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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 04:08 AM   #1
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Are custom presets compulsory?

Hi all,
I'm quite an inexperienced XL2 user and new here so please be gentle :)
I found this site while looking for more info on the Xl2 and there are loads here. There is something I don't really understand about the XL2, when I turn it on manual, set a white balance and iris, the picture quality is not so good. The colors are quite faded.

I downloaded the preset manager and some files uploaded here and get a better quality image.
I wanted to know and understand why these custom presets are compulsory, why didn't Canon make any mention of it?
It's probably a very versatile camera but you have to be quite advanced to know what you're doing in the custom presets.

Before finding this site I contacted Canon tech support and they don't seem to be aware that the presets need to be customised before you use the camera.
For some time I thought there was something wrong with my Xl2 as I was getting poor picture quality. maybe there is something wrong with my camera?
Any explanations are welcome.
Thanks
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 05:11 AM   #2
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Hi Alex,

Congratulations on your new XL2 and welcome to DV Info. The custom presets are not at all mandatory. The buttons for turning the preset function on and off, and selecting which preset to use, are on the top of the camera under the handle, right behind the custom key buttons. There is an illustration near the beginning of the user manual that shows them.

I'm not sure why your picture appears faded. Canon's "look" is intended to be more natural, and not set to be oversaturated as many people seems to prefer and as some other cameras are set by default, but I've not heard anyone describe it as faded. Are you seeing this on the EVF, on your computer screen, or on a television (if TV, is this composite out, S-video out, or after burning to DVD)? If on a computer screen or TV, I wonder if it might be the screen itself that is out of calibration?

If none of that helps, try setting gain, white balance, and shooting mode all to "Auto" while making sure the AE Shift dial is set to zero and that the Exposure Lock button is NOT engaged. Then shoot a short clip of colorful objects that are well-lit with natural light. If you can then post the clip or frame grabs for us, we'll be happy to take a look.
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 06:59 AM   #3
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Thanks for your reply and kind message.
I first realised this problem after checking footage of a dance show. I didn't see it while shooting. This was even more obvious when comparing to the XL1s footage as we were in multicam.
I have taken some footage and I've uploaded an image there

http://img63.imageshack.us/my.php?image=1jr3.png

It confirms the problem while the camera in auto mode, the walls are painted in a peachy color and they appear sort of fainted, almost greyish.
The colors looks pastel if this makes any sense.
Do you think it's time to send it away for servicing? I bought it second hand so no guarantee I am afraid.
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 08:40 AM   #4
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Right now I'm not on a system with a monitor calibrated for imaging work, just an old 19" CRT, but the wall looks like a pastel mauve (definitely not grey), while the other objects appear brightly colored. A known quantity, the bright yellow of the Kodak box looks right to me. From my vantage point, I can't see anything wrong. Do you have another system on which you can check the color rendition?

Perhaps other folks can take a look today?
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 10:11 AM   #5
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I'd have to agree with Pete. On my monitor (a calibrated Apple LCD), the colors look as I would expect. Mauvey walls (definitely NOT grey), Kodak yellow box, the black of the chair is reasonably rich and neutral (and picking up a slight red cast from the couch) and the red of the couch is deeper and less saturated and more complex than the red of the coffee cup. The only thing pastel are the walls.

As Pete says, most people, having gotten used to the over-saturated candy-colors of cheaper cameras and videos, find the XL2's color rendition to be "faded" or displeasing. I think you'll find if you shoot a Macbeth Color Checker and bring the frames into Photoshop and sample the patches that the XL2's default settings are pretty right on for hue and saturation.

The chief "problem" with the XL2 is the default contrast is a little on the flat side, but that is infinitely preferable to having a default rendition that is too contrasty. You can always hammer on the curves in post: you can never get back a blown-out highlight.
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 11:24 AM   #6
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ditto what the other guys said re: the colors...not grey but mauve, and although i have not seen the original, the yellow looks true enough.

here is something else to consider, though: reds and red derivations (maroon, mauve, etc.) are the trickiest colors for a camcorder to manage, and this scene has a variety of reds. so if you're shooting the scene on auto, you are asking the camera to manage the colorspace. when you are shooting a scene with a lot of multiple variations on red, you kind of have to decide which red you want the most true, using the monitor and dialing it up on the custom presets by altering the level of blacks and gain, etc.

this is *not* a great "auto" camera, and i don't believe it was ever intended that way. the auto settings give a relatively de-saturated look, and that is not going to change...you really have to get comfortable dialing up the custom features, and that takes time and practice.

alex, watch this video: http://www.dvcreators.net/media/demo...aturetour.html

it is the most efficient way to understand what all the customizable features are....
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 11:55 AM   #7
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Thanks to all of you for your kind replies.
Thanks for taking the time to answer and help me guys!

Maybe it was not a very good idea to compare the footage to the one of the XL1s. Something that I pretty much knew is that my monitor's rubbish.
Let's say I'd rather think it's the monitor than the Xl2.

I've watched the feature tour before posting, it was good but they go very fast.
While looking for training resources on the XL2 (not much in the user guide) I found something called The ultimate guide to the xl2 on canondvguide.com.
Would any of you have experience with their training material? Or could you advise on another one? That would be great!

All the best
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 12:44 PM   #8
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Alex, just sit down with your new loved one and have a nice long chat with it. I mean, really speak to it and compliment it when your start getting the image quality you want.

That's what I did.

Hook up your XL2 to the best monitor or TV you can find, and run the custom presets menus and start experimenting. Compliment it when you see a good change, make it feel at ease when it does something a little ugly.

I find training guides to be a bit useless in this case. The best training you can receive is from yourself and timeless experimentation with your camcorder.

The XL2 is very versatile, like other users have stated, you just have to take the time to learn how to use the custom presets.
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 03:07 PM   #9
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The colors are a bit muted out of the box. The XL2 comes factory stock for max detail and max resolution. In DV world, the more saturated your colors, the more noise and the less chroma resolution. Also, the XL2 performs poorly in the auto modes, you MUST learn to make manual adjustments. Why Canon did not include more pre-sets or at least 3 stock ones to help new users, is beyond me.



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