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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old January 27th, 2002, 05:31 PM   #1
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sound advice for complete novice

I'm a complete video novice in need of some advice, I am a semi pro stills photographer so I have some idea of whats going on, also I am only likely to be filming wildlife, mostly from hides.
After reading up a bit I have come to the conclusion that, as I have Canon lenses I need an XL1 (2nd hand) I also want to be able to produce broadcast quality images.
My wish list so far is
EOS lens adaptor, Varizoom 5.6 monitor,
I already use a manfrotto 501 tripod head for the big lenses (do I really need the 75mm ball for video?) Its 'sound' thats my main problem, whats best? I will be operating at long distances, so a shotgun mike? maybe I could try a radio mike at a birds nest that I wanted to film, or am i now talking silly money (I'm in the UK so its 'really' silly money here).
Is there anything else anyone can recomend that I will need? my main concern is picture quality and sound is very much a minor point really. I am going to be dragging this and my mountain of stills gear around the jungles of s.e. asia so I am also trying to keep size and weight down, this means I really don't like the idea of the huge 'MA wotsit XLR shoulder thingy', do I really need one? I read a thread which mentioned a guy in NZ building his own conector but thats way out of my league, can't I just buy a shotgun mike and conect it up where the standard one is?
You will have to excuse what must seem like moronic questions.
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Old January 27th, 2002, 07:04 PM   #2
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Shotgun mics do some cancelling from the sides and back, but do little bring in the audio from very far away -- few devices will. There is a misconception that a shotgun "goes out and gets the sound" -- it doesn't. For most normal situations, a mic located at the talent is a must; sounds like your situations are not normal, though (how do you wire a bird with a lav?!).

Best to experiment a little, with some different mics, before you make the trip. For on-camera work, don't sell the Canon mic short -- it's pretty good in some situations.

Vic
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Old January 27th, 2002, 07:52 PM   #3
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Alan,

Vic is quite right. Many people think of a shotgun mic as the sound equivalent of a telephoto lens. The only thing that comes to mind (other than placing a lav on a sparrow) is the use of a parabolic reflector (or collector) of sound. You probably have seen them in some sports events. (They are used a lot in American football games to get the grunts and clashes of the armored brutes.) They are basically a parabolic dish - very much like a small handheld satellite dish with a cardiod mike placed right at the "focal point" of the collected sound with the mic facing the dish. I've seen a few of these. They can be either bought or built from spare parts at little expense. I first saw this device used by an independent filmmaker who was making a documentary titled "Why do birds sing?" You can guess how it was used. The dish itself can be collapsible to allow for easier packing.

Of course your idea of using a wireless mic is not bad, if you can keep it hidden from the birds. You are likely to end up with a lot of mic pecking.

Short of some terribly expensive and semi-classified spyware gear, I can think of nothing else.
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Old January 28th, 2002, 01:58 PM   #4
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Alan,

Nice to see another Brit on this message board!!

Had you not thought about a case?!!!!!!

The one for the XL1, from Canon comes in at around 250!!!

So I would consider 3 other alternatives:

1) Hard Shell - Seal Tight (Large, maybe extra large version), comes with foam and 'O'-ring (keeps it 'sealed tight' so no water can get in) Price around 60 - 90

2) Vid-cam 6, from Lowe Pro - soft case able to fit the whole camera in with out taking it to pieces, I believe its below 50????

3) Pelican cases - Hardshell, and its what newsteams and the BBC use when they go to hot, muddy places like a rainforest. Above 100 (Lowe Pro also do a version with the pelican case and a soft inner case which can be taken out).

Hope this also helps,

Ed Smith
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Old January 28th, 2002, 08:33 PM   #5
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Cheers all

Thanks, thats interesting to know, won't bother with a shotgun mic then. The dish device sounds very interesting I'm going to look into that, and ed, if you know of somewhere I can get the XL sealtight for less that 99 please let me know 've been after one for a couple of months now, as they are only $69 in the US I just think 99 is extracting the urine somewhat.
cheers
Allan
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Old January 30th, 2002, 12:28 PM   #6
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Alan,

Nice choice, thats the one which I went for. I went for the small version, but starting to regret it since I have to take the camera to pieces in order for it all to fit.

The only place where I knew where to get one was Jessops, small 79 and large 99.

URL:http://www.jessops.com/search/dointellisearch.cfm

I knew that they were made in America but did not relise they only pay $69, I see what you mean, it's certainly "extracting the urine".

Oh well, I've got it now, and I'm happy with it.

All the best,

Ed Smith

---Update :::)

Alan, interested in sound? There is a good article in COMPUTER VIDEO magazine (February edition), which is going to go into 4 parts, in the coming months. Should be able to pick one up from WH Smith's. Hope this also helps.

Last edited by Ed Smith; January 31st, 2002 at 02:14 PM.
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Old February 2nd, 2002, 10:56 AM   #7
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another good sound resource to share is the user forum at www.dv.com ... and Jay Rose's web site: www.dplay.com ... he has been incredibly helpful with all sorts of sound advice .... I just bought his book on digital sound and it's pretty good so far ... a little "lite reading" ... ha!

ohhh ... I can just HEAR the puns about how SOUND all of his advice has been ....


deb
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Old February 2nd, 2002, 11:17 AM   #8
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I hear a rumor that Jay has another book out (or coming out). Jay has helped me through some tricky situations. His column in DV Magazine is typically on the mark, as well. Let's "hear" it for Jay! :)
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Old February 2nd, 2002, 07:45 PM   #9
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thanks all, I've got some serious reading to do and I have plenty more dumb questions to ask. I can assure you that your advice is not falling on 'deaf ears' and I think I may also be able to 'see the light (lite) at the end of the tunnel'...sorry couldn't resist it.
cheers
Allan
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Old February 26th, 2002, 12:47 PM   #10
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Yes, to the 75mm Ball.

I think once you start trying to do pans out on some uneven surface you will wish you had one. It was well worth the $70 it cost...I just wish I had it sooner.

Nathan Gifford
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