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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old April 24th, 2007, 05:40 PM   #1
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XL2 Survived India and Nepal

I just got back from shooting a documentary in India and Nepal. Basically the camera lived on my back for a month, including Trekking up to Everest Base Camp.
Shot about 36 hours of footage 24p 16x9, and the camera never skipped a beat. Worked perfectly the whole way, even in 0 at 18,500 feet.

I have compiled a 4 minute video from footage I took off 8 random tapes I picked up the other night. It is for the most part, not color corrected or edited other then fades or speed changes here or there. And I did it before I knew how to capture 24pA, so pulldown has not been removed, but if you are interested...

The Blog: http://www.lostsummitfilms.com/blog/
The Video: http://dl.lostsummitfilms.com/gentlewalk-sample.mov

Brandon
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Old April 24th, 2007, 05:54 PM   #2
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Amazing. That was ABSOLUTELY amazing!! Best XL2 footage I've ever seen!!

Wow.. sounds like you had an amazing adventure, and thanks for sharing this awesome footage! Seriously.. excellant!

Keep it up man!

Colin
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Old April 25th, 2007, 02:10 AM   #3
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Wow, great stuff. I look forward to seeing more of your footage.
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Old April 25th, 2007, 02:18 AM   #4
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Brandon,


Is there any chance of a smaller version (you tube) ?

From : low and very expensive bandwith of the third world.

Sincerely.

Herman
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Old April 25th, 2007, 08:42 AM   #5
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I agree...impressive footage!
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Old April 25th, 2007, 09:12 AM   #6
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Outstanding, I especially liked the stuff from Nepal. Good job!
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Old April 25th, 2007, 09:58 AM   #7
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Really nice video.
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Old April 25th, 2007, 12:26 PM   #8
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(Simpson's Comic Book Guy)

Best. Footage. Ever.
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Old April 25th, 2007, 12:30 PM   #9
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Thank you for all the comments. I will see what I can do about a smaller version. It may take me a couple days.

One question about my footage that has been bothering me. I'm getting significant distortions (artifacting, banding) on the reds in my raw footage. You can see it on the sun in the first shot and the slow zoom back with the gate and the hikers near the end.

I know digital video always has a hard time with reds, but does anyone have any good methods of getting rid of that in post?

Thanks,
Brandon
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Old April 25th, 2007, 02:42 PM   #10
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really nice vivid colours. it looks like it was shot with a dvx or hvx.
which custom preset did you use?
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Old April 25th, 2007, 02:50 PM   #11
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I used for the most part, a slightly tweaked documentary preset (reduced the red levels on the nepal portion) coupled with a circular polarizer (gradual ND on sunrise/sunsets)

Brandon
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Old April 25th, 2007, 05:32 PM   #12
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All that footage looks good. Was it shot in full manual mode? Tv mode? The exposure all looks good. Nice smooth zooms. Nice DOF too. I know how hard that is to do with that crummy LCD on the XL2.

Can you give us some idea on how you made such good images? I have never seen any such quality come from my XL2. It renews faith in my XL2.
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Old April 25th, 2007, 08:15 PM   #13
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I agree with Adam, definitely renewed my faith as well. Beautiful footage. What lens did you use?
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Old April 25th, 2007, 09:08 PM   #14
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I shot everything full manual on the 20x lens.

Some background. I picked up the XL2 for this project. The XL series have always been dreams beyond reach. Before that my personal camera was a Sony Handycam ($1000). I have come from a background with 16mm (Narrative Shorts) and DVCAM (Wedding Videography). So I have been used to shooting everything full manual. I can't stand using anything automatic, mostly for two reasons: Settings changing in the middle of a shot, and not having complete control at every instant. I wish I could have gotten ahold of the Manual 16x, but the camera set me back enough, couldn't afford it for this project.

For the zooms, I used the 20x's built in rack zoom feature. I used it a lot during shooting, because you can keep your hands completely off the camera. For the film, I wanted to slowly reveal objects or landscapes, and this feature worked perfectly for it. I only wish you could set the rack focus to be slower. It is kind of worthless right now.

As far as DOF, I definately took advantage of the 20x. I often step back another 5-10-15 feet to get a smaller DOF.

I always tried to keep the exposure/aperature in the middle of the range if I could, seems to me that it gives the best color/light range and keeps a slightly smaller DOF. Could be crazy though.

For outdoor lighting, I often kept the white balance on the outdoor preset, it seemed to do fine.

I usually had a circular polarizer on when outside. I adjusted it with every single shot.

The LCD is not easy, but you really get used to it. As far as manual focusing. I zoom in-focus-zoom out. What works best for me is after zooming in, I quickly spin the ring back and forth a couple times, past the focused point. This way, with a couple back and forth racks, I can quickly dial into the right focus. This is my first documentary, and I noticed that the speed in which you can focus makes or breaks a shot.

I used a slightly tweaked documentary preset, crushed the black a little more, and took some red out in the second half of the trip. For night shots I crushed the blacks a lot, gives the lights much more presence. I used Cinegamma.

I also raised the shutter speed often. I love the look of water and fast movement at about 1/420.

A few of the shots I mildly corrected in post. Basically, I just darkened the low end slightly, making colors more vibrant.

The most helpful thing I could say perhaps after doing this project is never set down the camera, for two reasons.
1) The moment you turn your head, you're gonna miss something.
2) After pretty much shooting straight for a month, I know the camera so much better now. The faster you get, the more time you have to try the same shot with a little higher or lower exposure, or a slightly tweaked polarizer, gives you so much more to work with later. When I had a good source to charge my batteries (1st half of trip), I often left the camera on all day.

Brandon
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Old April 25th, 2007, 11:25 PM   #15
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Brandon,

Great work. All I can say is it makes me want to go to nepal!! Were I younger and still capable of climbing i would be on a mission!! But, I would have my camera with me!!
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