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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old November 19th, 2001, 07:33 PM   #1
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Download XL1s Samples?

Hi,

I am contemplating an XL1s purchase and would like to see some samples of video shot with it. I have taken a look at some of the frame captures some have posted links to, but I'm looking for short video clips. The JPEG frame captures I've seen are deplorable and the TIFF samples are much better but not excellent.

I'm concerned most with picture quality and intend to use the camcorder for CD-ROM/DVD projects. Other posts on this board tell me that standard DV format is 720x480 pixels, so I take it the XL1 captures action at this resolution. Some of the best videos I've seen on the net are movie trailers like one for The Lord of the Rings at www.lordoftherings.net (compressed in Real format) or for Star Wars Episode II at www.starwars.com (compressed as a QuickTime movie). The movie size in both of these instances is only 640x272 but color and clarity are great. Can I expect to get similar results using an XL1? And, where can I download samples?

Thank you.

Tim
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Old November 20th, 2001, 07:50 AM   #2
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Howdy from Texas,

<< Star Wars Episode II ... The movie size in both of these instances is only 640x272 but color and clarity are great. >>

Wait... *only* 640x272? Man, that's *huge* for an online trailer. Just how big do you want it, anyway? ;-)

<< Can I expect to get similar results using an XL1? >>

Well, you're looking at this only in terms of the camera, and so many other factors went into the equation. Lucas had a $100,000 camera for one thing. He also had an enormous budget and an army of people working underneath him. I don't think the XL1 is going to make or break you... the question is really, how good are you and can your work match that. Choice of camera is almost meaningless here, really. That trailer looks great because of all the *other* resources which went into it.

<< And, where can I download samples? >>

The bandwidth for full-frame, full-res DV is a little too large for online use, and besides your computer monitor is going to treat it differently than your video monitor for which it was intended. Your best bet is to see the camera and the video that comes out of it in person. Always try before you buy if possible.
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Old November 20th, 2001, 12:01 PM   #3
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Download Samples Cont.

Hi Chris,

Yeah, that's right, 640x272... Hey, why not? But seriously, the reason I used these trailers as examples is that I want to do video for CD-ROM and DVD, so I'll be using sizes that are larger than one would reasonably post on the web. Besides, unless I'm mistaken about frame aspect ratios and pixel aspect ratios, the 720x480 DV NTSC that the XL1 shoots in is equivalent to a computer monitor's 640x480 resolution, both having a 4:3 aspect ratio due to a difference in pixel aspect ratios (0.9 pixel aspect ratio for DV NTSC and 1.0 pixel aspect ratio for computer monitors). So I'm guessing that these 640 pixel wide trailers are about as wide as I can expect to make any XL1 project without enlargement or wide angle tricks.

Really, I simply wanted to know if the XL1 was capable of capturing video that could - all other things being equal - produce an end product of equal quality. I don't accept the notion that the camera is almost meaningless here. I know the camera is only the first link in a long production chain, but if it's a weak link, the final product can't help but be hurt by it regardless of how much talent and how many tools are applied to it afterwards. My question was really about whether the XL1/XL1S is a suitable first link in a project that aims at the same quality seen in these trailers.

Am I correct in assuming from the general direction of your post, that you were basically saying, "Yes, the XL1 can shoot video this great, BUT...?"

Thanks. Hope you can clarify this for me.

Tim
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Old November 20th, 2001, 12:46 PM   #4
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Hi Tim,

"Yes, the XL1 can shoot video this great, BUT...?"

I think that's a good way to put it! Basically any 3CCD digital video camcorder will produce superb results, *in the right hands.*

A favorite example of mine is your fellow community member Chris Ward... his documentary "Outwitting Hitler" is nationwide on the Showtime channel, shot with the XL1, GL1 and PD150.

Also, Steven Soderbergh is in production right now, shooting a feature for international theatrical distribution, starring Julia Roberts, David Duchovney (I understand Brad Pitt is in it too) and he's shooting only in existing light, with the XL1S.

My point is, if Soderbergh's current project doesn't validate the effectiveness of DV for you, I don't know what will.

Of course a myriad of other skills are neccessary but as far as the camera is concerned, what other endorsement do you need. The rest is up to you! Hope this helps,
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Old November 20th, 2001, 10:14 PM   #5
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Soderbergh Movie

Thanks. Looking forward to more about Soderbergh's final production.

By the way, do you know if he's using the typical NTSC XL1S or a PAL XL1S from Europe?

Tim
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Old November 21st, 2001, 05:15 AM   #6
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I'm wondering too what they are using... I've read
numerous times on this board that production x is
being shot with a XL1(s) or GL1... or that production
y was shot with it... what I'd like to see is some article
or post about *HOW*... did they use the normale
camera? what lenses... did they mount a professional
lens with followfocus etc. (ie.. very expensive)... Did
they edit it in DV? I can't imagine they'd use the
limiting 25 mbps of DV...

Just my two cents...
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Old November 21st, 2001, 07:13 AM   #7
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Not many details are available right now, because it is in production as we speak. Supposedly I'm going to get some more info to share with you but we'll see.

He is using two XL1S's, both hand-held, using existing light only. I don't know if they are PAL or NTSC. I was told he is using the standard 16x lens because of the image stabilization.

Soderbergh will edit himself, using Final Cut Pro, before transferring to 35mm. Hope this helps,
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Last edited by Chris Hurd; November 22nd, 2001 at 06:39 PM.
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Old November 22nd, 2001, 05:37 PM   #8
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Video transferred to 35mm always looks bad. I don't care if it's NTSC, PAL or Secam. George Lucas shot Star Wars Episode 2 on digital video, but the total horizontal resolution is less than 2,000 pixels. 35mm resolution exceeds the equivalent of 4,000 lines horizontally. As a result the new Star Wars trailers look really soft when projected in a real movie theater. Especially if it is spliced on between two other normal trailers. You simply can't focus on it since the image quality isn't there!

They are trying to replace film in movie theaters with digital projection, but this hasn't happened on a widespread basis yet since the optics in the projectors are not good enough. They don't approach the 4,000 line mark yet. But someday they will. And someday maybe we will have cameras that can shoot that kind of picture as well. Then we can edit our stuff in Final Cut Pro version 8 and e-mail it to all of the theaters for exhibition. Call me old fashioned, but nothing beats film.... for shooting and projecting. That is if you want your work shown in a movie theater.
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Old November 24th, 2001, 03:51 AM   #9
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You're old-fashioned. :-)
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