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Old April 17th, 2002, 06:25 AM   #1
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How do I test the "warmer", "film" look on the XL1s

I'm a REAL video newbie so excuse the stupid question, but..

I was in a store today taking a look at the Canon XL1s, taking some footage and the like, but when I replayed the video I was surprised that it still looked like it was shot on a handycam (albeit a good one :) ) whereas when I tried the PD150 the footage definately had a look different to just straight handycan footage. The PD150 looked more like you'd see from a field shot news item or something. It seems toned down a bit.

My question is then, when I go and demo an XL1s what should I fiddle with on the thing to get a warm feeling and remove that handy cam look so I can see if it's the one to get for me? The reason I want this is because when I get a camera, it will be primarily for short films and the like.

Cheers

Aaron

Last edited by Aaron Koolen; April 17th, 2002 at 06:45 AM.
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Old April 17th, 2002, 08:54 AM   #2
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Stupid questions are the ones that don't get asked. Basically
your question is unanswerable. I do not know what you find
handy cam look. At lot has to do with how you shoot your
footage, with what support, camera settings and post work.

The settings you might want to check when you look at the
camera is:
- white balance
- color setup levels in the menu
- shutter speed

Download the manual from canondv.com and learn the camera
before you go down again. I also suggest switching the camera
into manual mode so that you can play around with all the
settings manually.

Remember that getting good footage requires a lot of work:

- proper camera settings
- proper camera support (tripod, dolly etc.)
- lights (usually)
- good framing

etc. A camera cannot "just" produce a look you want. It might
be that one camera produces a look that you like more than
another camera. Maybe it just tells you buy me instead of him.
Not everyone likes the same things!
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Old April 17th, 2002, 03:46 PM   #3
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Thanks Rob. I knew it was going to be one of those sorts of questions :)

I know that lighting and framing etc has a lot to do with making video look good and my lack of experience makes it hard for me to put into words what I feel is wrong. If I could put it into words better I'd probably be able to work out what I need to do to get a better look. I'll try to explain what I mean.

The XL1s footage I saw, looked sharper, everything stands out, whereas on the PD150 it was softer and had a different atmosphere. If I was talking about sound, it would be like the XL1s sound sounded like it was in a concrete room, and the PD150 a normal or padded room.

I'm thinking that it might have been that the colour balance wasn't setup right. Everything was just bright. I will download the manual and look through it before I take another look.


Cheers
Aaron
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Old April 18th, 2002, 02:26 AM   #4
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There is SO much to tweak with the XL1S that it might have been
setup totally wrong indeed. Most people find that picture
of the XL1S a bit less sharp actually. What you can do to further
lower it though is:

1. switch to frame (progressive) mode
2. put a gelatine or diffusion filter in front of the lens
3. soften the image in post

Option 3 is probably the best since you can then decide
if you want it or not. If you record the signal you cannot
change it much (ie, it is very hard to go from a soft look
to a sharper look then the other way around).

How did you look at the footage? Through the color LCD
viewfinder or on a proper TV/monitor? Cause that can
make a very big difference as well. Generally you do not
have to worry too much with these cameras about image
quality. It will be good enough and in the right hands
you can produce beautiful images. Check some other
threads around this board.

Good luck
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Old April 18th, 2002, 07:11 AM   #5
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Yeah, thanks for that. Being a newbie, combined with the huge amount of money involved for a camera like this can make me a little worried about things that don't really matter, and will get better the better I get.

Cheers
Aaron
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Old April 19th, 2002, 12:21 AM   #6
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I think what Aaron means by "handycam look" is a cheaper single chip camera (I've used that term before as well). I do alot of weddings and after watching my footage I see that "handy-cam look" sometimes and then I see "perfect pro quality" most of the time. It's settings and lighting that causes this.
When I display the camera properties during the footage playback I note the camera settings ( f-stop/shutter...etc) and try to always use them again if possible to maintain that quality look.

When I bought my XL1 the display set up in the store made the camera footage looked terrible!

My old Hi 8mm video camera has only given me that "pro quality" once or twice but My XL1 does most of the time if I pay attention to the settings/conditions instead of leaving it on auto.
The best way to compare is to have the cameras together shooting the same background with similar settings. Then watch on the same monitor.
And Rob is correct, the XL1 has a much softer look than most industrial type cameras.
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Old April 19th, 2002, 12:34 AM   #7
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Hi Adam. Yeah I think that's what I mean. The 1ccd cams like my current sony TRV120e has the look that the xl1s did in the shop.

I will fiddle more next time :)
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Old April 19th, 2002, 08:48 AM   #8
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For a film look.

Always go on "frame mode". It may seem jerky, but i can asure you, it handles just like film (pal version prefered -25fps).

Do not use shutter setting, other than 50. Instead, trim down light using Iris or ND filter.

Try to trim down the light to a dark setting. Film is much darker than video. The recomended light level for xl1 is far to "video like".

Also, in post. Try to pull down brightness and add contrast. This, without having to compromise quality. Play a lot with gamma settings, and color settings.

Use these settings right, and you will be amazed.
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Old April 19th, 2002, 09:16 AM   #9
 
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Interesting that no one has mentioned, specifically, the sharpness and color balance controls. It took me several weeks of owning my XL1s to tweak these controls for an optimum picture. The XL1s seems to be much more responsive to the sharpness control than most Dv cams. I finally ended up with this setting at nominal to -1. For a truly soft picture, this control can be turned to -2. I have found also, that if I end up too soft, I can restore sharpness in post. An unsharp mask improves the image better than the on camera control.
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Old October 23rd, 2002, 10:20 AM   #10
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Warming the picture

This subject has probably been covered, but I thought I'd just add my two cents worth.

I usually carry one of the sample gel packs that you can get from Roscoe for free. They are small - about 1 inch by 3 inches, and easy to carry. I've found them on the desks of most rental shops as giveaways.

After lighting the scene, I will generally use the 1/8th CTB (color temperature Blue) and hold it directly in front of the lense while I do a white balance in one of the camera's presets. You can switch back and forth and see the effect. Also, you can trick the camera in other setups, such as under flourescent lighting, or outdoors. Experiment (not while on the job though!)

Hope this is helpful. :>)

Jeff Patnaude
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