XL2 Not very good in low light!!?? at DVinfo.net

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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old September 15th, 2005, 11:30 AM   #1
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XL2 Not very good in low light!!??

I have just been doing some test filming and I was a lil dissapointed with how it handled low light. is there any advice to the settings I could use to make it look a bit better and apart from buying a camera light...
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Old September 15th, 2005, 11:36 AM   #2
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it's actually pretty good in low light.

add gain. you can crank up the gain without artifacting.
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Old September 15th, 2005, 11:44 AM   #3
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ok cheers ill experiment
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Old September 15th, 2005, 02:29 PM   #4
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Has anyone tried headlights at night as a source of light? not direct light, indirect. Would be interested in hearing...also leading me to any tips on night time shooting of small groups of people perhaps sitting outside around a fire pit. I would love to get the dancing shadows to some extent and have goyaesque lighting: medieval.

I did shoot fireworks on the 4th with my new XL2 and I'm delighted with the richness of the color and focus. I wasn't using a tripod, just standing on a truck and bracing with my arm. It was astounding how rich the blacks were and the colors. So I think the XL2 works very well in these situations.

Lucinda
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Old September 15th, 2005, 03:29 PM   #5
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After checking all the settings, I hav sorted it now!

just done sum nightshooting now and i used my light on my phone, and it was amazing with how much the XL2 cud pick up with just 2 white leds!!! hehe
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Old September 16th, 2005, 01:56 AM   #6
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Lucinda,

It's not exactly what I would call a low-light situation but I recently did a night shoot of drummers around a fire. I used cool lights on the trees behind the drummers and as a rim light on the drummers themselves. I used warm (chocolate) gels on the key light for the drummers. The fire was used in place of a fill light and I had one of the crew feeding it small pieces of wood to keep it at a (fairly) constant light output. There was just enough flickering from the fire to make the scene look good and enough other light to make it clearly visible. The firelight was strong enough to put some nice dancing shadows on the trees.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 02:00 AM   #7
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Lucinda,

I almost forgot about headlights! I used them once. I tried bouncing them off a reflector which was too harsh and then I hung a bedsheet in front of the headlights. It gave a more diffused light but it still wasn't very satisfactory.

If I had to do it again I'd add a second sheet to diffuse it more and use some gels to get a better color.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 08:37 PM   #8
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Hi Eric,

I'll try the headlight suggestion. And, maybe the other as well! Thanks Eric!
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Old September 17th, 2005, 01:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antony Quintin
After checking all the settings, I hav sorted it now!

just done sum nightshooting now and i used my light on my phone, and it was amazing with how much the XL2 cud pick up with just 2 white leds!!! hehe
What were the settings?

Im curious, ive been having problems with low light, loosing color and adding grainy looking pictures. Is there a preset somewhere for low light?
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Old September 17th, 2005, 09:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Padilla
What were the settings?

Im curious, ive been having problems with low light, loosing color and adding grainy looking pictures. Is there a preset somewhere for low light?
Hi Michael. I don't believe there are such settings, basically the XL2 is not very good in low light conditions. As you mention, the colour goes drab very quickly and boosting gain adds noise. Compared to my Sony VX2000, the XL2 is no match in low light.

Richard
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Old September 17th, 2005, 09:24 PM   #11
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I was experimenting in my living room a few nights ago seeing what kind of picture I could get with just one light on in the room. What I ended up with that looked pretty clean, and about the same brightness as the naked eye was 30P, 1/30 shutter, iris (wide open), gain +12, noise reduction high, a notch or two of coring, and a few notches of color gain. White balance on 3200 preset. Of all the adjustments, the noise reduction had the most profound effect.

+12 gain, 30P and 1/30 shutter with iris wide open kept the exposure meter almost centered.

-gb-
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Old September 17th, 2005, 09:38 PM   #12
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Richard,

There IS a automatic low-light setting on the XL2! It's the next-to-last icon on the power wheel. Looks like a candle flame. It basically just presets everything to the best settings for low light. I do it manually because I don't like the look I get at a higher gain setting than +3dB, but I've gotten some excellent results in low light settings. The key is to CONTROL your lights, even if there aren't a lot of them.

With that said... it isn't the tools, it's the skill behind them that counts. There isn't ANY camera out there with a "Make-it-look-good-even-if-I-don't-know-what-I'm-doing" button. ;)
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Old September 18th, 2005, 12:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Elliott
"Make-it-look-good-even-if-I-don't-know-what-I'm-doing" button. ;)
WoW, where can I get one of those! :)

- Thanks for the tips and settings!
Much appreciated.

This is mostly for wedding reception stuff....many times its "run & gun" and their are things mostly out of my control such as lighting.
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Old September 18th, 2005, 07:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Elliott
Richard,

The key is to CONTROL your lights, even if there aren't a lot of them.

With that said... it isn't the tools, it's the skill behind them that counts. There isn't ANY camera out there with a "Make-it-look-good-even-if-I-don't-know-what-I'm-doing" button. ;)
Hi Eric. My problem is that I often have to shoot in situations where I can't control the lighting, and I have found that the tools do make a big difference. Where there is sufficient light for the XL2, the results are excellent, but below a certain point it just doesn't give a good image. You mention that you prefer not to set gain above +3dB, well I'm talking about situations where even +12dB is not enough, and I have to select interlaced mode on the XL2 just so's I can set the gain at +18dB. (Anyone know why +18 is not available in progressive mode?)

Could be my skills that are lacking, but the low-light setting on the XL2 doesn't look too great either. If all cameras gave equally bad results then I'd just accept it that I'm asking too much of the technology, but if the VX2000 images can look so much better in low light (which they do) then I think my criticism of the XL2's low light performance is quite valid.

Richard
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Old September 19th, 2005, 09:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antony Quintin
I have just been doing some test filming and I was a lil dissapointed with how it handled low light. is there any advice to the settings I could use to make it look a bit better and apart from buying a camera light...
It's funny you should mention this, I messed up last week on 9/11 trying to get the beams of light at ground zero from across the river in Jersey. I got a lot of footage using both an XL-1 with the 3x wide angle lens and my new XL-2 using the 20x lens. On the XL-2 (shooting in Manual), I just couldn't find a workable balance between the gain, aperture, & shutter speed; as a result all the footage that is adequately exposed is also extremely grainy. I would try different settings that made the grain disappear but it was so much so everything else disappeared. LIke I said, I just couldn't find a balance.

I was actually a little happier shooting in AV mode with the XL-1; I was trying to do a time lapse of the sun setting and the beams slowly appearing in the night sky. While the grain is for the most part was not an issue, the image just seems slightly out of focus, but I can work with it.

So I guess I know how to use the XL-2 in low light, I'm just not thrilled with the results. But I'm not blaming the camera, it is most likely just me. Incidentally, does anyone have advice to help remedy this?
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