XL1s part 2 at DVinfo.net

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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 09:42 AM   #1
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XL1s part 2

Hello again
If I am posting in the wrong place I am sorry.
Just a quick question regarding the aged XL1s.
I read on forums how old and outdated the XL1s is, and doesnt begin to compare with
the latest all dancing all singing super duper XXX cam, or is it a case of this is the latest
and its a must have.
I for my sins use a modern high end still camera with top of the range lenses,
But in my collection of old cameras, I have and still use often, a film camera coming up
30 years old producing prints equal or better than my high end digital outfit can produce.
OK it may take longer to produce the print/prints but in the end - what a print we have.
And all this from a camera outfit that can be purchased today, there are plenty on the
open market for less than 150 or $200/ $300.
Can the XL1s and such like, be that bad that we should confine them to the rubish dump.
Thoughts and opinions welcome.
Regards
Allan.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 05:14 PM   #2
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Re: XL1s part 2

Hi, Allan.

I think you're asking the wrong question(s).

In Part 1 you were outling the possible use of the XL1s to produce a product, presumably for sale, but possibly not.

Whatever, given that you now have two of the beasts in your possesion (free) and presumably functioning well, why not try producing your product with them and see if it satisfies your customers.

If it does, go for it. If it doesn't, it's back to the drawing board.

Indeed the XL1s has been seriously trounced by the march of technology (the lack of a "real" 16 X 9 being just one of the most serious issues) but if the punters like the results, that's all that matters.

All IMHO.


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Old November 23rd, 2011, 10:23 PM   #3
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Re: XL1s part 2

Thank you Chris for your swift reply.
I will give them a run out at a club meet after I have had a few trial runs, LOL
it will be treated as a hobby so I have nothing to lose and who knows what
lies round the corner.
Again thank you.
Allan
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 10:49 PM   #4
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Re: XL1s part 2

Look at it in terms of resolution. Your new digital still camera is pretty high resolution. Professional old film cameras are actually high resolution as well. A proper comparison to the XL1s versus a modern HD camera would be to compare your modern digital stills camera with the original Canon Digital Rebel.

The XL1s is a standard definition camera (e.g. the resolution is 720x480) interlaced. Compare that to a modern HD camera that's 1920x1080 progressive. Sensor technology and image processing of modern cameras are better in the same way modern stills cameras have more sensitive and less noisy sensors than the Rebel.

To it's credit, the XL1s Frame mode was a psuedo progressive feature that in it's class, gave an appealing less video-looking appearance. Read up on it. Furthermore, you could put it in 16x9 mode and end up with nice widescreen progressive footage. Even though the 16x9 mode chops some vertical resolution to get 16x9, it still (for it's day) gives a pleasant picture.

That said, it wouldn't stand up well side by side with an HD clip but you don't have an HD camera. If your output is to DVD or the web, it could do the job for you..... until you get the bug to upgrade to all the "latest dancing and singing" of the "super duper xxx cameras". :-)

This post has a still from when I was still shooting with an XL1s:
How do you Daylight balance a Frezzi Softbox?
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Old November 24th, 2011, 05:47 AM   #5
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Re: XL1s part 2

Thank you for your response Les, I find this site very helpful for me being a beginner with a video camera the forums being a mine of information. Just hope any question I may ask isnt too frowned upon.
Any output for now, will have been shot tripod mounted and will be loaded to DVD.
Over the years chaseing the "I must have" I have spent a large amount of s, and yet one of the first digi cameras which I still own [Nikon D100] can still produce prints to 16x12 and mounted into a 20x16 frame
looks quite impressive, and not many owners order prints larger. I know one can go on and on about my cam can do this or that,
I am interested to see if the XL1s can produce a DVD that owner/riders would be willing to invest in. Just a thought. I have read on the forum a Australian member still use or did until recently a pair of XL1s for event work business.
Just found a old article and video on this site, "XL2 Feature Tour" although for the XL2 it maybe worth a view when I have a few mins.
Any other comments welcome.
Thank you again Les.
Allan.
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Old November 24th, 2011, 05:58 AM   #6
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Re: XL1s part 2

I'd go along with Chris's thoughts and say that it was the massive success of the 16:9 format screens that signed the death knell for many a fine and expensive camcorder. The PD170 was another case in point - if you used it with an anamorphic you were subject to all sorts of compromises. If you switched it into its 16:9 mode (to try and keep up) you were shooting 720 x 432, and up against the new breed it fell to its knees sobbing.

So by all means use your XL camera but brace yourself when you see its footage on your 46'' LCD.

tom.
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Old November 24th, 2011, 06:09 AM   #7
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Re: XL1s part 2

Thanks for reply Tom.
46" LCD I should be so lucky.
All commemts appreciated.
Allan.
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Old November 24th, 2011, 08:21 AM   #8
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Re: XL1s part 2

Sounds good Allan. DVinfo is a great resource... especially for the XL1s. Keep digging and you'll find some great articles.... some by Chris Hurd himself if I recall.

Given you are an accomplished photographer with a grasp of the exposure triangle, let me suggest you start in semi-automatic mode and go from there.
Rule #1: Forget about using the aperture (Av mode) and letting the automatics calculate the shutter speed. That's good for stills not video.
Rule #2: If you aren't in full manual mode, use Tv mode.

Set the camera up as follows:
AE Shift (aka Exposure compensation) dial at the top under the handle to zero
Gain knob to 0
White Balance to A or set a custom WB
Turn the main Mode dial to Tv
Adjust the shutter speed to 1/60 or 1/50 depending on your part of the world
Press Menu and under Cam. Setup:
1) Movie Mode Frame
2) 16:9 ON
3) Zebra ON
4) Zebra Level 80%
5) Zoom Variable

Put the shoulder pad on and go shoot some video. Use manual if you can or auto focus if you must. The above settings will give you anamorphic video. It will look squeezed in the VF and on your computer until you stretch it horizontally to 854x480.

If you don't like the exposure calculated byt he automatics, use the AE Shift to tweak it the same way you'd use Exposure compensation in a stills camera.

Try and keep the iris between 2.0 and 5.2. Use the lens' built in ND filter to help you do that.

If you are comfortable shooting in manual exposure, turn the big mode dial to M. Now the small wheel on labeled iris/select controls the iris and you can dial in what you want using the zebras as a guide.

If you rather let the camera calculate the iris but want to lock it in at some point, use the exp. lock button to do that and hit it again to let the automatics resume

There are many approaches in the halls of DVinfo to using Zebras to gauge exposure. Some are drag down fisticuffs. Find one you like and go with it. If you see zebras in the viewfinder (black thin diagonal lines), it means that part of the image has hit whatever level of brightness that you set in 4) above. Rule of thumb is that your average caucasian skin starts blowing out at 70%. Unfortunately, the XL1s only goes down to 80%. Some people set it to 100% and eyeball what's ok to blow out (highlights) and what's not (a big giant guess).

Audio is a whole nuther ball of wax and something the XL1s has a, shall we say, odd approach to. But once you get it, you can make it bend to your will.
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Old November 24th, 2011, 09:16 AM   #9
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Re: XL1s part 2

Les sir you are a gent.
Many thanks for your detailed rely, this will help no end otherwise it was going to be a hit and miss trial that I am about to undertake. My next ask was could someone help with the settings I would be needing. And you beat me to it. Thank you so much.
Audio will be added at the edit stage [Vegas or do you think that a little advanced for a beginner] and will consist of low level background music, but thats getting ahead of myself
If I need help in the future and I expect there are going to be many times, would you feel like I was taking advantage if I got in touch with you.?
I am out with my still camera this weekend at two indoor meets. but will have the XL1s out as soon as possible. Really looking foreward to it.
On different subject I used to deal with a large ceramics store in Boca Raton where I used to supply outdated Royal Doulton figurines cant remember the name of the store but it was some 25 years ago.
Thank you again I will be trawling through the forums.
Allan.
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Old November 24th, 2011, 11:21 AM   #10
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Re: XL1s part 2

I think you'll do best if you use the Advanced Search on DVinfo to look for answers. It's unlikely that much you encounter hasn't already been asked. You can restrick your searches to just the XL1 section.

Then, lacking an answer, post here. There's a few other folks that you'll be tapping for their experience and wisdom.
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Old November 24th, 2011, 04:50 PM   #11
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Re: XL1s part 2

Thank you Les you have helped no end.
Allan.
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Old November 24th, 2011, 07:05 PM   #12
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Re: XL1s part 2

I still shoot with my XL1s... love it (looking to upgrade, but I get nice images with this old beast)... Here's what I do to get images I'm happy with:

1) Saturation down slightly
2) Image Sharpening down all the way
3) 4x3 (I crop in post so I have some play in moving the frame to match eyelines better -- the 16x9 is a crop anyway)
4) Frame mode (Progressive-ish rather than interlaced).
5) Only use Daylight and Indoor presets, then use filters and gels to control the light color. Custom white balance pulls everything to perfect white and eliminates all of the light characteristics that you see on set (kills golden hour etc...)

Now if you have no control over the lighting, that's a different story. The camera wants light, even though it's advertised as being good in low light (they all do). To get better exposure, ditch the clunky zoom lens and get a mount adaptor to put some canon primes or nikon primes on that bad boy and watch the light FLOOD into the sensor :)
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Old November 25th, 2011, 09:40 AM   #13
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Re: XL1s part 2

Thank you Cole for your input much appreciated. Really good to know that the XL1s has not been passed over by everyone, I hoped a user would reply.
Also Cole very impressive informative web site
Seriously good advice received from site members.
All comments very welcome.
Allan
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Old November 28th, 2011, 09:19 AM   #14
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Re: XL1s part 2

The XL1 series are great within their limits. The technology is old, as video technology goes, and may not fare as well as new gear when coupled to new display technology.

Keep in mind that a camcorder is both camera and film in one package, which is a bit different from an old still camera that could have new life based on improved film. And in any case there have not been as radical changes to print display technologies (in terms of the final visual product) as with video. That is to say the visual effect of the move from wet chemistry film to CCD and ink jet photo paper is not as dramatic as the move from VHS on 32" SD tube TV to Blu-ray on 60" HD flat panel or home theater HD projection.

In fact, the film-look, both temporal and image, are holy grails by which video and stills are often judged.

And there is always room for the Tri-X look and it kin in the world of art. We even have filters in NLE and image editing software to simulate old film.
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Old November 28th, 2011, 09:47 AM   #15
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Re: XL1s part 2

Thank you Don for reply. Much appreciated.
All comments welcomed.
Allan
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