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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old May 21st, 2002, 12:14 PM   #1
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Settings Update

OK, I try to do my best on my cable access show, but after six months of stubborn headed trial and error with the xl1S, I confess that I've been "wrong."

Setup +2
Sharpness +2 or less

I read it from at least one of you other guys..(AZ, Chal????).. but finally get it.

Rational

Yes the cam gets "sharper" with a higher setting, but there's a bit of noise after +2. IMO, +3 and +4 are sort of OK. I've done +5, but it is noisy viewed very close up. Most people don't see it that closely, but it's there.


But the real trick that I didn't get was that along with the sharpness, there's some added contrast. Things go hot sooner than with a lesser setting. This changes the look from that of a video camera to that of what I will call a (consumer) camcorder look.

Broadcasting with the xl1, as some have pointed out, has some problems with the black level being too low, resulting in "crushed" blacks (too many dark things are appearing black before they should). In FCP, I see black being about 5 IRE which shows greać black on tv, but not so great on broadcast tv.

Bumping the setup remedies this a great deal. +1, I think is right about at 7 IRE and +2 closer to 10 IRE. Using this will bring so much detail into the dark areas. I _ _ _ _ you not, you are going to think you have a new camera with what is now available in the shadow areas of the image.

Not to mention that it also "ups" the sensitivity. You'll get at least a quarter f/stop advantage by each click of setup. Too much, and it gets noisy and will show a faulty pixel. [ hate to admit it, but I've got a hot one, but it REALLY isn't an issue ]

Ić's great to have such control. Too bad it took six months to try them all out!

And thank you guys for your 2 cents worth of advice which is finally ringing true! duh
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Old May 21st, 2002, 02:35 PM   #2
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Thanks for sharing this... I hope other XL1S shooters will chime in with their favorite settings. Me, I'm still stuck with my four-year-old XL1, so I don't have much of a choice.

;-)
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Old May 29th, 2002, 02:14 AM   #3
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That is truely sad Chris. With all your connections, you can't have someone just send you an XL1s?

Heh.

JoPhoto:
I'd really like to try your settings out if and when I get an XL1s. I agree it takes a while to really find the settings you like, and even find the right settings for the job.
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Old May 29th, 2002, 07:48 AM   #4
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Yeah, it just doesn't work like that, Justin!

Please keep it up with all the different setting combo's, I feel a Watchdog article in the making here.
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Old May 29th, 2002, 10:08 AM   #5
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I have been shooting with the following settings without fail.

+1 on color
+1 on sharpness
+2 on setup
AE shift - .5 to 1.0 depending on light

You have to put in the AE shift to offset raising the black levels with the +2 on setup. I set my zebra pattern to 100 and base exposure on a small amount of crawl in the highlights. That is a generalization and each situation is different. You might under expose if you use it as a rule, such as backlit subjects. I have noticed that trying to keep the highlights around 100 IRE with the zebra may bring down color saturation. Seems the new DV cameras like that 0 to 115 IRE. Still working on that happy medium.

I am still trying to figure out what to do with the editing to work in 7.5 IRE, which stepping up the setup brings the blacks closer too, but not on the money. (Suffice to say I am editing in 7.5 and not 0 IRE, so that may effect your settings.) One other downside to bumping the setup is that when color correcting for 7.5, blacks may get washed out.

My advice for most is bump the color and sharpness +1 each and shoot. Just watch the highlights.

It sounds like you are getting the hang of the camera. Yes, when you increase sharpness you get more noise. Seems right that it will effect contrast. The sharpness takes highlights and defines those edges more. I think the increased contrast is the camera compensating for the brighter sharpened spots. I haven't noticed it too much, but I only give the sharpness that +1 bump. Thats about all I can take. I have gone +2 on some landscape shots to compensate for the 5:1 compression in far off detail, but not often.

Haven't had time to play lately, but would like to try other settings. Anyone else playing with setup and sharpness?

And Chris, I just CAN'T believe you don't have the "S" yet :)
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Old May 30th, 2002, 02:41 AM   #6
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Well I did use a buddy's loaned xl1 and was pretty surprized at how well it held up. I wouldn't mind buying some old stuff on the cheap as it's not bad AT ALL!

My advice is +1 setup to open things up, but for broadcast, I kinda like +2. But, now getting access to a pd150 and setting it for 7.5, according to the waveform in FCP, it shows a little less than 7.5. So perhaps +1 is closer..

I just checked, and while the meter doesn't show a difference between 0 and +2 setup, at least the zebras do show the adjustment.
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Old May 30th, 2002, 08:34 AM   #7
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With the "new digital" era coming on I hope that the older analog standards are modified. New TV's and devices can handle the 0 to 115 without a problem and without interfering with sync, SC, audio bandwidth, etc.

Would sure save time. I spend a day correcting video to bring it to broadcast standards.

I really need to read up on the DTV. Maybe the new specs are in place. I have been one of those routine guys and haven't spent the time I should keeping up to date. Anyone know?
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Old May 30th, 2002, 10:33 AM   #8
 
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The DV standard is already set for 0 IRE to 100 IRE(really, it's 16-255). NO matter what anyone says, DV records at zero...it's only the NLE's that interpret(re:remap) the data. Beware of what your own NLE does. If it doesn't tell you, I'd be worried.

As for changing the standard....the biggest problem is legacy effects. there are SO SO SO many older TV sets out there that it will be decades before these older sets die off. Until then, broadcast has to comply with these older sets...and that's mandated by the Uncle.
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Old May 30th, 2002, 10:45 AM   #9
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Though the DV standard is 0 to 100, I still record to tape with blacks at 7.5 (the +2 on setup on the XL-1S). Saves me time in post.

My NLE is set to edit with a 0 setup, but I fudge all that. I can correct the analog output to 7.5, which is really what I need. But we send out a master for the copies that go to the stations right now so my master has to be correct. When I get more cash to buy toys, procamps and decks, I can finally edit complete 0 IRE.

I haven't found too many older sets myself that won't handle the straight uncorrected DV output. I don't know all the technical mumbo jumbo, but seems that legacy stuff would handle the change no problem. Maybe it has more to do with boradcast than just atpe playback direct to a TV. Not too hip on all that.
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Old May 30th, 2002, 10:54 AM   #10
 
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yeah, the issue is broadcast bandwidth. Just like the computer bandwidth....you can only shove so much data down the pipe before it gets choked. Broadcast is limited by the FM discrimination at each frequency band assigned by the FCC. Within that assignment, a station has to fit all the video(chroma and luma), audio, blanking and sync info. Standard airwave broadcast is pure 1:1 analog...no compression.

Now, what if....what if broadcast was compressed? ...and de-compressed by the receiver set. That would be interesting.
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Old May 30th, 2002, 03:30 PM   #11
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Hmmm. isn't that called DirectTV :)
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