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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old March 7th, 2006, 03:33 PM   #1
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New XL-2 tomorrow, anything we MUST do first?

A friend and I are getting an XL-2 tomorrow from Zotz.

We have ordered a Tiffen UV filter as well as a few Panasonic MQ tapes.

Is there anything we MUST or SHOULD do when we open up the camera? Or is it just ready out-of-box to go and shoot?

Like in regards to charging, do we have to fully charge the battery?

What tips do you have for us as we will be opening the XL-2 for the first time tomorrow... Anything we should do/look out for?

=========

Second main question: I've searched and found something on these forums but get conflicting posts elsewhere. I know that I should not use the XL-2 as a deck (to get footage onto my computer via firewire)... BUT since I plan on shooting 24p 16x9 with the XL-2, will ANY cheapo camera with firewire out and a miniDV drive work (even if it doesn't shoot 24p and 16x9, which the cheap ones don't)... I mean, will I sacrifice quality? Or will I get the pure signal and content from my XL-2-shot footage being outputted via firewire to my computer through some cheapo sub-$300 MiniDV camera?

Thanks a lot in advance.
You guys here are great... I'm learning a lot.

Cheers!
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Old March 7th, 2006, 04:05 PM   #2
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Hi Joe,
First off, Congratulations on the anticipated arrival of the stork bringing your new baby (Canon XL2) - I'm sure you will certainly enjoy it. When mine arrived a little over a year ago, I remember I spent much of the day pacing by the front door with my hands behind my back, and every time I heard a truck outside, I approached the door and peeked through the peephole to see if it was the UPS truck. Later in the day, I realized my 1 1/2 year old daughter was doing the same thing - walking up to the door every 10 minutes and putting her face against it...with her hands behind her back...she was too short to reach the peephole, but she was trying to imitate her papa.

Your camera will not be ready to shoot right out of the box. There is some assembly required - specifcally, mounting the viewfinder, the stereo mic, and the lens. (There is also a little battery to insert in there somewhere as well - to remember date, time & memory settings etc.) There is a setup manual to be found in the package, and you will need to study it and follow the instructions carefully, especially when mounting the lens - it is heavy and must be properly mounted to avoid scratching anything or shorting out the circuitry.

I posted a little tour of photos documenting the opening of the package and basic setup of my XL2. It is pretty basic and slapped together - and not very well, but at least you can get an idea as to how to navigate your packaging.

The site is located at:
http://homepage.mac.com/lunarparcel/...oAlbum127.html

As far as the other questions...There shouldn't be much of a problem using your XL2 as a deck. Many folks do it. It is designed as a device for moving and the tape, after all. With that being said, given whatever amount of time you anticiapte running the deck during captures, it is also an option to get a secondary lower end cam or capture deck for that purpose....I think many more people do this.....as do I. Saving space on my desk, and wear on my XL2 heads.

Regarding the frame rate and ratio settings...I may be out of my league here, but my understanding is that the MiniDV camcorder is always going to shoot 30 fps at 60i (NTSC) - no matter what the settings are. - As such, it will play back in other camcorder, usually without any problem. The other settings - for (30p, 24p, etc) are part of data coding that tells the NLE how to process the data.

I think that this is also the case with 16x9, that it may not even view correctly in another cam (?) depending upon the features of the cam, but will be correctly captured into the NLE - so long as the capture settings are set up in the NLE to capture in 16x9 - basically, I think this part is dependent upon your NLE capture settings. Hopefully somone will be able to verify this for you....I haven't shot in 16x9 yet.

I hope this helps.
Enjoy
-Jon
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Old March 7th, 2006, 04:25 PM   #3
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I strongly recommend running a head cleaning cassette first, for about five or six seconds, before you put in that the first DV tape. By the way Jon -- great pics!
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Old March 7th, 2006, 04:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
I strongly recommend running a head cleaning cassette first, for about five or six seconds, before you put in that the first DV tape. By the way Jon -- great pics!
Any recommendations for specific head cleaning cassettes? Since I'm using Panasonic MQ's for the regular tape...? What should I use for the cleaning?

Do many others also THUMBS UP this one?

Cheers.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 04:57 PM   #5
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Running the head cleaner tape is actually recommended in the manual. I use a pannasonnic head cleaner, as I run pannasonic tapes through it. I have a sony head cleaner that I use on my DSR-11 deck.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 05:29 PM   #6
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My little Canon ZR 80 ($300, pretty crumby), captures the video and audio without any quality loss. Video heads are videoheads. A Mini DV tape is simply a magnetic strip with info on it. Your XL2 records 24p info onto the tape and any Mini DV device can read the 24p, 16:9 info... it might not siplay it properly on the little camera LCD (cause the cam doesn't understand it), but it will still churn out those 1's and 0's to your comp.

I do it all the time...


BTW. Just make sure you never mount or unmount a lens with the power on... trust me.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 05:54 PM   #7
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Owch... I should have ordered the cleaning tape from Zotz too...

I'm looking at Amazon and can't really find Panasonic cleaning tapes (unavailable),... Also tries BestBuy.com and they have cheapo brands... Where would I be able to find these on short notice?

And NICE pics Jonathan-- Really helpful, and I'm a bit less worried... +The battery charge info...

Cheers!
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Old March 7th, 2006, 06:24 PM   #8
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I'm pretty confident that any head cleaning cassette will do the job. For the record, I shoot nothing but Panasonic tapes, but I use a Sony head cleaner because that's what I could get at the time. It's been several years with this arrangement, and I've never had a problem. Shouldn't be hard to turn up a head cleaning cassette in San Jose... at Fry's maybe.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 06:43 PM   #9
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Joe,

Fry's carries them I'm pretty sure. The one in Palo Alto did.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 06:46 PM   #10
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Yea... Looked. Closest place (besides Fry's-- I haven't called and asked them) is Wolf Camera in Fremont. And they have one left :)

Placed on hold. And it costs. $12.99. Owch. Is that the norm?

What else-- Anything else I should remember/know for tomorrow, the big day?

Cheers.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 07:18 PM   #11
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Download the Blue Barn Pictures free program called the XL2 Presets Manager from the sticky thread at the top of the Canon XL2 Watchdog forum here in DVinfo. Steve Duke built it and provides it to Chris Hurd to distribute through DVinfo only. Its GREAT for managing the preset capability the XL2 has and the only cost to you is to share a preset or two after you've played with it awhile.

Have fun. Start at the oldest post in the XL2 section of DVinfo and read your way forward. You'd pay for two or three high dollar books to gain the education that free trip through this forum will provide. There are some helpful pros that contribte here and that will keep you coming back.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 08:07 PM   #12
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mine seems to require fairly frequent white balancing, more so than my other cameras (GL2, FX-1). dunno if others have this issue, but mine does.
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Old March 8th, 2006, 07:56 AM   #13
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Meryem....

Tecnically you are supposed to white balance every time you shoot ;)
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Old March 8th, 2006, 08:17 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Desmond
And they have one left :)
Placed on hold. And it costs. $12.99. Owch. Is that the norm?
Yeah, that's about the right price.

Not sure what's going on with the availability of cleaning tapes. I went to B&H yesterday and they were out of cleaning tapes. They had a TDK tape for $12.95 but then the guy took it away and said "you can't buy it". Apparently, they had already sold it online.
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Old March 8th, 2006, 08:44 AM   #15
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i'm well aware of that, matthew. i'm talking about white balancing more frequently, as in every 15 minutes or so. or every time there's a minor shift in light. i don't have this experience with my other two cameras, as i said. my point was, i don't know if this is specific to my camera, or if the XL2 is more sensitive to subtle environmental changes. if it is the latter, i thought it would be worth pointing out to a new XL2 operator....
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