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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon XL2 / XL1S / XL1 and GL2 / XM2 / GL1 / XM1.


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Old May 10th, 2007, 08:14 AM   #1
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Shooting Full Manual

Ok, I'm a newbie with a newbie question:

I have my XL2 and I want to learn to shoot full manual. I'm at 24P with the shutter set to 1/48. I'm shooting run-n-gun nature footage in sunny and shaded conditions. I don't have time to use a light meter, so how do I judge the correct f-stop to use?

Bill
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Old May 10th, 2007, 09:49 AM   #2
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There's a meter at the top left in your viewfinder that usually does a pretty good job. If the marker is farther to the right you are leaning more towards overexposed, and to the left is more towards the underexposed side of things. Keep in mind that shooting outdoors in sunny conditions will probably require the use of the ND filter.
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Old May 10th, 2007, 02:19 PM   #3
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There's a meter at the top left in your viewfinder that usually does a pretty good job. If the marker is farther to the right you are leaning more towards overexposed, and to the left is more towards the underexposed side of things.

Funny you mentioned that. I have had my XL2 for around two years now and have never even noticed that little meter. I'm always busy trying to eyeball the exposure.
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Old May 10th, 2007, 02:47 PM   #4
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Turn on your zebras as well..set them to 90, shoot lots of tests...learn what works and what doesn't so you can eyeball it using the zebras on set. lots of tests!
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Old May 10th, 2007, 11:16 PM   #5
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Yes, once again the Zebras! They will save you.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 10:33 AM   #6
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There's a light meter in the EVF!?! Like Adam, I'm too busy composing the shot, exposing, shutter, etc. etc. etc. Darn it, where'd I place my manual???

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Old May 14th, 2007, 12:23 PM   #7
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Using a combination of the zebras and light meter works wonders. But using just one or the other can cause problems. For example, the light meter takes an average of the area, so if a small subject is surrounded by light area, according to the meter, you will need to overexpose.

Brandon
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Old May 14th, 2007, 03:19 PM   #8
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When metering, use an incident meter, not a reflected meter. An incident meter reads the light falling on the subject.

Using your zebras is your best bet. You can judge your exposure with a good broadcast monitor, or a good onboard monitor. The zebras help you determine where your highlights are.

I suggest getting the FU-1000 B&W Viewfinder, since it is a better "professional" B&W viewfinder. It has brightness, peaking and contrast controls. I never liked the stock EVF which made accurate focusing difficult. Just be sure that the camera is off when you plug, or unplug the FU-1000, otherwise you'll blow the main fuse.

Do some searches in this forum.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 07:22 PM   #9
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When metering, use an incident meter, not a reflected meter. An incident meter reads the light falling on the subject.

.

I don't see how you could use a meter with video. You don't have an ASA to go off of. So I would think your accuracy would be all over the map and you would just be better off eyeballing it, using zebras or other methods.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 07:51 PM   #10
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I think the XL2 has an approximate ASA of 320. A bit less under tungsten light, 200? Not sure.

Another useful item to have is a waveform monitor, but that's an advanced bit of gear and expensive to own. You're better off renting one and having someone who knows how to use it show you.
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Old May 15th, 2007, 01:08 PM   #11
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The problem with the built in meter is that it does not take into account cinematic framing. If the subject is framed extreme left or right, the meter is pretty useless. It is VERY important to learn to use ALL the manual controls because it will really help you become a better shooter because you can frame things in a much more cinematic way. With the auto controls, you have to stick fairly centered...




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Old May 19th, 2007, 12:34 AM   #12
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Mark, Adam,

I have read so many times that you should have a light meter. Like adam it has never made sense to me because there is no ASA speed!!! In digital isn't the supposed ASA speeds really just relatives to varying levels of gain???

I will have to test out marks 200 and 320 speeds and see how they hold up.
at least this gives a basis to start at!!!

Funny how so many people right about using the light meter but nobody writes on how to do it!

Maybe Ash has the answer!!!!
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Old May 19th, 2007, 02:12 AM   #13
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Zebras are the best bet unless you have a ton of experience. I generally eyeball it but after shooting 5000+ hours of DV, I am the human meter =o) I recommend setting the zebras to 80 and making sure there are no zebras on the face (maybe on a bald head or oily nose). I am in the "better to slightly underexpose than overexpose camp" because once you go white... there is no getting that info back. Also, "hot" faces on the XL2 tend to get pastel looking.



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Old May 22nd, 2007, 08:42 AM   #14
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Thanks a bunch for all of the responses. I'm beginning to get the hang of it. It's like everything else: practice, practice, practice!

Bill
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 01:31 PM   #15
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Yup set the light meter to an ASA of 320 and you will not be far off i've done loads of test with my XL2 with it's manual lens and this is the bases I use to start with from then on you get a little more creative but it's good a base to start at.
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