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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old November 11th, 2001, 12:13 PM   #1
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Cannon XL1S For DVD professional filming


I am an independant film maker. I have been shooting ski videos for a few years on camcorders for a local ski bar to play and have done quite well. Needless to say this equipment is limiting my vision

I plan on making my own movies and selling them Via the web and through the grapevine/ ski mag advertisements etc.

I need a camera.

So, if you could help me out....

This is my current plan.... I am going to lease a XL1S and shoot ski videos. Then, transfer the video to my computer and burn it onto a DVD. Put another DVD in and burn. Repeat 200 times.

My question is, since I do not plan on converting this to 35mm film, no quality will be lost correct? And, there wouldnt really be any advantage of spending large amounts of money and dragging a million pound camera around the ski hill since i dont plan on projecting this. It is simply meant to be played on home DVD players.

ALso, I plan on subcontracting someone to make VHS copies of the video. could someone give me a rough ballpark figure of how much this would cost per/min if I wanted 500 copies? And possibly who to contract this to?

Simply put, is there any reason for me to get a 16 mm camera and not the XLS for my purpose?

Thank you!
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Old November 12th, 2001, 12:44 AM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Chigasaki, Japan.
Posts: 1,660
Ok, I can assure you that the XL1/s is a good camera for doing such things. I have been doing the same thing for a few years with the XL1 in New Zealand, Canada, and now in Japan. It has it's pluses, like the image stabilizer, and it's minuses, it's scary maching down the side of the mountain with $5000 dollars worth of sizeable camera in your hand on a snowboard.

Use manual focus as much as you can as the snow tends to confuse the autofocus. Remember to over-expose your shots 1-2 stops to prevent the dreaded grey snow look.

The XL1 is perfectly suited to shooting with DVD in mind, and with good composition, light, and a few filters there is no reason why it would not be comparitable to 16mm. I know that there the idea that a ski movie has to be shot on 16mm to look any good, but skiing and snowboarding are progressive sports so why shouldn't the people shooting it be also. Besides, production costs are way cheaper, especially if you plan to do it off your own back. Believe me, it's where I am right now.
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Old November 12th, 2001, 12:44 PM   #3
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HEy! Thanks for replying.

I have a few more questions if you dont mind...

1} Do you have the Europe PAL version? If so, are there any drawbacks to using that version or is it just better {i heard it is better if you want to eventually put it on film, but what if you want and dvd...still get europe aka PAL version?

2} How successfuly have you been in your endevor to create a good snowboard film? About how many copies do you sell?

3} What type of editing software to you use/recomend. I have a very good computer, and want software to match, but I am worried that perhaps Adobe Premire is more power than I need. Are there good quality programs that dont take months to learn and still give decent results?---I dont want to make a matrix, just edit.

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Old November 12th, 2001, 04:15 PM   #4
Mike Metcalf
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Adobe Premiere comes with a variety of hardware capture cards and Canopus DV Raptor Rt, Pinnacle Dv500 plus and Matrox 2500 all compete for around 650. Check the message boards out for each manufacturer as each have subtle differences. If you want to just edit go to for Canopus it is worth a look at their style of web site - very simple and easy to understand what is on offer.
Adobe is like learning to drive, very difficult to start with but if you get going with the basic tuturials (worth following) then you can really complete some very basic editing within a few hours. After a while you learn some more techniques, practice for week and move on to more difficult tasks.
After a few months take your test and complete a fancy (sometimes tacky) edit sequence to show off your skills and get some feedback from friends.
You quickly find your level and my own golden rule is keep it simple.
I use about 5% of what is on offer through Premiere and produce some great pieces. There is no substitute for a good eye behind the lens. No amount of editing can make a bad shot look good. although editing can make a good shot look great!
Good luck.
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Old November 13th, 2001, 02:58 AM   #5
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Chigasaki, Japan.
Posts: 1,660
Go for PAL, it's better to go from PAL to NTSC if you need to than the other way as PAL has 625 lines and NTSC is only 525.

I'm currently in the middle of doing my first full production so I can't really help you there. Up until now I've shot for other people on a freelance basis. Selling the videos will depend on your target audience, the quality and your marketing. As you know the ski/snowboard are a very ficle(sp?) crowd. If you want to sell your videos, you'll have to be really critical of your shots. Don't use grey sky shots, avoid using "punter" shots people want to see quality not quantity, avoid too much inbounds resort stuff, go out back as often as you can. Rail sliding or "jibbing" is really popular with the board crew at the moment as ski half pipe is with the ski set. Try to get something new. I want to try to find a skier who wants to give jibbing a go. If your going to mix skiing and snowboarding don't use some Euro guy on hardboots in a tacky ski suit as you snowboarding content as it won't go down well. Most of all be creative, make it fun and have fun making it.

Editing wise, I use a DV500. I've had it almost 18 months and it came with Premiere 5.1. As you said in another post about RAM, you can never have enough, Premiere is a good place as it will take you almost as far as you want to go, and as Mike said it dosen't really take that much to get used to. If your still not convinced, try Ulead Video Studio or Vegas Video. I have a demo version of Ulead if you want it.
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Old November 13th, 2001, 02:59 PM   #6
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Good info.

Im still not sure about pal vs. ntsc.

Lets say I have a PAL version.

I take video. Now I want to upload it into my DELL with adobe premire. Are there going to be compatability problems? How about hardware/software. Do I need special Hardware to upload the PAL info?

Can adobe premire edit in both PAL and NTSC? Can Adobie premire Convert from PAL to NTSC?

Am I correct in saying that PAL is basicly NTSC {since you can convert it} except it is better. Inother words, Because I can convert it to NTSC, I wont have any compatability problems...ill just convert.

ALso, how hard is converting? Do you jsut tell adobe to do it and press enter or is it involved?

Thanks so much for your time,

PS-- Only the XL1 has PAL correct? The XL1S PAL version is not availbe yet {I called cannon, they said it wasnt out and said they didnt know if it would be}

I wonder, is it avaible in the UK? And, is there an online UK site I could order it from?

Would I be dumb to buy an XL1 PAL on ebay? IE- is the S that much better than the older one for what I want to do?

Thank you!
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Old November 13th, 2001, 03:11 PM   #7
Mike Metcalf
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I have not used an XL1S but I purchased recently my XL1 on the strength of price and functionality for good mobile video work.
The XL1S has better manual facilities and audio connectivity, so if you did a fair amopunt of studio work it would be worthwhile. The extra 700 at today's differential was not worth it for what I wanted. Keep it simple and get a good price on a new XL1 if you can.
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Old November 14th, 2001, 05:32 AM   #8
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Chigasaki, Japan.
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OK, if you live in the States go with NTSC, if you live in a PAL country go with PAL, that's the simplest way to decide.

If you are just using one camera, do everything in PAL then convert the copies for NTSC countries as needed by whoever does your duplications. That is the easiest and best quality way, they will have hardware to do it.

As for sofeware method, I'm still looking for software that will do the conversion well, as far as I know Premiere won't do it. Canopus have some software that does it that comes with some of their cards, but I have a Pinnacle DV500 and it's hard enough just getting drivers out of those guys.

Capture depends on your hardware/software. Premiere will handle both PAL and NTSC but NOT in the same time line.

As for the XL1s, from what people have been saying on these boards I'd go for the Ebay second hand or new XL1 for now. It has everything you'll need as your audio needs will usually be just some riders talking and the like.
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Old November 14th, 2001, 12:36 PM   #9
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K, still lost {sorry}

Why go with NTSC if your in an NTSC country. I mean, if it can just be converted to NTSC, then why would you not get PAL?

If I have a PAL XL1, the only difference is the recording method? The hardware plugs on the camera are the same right? I wont need a special firewire cord connector or something right?

If this is true, why cant I just use PAL, upload into my DELL and premier, edit it, then send it off to be replicated {and the replication company can convert it to NTSC}

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Old November 14th, 2001, 01:33 PM   #10
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K, i jsut got off the phone with canon.

Im going with NTSC

thing is, I forgot im going to want to use this for more than just major production.

Im gana want to use it for home video, vacation, other use as well {I mean, its costing me an arm and a leg}

The only other option would be to buy a NTSC/PAL converter {like500 dollars}.

Which, sucks.

So, I think that ill stick with NTSC...

Now, I heard premier had problems with NTSC editing

Is this true?
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Old November 14th, 2001, 03:08 PM   #11
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Raleigh, NC, USA
Posts: 100
Dude (Allen):

Looks like we're having the same discussion in two places. Yeah I heard that same story too about trouble between XL1S and Premiere 6.0. However, I've also heard the story that it [Premiere] works fine with between some XL1S units. This does make me hesitant. My question is: does Premiere have this problem when you've shot frame mode with the XL1S?

Sorry to keep talking . . . I'll shut up and listen now : )

-- Kyle "Doc" Mitchell
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Old November 15th, 2001, 03:10 AM   #12
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Chigasaki, Japan.
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The deal with using PAL in an NTSC country, like I am here in Japan is that you can't just plug your camera into the TV and watch it. You have to have a multisystem TV/Video, which from what I understand are hard to get in the US. I'm having the problem now and have to go find PAL monitor for editing and preview

In Australia, where I'm from and where I bought my XL1 in 99, we get lots of stuff from Europe and the States so most TV/Videos play both PAL and NTSC.

Man you guys have me confused, check the other post I wrote some stuff in that one too, I can't remeb'mber it though and I don't want to tell you the same thing again
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Old November 21st, 2001, 06:56 AM   #13
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hey sorry I didnt get back to you earlier. Been really busy. {in fact im skipping classes today just to catch up on things...too bad I have to pay for them now unlike back in HS :L}

Anywho, I understand what your saying. But, I think ill either just get the NTSC OR get a pAL and buy a convertor...{like 500 bucs for a good one}

I wont be back on this board for a while,

So thanks alot and c ya

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