My XL2 Footage looks poor! at DVinfo.net

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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old January 30th, 2011, 12:52 PM   #1
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My XL2 Footage looks poor!

Hi all,

Firstly let me just point out that I've only been playing around with my XL2 for a couple of weeks. I got it after a couple of weeks research into a camcorder that would suit my needs, being recoding wildlife. I'm a zoology undergrad and got the camera because I wanted to record what I was observing in the field, rather than looking through binoculars or just taking stills with my DSLR.

My problem is: Everything I record looks like it was recorded on an 80's vhs recorder. There doesn't seem to be any real detail, it almost looks too digital, as if the rocks are made of pixels (which technically they are). I'm obviously doing a fair few things wrong, but it's just disappointing when, like just now, I've come back from an afternoon birdwatching and I managed to spot a hen harrier over the downs hunting. I tracked it really well and kept in centred from about 200m away, but on watching the footage back (just plugged into the tv) it looks awful. I've used the 20x lens that comes with it and also a couple of 35mm (with the glassless adapter recommended to me) 200mm.

Any ideas, tips or links to a suitable site to help me improve would be greatly, greatly appreciated.

P.s. I kept white balancing and kept the arrow in the centre in the top left corner (the light sensor?)

Dan
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Old January 30th, 2011, 01:55 PM   #2
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What are you watching the footage on? Some HD tv's do a terrible job displaying SD footage.
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Old January 30th, 2011, 03:11 PM   #3
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Er, Daniel............

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Brown View Post
Any............. links to a suitable site to help me improve would be greatly, greatly appreciated.
I hate to be the one to say this, old chap, but with 7, 311 topics and 71, 729 posts in the XL Forums alone, if you can find a better site than DVinfo, do let us know, it must be the best kept secret in the known Universe.

Now, whilst wading through some of that Himalayan scale mountain of information, via judicious use of the "Search" bar at the bottom of every page just to keep the hit rate up, is an exceedingly good thing to do, and will, indeed, impart a great deal of knowledge about your weapon of choice, you can possibly get ahead of the game by listing every single setting you have set on the camera during your shoots and let the panel give you a blow by blow about why most of them are not a good idea (or otherwise).

As we all know the XL2 is capable of exceptional SD in the right hands, I suspect this may be a case of a poor workman blaming his tools.

In your defence, going from Whoa to Gooo! with an XL2 is a pretty daunting endeavour, especially if you come from a stills background, 'cos they just ain't the same thing at all.

Give us the info, we'll see what we can do.


CS
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Old January 30th, 2011, 10:40 PM   #4
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Can you start off by posting a screen cap or a short clip of what you're currently getting?
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Old January 31st, 2011, 01:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez View Post
What are you watching the footage on? Some HD tv's do a terrible job displaying SD footage.
You're right. I tried watching it on the tv downstairs and it removed any trace of the 'painted pixel' look!
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Old January 31st, 2011, 01:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
I suspect this may be a case of a poor workman blaming his tools.

CS
Not at all, I as I explained I'm certain it's something I'm doing wrong, no blaming the camera (tools) whatsoever. Also, I've been looking for the search bar for ages at the top, I didn't even think to check the bottom ooops ;)

I'll have a browse through and try and get what I need from there, then if I'm still left wanting I'll be back :)
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Old January 31st, 2011, 01:39 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Matt Cikovic View Post
Can you start off by posting a screen cap or a short clip of what you're currently getting?
Yes, I'll capture some later and post it asap. After watching it on the old tv downstairs rather than the hd ready tv it's looking better. But still I need to do something else to try and get good footage to work with in vegas.
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Old January 31st, 2011, 03:23 PM   #8
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Hi Dan, poor compared to what? You might be setting your sights too high. XL2 footage generally does look poor compared to 1080 HD footage at full resolution. But it's not a fair comparison. Where it gets fair is if you convert the HD footage to SD resolution, which is probably what's going to happen anyway, DVDs still being what we are mainly distributing on. If you've got a HD source, convert it to SD, shoot some identical XL2 footage, blow up a few stills and do a comparison. I think you'll get noticeably more detail from the XL2, particularly if you are using Vegas to downconvert.
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Old February 1st, 2011, 02:04 PM   #9
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Danny, I suggest that you look through the XL2 Presets lists shown on this forum. Straight out of the box, the XL2 tends to be a bit washed-out, but just a simple adjustment of the presets can change it into an entirely different camera.
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Old February 1st, 2011, 08:03 PM   #10
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You're right. I tried watching it on the tv downstairs and it removed any trace of the 'painted pixel' look!
As you have discovered, and generally speaking plain old SD looks pretty bad on a HD screen, especially at close viewing distances. If you step back from the screen to normal living room viewing distances it helps, as does viewing on a tube set rather than a LCD/LED or other flat panel
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Old February 11th, 2011, 04:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Brown View Post
Hi all,

I got it after a couple of weeks research into a camcorder that would suit my needs, being recoding wildlife. I'm a zoology undergrad and got the camera because I wanted to record what I was observing in the field, rather than looking through binoculars or just taking stills

Dan
If you're Into nocturnal critters you may want to look into night vision optics for the xl2. I saw a site a few years ago that sold a rig that was very cool. I made a simple hack system with a cheap handheld night scope and some hardware to record Mountain Lions and Raccoons at night, but homemade optic hacks are difficult and inferior. However I've shot some nice xl2 nature footage over the years. It's no Discovery HD, but it ain't bad.

Happy trekking!
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