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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
Can't find it on the XL1 Watchdog site? Discuss it here.

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Old January 11th, 2002, 12:14 PM   #16
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Thanks so much for your detailed reply. Again, fascinating.

I found it particularly interesting that you used a relatively modest outfit. But in such a harsh environment (climate and politics) I would imagine that simple is better. It's also very encouraging to hear that your XL1 held-up so well, particularly with such dust. I've read that the NBC crews were virtually brought to a halt for a couple of weeks by dust.

You must have had some way to recharge batteries...a generator perhaps? (Or maybe you just carried bandaleros of Lenmars or Canon 945's and came home when they were exhausted <grin>.

When you get a moment I certainly would be interested in seeing some shots from your expedition. (kentanaka@att.net). I'd -really- like to see the feature if/when it's broadcast.

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Old January 11th, 2002, 08:30 PM   #17
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Hey Bill,
I would really enjoy seeing footage and stills from your shoot in Afghanistan. Do you have a site where they can be seen?
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Old January 14th, 2002, 04:16 AM   #18
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Location: Holland
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Since your e-mail isn't listed there no way I can
send you one. I'd love to receive some pictures
from you though, you can contact me on my e-mail
addy that is below in my signature.

A couple of questions about the gear you use. How
did you like the MA-100? Was it a good improvement
over the standard semi should thing that is supplied?

One last question is about the filters. I know I want
to get some filters for my XL1S, but it's hard to see
which one. Here in Holland those filters are not in
the stores, they need to be ordered. Before ordering
I'd really like to know which ones are a must have
for the XL1S, etc. Can elaborate some more as to
which ones do what and are good? Why did you choose
the Pro Mist and the Warming filter?

Thank you!

Rob Lohman, visuar@iname.com
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Old January 14th, 2002, 12:51 PM   #19
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Rob, since you asked Bill about the MA-100, let me jump in and share my experiences. The MA-100 is an incremental improvement over the little shoulder pad that comes on the camera, but still fails to address the basic form factor issue of the XL1, which is that the weight of the camera really isn't on your shoulder but on your right hand. Of course, it works great to plug in your mics if you have XLR jacks, which I do on my wired mics. It also provides a handy platform for wireless mic receivers, external batteries etc.

I keep the MA-100 mounted on the camera at all times, but when shooting hand-held I add a highly modified Vanguard shoulder pod, which solves the problem with its leg and abdominal pad taking all the weight. I can literally shoot hands-free and carry the camera around all night without pain or fatigue. I wold love to get a demo in person of the Varizoom pod, so I can see if it is worth the money.

I too would like to hear from Bill about filteres, I just have the UV now.
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Old January 16th, 2002, 11:08 AM   #20
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My thanks go out to everyoneís enthusiastic response to and interest in my recent adventures. I apologize for not responding sooner, but my world has been a little hectic these last few days. I promise that I will get those pictures out to everyone who asked for them. My e-mail, for anyone who wants to bug me (and please feel free to do so) is:


To Daniel regarding a web site: I am in the process of putting together my production companyís web site, but itís not online yet, but please e-mail me whenever. It keeps me on my toes.

Regarding the MA-100: I agree with Mike. Itís a definite improvement over the standard shoulder brace and a must if you use external mics. I donít know that I would want anything more substantial, like the one that Mike mentioned, unless it had some kind of quick release mechanism. I do a lot of shooting from the ground, out of cars, etc, so for me a larger shoulder support would be too cumbersome. Thatís just my opinion though.

About filters: I just started using the Tiffen 1/8 Black Pro Mist recently and itís become as indispensable as U.V. filter. Itís on my lens 24/7. Like I alluded to in an earlier posting, I like to soften the look of DV. I find that this filter does that; not enough to make the images fuzzy or out of focus looking though. Tiffen also makes other Pro Mist filters, but the black seems less prone to haloing and washing out shadow areas. Try higher levels for a more dreamlike effect.

The Tiffen 812 warming filter does pretty much what its name implies. It warms up your picture a little bit. Make sure you white balance before you put the filter on or the white balance will compensate for the slight orange cast of the filter, negating its effect. Or worse, if you then take the filter off, your picture will have a bluish cast to it. For more info on Tiffen filters go to www.tiffen.com where they list and describe the effects of all their filters. Of course the best way to find the filters that best suit your needs is to just get out and start experimenting. I got mine through B & H, by the way.

One more thing: I highly recommend Vortex Mediaís Warm Cards for white balancing. I donít know about anyone else, but my XL1 tends to white balance toward blue. Using these cards really warms up the shot nicely. In lieu of Warm Cards, make sure some one on your crew is wearing a well faded pair of jeans and white balance on them. No kidding, this works. Also (and I know a lot of TV shooters will hate me for this), the color viewfinder on the XL1 does come in handy here.

Thatís all I have, and thanks for allowing me to pontificate a bit. Sorry to take up so much space.

Bill S.
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Old January 16th, 2002, 11:50 AM   #21
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Thanks Bill for the heads-up on the filters.

Y'know, I had read up on the Warm Cards, and I thought "wow" somebdy came up with a scientific (and profitable) version of a "cheat" that I have sometimes used...which is to white balance on a piece of blue paper I just happen to carry with me for that purpose...I know, pretty crude but as you pointed out, the "non-professional" color VF tells the tale. Also have tried white balancing on a little light green cloth I use to clean my eyeglasses, which kind of gives another kind of warmness...like for "intimate" shots. Kind of fun.

Sorry, no quick-release on the brace, just the same old 1/4-20 screw which I must screw on-screw off when going to and from tripod...just reminding us every time that it is still a consumer camera after all. Too bad they don't use a tripod plate like the "real" pro cams. But I have gotten quick at doing the changeover. Of course, if I bought a GY-DV500 it would have the plate, but then I wouldn't need the brace, cuz it balances on your shoulder! :-)
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Old January 16th, 2002, 05:20 PM   #22
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Bill, if you want, I'd be happy to devote an XL1 Image Gallery page to you, or any other part of the Watchdog which you feel may be of use. An Image Gallery page would save you from having to e-mail a bunch of pics, and would insure that more folks get to see them.

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Old January 18th, 2002, 08:41 AM   #23
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Thanks, Chris. I'm definitely going to take you up on your offer. Just tell me what I have to do (and give me a couple of days to get my act together.)

Bill S.

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