Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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03/13/2004: "The Canon XL1s"

OK, I spent the entire afternoon (except for a couple hours editing in PhotoShop) shopping online and doing price comparisons on the Canon XL1s. I found one deal that seemed pretty good but a lot less than what it sells for everywhere else which makes me suspicious. Also, I read in the magazine "Camcorder & Computer Video" a review of the JVC GR-HD1, the first consumer high definition camera on the market. It only has 1 CCD instead of 3 (like Canon) but according to the review, it's made up for when viewing on an HDTV.

It actually costs less than the Canon but doesn't have some of the same goodies, like exchangeable lenses, nor nearly the number of available accessories. Plus, I still have a soft spot for the XL1 since it was used for 28 Days Later. I have read so many reviews and visited so many stores and the cold hard truth is that I can't buy one now anyway. I'm hoping to sell enough paintings at my next show (July 2nd) to earn the money for one. If anyone knows any advantages/disadvantages between the Canon xl1s and the JVC GR-HD1, I'd LOVE to hear from you.

In the mean time, I've ordered a lot of books through Interlibrary loan on different aspects of making movies, from directing, to cinematography; to FX...some are geared towards film and others DV. Plus, I got some of those in the vein of Rebel without a Crew on budget filmmaking.

Now, this sounds really cheesy I know, but as I was working online there was this paid advertisement for a guru named Tony Robbins who is like a life coach or some such shit, but he has a set of CDs that give tips on reaching goals that seem impossible. So, since I was getting stuff through Interlibrary loan anyway, I went ahead and ordered it too (hey, it's free). I'm not at all, and never have been, into self help type crapola, but...I am so excited right now, and have so many cool projects in the hopper, that I'm willing to try anything that might give me a leg up. Lord knows I need one.

Replies: 2 Comments

on Wednesday, March 17th, atheist_uberboy said

Hey, I'm a film student with a emphasis in video production who's used various DV cameras for a while. I have not yet got my hands on the new JVCs however from all I've read and image tests I've seen the JVC has worse low light recording, worse color reproduction, and worse highlight control than the high end three chip miniDV cameras (XL1s, PD 150/170, etc.) However, the JVC obviously has the advantage of being able to shoot in HD. Also the JVC does not have direct Iris control, you have to screw with it to control the exposure. Additionally it doesn't have any Audio level controls. Finally if your going to buy a JVC camera buy the HD10U, not the HD1. The HD10U is the slightly more expesive version with XLR inputs, and MUCH better edge enhancement (the image looks better). There should only be a few hundred dollars between them.

Basically you need to decide whether you are realistically going to need to output your video to HD in the next couple of years. Or if you're just going to be working in Standard Def. If you're staying in Standard Def, then you need to decide whether your willing to screw around with creating very carefully controled lighting set ups in order to get a good image from the JVC or not. Since the JVC has worse color/low light/highlight you need to be much more aware of what the light in a scene is doing. But if you do get a JVC get a couple of ND filters. You'll need them to help you control the exposure.

Hope this helps, oh and there are crazy rumors around that a new camera may be introduced in the next couple of months but I wouldn't hold my breath.

on Wednesday, March 17th, Elise said

Hey atheist uberboy,
You are so awesome! Thank you for the excellent advice. It is exactly what I needed to hear. I think for me the way to go is the XL1s, I do a lot of low light work, plus I definately need XLR inputs...Still, the lure of the HD was strong.

I appreciate the practical advice from someone in the know. And as for the crazy rumors, are you talking XL2 crazy, or something totally new? The hint of something better just around the corner is hard to resist as well.
Anyway, thanks again!

I still have so much to're really lucky you can go to film school, what I wouldn't give! By the way, do you have any books or other type resources that you could recommend?