Trials and Tribulations at the 48 Hour Film Project at

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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old August 20th, 2007, 11:43 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Boston, MA
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Trials and Tribulations at the 48 Hour Film Project

This past weekend (yesterday, actually), my team finished it's 48 Hour Film Project entry. This was my first time seriously using my XL1s in many conditions. Before this it was mostly outdoor shots, with not too many special settings needed. This weekend it was quite different, indoor, outdoor, with a boom mic (Audio Technica on an MA-100), without the boom, high light, low light, stretching the camera to it's limits sometimes. Some (XL1 specific) things I've learned, and some questions to ask, some may be very obvious, so not so much:

-Your friend's GL1 may have some of the same functionality, but trying to explain where all the XL1 buttons are isn't very easy. The same goes for your tripod.

-Light will never ever help you out, it will always be mean and wash everything with the glow of the second coming.

-White balance cards need to be at the angle of the light, straight on helps nothing.


1) The output of my shotgun mic wasn't phenomenal, the sound was very good, but it was really low. How should I balance the headphones, with the mic to know how loud it's going to be once it goes to the computer? Should I crank levels in post, or should I be recording the mic at a higher level out of the MA-100?

2) How good is the ND Filter in the lens? I pretty much used it to add some stops to the camera in really bright light, it didn't do much to bring the contrasts of light and dark closer together, should I think about some actual filters, versus the in camera one?

3) Some shots just couldn't be framed right, in terms of not being able to move back far enough, is this a spot where the 3x wide angle lens would have been good to have?
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Old August 20th, 2007, 02:18 PM   #2
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I've done 2 48 Hours with my HV20 Letus set up this year. You should not have to use head phones to judge levels. I assume XL1s has sound recording level indicaters that show up in viewfinder. With the HV20, in the first shoot, our sound man send a 1 kb tone signal to my HV20 which I level to "-12db" on the sound meter. That worked real well. In the last shoot (finished a week ago) I didn't have a mixer, and we used an xlr adapter to feed into camera. I then tested sound by having talent speak in their normal voice, adjusting till that normal voice landed around -12db. I ended up, for the most part, with good sound that could later be adjusted as needed in post.
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Old August 20th, 2007, 05:56 PM   #3
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1) use the meters on the top of the body under the handle for the sound.

2) ND filters simply lower the light levels coming sunglasses for the lens, they don't change the relationship between light and dark at all.

3) the wide angle would have covered that whilst in tighter quarters. Making sure you can get hold of the right lens length to get the framing you need (either through zooming or changing lenses) is very important...I make sure I select locations that have enough room to shoot having used the lens I've got alot...just something I can eyeball now.

- GL1 and XL1 have similar guts, but very different buttons and locations. Shoot tons of tests to get used to the button placement...I won't tell you to sleep with your

- Light will always help you out once you've learned how to use it...a polarizer and a second ND filter will help you out with this as well...make sure you have not only light for key, but fill to raise the level of the dark side of the face as well (bounce works for this as well) can get the non-dimmable light under control by moving it farther away from the subject...the farther away a light is, the more light is lost getting tto the subject.

-WB indeed needs to be lighted by the key light source (unless you are trying to color that side of the subject, in which case you WB to something else (key example is using sunlight on one side and tungsten on the other). I've stopped White balancing all the time and started shooting like film folks do using the outdoor and indoor presets to manage the color temp, then gelling my lights to get them where I want, like using indoor and outdoor film.

I've learned that I learn something new every time we shoot something...shoot more and pick something to learn each time...figure that thing out. This is what short subject films are for. Make a ton of them, improve each time.
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