretched black setting is the best for that, the DVX cannot come close to achieving that image quality with any setting.


ash =o)
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Old July 15th, 2005, 01:09 PM   #8
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Should I up the saturation in camera or during post? Which will give me better quality colors while retaining as much detail as possible?
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Old July 16th, 2005, 12:39 PM   #9
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The XL2 records the color information, you can bump it in post easy. If you record it saturated in camera, you will lose detail if you try to desaturate a bit...



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Old July 20th, 2005, 02:24 PM   #10
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How are you using a "warm" white balance? Are you using warm cards? If so, which ones?

Thanks!

Matt
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Old July 20th, 2005, 02:34 PM   #11
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Warm is pretty easy... if you are inside, the easy way is to choose the outside preset, this can be TOO warm sometimes. Find something grey ot light blue and balance to it, you can use cards but I usually just play around until I am happy. I will post some more settings in a minute...



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Old July 20th, 2005, 02:37 PM   #12
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Matt, Where ya been? Look here at what your "Matt Cherry's Most Excellent Setup Card" has grown into.

How about posting a setup? I know you've documented a few! ; ) Thanks
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Old July 20th, 2005, 02:40 PM   #13
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What have you guys been doing????

Incredible....

I've been busy with work and traveling and having my heart put into a blender... But I'm back!!

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Old July 20th, 2005, 02:40 PM   #14
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More settings....

In a narrow DOF environment or ANY time you are having issue with focus, try this setting. I use this JUST for getting focus, then I got back to another preset for shooting.


Gamma: Normal
Knee: Low
Black: Stretch

Color Matrix: Normal
Color Gain: -6
Color Phase: 0

R Gain: 0
G Gain: 0
B Gain: 0

V Detail: normal
Sharpness: +3
Coring: +3

Setup Level: 0
Master Ped: 0
NR: off


Here is one for a grainy, contrasty B&W look. Best in 24P, use the aperture and/or ND filter to control the light as the gain setting will make the picture hot.


Here is a setting good for a grainy B&W contrasty look:

Gain: +18dB

Frame rate: 24P

Gamma: Normal
Knee: High
Black: Press

Color Matrix: Normal
Color Gain: -6
Color Phase: 0

R Gain: 0
G Gain: 0
B Gain: 0

V Detail: normal
Sharpness: -6
Coring: -6

Setup Level: -6
Master Ped: -6
NR: off
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Old July 20th, 2005, 02:55 PM   #15
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Hey Ash, have you seen the Mel Gibson movie "Payback"? I'd be interested in seeing what you would do for that look.
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