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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old March 13th, 2008, 09:45 PM   #1
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Best film quality...

I'm shooting with an XL1s and have a couple quick questions.

First- I prefer the look of "film" mode in general, I feel this mode really widens the gap between the look of a home camera, and a professional camcorder. That said, when I blow up the picture (on a TV) it seems to lose quality as compared to shooting in standard mode. Is this a result of poor filming on my part, or does the film actually lose definition? Also, is there any way to avoid the strobing affect when filming a pan shot?

Second- If the quality of the footage I am taking seems a bit grainy, poor, (as compared to other footage from identical or comparable camcorders) what is a proper course of action for identifying the cause of this poor quality? Or again, is it just me?

Thanks.
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Old March 14th, 2008, 09:36 AM   #2
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The XL1s is a good camcorder, but it's also a camcorder from 2001, with pretty low resolution chips. It always has had a more soft image, and in this day of HD television sets and HD computer monitors, this can be pretty noticable.

Do you shoot manually or automatic? If you shoot with automatic Gain, then you can get pretty grainy pictures. You should tell us more about they way you shoot.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 02:13 PM   #3
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I shoot on Auto, I am not farmiliar with how the gain works, any insight?

I do a variety of shooting, including wildlife docs, short sketchs, and action sports...
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Old March 16th, 2008, 04:10 PM   #4
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If you shoot automatic (I don't know the details, I always shoot completely manual myself), the camera will automatically add gain, will make the pictures extra noisy, if you are shooting in places that don't have enough light.

Try to learn to shoot manually, you'll become a better cameraman because of it. Be sure to set your shutter speed at 1/60th (for NTSC), dial in your iris to set exposure, and always keep the gain at 0 or -3, that's safest.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 07:48 PM   #5
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I appreciate the help... I will post footage later, and maybe you all can identify other problems I have while shooting.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 07:48 AM   #6
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If by "film mode" you mean frame mode, you can expect vertical resolution to drop a bit compared to movie mode, and this will be more apparent if viewed on a large screen or HD set, especially in shots with a limited amount of motion.

Using the easy (green box) mode can result in unexpected increases in gain, with corresponding increases in image grain. In general, if you want to avoid image grain, keep gain to a minimum, and increase exposure or add light.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 05:01 PM   #7
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I usually use the "Auto" setting. And thankyou for correcting (clarifying) me regarding the mode I was using I get them mixed up.

Here is a clip of some footage I filmed and edited real fast that will show the video my camera is taking...

Here's my overall concern. I understand the movie 28 days later utalized high quality lenses, but shouldnt the resolution on my camera at least be comparable to that movie? It seems blurry, even in full avi format.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 05:02 PM   #8
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I suppose a link would help...

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fu...deoID=16501610
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Old March 17th, 2008, 05:19 PM   #9
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I have an XL2 and have seen many people with XL2 and XL1's get very different looking footage depending on how the scene is shot. If you want a professional film look you're going to have to light your scene and learn to shoot in full manual mode and adjust the focus and iris yourself, as well as taking care of white balancing.

That's going to get you about 90% there I think.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 05:32 PM   #10
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Don, I noticed your in northern VA also, hello there neighbor!

Matt, I appreciate your input.

Say the majority of my footage is wildlife docs and such, would I be best off investing in a camera with a crisper image? Or should I just continue to work with the manual settings?
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Old March 17th, 2008, 07:18 PM   #11
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The XL1s evenly exposed still holds up very well even for its age. Wildlife videography is tough on any camera due to shooting at the telephoto end of the lens and the amount of information needed to be captured ie.. leaves. Seven years is a very long time for video cameras the technology jump leaps and bounds every two year. I would recommend looking around for a new camera.



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Old March 17th, 2008, 10:20 PM   #12
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I appreciate all the input. Thanks.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 08:06 AM   #13
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My advice to you is: Learn to shoot with your camera before bying a new one. I'm still using a old XL1 PAL and I'm very pleased with it. It's not a new hyper-modern camera, but I do think the images from it is quite amazing and still matches broadcast quality from most of the cable and satellite providers of today. If you can't shoot satisfying images with your XL1s, you most likeley can't shoot satisfying images with any camera ;-)

Shoot some images, experiment with manual settings (shutter, iris, whiteballance and try not to use auto focus) and light... and compare your images with broadcast channels of today... or the movie "28 days later" on DVD if you like. If you shoot with right settings I'm pretty sure that your camera will match the quality of "28 days later", and I think that's pretty damn good quality ;-)

The image from my XL1 is also a bit grainy... but grainy isn't nessecary bad... If you want to minimize the grainy noise, always set gain to 0 or -3. If you want to match the quality of "28 days later" and that's the look your after... you should shot in frame movie mode with Iris wide open and underexpose with 1 or 2 shutter steps. I always do... and I love that look ;-) If it's still to grainy, I add some noise reduction filter in the editing process. I've found that the "NeatVideo (http://www.neatvideo.com/)" noise reduction filter works extreemly well to reduce the grainy noise from my XL1 ;-)

Best of luck ;-)

PS: Link to a video shot with my XL1. Shot with standard 16x zoom lens, Iris: 1,6 - shutter: -2 steps and only added NeatVideo noise reduction filter and some minor color correction in editing:
http://hysteriah.no/videos/avancego_newcut.wmv
http://www.hysteriah.no/videos/avancego_newcut_divx.avi

Last edited by Tor-Atle Kindsbekken; March 21st, 2008 at 05:45 AM.
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 11:52 AM   #14
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The footage looks great, but let me ask you this...

How does it look put on a full sided TV? I mean, a cheap handycam can look ok on youtube. My final product will be put on a DVD, and thus watch on large screen TVs...
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 09:49 PM   #15
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I must admit that I haven't watched it on any hugh 50" HD-ready LCD or plasma... but on my 100Hz 28 inch CRT TV, it looks very good... even better than on a small computer monitor... I guess that's because a TV is interlaced and optimized for the PAL or NTSC signal and the video resolution(s), while a computer monitor is progressive and can do all kinds of resolutions, modes and Hz's. But in general, I think it looks pretty much as good as any DVD or broadcast signal from my digital cable TV provider... both on my TV and on my computer monitor ;-)

I guess the biggest secret of acheiving good footage is to add light. Remember that on any movie or TV show, there is always put a lot of work in enlightenment. I think the XL1's (or any camera) needs great light to make great footage ;-)
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