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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old March 13th, 2007, 07:10 PM   #1
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XL2 Footage: From Set to Desktop - what is the journey?

I'm an amateur film maker who has settled on purchasing a Canon XL2 for my filming needs. However, all of my previous filming experience has been with tape, and I'm rather excited to be eliminating it all together and switch over to full digital recording. I've finally acquired my Premiere and After Effects, and they are eagerly awaiting their first project.

My questions are these... being limited in my experience with the completely digital format (and I am excited to learn), what would be the minimum equipment required to get my footage to record to a hard drive, what kind of hard drive should I use, and what cables/set-up do I need to transfer my raw footage to my computer for editing?

Thank you all for your time!
Matt Mercer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 13th, 2007, 07:32 PM   #2
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Well there is no advantage in recording to hard drive aside from not having to digitize tapes. If you want to record to a desktop computerís hard drive, or record through a desktop computer to an external hard drive its pretty easy. All you need is a fire wire cord.

Plug the cord into the XL2 and into the computer. Run Premiere and open the capture window. When you want to record hit the record button and it will record the incoming signal to your computer. (I think you have to have a tape in the camera or it wont generate timecode)

If you want to record to a hard drive pluged directly into your camera you will have to buy something like a firestore hard drive. It just plugs directly into your firewire and records hours of footage to a hard drive. Its about the size of an iPod. Look it up on google. I personally think these are to expensive to be useful, and I like using tape.

Either of these methods use the same DV codec as normal tape so there is still a lot of compression put on it. There is no advantage in portability, because a comparable amount of tapes takes up less room. There is no advantage in price, because the hard drives can cost about 1000$ for 6 hours, and buying 6 hours of tape can costs 30$-120$ depending on the tapes. You will not have a back up on hard drive like you will on tape. Overall I like tape better and have no reason to record on hard drive, but if you want to try it out, try out some ideas above.
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Old March 19th, 2007, 11:30 PM   #3
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Like Alan, I too still record to miniDV tapes (just like so many others in this forum!). I use a relatively cheap samsung minidv cam to digitize to Premiere (using a firewire cable, of course); then save "old" digitized footage into an external harddrive, to make room for new projects. (Recently finished digitizing 12 hours of footage for a 20 minute documentary---whew!)

But many years back when I worked on FCP, I tried digitizing to an external harddrive! Caused plenty of problems---dropped frames, loss of audio, etc. Since then, I never, ever, digitize to an external harddrive, but to my computer's internal drive first. (Something to do with faster/slower transfer bit rate issues?)

Almost bought a Firestore with my XL2, but Brian at Zotz adviced that some users have had problems with them; and yet other XL2 users swear by their Firestores, saving hours of digitizing.

Whatever you use, make sure it all fits into your specific work flow (and budget!).

Good luck,

--JA
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