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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
Can't find it on the XL1 Watchdog site? Discuss it here.

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Old December 26th, 2003, 03:06 PM   #1
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Hidden Camera XL1S

Im currently in the storyboarding and planning stages of a program I plan to shoot next summer. This would be shot using either 1 or 2 Xl1s cameras.

I will need to have an Xl1s hidden in a carry bag to film a scene, similar to a prank show. Does anyone have any tips or sites where I can either buy special bags, cases etc for undercover recording with an xl1s or just any information on hidden camera work with other pro-dv cameras.

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Old December 26th, 2003, 03:36 PM   #2
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It's pretty darn hard to hide an XL1S considering the size of the lens. For those shots I think you'd be better off using a smaller camera, maybe even a pinhole camera connected to a recorder. You could use the XL1S as the recorder, hidden in the bag, but the lens would not have to be exposed. Take a look at www.supercircuits.com for some ideas.
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Old December 26th, 2003, 09:34 PM   #3
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I hid a larger camera a good few years ago. It was a Sony V9000 Hi8 Pro camera, so larger than the XL1s, like a small betacam camera. It was the only camera I had access to and I was making a video for evidence for a Law Court for a member of the building trade. So what I did was dress like a builder/Construction man, I even dirtied my clothes in dust, mud, and all kinds to look like they had been well worn and looked cheap - no good wearing clean expensive brand clothes as you well look very out of place. So I dressed like I barely got by and minimum wage. I carried the camera in a tool bag, with a hold in the front. I put on a homemade filter that helped block out reflection of lens, but not deteriate image that much...perhaps a Polariser or something. Then set it away from the opening a little...so as to use the space between lens and bag as a way of shading the camera from light rays and avoid lens flairs that could give off "shine" and cause it to be noticed. I then put a box on top of the camera, like a upside down U shape with camera on base of bag and so it gave a hard top over the camera. The on top of that I placed so "light" tools and stuff. So with the bag open it would look like theres just tools inside and the box helped keep the bag shape when putting it on the ground and slight protection to the camera. I shot with autofocus, for obvious reasons, with auto exposure. and if I need to pan I did it very slow, or moved according to what i needed to record slowly so auto stuff would have time to adjust and work.

It worked a treat. No one suspected a thing. As it happens it was never shown in court as just the sheer mention of it was enough for the lawyer to see sence over his client.

How well it works for you I dont know. But I would do something similar and strip the XL1s right down. Just put it all auto so you dont have to have Eyepiece or mic on. So the camera will be more compact and a lot narrower. Record audio from hidden mic and mindisc. That way if you put the camera down you can record the sound where you are or hidden somewhere nearer to the source. I often hide the mic in the base of a tie, then going up the time inside. to a hole just around the inside of the collar at side...then down shoulder into chest pocket minidisc. I did a whole uni project using that for days and they never suspected a thing.

Hope I have been a help. If you get stuck you could call Q at the MI-6 headquarters I'm sure he would be very helpful in pointing you in the right direction. His number is +44 007 007 007

Good luck
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Old January 5th, 2004, 08:23 PM   #4
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What kind of video quality are you looking to get?

It would be fairly easy to use a bullet camera attached to the input on the XL1S.. but the video quality is degraded somewhat or a lot, depending on the quality of the bullet camera you use.

here is a frame grab from a test run with our 485line bullet cam. ignore the black blob in the top right corner.. that is actually a piece of the mount i made for it getting into the shot, not a problem with the camera.


and here is a shot of the camera/batterypack next to my mouse (for scale). you could hook something like this up to anything with an aux-input.. GL1/2, XL1, etc.


if you actually want to use the XL1S mounted lens.. i would say maybe consider a GL2 or something smaller, and listen to christopher hughes idea.
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Old January 6th, 2004, 12:11 AM   #5
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Candid Camera Exposed!

Christopher offers a bunch of good points.

We have "hidden" full size BetaCams in plain sight during narcotics reverse stings in houses and no one has ever caught on to the fact that they were being taped.

One time the buyer came in too quickly and we didn't have time to camoflage or grab the camera. The camera, a $50,000 Beta was sitting there on the counter, rolling, tallies off, big as a house, when the buyer entered.

His only reaction was to ask, "what's that?", the UC detective answered, " a camera, what's it look like?"

The subject shrugged his shoulders and continued with the buy, on camera!

We were actually in the process of throwing a bunch of laundry over the camera to hide it.

Trust me when I tell you that some people get tunnel vision when confronted by different situations. You may not have to go through too much trouble to hide your camera after all.

Good luck with your shoot, RB.
"The future ain't what it used to be." Yogi Berra.
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Old January 6th, 2004, 04:01 PM   #6
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Rick that sounds funny and a perfect example of how some criminals are brain dead once they get how much money they are going to get fixed in their minds. I'm surpised he didnt say "HI Mom!" on camera. Perhaps if you all wore handlebar moustaches and Dutch/Swedish accents you could have just made yourselves out to be just Pornstar crew dealing drugs on the side...hahaha

MATT - You will have to let us know what ideas you have or come up with or what disguise you are going to use.
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Old February 10th, 2005, 08:15 PM   #7
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Adam, where did you get the bullet cam, how much was it, and how is the focus on it (i.e. any issues with that?).
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