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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old January 8th, 2005, 05:22 PM   #1
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XL2 Audio

Hi, I have a question--may or may not be stupid. But, how are the audio features in the XL2? I am planning on buying an XL2 for a feature I'm going to be doing over the summer. Low and behold, audio isn't exactly my area of knowledge. I've read several technical books about shooting digital on feature length movies and they all seem to encourage recording audio separately and then synching up later. Before you go and say I'm confusing film with video, there is a good reason. Most of the books I've read say that video cameras--particularly lowend ones, have really bad control of audio levels, considering it is all automatic. They say that it is better to record audio separate, because then you have manual control of audio levels. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? How does the XL2 handle this?

Matthew Overstreet
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Old January 8th, 2005, 07:00 PM   #2
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Personally, and some audiophiles may disagree with me, I think the audio is entirely and completely usable from the XL1 & XL2. I would worry less about the technical qualities of what the camera can handle and worry MUCH MORE about capturing quality audio. Eliminate room noise, use a good microphone, use good audio production techniques and keep levels as high as possible without over-modulating. You can record manual levels in the XL2, so you definitely want to do this. Having an external mixer would be great to monitor your levels, but record to tape on the XL2.

To me, the pains of an external recorder and having to sync an entire movie's worth of field tapes is not worth the extra amt of quality you'd get from using it.

Just my $.02.

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Old January 8th, 2005, 09:22 PM   #3
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Hi Matthew,

Welcome to the XL2 section! No stupid questions here, my friend, just ones that deserves good answers. (BTW, that would be unlike around my house, where we don't cut each other any slack...anybody that says they have a stupid question gets dissed with, "There are no stupid questions, only stupid people asking questions!" Fortunately, that silliness is not part of DVinfo, but I just had to share!) ;-)

Anyway, I'm just a hobbyist and have certainly never done anything even approaching the scope of a feature-length movie, but I tend to agree with Kevin.

Although I think the onboard mic setup isn't clean enough for exacting work, with a couple decent XLR mics you can get superb sound (at least to my ear) out of the XL2. You can set levels manually for each channel -- in fact, my usual setup is an AT897 on Ch1 and a Senn G2 wireless on Ch2. And there is mic attenuation that you can turn on or off in the camera's menu as required. True, I usually do some cleanup in post with Adobe Audition anyway...but with clean input from a good mic, I'm very happy with the results.

That said, I would guess that over the course of creating a feature-length project you're still going to end up having to do re-do some audio later. So I wouldn't see the point of planning the audio for everything to be done separately, but I'd budget some slices of time along the way for re-do's or things that you know you won't be able to get cleanly during the shooting (such as dialog on a busy, noisy street).

So that's an opinion from someone who's never done feature-length. How about some more thoughts from those who have?!
Pete Bauer
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Old January 15th, 2005, 03:13 PM   #4
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I've got a Sennheiser ME66 w/ K6 module for a very basic shotgun mic set up, if I have to do my own audio. I prefer to have a real sound man/woman handle that department.

One complaint is that the camera will not take line level, it is distorted coming into the camera, so you need some type of pad, to bring the level down. The Audio Technica AT8202 has selectable attenuation : -10, -20, or -30dB. I have a friend who is a sound guy and he's had his for a long time.


You will want to have these on a short cable coming out of the camera, as they are kind of heavy. The rear metal bracket is handy for passing cables thru and also to tie onto with velcro ties. This is all XLR, which is balanced and shielded-Check and make sure that the cables you get are shielded.
Mark Sasahara
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