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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old June 8th, 2005, 07:38 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Bend, Oregon
Posts: 206
What to Adjust First?

Recently I have bought and recieved my new canon
Xl2; I'm very please to say that I enjoy this camera very much and its manual settings. To me the manual settings come naturally from advance color correction I preform on videos in post productions, but I still have some questions on how to obtain the best looking videos from the Xl2.
I was wondering if their are any tips on what to adjust first on the Xl2? such as; gain, arpeture, iris, whitebalance, shutter (i try to keep it either 1/60 for 30p and 1/48 for 24p, is that good/bad?), ND filter, and i tend not to use to much of the color corrections technics built in the camera, besides "cine modes" for the matrix and gamma.
I try to keep the gain at a -3db; good/bad?? I heard that it helps make the image clearer?? I use the ND filters when their is abviously to much light or to little, i try to keep the frame rates within average film rates as listed as above. I do not adjust the arpeture at all, which i dont think u can do in manual mode anyways (and that just changes the focol distance?). I try to adjust the whitebalance manualy if their is something white around me, otherwise i keep it in auto mode. I fell the majority of the time i adjust most of the light control with the iris, and im not sure if this is good/bad?? So, i was just wondering on any tips what to adjust first, and are my adjustments im doing now any good or just very poor becuase im retarted and dont know what im doing?
Wes Coughlin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 8th, 2005, 08:25 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Enterprise, AL
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Wes, Welcome! Congrats on your new cam, I enjoy my XL2.

Sounds like you have a pretty good understanding of operating the cam and the relationship between frame rates and shutter speeds, and what aperture does for your image.

Read through this first, then this thread, and then this one.

I also recommend browsing though the CyberCollege files related to the Camera.

Then just skim the old files here in the DVinfo XL2 forum and you'll be set to experiment and inquire about things not yet discussed.
Fear No Weevil!
Patrick King is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 10th, 2005, 10:09 AM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Canton, Ohio
Posts: 1,771
I am confused by two contradicting statements you make.

You say you do not adjust the aperture at all.....then you go on to say that you adjust the iris to properly expose. By adjusting the iris you are essentially changing the aperture. This is fine and in fact it is a necessity if you want to properly expose varying footage. You do understand how it affects Depth of field and that is good.

Good Luck!
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Old June 12th, 2005, 06:48 AM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Holland
Posts: 12,514
Most people do a workflow like this:

1. decide on a shutter speed

2. set gain to -3 db.

3. set the aperture (f-stop) to a proper exposure

4. if not possible due to too much light, add the internal and/or external ND filters

5. if not possible due to not enough light, increase gain or add lights

The general exception being if you want to minimize depth of field (ie, throw
the background out of focus as much as possible) most people try to set the
f-stop as low as possible (like f5.6) and adjust the other parameters as needed
to get proper exposure.

Zebra striping comes in handy. These show (I personally had them set to 90%
with my XL1S) you when something is overexposed (or about to). Usually you
start with everything over exposed (lots of stripes) and then dial the settings
down till you see no or almost no (depends on the look you are after and
the level at which the zebra setting is set at) stripes. Then you have properly
exposed for the highlights.

It's easier in editing to stretch the color curves to create a solid black shadow
area than it is to re-create highlights (because you will get muddy/gray looking
shadow areas with lots of noise [usually]).

Hope this gets you started.

As always, the best thing you can do is shoot a lot with your camera and
learn what works for you and your camera! Not everybody works in the same
way or likes the same look etc.

Good luck!

Rob Lohman, visuar@iname.com
DV Info Wrangler & RED Code Chef

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