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Old December 21st, 2001, 10:00 AM   #1
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XL-1 in low light

I know 'the Watchdog' says the XL-1 works great in low light...but this has not been my experience. I've found it to be quite bad in low light. Also...when shooting bands with concert lighting the camera sems to have a hard time handling reds when the lights turn to a red scheme. Does anyone have thoughts on these issues. Is the XL-1 pretty bad in low light, or is there something wrong with my camera. It gets GREAT images when I can control the light. In the dark....(ha ha)
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Old December 22nd, 2001, 12:37 AM   #2
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No experience here, but..

You've got to run a few tests.

1st White balance .... Auto? Incand.? Manual? try using the white spotlight as a guide to run the white balance on. They will look all likely look different. Most likely in the reds, as Canon is warm to start.

Exposure. The apparent colors do change with different amounts of over and under exposure. Manual gives the best control, but spotlight might be ok or not. I thought that was made more for white hightlights. Some auto mode like tv using minus two or so might be close. or not. gotta test..

On the xl1s, you can control saturation, so that's a possibility, too.

Please keep us posted!!!! We want to know, too!
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Old December 26th, 2001, 05:26 PM   #3
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I've been thrilled with the performance of my XL in low light. No "smearing" or other artifacts like with some. I have shot nightclub scenes where the only illumination was the dance floor lighting, and yes it does look like dance floor lighting but is very realistic. Nighttime city street scenes are particularly good. Of course, if it is dark where you are shooting and you don't want it to look dark, that's where you gotta play LD.
As for stage lighting, if it's red you're gonna see red, at least that's what happens on my camera. In what way doesn't yours handle red?
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Old December 29th, 2001, 10:13 PM   #4
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Don,
The XL1 (and XL1s) will not do the same quality job in theatrical lighting settings as the bigger 1/2" or 2/3" 3-CCD cams (ex: Sony DSR500) but it can do a pretty good job with some setup and experimentation. In my experience setting white balance and making sure that you're controlling the camera manually (rather than on a program) really helps achieve a good result.

Is your problem that you're getting too much saturation in the reds? Gain grain? Wobbly luminance/saturation?
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Old December 31st, 2001, 11:10 AM   #5
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Thanks everyone for the input on the xl-1 in low light. I have done some experimenting with the white balance and I believe that is where my issues are. I had someone shoot my band over the weekend. It was a dark club. I used the slow shutter30 to brighten up a bit. The colors look fine.

My viewfinder always seems to be darker than the video that actually gets recorded.

Thanks again for the input.

-Don
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Old December 31st, 2001, 11:16 AM   #6
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Oh yeah, the LCD viewfinder problem. I sure wish I could afford one of the B&W units! I think that the LCD doesn't always tell the truth.

I've shot some theater productions at 1/30th, during real dark scenes. I've had people tell me that it resembled the "film look" during motion.

You do what you have to do!

Vic
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Old January 2nd, 2002, 03:38 AM   #7
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My experience recently filming a wedding was the white balance(skin tone) seemed ok during speeches but at a certain point the speakers face became bright red( florid)! The lighting conditions had not changed at all!
Any clues? I set the white balance initially from the bridal tablecloth, and as theXl1 has warm tones I might be better setting from a special card maybe an off white as used by still photographers?
Tony
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Old January 2nd, 2002, 11:18 PM   #8
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Tony,
I really couldn't say what happened with any certainty. (Perhaps the speaker was the best man making a pre-nup confession?)

I -can- say that setting your white balance using colored cards, even slightly tinted cards, can have some pretty funky effects. Some folks have experimented with this phenomenon and somewhat mastered it to create very weird effects while shooting. Try it for yourself if you get a moment, particularly (I understand) using either reddish or greenish tints.
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Old January 4th, 2002, 12:12 PM   #9
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Over Christmas I had to use my xl1s in very low light.
1) It loses a bit but @ 18db of gain and 1/30th, it saved the shots. Me thinks me likes a bit of motion!!

2) At +30db it was snowy and kinda pale. Especially once I saw it on a bigger screen- 27" But again, the people are going to freak out that I actually got the shots. Heck, I'm still amazed. I was going in to this knowing how bad the lighting was (in church at night) filming black kids....but then...

During this one scene, there was a pretty good amount of backlight and basically candles (far off) and floor reflection of the backlights for lighting. I shot it w/ two cams (close/far) and there is no freaking light coming in to the subjects. Yet the shots are there!!!!

If I weren't in panic mode for the shot, I would have probably dropped the setup level a notch or two, and increased the color level by 4 clicks or so. (Why Canon chose not to let us play with these settings during record is beyond me.)

When I got this baby out of the box, I tried to shoot down a dark hall and found that with slow shutter speeds and with negative black level and plus that color boost, while grainy, it looked like day!
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