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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old December 25th, 2005, 02:37 AM   #16
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Yeah. . .

I'm gonna have to disagree on the general premise of the first post.

I'm not gonna say it's the greatest cam ever, and there are definitely things (24p and the image controls) I like better about the DVX, but the XL1s is pretty sweet.

Yes, it's a little soft, especially in frame mode. You can always use a custom preset and turn up the sharpness one or two notches.

As for documentary vs. controlled light/movie-style shooting--I've done a fair amount of ENG-style stuff with it, and other than the fact that I use the manual lens which causes me to have to focus manually (autofocus on stock lens DOES blow--I'll easily admit), there's no real issues. Outdoors, I usually use the ND filters (you HAVE to, pretty much--unless the sun's about gone), and the 5600k preset usually does good things, and bumping up the color gain one or two notches looks great on sunny days, and helps on overcast ones.

Indoors/low light - you can go up to +12 dB gain, in my opinion, without it looking too grainy. 18 if you're desperate, and shooting brighter areas helps hide the grain. This camera seems to love warm light, like overhead incandescents and lamps. I shot a birthday party (long story-for a good cause. I swear) a week or two ago, and when I looked at the footage, I was surprised by how nice it looked under the available light. I used the 3200k WB preset, and sometimes had the gain up to 18, but was usually around 6 or 12, depending on the room. Bumping up the shutter to 1/30 will gain you an extra stop (right?) of sensitivity, though motion will look weird (kinda like frame mode), as as well.

For movie stuff -- like she said, all about lighting. Learn to light well, and you can do magic.

If the cam white balances too cool/warm, try a preset, or white balancing on either something slightly blue (to make the image warmer) or slightly orange (to make it cooler).

I will likely not get rid of it for a long time, (one reason being 'cause I bought it as a super-expensive luxury toy, and don't often get paid to use it, and don't make enough film stuff to justify buying one of these new cams), but also 'cause there's no need, really. I got a decent prosumer SD cam here, with a nicely ranged lens for the ENG stuff, and with my filmlook (fake 30p v 24p, but oh well). So, uh yeah.

So Bass hath spoken.
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Old December 27th, 2005, 11:37 AM   #17
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Hey thanks I'll try some of those settings as well. I have been slowly tweaking the settings to get it to look the way I wish. Just takes some time...
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Old December 27th, 2005, 02:23 PM   #18
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Although on the other hand. . .sometimes (mostly, even), it's just about turning the cam on, setting it to manual, white balancing, and setting the exposure appropriately.
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Old January 18th, 2006, 12:22 AM   #19
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help me with a setting for my XL1s

wrong thread...... edit... sorry
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Old January 30th, 2006, 08:30 PM   #20
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I agree with Ash

Watch some NFL films....they are shooting 16mm, using Arri-S with 400', but there is a reason they are still (to this day) using film cameras, and this is exactly what Ash is trying to coax you with the XL1S....remember, you are shooting outdoors in direct, hard light - you'll have to bring the highlights down - expose for the midtones - use the ND filters to get the aperture wider and shoot longer....yes, it's harder to track, but racking focus and follow-focus techniques are what make the subject jump from the background and keep it a pro look. I have more experience with film cameras than video, but some of the same techniques apply - just a different medium. Also, if you are looking for sharper images, you don't want the look of film anyhow - it will look like a video image. Keep working it..don't give up...There's a reason thousands are shooting with the Canon XL1S - and if you look along the sidelines of any pro football game (and I shot many pro NFL games) most shooters are using Canon....good optics.
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Old February 2nd, 2006, 05:03 PM   #21
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bought marcos camera.. just waiting for it in the mail... excellent transaction so far.. i would recommend him to anyone considering ever buying anything from him... unless of course i recieve a box full of bricks...
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Old February 4th, 2006, 04:29 AM   #22
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Here's an example of what I did with an XL1 back in 2000.

Encoding is rather primitive, considering what's available today. But back then we had to accomodate dialup connections.

http://starbulletin.com/2000/04/14/n...ort2_ISDNa.mov

http://starbulletin.com/2000/06/21/news/video.html

http://starbulletin.com/2000/06/30/news/video.html

http://starbulletin.com/2000/11/18/news/video.html

In all the years I worked with an XL1 and XL1s it performed quite nicely under all sorts of conditions.
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Old February 4th, 2006, 09:23 AM   #23
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I have used the XL1S for the past couple months now, I'm not really sure I'm understanding the gripe on here about it's low light performance, I'm almost wondering if it's some of you aren't fully understanding how all the settings work and interacts with each other.

I've used the XL1S for shooting night time fires and other video with low light and honestly the quality is great. I mean if the enviroment were any darker then in some cases I would have been shooting in complete darkness, which in that case you would have to use a night vision lense or something.

Like I said, I don't see what the problem is but if you're honestly having problems you might want to invest in a light kit. Lighting is everything in video. It can make or break the quality of your video.

That's just my .02 cents.
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Old February 4th, 2006, 12:54 PM   #24
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i think the point is this: if you want a good quality picture - light right.. people who shoot on film dont run around in the dark.. they use lights.. people who shoot good quality video dont run around around in the dark.. they use lights .... if you have the $$ to spend on an xl1s then you should spend some $$ on some lights.
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Old February 4th, 2006, 03:15 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Todd
i think the point is this: if you want a good quality picture - light right.. people who shoot on film dont run around in the dark.. they use lights.. people who shoot good quality video dont run around around in the dark.. they use lights .... if you have the $$ to spend on an xl1s then you should spend some $$ on some lights.
That's technically not the point of the post, well what I mean is that's not how this thread started. The origional poster stated how he is about ready to sell his XL1S because he feels it does bad in low light.

In fact he called it completely worthless in low light. I STRONGLY disagree, I have shot at night and in very low light conditions more than I can remember, and in fact I'm getting for this spring to shoot a music video which most of it will be done at night.

I went out and did some test runs to see what kind of setting I wanted to use, I got great results. It seems to me that the person who started this is wanting a camcorder that has crisp, clean video in total darkness. It doesn't work that way.

When I worked in TV we shot on Panasonic DVC Pro's that, in my opinion, did worse in low light than the XL1S and those costed way more than the XL1S did.

You can't just take a camcorder into a dark place and expect clean video, the key to that is good lighting. If you study lights and methods used for lighting then you can achieve the quality you want. It's not a matter of the XL1S sucking, it's the lack of using proper lighting techniques.

The origional posted states how he spent many tireless hours of reding about the settings, but what he should have done was instead spent many tireless hours reading about lighting techniques and how to achieve the looks you want.

With my light kit I can setup lights at night and using gels and filters I can make the area I'm shooting in ook as if it were lighted by a bright full moon and the results are phenomonal. In fact in the upcoming music video I am going to be shooting I will probably use this technique for most of the video.

My advise to the poster is if he hadn't sold his XL1S, don't. It's a great camera! Instead invest in a light kit, some gels and filters and buy some books and read up on lighting.

Once you understand how to use the gels and understand how to balance your camera's colors to achieve the looks you want... you can do anything; day or night.

I've been doing video production for a long time, and the XL1S is a awesome camcorder. Some of the best fire video's I've ever done were with my XL1S and I've shot on Hi8, Beta, and DVC Pro.

I'm not saying that the XL1 is the best out there, yes there are flaws and there are way better camcorders out there. But for the price, it does a helluva job and it is a great camcorder that can and does produce great quality as long as you have control of the enviroment and using proper lighting techniques which you can do anywhere.

I have power source rigged in my vehicle so that I can power my lighting and everything from it when doing stuff in remote locations.
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Old February 5th, 2006, 09:54 AM   #26
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quote:
It's not a matter of the XL1S sucking, it's the lack of using proper lighting techniques.


isnt that what i said??
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Old February 5th, 2006, 10:11 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Todd
quote:
It's not a matter of the XL1S sucking, it's the lack of using proper lighting techniques.


isnt that what i said??
Nope, you said the point of this thread was that if you want good quality picture, light right.

That wasn't the way the post started, it started by a guy who wanted to ditch his XL1S because he feels it does bad in low light - regardless.
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Old February 5th, 2006, 10:23 AM   #28
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sorry.. i didnt mean the point of the post... i just wanted to comment on the misconception that you can achieve good footage in extremely low light situations without the aid of lights.. i dont know any camera without the aid of nite vision that can. for your footage you'll be shooting at nite for your music video i assume you will be using lights. the footage would obviously look horrible without any source of controllable light.

i am looking forward to getting marco's xl1s in the mail.. it should arrive on wednesday. ill be using it with a letus35 (35mm still lens adapter) which adds more light loss. I'll post my observations on its lowlight capabilities with and without my lighting kit..with the same camera that this post was created
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Old February 21st, 2006, 01:01 AM   #29
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And the results are?
Realize it hasn't been that long. How's the camera working out?
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Old February 21st, 2006, 11:13 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Todd
bought marcos camera.. just waiting for it in the mail... excellent transaction so far.. i would recommend him to anyone considering ever buying anything from him... unless of course i recieve a box full of bricks...

How's that cam working out for you Andrew? Got my VX2100 on Friday and have been testing it like crazy. So far it works much better in low light (for my needs). I have to only play with the settings for a few seconds to get the result I wanted from the XL1s.


Someone mentioned lighting and how I should have spent more time researching that. I did not have the option for lighting in the instances in which I needed low light performance. It wasn't as if I didn't think about it, I just could not use it. I needed the camera to do it, not some flood lights.
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