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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 11:11 AM   #1
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Image stabilization and Tripods

I'm confused about when to use the Image stabilization when on a tripod. I've seen advice for both turning it off AND for leaving it on? My still camera lenses have different modes of IS for hand held and tripod mounted, but the XL2 does not. I'll be going out to tape my daughter plating soccer and will try it both ways, but is there a relatively simple rule of thumb that I can use?

At the moment I'm bewildered/stunned/lost in all the other things the XL2 lets me adjust...
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 12:11 PM   #2
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General rule, turn it off... the only exception may be if your tripod is not very good.



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Old July 22nd, 2006, 12:48 PM   #3
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If you watch the XL2 Tour video at http://www.dvcreators.net/canon-xl2/ it states that the IS helps provide more stabil footage if it is turned on when the camera is on a tripod. In certain circumstances it may help, but in most it will cause problems - especially during slow pans - so I agree with Ash in that it is best to turn off the IS for the majority of shoots when the camera is on a sturdy tripod.
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 01:49 PM   #4
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I'd also say depends on the tripod but also focal length, because the stock 20X lens is a very long tele lens and having shot lots of concerts and events of various types, often from far away because of camera placement limitations, I can say that when you're at full tele or close to it, the slightest bump (and I really mean slightest) will cause the footage to look like it was shot during a earthquake. People clapping or moving their feet (if you're in wooden stands for example or any similar unstable ground) might also cause this. Even strong wind can produce vibration to some extent.

In those circumstances, maybe it is best to turn it on. But you'll have to test this once you're there. Ideally you don't want to have it on because even if the OIS on the XL2 is very good, it will occasionally noticeably try to fight or compensate if you will for the movement so panning starts and ends may not ba as smooth as wanted.

I actually learned to ride the IS on and off while I'm shooting. Whenever I'm passed 3/4 of the zooming range, I usually toggle it on if the vibrations are too strong for whatever reason, but I usually don't have long pans to make though, I only need to follow the talent on stage. Again, you'll want to experiment a little with this once you're there.
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 02:20 PM   #5
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I was recently testing out a new tripod. I forgot to turn off the image stabilzation function. Later, when I viewed my footage, I discovered that the entire picture was jumpy. Very distracting too. I wont make that mistake again. I hope.

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Old July 22nd, 2006, 02:36 PM   #6
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Well my experience is with Sony and not Canon cameras, but I agree with David. When you're zoomed way in then you *probably* do want to turn on image stabilization, especially if you have locked down shots. I've found this out the hard way by ruining live performance footage.

But every application has its own set of variables, so you should try some tests and draw your own conclusions.
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Old July 23rd, 2006, 12:41 AM   #7
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Seems everyone runs into this issue when the first start shooting with their xl2.

for close up work and a solid tripod the is should be off, you definitely get shimmer in your footage.
with the telephoto half way out, out doors with any wind movement and the is should be on.

test it out for yourself!!
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Old July 24th, 2006, 03:04 PM   #8
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I reviewed the test footage from the soccer class, and the answer remains murky! As pointed out, at long zoom, it helps with shake from bumping the tripod and seems to dampen my poor pan technique. But at the same time, it also seems to mess with the start/end of a smooth pan. Too bad I can't get the camera settings from the footage, like I can with my digital camera.

I'll be doing some more shooting tomorrow and will try to keep better notes. I should also probably try to play with the fluid head drag settings?

Thanks for the advice, as usual you guys are really helpful.
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Old July 24th, 2006, 06:24 PM   #9
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The purpose of putting the camera on a tripod is to lock the image in place...the purpose of IS is to repsoition the frame to try to counteract movement within the frame. These two tasks don't framass well. Keep the IS off or the frame will shift around as the subjects of the shot move within the frame.
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Old July 24th, 2006, 06:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole McDonald
The purpose of putting the camera on a tripod is to lock the image in place...the purpose of IS is to repsoition the frame to try to counteract movement within the frame. These two tasks don't framass well. Keep the IS off or the frame will shift around as the subjects of the shot move within the frame.
Not so sure about that. I mean that could certainly be true for a digital based stabilizer but I believe the XL2's OIS compensates based on lens movement, not frame movement. At least I've never ever seen the IS on a fixed shot do weird things like trying to follow a moving subject.
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Old July 24th, 2006, 07:50 PM   #11
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I think you're right David. I've read that Sony actually licenses their image stabilization system (Optical Super SteadyShot) from Canon. I know that the Sony system uses a gyroscope to measure camera movement, so locking it down on a tripod shouldn't cause the problem Cole describes. In fact, I think it will help on a locked down tripod shot, since any time the camera moves it's from a bump or vibration, and that is exactly what you need to correct for in a telephoto shot.
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Old July 24th, 2006, 08:02 PM   #12
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Yes David and Boyd's comments seem to match my observation. At high zoom, the IS helps stop small bumps and movement resulting from operating the camera. The only problem seems to be a slight "jiggle" at the start of a camera movement. It seems you can't have it both ways.

Depending on skill level, there seems to be a zoom level at which it becomes beneficial to switch the IS on.
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Old July 24th, 2006, 08:34 PM   #13
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I ALWAYS have OIS on, even while on a tripod. I personally don't experience/notice any kind of pan compensation, so it's all fine and dandy for me.
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Old July 24th, 2006, 08:35 PM   #14
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The OIS on the XL's can be left on while on the tripod without a problem. It is not the same system EIS that JVC and others use, that wants to "hunt" for movement when the camera is still, thus moves around.

The only problem is in pans where you need every frame, begining and end of the shot, and that is because the camera wants to use the laws of motion. That is that it will resist the start of the movement (a body at rest tends to stay at rest--so it tries to compensate), and when you stop it tries to keep moving (a body in motion tends to stay in motion--so it tries to compensate)! So there is a little settling in at the start and the stop. If you don't need the start and end frames, or you over pan (as in a landscape, you might want to leave it on to make the pan smoother. But if you are going to record then pan, or pan to a point and keep recording then you want to turn it off.

It is probably the best system out there, but they all have their limitations. They all must decide what you the operator are trying to do, and that is just not possible.

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Old July 24th, 2006, 08:44 PM   #15
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I shoot with an XL1s and I used to run with it on...on a tripod...until I noticed that I was having to reshoot all of my footage or fix frame movement in post. From what I understand (I'm sure this will be corrected), the Canon has a combination of physical correction and digital...it accounts for both. I've turned it off ever since. If it becomes a big problem, you can get relatively inexpensive LANC controllers for the camera to drive it without touching the camera.

If you have to pan at all, it's completely worthless, the pan becomes gummy at the beginnig, and then twitches back to frame, then gummy again as it tries to continue to correct the image then hits the edge of what it can correct.

I simply don't trust a machine to guess what I intend for it to do.
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