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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old October 13th, 2005, 11:51 PM   #1
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Expodisc & White Balance

Does anyone here have any experience with an "Expodisc" and if so I'd be very interested in hearing reports. Thanks in advance.
Sprague
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Old October 18th, 2005, 07:39 AM   #2
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Hello,

I use an Expodisc with my XL2 and have had pretty good results with it. It works well in mixed lighting conditions, such as an interior with sunlight streaming through the windows. You can take an average reading that is very acceptable.

Only drawbacks I have found with it is in situations where I'm shooting from a distance and there is a difference between the lighting where I'm located and where my subject is located. If I can't measure the light from my subjects location the Expodisc doesn't work. Also, if you are in a very low light situation the XL2 may not be able to get a white balance lock when the Expodisc is attached.

In addition to the Expodisc I also use a grey card system called WhiBal...

http://www.whibal.com/products/whibal/index.html

Whenever possible, I try to shoot these cards in advance of all of the scenes. I use them as a fall back or when using the Expodisc is impractical.

Hope this helps.

Kevin
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Old October 18th, 2005, 08:44 AM   #3
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Hi Kevin, thanks for the reply. That info helps a lot. One question; on their site I read that all one has to do is point the camera (w/Expodisc on) at the light source lighting your subject. I hate to ask a really dumb question, but do they mean this literaly.. as in point the camera at the sun? Thanks again.
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Old October 18th, 2005, 10:53 AM   #4
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Not a dumb question at all. First off, never point your camera directly at the sun. The Expodisc fits snuggly on the front of the lens but does not screw on. If it were to dislodge from it's seating on the lens you could ruin your CCD array, viewfinder, and possibly your eyesight.

When you're shooting on a bright, sunny day, I've found simply pointing the camera at a 45 degree angle away from the sun gives great results. I try to do this with the lens cap on first, then use the Expodisc. If you're doing run-and-gun that gets a little harder. Just be careful.

The key is to balance with the same light that's striking your subject. For example, if you're in an interior space that uses the same flourecent lights throughout, you can pretty much balance anywhere. However, anytime the lighting is mixed or will change over time (ie, sunset) you will have to either take several white balance settings or go with an average and tweak it in post. For well lighted scenes I tend to use the Expodisc to set my base custom white balance; if the lighting changes over time I shoot several WhiBal grey cards as I go along for reference. Once I capture the footage to my computer it's very easy to snap all the shots into proper white balance.

Take care,

Kevin
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Old October 18th, 2005, 11:49 AM   #5
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Thanks again Kevin, I'm sure you've saved me countless hours of heartbreak.
S
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