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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 January 24th, 2006, 08:32 AM   #1
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XL-2 for digital video novice?

I would like anyones advice who is willing to give it.
I am looking to get a camera which I can;
a) use for lo-buget film-making
and
b) use to start a wedding video business to fund a).

After a lot of research the choice seems to be between an XL2 or the Panasonic DVX (since they both have features aimed at emulating film) but i am kinda drawn more towards the Canon.
The question is; would i be totally stupid to buy this as I have no experience with digital video what-so-ever (would it be too complicated)? I personnally think i could figure it all out reasonably quickly but would be interested in the opinion of anyone who is familiar with the use of this camera or anyone who would like to suggest which camera they would buy for my purpose.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 08:47 AM   #2
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Hi Jack,
I'm also considering both these cameras but I have been using them for years so the decision is based on personal experience. You can't go wrong with either camera. If you're new to video and you're willing to take the time to learn and develop your skills, then I don't see why you shouldn't start with a higher level camera from the beggining.
The Canon XL2 is not very difficult to learn. In fact, I would say the technical aspect of videography is the easiest part. What will take time is learning how to properly create video that's pleasing to the eye and creative, and that's what the extra control is all about - being able to creatively control your image.
Hope this helps - let me know if you have any other questions
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Old January 24th, 2006, 09:00 AM   #3
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Thanks Andrew,
Film-making is something I have wanted to do for a long time but for whatever reason it has taken me until now to actually take the plunge.
Also, for as long as I can remember I have wanted to work for myself so eventually the two thing came together in my mind and I thought why not try and start a buisiness that will give me the tools I need to do what I really want to do. I understand what you're saying; that it's the artistic side of things I need to learn rather than the technical aspects. Would you say it was possible to be proficient enough (after say 6 months to a year) to be able to start shooting (weddings etc.) videos as a buisiness?
If i were to buy the Canon would the 20x lens be suitable to this sort of production?
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Old January 24th, 2006, 09:00 AM   #4
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if you can afford it, buy up and get the features you want and then be patient with yourself as you learn the seemingly infinite permutations of the available features....

the only caveat i would suggest is, you occasionally see people who are selling XL2 cameras, saying, "i'm selling because it's more camera than i need." a gut-check on whether this will ultimately apply to you or not is worth examining...

also be sure your pockets are deep enough for the accessories you will undoubtedly find yourself needing (bigger tripod, etc.)....the more expensive camera is only the beginning of an XL2 spendfest.

it's a great camera, though, and if you get attuned to running one of these cameras, every other camera in its class will be easy to use by comparison.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 10:33 AM   #5
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I would say go with the XL2, its a fantastic camera, and to be honest if you just want to shoot from the hip at weddings, as it were, you'll be fine, just shoot on Easy mode and let the camera do the rest!

I bought this camera as an upgrade from the XM2, and like you, with the intention of shooting weddings, and its more than capable for that sort of thing. As Meryem said though, things like a bigger tripod to support the weight are a necessity, as on smaller tripods, the camera will likely topple the whole thing over!

I've dumped the wedding thing now though, got really fed up of doing it! Couldn't handle the pressure, plus the fact that noone wanted to pay me what I was charging! Which wasn't excessive, only 1100 for a full days shoot, 900 for the ceremony and the reception!
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Old January 24th, 2006, 11:30 AM   #6
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point to consider on accessories...

If you will be doing alot of hand held I would sorely *rubs arm* recomend an add on battery pack like the anton bauer or IDX that attaches to the accessory plate because the XL2 is front heavy.
also - good wireless lavs like the sennheiser evo, azden, or audio technica. personally I prefer the sound of sennheiser.

check out a few of the other threads about accessories.

just my 10 cents (inflation)
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Old January 24th, 2006, 11:56 AM   #7
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I think a few months of practice can yield good results depending on the person. If you own the camera, you'll have more freedom to practice - I never owned the XL1 I learned on so it took around 3 years to get good enough to be in charge of a few video productions, but the key is you'll never stop learning.
The XL2 with 20x lens is great and should meet pretty much all your needs. I would recommend a good tripod/head as well as extra batteries. Even though the XL2 has (in my opinion) the best stabilizer of any camera, it's also the heaviest in the class and you really don't want to be handholding it for hours during a ceremony, which makes a tripod important. You'll also want additional batteries as mentioned and I would recommend going with the CH-912 battery holder which uses 2 batteries at a time and rides on the back of the camera improving the balance a lot. I've gotten 5+ hours out of the CH-910 with 2 of the standard sized batteries - larger ones are available.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 02:46 PM   #8
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I'm going to make a point that going to seem really cheezy, but its becasue you said one of the uses is for business (wedding). When you pull out an XL2 for a shoot you're being paid for, the client is going to feel like they are getting their money's worth... its got "I'm the real deal!" written all over it.
Its a great camera, and I own one too and love it, but of course, its good looks have NOTHING to do with how it will perform or how you'll use it. It just impresses the heck out of anyone who's hired you.
I wouldn't under buy... if you're on the cusp, spend the extra money and get what you want. in the long run its cheaper than deciding you need to upgrade.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 02:56 PM   #9
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I think starting with an XL2 is a mistake. It is an amazing tool but it requires a good deal more skill than a DVX. The stock DVX picture, particularly from the DVX100b, just looks better than the stock image from the XL2. Most the people I know that own/use and XL2 dont begin to even scratch the surface of the ability of the camera. There are infinite adjustments to the picture controls, multiple lens options, etc. etc. I bet over 50% of the XL users in this forum have never used anything but the stock lens.

The DVX is easy to use out of the box, put it on factory preset 5 and go... I am confident that if you handed a novice a DVX and an XL2 that the footage they shot from the DVX would look better. The easy mode on Canon does not look very good IMHO.

I think it is dramatically understated the time it takes to master shooting with an XL2 or any camera for that matter. I have shot DV for a decade, yes from DAY 1, of the US release and I learn stuff all the time. The XL2 requires more knowledge of shutter, aperature, camera settings, white balance, etc. etc. etc than a DVX does.



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Old January 24th, 2006, 02:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Marshall
I would like anyones advice who is willing to give it.
I am looking to get a camera which I can;
a) use for lo-buget film-making
and
b) use to start a wedding video business to fund a).

After a lot of research the choice seems to be between an XL2 or the Panasonic DVX (since they both have features aimed at emulating film) but i am kinda drawn more towards the Canon.
The question is; would i be totally stupid to buy this as I have no experience with digital video what-so-ever (would it be too complicated)? I personnally think i could figure it all out reasonably quickly but would be interested in the opinion of anyone who is familiar with the use of this camera or anyone who would like to suggest which camera they would buy for my purpose.
Both are very good options. Just be sure to budget for about 50 percent more than the price of the camera for a proper tripod and audio. These are mission critical items and cannot be cheaped out on. My all Manfrotto tripod with the Canon remote is worth about $1100.00 and it just passes the grade for commercial work.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 04:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ash Greyson
I think starting with an XL2 is a mistake. It is an amazing tool but it requires a good deal more skill than a DVX. The stock DVX picture, particularly from the DVX100b, just looks better than the stock image from the XL2. Most the people I know that own/use and XL2 dont begin to even scratch the surface of the ability of the camera. There are infinite adjustments to the picture controls, multiple lens options, etc. etc. I bet over 50% of the XL users in this forum have never used anything but the stock lens.

The DVX is easy to use out of the box, put it on factory preset 5 and go... I am confident that if you handed a novice a DVX and an XL2 that the footage they shot from the DVX would look better. The easy mode on Canon does not look very good IMHO.

I think it is dramatically understated the time it takes to master shooting with an XL2 or any camera for that matter. I have shot DV for a decade, yes from DAY 1, of the US release and I learn stuff all the time. The XL2 requires more knowledge of shutter, aperature, camera settings, white balance, etc. etc. etc than a DVX does.
Agreed Ash, but we all have to learn sometime...what better way than trial and error. :)
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Old January 24th, 2006, 05:07 PM   #12
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If you go with the XL2, I would highly recommend Tiffen's SteadyStick, $100 on ebay. 5 minutes handheld with the XL2 and your arm feels like jello and if your not at the wide end of the lens, it will be a shake fest. With the SteadyStick, I am able to shoot for 1-2 hours no problem and a lot of that is all the way in on the 20x, very steady.

Kevin
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Old January 24th, 2006, 08:26 PM   #13
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XL2 for film...

Jack, I can relate to your situation, because I bought my XL2 for film-production mainly, but occasionally I do some commercial videos, as well.

You see, the reason I would recommend XL2 over DVX is, that for a film you may often need wide angle lens openings and XL2 offers more possibilities with that. Besides, you'll find manual lens(which is additional $1400) very handy for any type of filming.

Obviously you should be ready for additional expences, such as Manfrotto's 503 fluid head or higher and so on.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 11:46 PM   #14
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The XL2 does require a better tripod, more sturdy steadicam devices which are WAY more expensive, etc. and while it is VERY expandable, that comes at a cost. I show up to all my XL2 shoots with $5000+ more gear than with my DVX shoots. For the record, I own both cameras.

I think a newbie is FAR better off with a DVX, if you outgrow that, then think about an XL2. The one thing nobody has pointed out is that neither of these cameras are great wedding cameras. The Sony PD170 is the better choice for that...




ash =o)
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Old January 25th, 2006, 01:05 AM   #15
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One of the things that the Canon has going for it is the longer focal length on the tele end. If you are shooting weddings, you will find that the long glass will help you get your shots, especially if you are in the back of the church, or can't get close. I love the DVX's 4.5mm wide end, but having only a 45mm tele end is limiting.

Both cameras are good. I suggest trying both of them out. If you can, go to a store and play with them, or rent them. Before I bought my XL2, I had been using the DVX extensively. But after reading about the XL2 and then renting one, I bought an XL2. But I shoot films, music videos and industrials, not weddings. I did support myself shooting weddings, when I was a stills photographer.

You will be spending a fair amount of money for the manual lens (get the body only kit) a good tripod and head, extra batteries, the FU-1000 B&W viewfinder, wide angle adapter, cases, bags, etc. Read around on the forums and learn about the camera.

You'll probably want to get a pair of wireless lavalier mics, too.

You will also need to find an editor, or spend the time learning Final Cut, or Avid. It may be worth taking classes.

Then there are the business and people parts of the equation. Many people think that they're going to make a movie: "I'll just get a camera and some actors, how hard can it be?" Sometimes, very hard, even when you know what you're doing. Wedding videographers usually and I don't know why, but they don't get no respect and they're usually under a lot of pressure. You have to be able to get the once in a lifetime shot, everytime. In focus and properly exposed. You have to smile and know what the client wants and expects.

I don't mean to be negative, but really look at what you want to accomplish and create a plan. If you have no previous experience shooting video, or film, starting up a business making videos, with no prior experience will be difficult. Again, you may want to take some classes, work for, or apprentice at a studio and get experience. If you really want to make films, start getting work on film/video shoots.

Video production for for a feature is different than shooting an event and requires a great deal of preplanning and a crew.
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