Sound level meter at

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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old October 1st, 2005, 03:37 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: East Midlands
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Sound level meter

Is there a way of viewing the level meters through the viewfinder or onto a monitor. Although we do stringent sound checks prior to live recording levels sometimes change. Quite often our camera is high on a tripod and although the viewfinder can be angled down or we monitor on a seperate monitor it's not always practical to keep an eye on the levels on top of the camera?
I believe there are some "back way doors" to activate certain features, anyone know of this one?
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Old October 1st, 2005, 03:59 AM   #2
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'Fraid you're out of luck with that camera. Beachtek makes (or DID make) an external VU meter that could be mounted on the hot shoe of a camera, and hooked up via RCA (I think. . .don't quote me on that). Anyway, problem with that thing is, I had one, and couldn't calibrate it to read correctly (i.e. -12 on the XL1s' VU didn't read as 0 on the external one). I sold it on ebay. Another member here had one too, and had the same issue.
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Old October 1st, 2005, 06:20 AM   #3
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I've seen other brands of external VU meters advertised that connect to the output in addition to the 2 models Beachtek offers, including some do-it-yourself kits. You can probably Google up some alternatives.

The main issue is that they read the camcorder audio output (sometimes the head phone jack if using a MA-100), after any compression, clipping, automtic level control, etc. that the camcorder audio system does. Thus calibration and interpretation of the external meter can be tricky, and as noted it may not map 1-to-1 to the XL1's meters or the input level. Subject to those limitations it can provide useful information, if not strictly the same a you expect a normal VU meter to display.
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Old October 1st, 2005, 08:15 PM   #4
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I have the Sign Video meter and feel like it works pretty well. It runs off of the headphone jack and is very easy to calibrate. I don't trust it entirely, but it's never let me down. We used to use it with minidisc quite a lot and it was actually more useful than the built in meter.
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Old October 8th, 2005, 11:54 AM   #5
Fred Retread
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If you use a Beachtek DXA-8 between the tripod and the cam, it will not only protect you from peaks, but once you know what they're saying, its limiter LEDs can tell you from a distance what's going on with the input to the Beach and its output to the cam. If you want more info, let me know.
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