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Ok now it's clear I have a great camera...


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#1 James Briggs

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 10:36 AM

After all the help and comments from my last post (thank you!) I think theirs just two more things I really need to know now about my XL2. If anyone could please point me in the right direction or let me know about these two things it would be really helpful and I would be very grateful!

1)

My lens is the 20x one, surely that's better than the 16x one? It's one of Canons luxury range, so surely that is a good start up lens for now. Nothing against the 20x lens but is their a budget lens you can get that allows images that look a little more cinematic?

If anyone has any tips or suggestions what I should go for in a lens considering I'm looking for that film look ... I would be very grateful : )

Also I am looking for a really nice wide angle lens, one that can do 35 mm. On a budget! I've seen some on Ebay but i'm just worried that they are low in price for a reason.

2)

Also if anyone has any tips or experience on getting nice images in low light or night that would be really helpful. I've seen the other thread but all I'm really worried about is getting any grain to go from the image. My camera is being used by a friend on a project at the moment while I'm here editing. I have committed to this film project but I don't have my camera near me to start testing things out and the settings for this in mind properly.

Just from my memory night or low light images looked very grainy. What I really want is the dark and black areas to not have that grain but just nice rich blackness. Will adjusting the gain solve this?

What I want is for myself and the lighting guy to worry about the lighting of things and just leave the XL2 to worry about getting a none dull or grainy looking image. So all I really want to know is when I get my camera back and play with the settings can I get rich blacks and shadows, and dimly lit atmospheric shots. Or will my XL2 and Lens mean I am always going to get a certain amount of graininess?
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#2 Jay Gladwell

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 11:52 AM

Go to DC Creators and watch the XL2 Feature Video Tour.

http://www.dvcreators.net/canon-xl2/
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#3 Josh Bass

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 12:45 PM

You can get quite a lot out of low light with this cam, but it's not magic.

Gain produces grain, that's just how it is. Instead, see what you can get out of:

Raising the master ped and setup
Putting the blacks to "stretch"
Using a lower shutter speed (1/30 if shooting 30fps, 1/24 if shooting 24p). One thing to be careful of is you'll get more motion blur with these lower shutter speeds, so see if that looks okay to you. It doubles the sensitivity (you gain a stop more light), though.

Coring helps with noise reduction when you use gain. I THINK more coring (slider to the right) = more noise reduction. I might have that backwards though.
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#4 James Briggs

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 02:57 PM

Thanks for the link Jay, that was a big help! It helped being able to see the effects and benefits of all the functions first hand when put into practice correctly in the right contexts. It defiantly pointed out a lot of tips and functions I had probably overlooked as-well.

And Josh thanks for the lighting tips! I'm really not used to dealing with low light situations. I always thinks its best to work around them where possible, so it really helps to have the advice. I'm quite looking forward now to the challenge of DOP on this film.

The lighting issue was daunting but I don't see now why it should be a problem. Or at least the XL2 wont be anything less than any other camera in the same range out their. So it's just up to me now as a camera operator!
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#5 Jaco Jansen

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 04:02 AM

In my experience the key to successfull DV shooting at night is to light selectively, and not to use less light. The XL gives rich blacks that works nice as high contrast imagery, as opposed to having grainy washed out images shot with too little light. Play aound with slightly diffused light without fill- you don't need a huge budget for it. Keep facial ratios lower than 4:1, and take time to light- the key to great images...
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#6 James Briggs

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 01:51 PM

Finally got my camera back today! After a quick brief test I have found that the XL2 definitely does provide nice rich blacks like you say Jaco. I have no idea what the lighting set up is at the moment, and I strongly hope they have someone on that area. I have the same fear of it looking washed out or grainy so I have strongly recommend they look into the lighting side of things a great deal.

Any sort of tips on keeping low light images cinematic?

The problem I?m still finding is that everything looks very eventy or like any other high picture digital camera, which of course it. And I know I?m not ever going to get a true film look on any camera like but I have seen some very good examples of how at has been achieved really closely. This is most likely a lot to do with lighting. But I?m desperately trying to get away from the event camera look trying do a feature film look, at least as much as I can.

At the moment I?ve just set the camera to Cine and the 25p frame rate and am still experimenting with everything else, doing my best to figure out how to get dramatic rather than fly on the wall pictures.
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#7 Jaco Jansen

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 07:23 AM

James, you are on the right track in looking into lighting techniques to get as close as you can to that film look. Apart from the tech differences between film & video image forming, the biggest reason for that 'event', or reality look is a lack of dramatic lighting & dof differences- both can be 'treated' with successfull results, given you have time and experienced crew. Use a calibrated monitor and experiment with lighting ratios before your shoot. Slight filtration on the lens also helps.
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#8 James Briggs

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 03:47 PM

Yep Jaco! I think it is all down to lighting now. I?ve experimented and a lot and done my research and now I think I?ve gone as far as I can without lighting. I?m going to look into filteration now though : )

The XL2 really is amazing in low light! I cant believe I ever doubted my camera now. I?m just dying to get filming.
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