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Old October 9th, 2007, 04:47 PM   #1
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Xl-1 Focus First Timer

Just got an XL-1 great condition little hours. I have a GL-2 that I film high school football with no problems. I'm still working on the settings with the XL and learning its not the point and shoot the GL is but I do like the camera. My question is that the XL seems to want to hunt too much for focus, should I use Manual which seems to be an art in itself. While filming football I start panned out and slow zoom as the play develops thats when focus wants to hunt. The GL does well in the auto focus. also is anyone filming highscool football at night that could help me with settings for the situations, seems like I must stay on top of the seetings as the lights change from lighter conditions to darker as the evining goes on filming undre high pressure sodium lighting. Please help me with any suggestions.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 06:38 PM   #2
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You are asking a bunch of questions, so I'll start from the top:
1. Yes, auto-focus doesn't work too well on my camera (DVC30) either. I seem to get good results with manual focus. Are you on the sidelines, or in the press box? If you are on the sidelines (like I am usually) check your focus often, because you will be moving around and changing your distance from the players a lot. Manual focus is a skill that requires practice, but it pays off in the end.
2. Changing lighting conditions are always a problem with night games. I usually white balance to the white lines on the field, or the referee's white pants. If you start shooting as then sun is going down, remember to re-white balance every so often. A good time is during a time out or between quarters.
3. As far as specific camera settings, I usually use a 1/100 shutter and auto iris. The faster shutter is good for capturing the fast action of the game without blurring.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 08:41 PM   #3
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Focus Issue

Thanks, Edward I shoot from the press box. If I focus on the most distant target at full zoom then back off to start the shoot will most of all the action stay in focus follwing the plays while zooming in slowly? and since I'm setup on a tripod should I leave the IS OFF. does the IS conflict with the focus while on a tripod.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 09:19 PM   #4
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Since you really aren't changing the distance from the players that much, I would focus on the most distant point they will be.
Yes, OIS should be off. When shooting from a tripod, any motion will be deliberate. If OIS is on, it might try to oppose your panning or tilting. The problem arises when the OIS gets to the extreme offset of the lens, where it can no longer oppose movement. That's where the OIS will "jump" to center again.
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Old October 10th, 2007, 09:02 AM   #5
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First, try get to the field at some time when there is no game to test things to see what works, and what does not, for you.

To avoid focus hunting, use manual focus. Probably best to manual focus on a point about 2/3 to 3/4 the way between the most distant and closest point of interest.

As noted, OIS off is better if you have a good/steady tripod and are shooting from a reasonably stable location. OIS can cause some lag and overshoot at the start/end of a pan or tilt. The XL1 does need more tripod than the Gl2.

Using a zoom controller, like the Canon ZR-1000 is a big help

With the progression of fall, not much daylight left, at least for 7:30 PM games, so changing lighting should be less of an issue. But adequate lighting can be an issue at high school games depending on how well the school field is lit. In this regard, you may have better video using 1/60th exposure. At the distances of interest from the press box roof, the motion blur should not be too bad.

Carry a white card for white balance if doing manual white balance. Auto may work adequately if the field is not too bad/mud covered

Using manual exposure may help as well, or perhaps using Tv mode and managing gain. The changes are often gradual so you can make exposure adjustment between plays.
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Old October 10th, 2007, 09:23 AM   #6
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Focus

Thanks, all for your input I will take the advice and apply it to my next game.
Newbie to the camera and settings so I will most likely be posting stuff later thanks again.
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Old October 11th, 2007, 11:32 AM   #7
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I've had an XL-1 for years. Nowadays it is my personal "play" camera. I'd say that regardless of what cam you use, you would never (OK, I don't like that word, but you know what I mean) use auto focus. One complaint I've had (along with many other people) is that the XL1 is bad in low light. Unless I have lots of light I've found that I always need to be at a shutter speed of at least 1/60. Another problem that many XL owners have griped about is that even with focus set to manual, the XL will randomly search for a focus point as if it were in auto. I've never heard of any solution for this issue. The XL has been a great cam for me, I just can't stand it in low-light situations and the manual focus seems to slip into auto for no reason.

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Old October 11th, 2007, 12:46 PM   #8
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FWIW: XL1 documentation states the auto focus needs at least 50 lux of light and vertical edges (in the focus sensing zone) to work reasonably well.

IMHO: The XL1 was a relatively good low-light MiniDV camcorder for its day, which was roughly 9 years ago. Not many other camcorders from 1997 still in demand.
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Old October 12th, 2007, 10:04 AM   #9
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Foucus

I shot a game last night and got good results under the lights. I set my foucus to manual and set up on the most distant object from my vantage point, pushed the AF and did not have much trouble with the focus hunting. the game started with daylight falling so I had to set white balance frequently untill full darkness set in under the lights. After that the white balance stayed good through out the rest of the game, best results so far, I did not mess with the shutter speed because I shot in Auto. My only beef is that the view finder could be a little clearer to give a better indication of what I'm actully filming. I,m looking for a good quality tripod with remote control handle that will accomadate the XL for less that $ 125.00 is there any out there that someone would recomened? Thanks for all the input
Joe
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Old October 13th, 2007, 03:02 PM   #10
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when i got my xl1-s, i shoot a dance group in auto focus. (no practice time, and this was my very first real camcorder) the lens was hunting like crazy...
then after reading here, i have never used the auto focus option anymore, and everything was ok.

on a tripod i have auto focus off, ois off, zoom all the way in, manually set the focus, and zoom to principle.
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Old October 19th, 2007, 12:11 PM   #11
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I have been shooting game film for HS football for 5 years now. Some of that was using an XL-1s. I prefer the XL for sideline highlighting film for college scholarship hopeful players. It's also a useful second perspective on certain plays for the coaches. I prefer a flip out screen for press box film.

The biggest improvement in your shooting will come from a remote controller. It lets you operate with one hand which makes for smooth pan and zoom operations. I prefer the ZR-1000 feature that sets a fixed zoom speed. Basically, it lets you smash the zoom button without worrying about accidently zooming too far in or out. The other thing about it is that it free's up your other hand to hold an umbrella so you can keep shooting in the rain.

Don't get a cpntroller built-in to the tripod. Cheap (yes $125 is cheap) tripods break easily. Invest in the separate unit and a cheapo tripod to fit your budget. Upgrade the tripod later when you have more bucks. We've standardized on the Libec TH-M20. It's better than anything for $125 but the XL is too much camera for even the LM20. The features I appreciate it are:
2-stage is great for bleachers
the quick release plate speeds setup and teardown
the ball head is quick for getting accurate leveling
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