Jump to content


Photo

Canon XL-1S Queries


  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 Steven Wyatt

Steven Wyatt
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 91 posts
  • Camera Operator
  • West Yorkshire, UK

Posted 18 December 2005 - 05:32 PM

Hello Everybody!

This is my first post. I'm a film student aspiring to become a cinematographer, I possess a Canon XL-1S and in pre-production for a short film and i'm intent on usin the cameras manual settings more. I'm considering purchasing a 16x manual servo zoom lens; would this provide any additional benefits, that the current lens doesn't have? Furthermore, would shooting in 16:9 mode be advisible over 4:3 cropped into 16:9 in post?

I'd appreciate your comments.

Regards,
Steven

Edited by Steven Wyatt, 18 December 2005 - 05:33 PM.

  • 0

#2 Josh Bass

Josh Bass
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 552 posts
  • Other

Posted 18 December 2005 - 07:03 PM

I have an XL1s, and the manual lens.

It's reputedly sharper than the stock lens (I think this is true, but it might just be that the stock lens is exceedingly hard to focus), and it has a real focus and zoom ring, so you could attach a follow focus rig to it, if you're into that sort of thing. Has a a macro button that lets you get really close to things (though I think you can get pretty close to stuff with the stock lens too).

Cons -

no autofocus, no image stabilizer.

Same range of focal lengths as the stock lens, and weighs more. Looks cool too.

16:9 - two ways to do it on the XL1s - either anamorphic or shoot 4:3 with the guides on and crop in post. The anamorphics isn't real anamorphic; it simply chops the top and bottom of the frame and then stretches it to fill the 4:3 aspect ratio. It's not any wider than shooting 4:3.

I've heard the anamorphic mode is somewhat lower res than cropping in post, and I've also heard that it's better than shooting 4:3 and cropping later because since you're starting with less information (the cropping of the top and bottom), you have less compression in the blacks, or some such. I will not stand by either of these statements; I'm just tellin' you what I heard.

I've always shot 4:3 and applied a mask in post, using the guides for framing.
  • 0

#3 Tomas Koolhaas

Tomas Koolhaas
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 334 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • los angeles

Posted 18 December 2005 - 08:28 PM

Hi,
I shot a feature on the Xl1s and it looked good (especially considering it was on the Xl1s!) I used the manual lense, I would highly reckomend using the manual lense, the stock lense is almost impossible to use in a feature setting (focus marks are almost impossible with the stupid ring, and you cant use a follow focus)I would suggest using as shallow a DOF as possible, and get a follow focus and set marks on the disk as if you were shooting film or any other format. One very important thing to do with the manual lense is Backfocus!!! this can't be stressed enough, do it very often, as the backfocus ring often gets moved accidentaly. Also get a production monitor and calibrate it to the camera's colour bars, the viewfinder is not reliable for exposure or focus judgements. Also, I never used the 16:9 stretch on the XL1s (we cropped to 1.85:1) but I have also heard that it does strange things to the image, and doesn't gain you very much in terms of resolution, again that's just what I've heard I'm not 100% sure.
Good Luck.

Edited by Tomas Haas, 18 December 2005 - 08:30 PM.

  • 0

#4 Steven Wyatt

Steven Wyatt
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 91 posts
  • Camera Operator
  • West Yorkshire, UK

Posted 18 December 2005 - 08:31 PM

Hi,

Thanks for replying. I was hesitant upon utilising the 16:9 anamorphic facility, so i'm glad that, that much has been cleared up. I realise that the lens has same maximum focal length which is acceptable, however you also mentioned that you can attach a follow focus unit to the camera. Does this mean that you can aquire custom support rods and subsequently a mattebox to house onto the lens? I would appreciate it if you could point me in any directions.

Regards,
Steven
  • 0

#5 Tomas Koolhaas

Tomas Koolhaas
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 334 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • los angeles

Posted 18 December 2005 - 08:45 PM

Hi,
with cameras like the XL1 which don't have rod mounts on the body, the best thing to do is get a sliding base plate that has attachments for rods.
Cheers.
  • 0

#6 Josh Bass

Josh Bass
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 552 posts
  • Other

Posted 18 December 2005 - 09:16 PM

You definitely do NOT gain resolution using anamorphic vs. cropping--you either lose it, or there's no difference.

I hear people say you can't focus with the viewfinder, but I don't necessarily agree. It's tough, but you can get it right without a monitor. I'd still have a monitor 'cause I'm just that kinda guy, and I wouldn't light anything without one.

I don't know about that back focus comment, either. I would adjust it when you first put the lens on, and perhaps whenever you remove the lens and put it back on. I'm not saying you're wrong, but I've never had to do it that often. If you screw it in decently, it shouldn't move much.
  • 0

#7 Tomas Koolhaas

Tomas Koolhaas
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 334 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • los angeles

Posted 19 December 2005 - 02:14 AM

You definitely do NOT gain resolution using anamorphic vs. cropping--you either lose it, or there's no difference.

I hear people say you can't focus with the viewfinder, but I don't necessarily agree. It's tough, but you can get it right without a monitor. I'd still have a monitor 'cause I'm just that kinda guy, and I wouldn't light anything without one.

I don't know about that back focus comment, either. I would adjust it when you first put the lens on, and perhaps whenever you remove the lens and put it back on. I'm not saying you're wrong, but I've never had to do it that often. If you screw it in decently, it shouldn't move much.


Hi,
Josh, Most anamorphic stretches are done in camera to increase vertical resolution, they stretch the 16x9 image to cover the vertical height of the 4x3 chip. As I said I never used the stretch mode in the XL1 but why else would they have a stretch mode unless it utilized more vertical resolution by allowing you to squeeze in post instead of crop? Also, you may have been lucky with your backfocus, it is always a good idea to check your backfocus often as even an increase in temperature can sometimes throw it off, obviously this may not always be noticable, but if you want to project something on a large screen or do a film-out or something like that EVERYTHING needs to be 100% in focus, if you just want screen it on your TV at home it probably doesn't mater too much, but in that case why bother with a follow fcous either.
Cheers.
  • 0

#8 Josh Bass

Josh Bass
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 552 posts
  • Other

Posted 19 December 2005 - 05:36 AM

I still say there's no noticeable (sp?) difference between the crop in post and anamorphic (or, more to the point, no noticeable benefit from anamorphic vs. cropped 4:3). I've done side by side tests on an NTSC production monitor, and I can't see it. It may be one of those things Canon did to make themselves feels special. If you prove me wrong, great, 'cause then I've just found increased resolution in frame mode. Please, let me know. I'll keep more of an eye on back focus from now on, but if it looks in focus on the 14" monitor, then I'll take it that everything's okay.
  • 0

#9 Steven Wyatt

Steven Wyatt
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 91 posts
  • Camera Operator
  • West Yorkshire, UK

Posted 19 December 2005 - 02:20 PM

Hi,

I'm still confused as to what "Frame mode" does on the camera; Is it some psuedo 24p option of some sort?

Regards,
Steven
  • 0

#10 Tomas Koolhaas

Tomas Koolhaas
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 334 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • los angeles

Posted 19 December 2005 - 05:53 PM

Hi,

I'm still confused as to what "Frame mode" does on the camera; Is it some psuedo 24p option of some sort?

Regards,
Steven


Hi,
It's more like a pseudo 30p, the camera still shoots at 30 frames but the "frame" mode attempts to simulate a progressive scan. Opinions vary as to the affectiveness of frame mode.
Cheers.
  • 0

#11 Josh Bass

Josh Bass
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 552 posts
  • Other

Posted 19 December 2005 - 06:08 PM

I use frame mode in all my "movies". It does take away the 60i look, but it also lowers resolution to some degree (25%?). You can try getting the same effect with the 1/30 (or 1/25, my PALs) shutters speed while NOT shooting in frame mode. I believe the digital shutter speeds (anything slower than 1/60, ie. 1/30 or 1/25) lower resolution as well, though. One benefit there is that your camera effectively becomes about a stop more sensitive. I think.
  • 0


Ritter Battery

Metropolis Post

Tai Audio

CineTape

FJS International, LLC

Technodolly

Visual Products

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Rig Wheels Passport

Abel Cine

Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

Wooden Camera

Aerial Filmworks

The Slider

Glidecam

Opal

CineLab

rebotnix Technologies

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

Visual Products

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineLab

FJS International, LLC

Opal

Ritter Battery

The Slider

Glidecam

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineTape

rebotnix Technologies

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine

Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

Rig Wheels Passport

Technodolly

Wooden Camera

Metropolis Post