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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old March 22nd, 2002, 02:05 PM   #1
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Full recant----

Let me be counted amongst the many happy owners of XL1s'.

Today the XL1S showed me just how important small settings can be and the need for individual tweaking for best results. I made it no secret that I was merely "content" with the XL but not floored as others have been....after making some small adjustments (Custom Presets) and going out and capturing some crystal clear video (stock lens) i'm very pleased and thoughts of selling the XL have gone out the window...I upped the Sharpness, Setup and changed to "Frame" mode, set white balance to local lighting conditions and increased saturation a notch....

... went out and shot some footage of a local redtail hawk who happened to capture a wild-rat (I missed the actual seizure)...I tried a few different shooting setups including movie-mode (first time for that) and I went home unsuspecting of the results.....after watching the footage on a HDTV (65") I was still unimpressed- but when I played the same video on a smaller tube TV, the results were absolutely beautiful (the HDTV is absolutely horrible with non-HD images- Mitsubishi Medallion- but extraordinary with HD video). I had seen previous footage on the smaller tube TV and was satisfied- but with the new settings it almost seems to be a different camera. I was looking for that "National Geographic" look and was not able to achieve it before- but after the setting tweaks- the video is vastly improved and looks easily as crisp as anything I've seen broadcasted. The hawk's details are razor sharp and the color's rich. The biggest problem for me was shooting the hawk against the sky from ground level (it flew to a tree limb) and having to engage the ND filter- the shift in video is very noticeable ( improved but sorta wrecked the great capture up until I panned skyward- live and learn- should I have on a UV filter- any recommendations?- I don't like engaging the ND )...the video footage is great- I will try next time with same setup but will shoot in "Normal" mode and see if it's an improvement (would be amazing if that's possible)....

...anyway, I just wanted to encourage people to play with their settings (that's what they're there for) and try various combos- I'm sure something will "hit".....the Custom Preset function is great. Another thing I've learned is to trust the "Zebra" marks regardless of what's displayed in the viewfinder- tweak the AE shift til you get the results you're looking for- the "Zebra" indication seems to always indicate correctly for any overexposure (I had to increase the viewfinder brightness a bit t match actual video....

...i'm still smiling.....if you guys want I'll post a quick clip online of what I caught today....just throw a note.

have fun guys (I am)

Now where do i buy the big T-shirt with the XL logo on it?
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Old March 22nd, 2002, 02:11 PM   #2
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Aw, does this mean that you're postponing the JVC-DV500 purchase?

Actually, when you get time I would like to compare the new clip to the older clip you posted a couple of days ago.
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Old March 22nd, 2002, 03:59 PM   #3
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Ken

Yes-sir- the JVC idea went out the window when I saw today's footage- I'm sure the JVC is top notch- but this is just a hobby for me and i'm content with the XL1S....


...one thing I fogot to mention earlier is that a large percentage of my disappointment with the XL previously lied (<-- grammar??) in the fact that I wasn't able to obtain razor sharp video- being an 5.5-88mm lens (despite it's large size) I was trying to force distant video which the stock lens is not really designed to capture- it's a close range lens with mediocre distant performance, an EF adapter and suitable lens would cure that ailment (isn't that why we bought these interchangeable lens XL's for??)- anything under 30 feet and the lens is great (nature wise anyway), I could see the small nuances in a hawks eyes via the stock lens- it's about as sharp as anywould would like if they optimize their setings for it.... (but I gotta get the EF adapter and a lens to really push the envelope of the XL)

anyone care to give me good compression settings for a 15 sec clip (would be in DV form natively)- I would use Cleaner 5 (Macintosh) to compress- anyone with a good setup for people to download via web?

(Hey Chris- if you have server space- why don't you setup FTP or uploads for showcasing user's videos???)
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Old March 22nd, 2002, 04:09 PM   #4
 
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Steve...

YAHOO, as well as others, offer free server space. In fact, yahoo's is 11 MB of free space. Go to www.geocities.com to sign up. I routinely put files up to my own site to pass along to people. They even offer some limited video streaming services as part of that free package. Many ISP's offer free server space as part of their standard Email service.
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Old March 22nd, 2002, 04:41 PM   #5
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I've been talking to my good friend Jeff, our server guru, about moving these digs from his good box to his best box and would have to discuss the streaming media bandwidth issue with him.

I want to do this, but can't take a chance on getting overwhelmed. It would have to be a very exclusive arrangement. Not everybody could post clips; due to server limitations it would have to be "the best of the best" and I wouldn't want to hurt anybody's feelings in the process.
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Old March 22nd, 2002, 04:49 PM   #6
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Thanks for the heads up Bill.....

Chris,

you could always limit the file size or time- and limit uploads to 1 per week per person- something along those lines....

(of course limit clips to XL footage only- something like that)-

..but i think posting clips would be a great addition to this forum.

have fun fellas.
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Old March 22nd, 2002, 10:59 PM   #7
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ND Filter

Steve,

Using the ND filter is not necessarily a bad thing. Using the ND on a bright day will force you to open the iris more, allowing for a greater depth of field. That may help you achieve more of the "National Geographic look" you referred to.

When I first got my camera I took it outside and just started playing with the settings. I just announced what I was doing into the microphone so that if I found something I liked I would know what I did. As a matter of fact, I need to get out and do some more of that after reading some other people's comments about what settings they like.

I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the camera more.

Bill
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Old March 22nd, 2002, 11:26 PM   #8
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Brad,

That's a generous offer! I look forward to seeing some samples of people's work.
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Old March 25th, 2002, 01:57 AM   #9
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" Using the ND on a bright day will force you to open the iris more, allowing for a greater depth of field"

Not true. Wider apertures give less depth of field, BUT outside shooting against a sky? I'd likely use it to avoid tiny apertures which can soften the image. But now you have to focus!

I'm debating the "cheap" ring adapters for 35mm lenses, too. Way less than the EF. The 2-300mm lens will be great though on a sturdy tripod.
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Old March 25th, 2002, 06:40 AM   #10
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Steve,

when shooting outdoors I always use a circular polarizer. It cuts down the glare, saturates colours and helps control the contrast somewhat. That along with always setting the gain to -3db have helped me capture some nice looking shots, especially as most of my shooting is of the surf or the snow, both very contrasty settings.
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Old March 25th, 2002, 10:01 AM   #11
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What about outdoors in the shade or on overcast days when a polarizer isn't appropriate? Do most of you use a warming filter, or remove the bluishness through color correction?
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Old March 25th, 2002, 10:52 PM   #12
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Tex,
That's the beauty of a circular polorizer, you can 'dial in' the look you want. The tricky thing about shade is the bright areas on the edge of the shade which blow out if you are exposing for the shade. That's where the polorizer comes in handy again to help control the blowout and keep detail in the bright areas as well.

I keep my polorizer on ANY time I am shooting outdoors and adjust it and my exposure settings to suit.

I'm sure we will have pleanty of chance to play when you get here.
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