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Helpful Articles: In and Around the XL1 & XL1S

This is a very large section of the Watchdog, and perhaps the most important. There are more than sixty articles here which explore a variety of aspects regarding the Canon XL1. I've divided them into several different categories, arranged by topic, which should help you navigate through all these pages.

I'm exploring a variety of different options for a future update which will make all of this information a lot easier to access. For now, scroll down this menu page for a complete list of articles with a short description of each. Once you go to a specific article, a link at the bottom of each page will take you back here... or, return to this menu page using the "Articles" link on the black navigation bar to the left.

These articles differ from the owner's reports in that they focus on certain specific topics rather than evaluate the camera and its features. Most are authored by contributors, a couple by the Watchdog, and others are collaborative. We can all look forward to this section expanding a great deal as the camera is explored over time. If you're touring the website in full, then just start at the top of the page and work down.

General Topics

The FireStore FS-3 and the Canon XL1 / XL1SNew!
The FireStore FS-3 from Focus Enhancements records edit-ready DV files directly to an internal, removeable hard drive and allows you to completely bypass the video capture process, and forego using tape if you wish; Ken Tanaka takes a look.


XL1S Tips, Tricks & Basic Operation DVD
Ken Tanaka examines an instructional DVD from Birns & Sawyer of Hollywood, CA which covers basic operational procedures and useful hints for newcomers to the XL1s camcorder; hosted by Greg Salman.


Five Essential Items for Your XL1 / XL1S
There is an astonishing variety of accessory options available for the XL1 & XL1S. The Watchdog explores the top five items you can't afford to be without.


Lens & Optics

Mini35 on Seinfeld / Levinson Shoot, Pt. 1 New!
Charles Papert, S.O.C. shares his journal detailing his experiences with the XL1S and P+S Technik Mini35 combo in New York City during the shooting of a Jerry Seinfeld internet spot for American Express, directed by Barry Levinson.


Mini35 on Seinfeld / Levinson Shoot, Pt. 2 New!
Continuing in Death Valley, Charles Papert, S.O.C. provides a run-down on what it was like during production of the Barry Levinson-directed Jerry Seinfeld spot for AmEx, using the XL1S and P+S Technik Mini35 shooting package.


An Overview of the 16x Manual Servo Zoom Lens
Ken Tanaka provides a complete inspection of the 16x Manual Servo zoom lens, considered by many to be the best option available for the XL1 or XL1S. Comparison chart, specifications and much more.


Guide to XL1 Lens Options
The Watchdog explores all the different kinds of glass available for the business end of your camcorder.


VariZoom Stealth Remote Lens Controller
VariZoom's newest, smallest zoom and focus controller has a compact form factor perfect for many applications. Reviewed by the Watchdog.


VariZoom VZ-Pro-LX Remote Lens Controller
Yet another superb DV camcorder zoom and focus controller from VariZoom, this time with some enhanced features, reviewed by the Watchdog.


VariZoom VZ-Pro Remote Lens Controllers for DV camcorders
The Watchdog's first-hand look at a dream come true -- operate your XL1 without having to touch it. Remote variable-speed zoom, focus and other functions.


Canon ZR1000 Remote Lens Controller
Don Palomaki takes a look at Canon's own LANC controller and provides interesting and detailed findings.


Understanding Canon's New Way to Focus
Varifocus technology gives a lot of us fits. Scott Barber suggests becoming "one" with your camera and developing some pinkie dexterity.


Soft Focus Problem and Workaround
The cause is due to a capability, not a limitation. Joe Bogacz of Canon USA explains the reasons, and the fix, in layman's terms to the Watchdog.


XL1 Focus Jumps and Other Observations
From Sweden comes a rather thorough examination of focus issues and gradient banding in the PAL version of the XL1, by Jan Engvald of Lund University.


The Canon 3x Wide Angle Zoom Lens
Jim MacAllister gives an in-depth review of Canon's 3x wide angle zoom lens; complete with frame-grabs for field of view comparisons.


Backfocus Issue, Yes or No?
Formerly a part of "The Skinny," the Watchdog compiles several differing opinions of the standard 16x lens and a definition of backfocus.


XL1 Neutral Density Filter
Cinematographer and Academy Award-winning inventor Ross Lowell explains why you should be grateful for having this filter on your XL1.


Can I use a VL Series lens on my XL1?
Don Palomaki answers a common question among L1 and L2 owners who would like to get more mileage out of their older Canon lenses.


Microphones & Audio

Introduction to XL1 Audio
With basic explanations, XL1 shooters Jon Burkhart and Don Palomaki describe some introductory aspects of this camera's complex audio handling capabilities and their practical applications.


XL1 Audio Step by Step, Part One
From Canon USA, an introduction to the basic principles of digital audio recording; with a brief explanation of sound waves, bit depth, and analog to digital conversion.


XL1 Audio Step by Step, Part Two
From Canon USA, descriptions of 16-bit two-channel audio, 12-bit four-channel audio, how to select the audio output in VCR playback mode, and how to choose the output channel.


XL1 Audio Step by Step, Part Three
From Canon USA, here are three different methods for recording two-channel audio, each listed step by step. A little more in-depth than your manual.


XL1 Audio Step by Step, Part Four
From Canon USA, a description of the step by step process of how to record four channels of audio with your XL1. Just like your manual, but... better, somehow.


System Isolator SI-XL1 from Light Wave Systems
Among other important functions, it moves the entire EVF/microphone assembly forward more than two inches. The Watchdog examines this valuable item, worth its weight in gold.


Universal Mini-Mount MM-XL1 from Light Wave Systems
A versatile suspension mount that eliminates any camcorder motor noises from reaching the microphone. The Watchdog discovers that this cradle rocks.


Equalizer EQ-XL1 from Light Wave Systems
If you're serious about getting professional audio results. ditch the foam windscreen that came with the XL1 microphone and slip on the Equalizer. The Watchdog tells you why.


Isolating Directional Microphones From Interference
Leslie Drever, of Light Wave Systems in California, offers an in-depth, careful analysis of the causes and cures of wind and camcorder noise as it affects directional condenser mics.


The MA-100 Accessory
You're considering the Canon XLR Adaptor but need more information? Geoff Amthor shoulders the responsibility of telling you all about it.


Configure the MA-100 with ENG Wireless Mikes
Frank Prinzel describes his procedure for mounting a Lectrosonic 185 on the XL1 shoulder mount accessory; cool how-to photos included.


Student-Proof Cable Management
Ross Jones, an educator in charge of seven XL1s and a considerably larger number of students, has a quick, cheap and effective way to protect all those cables coming out of the back end.


Homemade Samson Series 1 Bracket
Using simple hand tools, Jim Akiba fabricates a custom bracket to mount a Samson wireless microphone receiver to his XL1. Numerous photos included.


Electronic View Finder

The Canon FU-1000 Monochrome CRT Viewfinder for the XL1 / XL1S
Ken Tanaka provides a complete overview of the Canon B&W CRT viewfinder for the XL1 and XL1S; it's everything you need to know, including calibration, caveats and more.


Frankenstein Meets the XL1
In a truly diabolical scheme, Daniel Kohl subjected his helpless XL1 to hideous medical experiements which resulted in an outcome so frightening that viewer discretion is strongly urged.


Make a Protective Iris for your EVF
For about $50, you can build a small protective diaphragm to stop sunlight from damaging your viewfinder. David Brugman shows how simple and effective it can be.


Black and White adapter for the Color View Finder
Don Palomaki demonstrates that B&W in your viewfinder is possible, provided you have some basic engineering skills and the patience to build this simple electronics project.


EVF Sunburn
Describing what may be the worst aspect of owning an XL1, Don Palomaki explains what it is, why it happens and how to avoid it.


Make a Simple Protective EVF Cap
M.W. Herberth submits the steps to this quick, easy and inexpensive project designed to shield your viewfinder from damaging sunlight.


Add an LCD Monitor to Your XL1
Do you miss the flip-out LCD displays that are common to most palmcorders? Adam Wakely did, so he figured out a way to mount one on his XL1.


Camera Head

An Updated XL2 Wish List
The changes Richard Gopen would like to see in the XL2 are some practical solutions to what might be considered the XL1's "bad points." Find out how many of these issues have already been addressed.


XL1 ASA Rating, Part One
The Watchdog consolidates a series of usenet posts from professional videographers discussing the XL1's Exposure Index and the merits of using a light meter on the set. Highly reccomended.


XL1 ASA Rating, Part Two
Don Palomaki continues this hot topic with contributions from usenet and other web forums by professional videographers. Required reading, just like in high school.


Standby Mode Explained
The Watchdog and Stuart Chudy answer some common questions about about the XL1's automatic power-down feature.


The Myth of Mini-DV Widescreen
The Watchdog wants you to know the truth, and the myth, of shooting in widescreen mode on the XL1 and other prosumer DV camcorders.


Not in Your XL1 Manual: Color Bars & Time Code
Mad editor John "Scissorhands" Turk sliced a critical paragraph from the Watchdog's brief moment in the sunshine at RES magazine; get the uncut version here.


Posterization (Contouring) 3: Explanation
The Watchdog sits down with Joe Bogacz and gets the story from Canon about the cause of the contouring effect, and how to best deal with it while shooting against smooth gradient backgrounds.


Posterization (Contouring) 2: Discussion
Intelligent and thoughtful speculation about the contouring problem from Clif Anderson and Charlie Hand, two polite individuals who build off of each other's ideas. Quite a rarity on Usenet. Enjoy.


Posterization (Contouring) 1: Examination
Don Palomaki and others describe what contouring looks like and the conditions necessary to induce the effect, as well as possible causes. Actual frame-grabs included.


Some XL2 Predictions

Yes, Virginia, there will be an XL2. The Watchdog has a nose in the wind, sniffing out what's coming down the road from Canon. Some hard info, some conjecture about When, What, How Much and more.

Storage & Transport

KATA CCC - 3333 Multi-Purpose Soft Case
This is not a custom XL1 case by any means, but if you have a variety of gear, it's versatile enough to carry just about anything you own.


TC2000DVC Hardshell Cases from CasesPlus
The Watchdog takes takes a close look at this awesome custom XL1 shipping and storage case from America's largest case distributor.


Travel Cases from CasesPlus
The Watchdog takes takes a close look at the Kinetics KC821XL1-01 for airline travel from America's largest case distributor.


The X-Case Hardshell XL1 Case
Robert Goodman describes this small travel case with optional foam inserts for different configurations.


PortaBrace CTC-2 Travel Case for Canon XL1
If you're considering this pricey first-class soft bag for your XL1, you'll want to read about it first. Bruce Johnson gives you the guided tour.


Tamrac 2248 Soft Case for Canon XL1
Competing with PortaBrace is this new product in the Tamrac line, which Don Palomaki finds fully adequate for storage and transport.


Build an XL1 Hardshell Case for $38
Not too excited about shelling out the bucks for Canon's HC-3000? Scott Barber explains how you, too, can knock together this simple project and save $262.


Support Options

The Dolgin Engineering XL Pouch
Don Palomaki checks out this compact shoulder support with battery holder and accessory mounting bracket, new from Alex Dolgin.


The SP7 Custom XL1 Shoulder Brace
Harold Greene's sturdy, robust XL1 / XL1S shoulder brace allows all-day shooting with plenty of cargo capacity for various accessories. Reviewed by the Wattchdog.


The SkyCrane Mini-DV Camera Boom

Not satisfied with available light-weight jibs, Bob Jones utilizes his engineering background to build his own out of heavy duty materials, and he can make one for you, too.


Using the Steadicam DV
Jim Treganza describes in detail his XL1 experiences with the much anticipated follow-up to the Steadicam Jr.


The Dolgin Engineering Power Brace PB-1000
Alex Dolgin has produced a shoulder brace which is larger than the Canon MA-100 and includes a DC voltage converter. Don Palomaki submits this review.


The Dolgin Engineering Power Mate PM-1000
Alex Dolgin's battery voltage adapter for the XL1 allows you to use a wider variety of DC power sources, specifically the popular Panasonic BP-20. Review by Don Palomaki.


Sony's Remote Control Tripods
The grip handles of the VCT series of lightweight Sony tripods include Control-L wired remotes which will work with your XL1. Don Palomaki takes a look at one.


Using the XL1 with the Glidecam 3000 Pro & V-8
Can't afford a Hollywood Steadicam VK? Jim McAllister picks up a couple of less expensive alternatives and carries you through the motions.


The XL1 in Post Production

XL1 Audio with Canopus DVRaptor & DVRex M1
Charles Burmeister provides valuable information regarding XL1 audio distortion causes and solutions in the popular Canopus DV non-linear editing systems.


DV to 35mm Technology Guide, Part One
Chris Hauser of TapeHouse Digital Film describes the basic aspects of DV to 35mm film transfer in this general overview of the process.


DV to 35mm Technology Guide, Part Two
Chris Hauser of TapeHouse Digital Film explains why the PAL version of the XL1 is best suited for shooting for 35mm film, and provides the optimum camera settings for achieving great results.


DV to 35mm Technology Guide, Part Three
Chris Hauser of TapeHouse Digital Film offers a brief glossary of terms for understanding the various components of DV to film transfer.


Fast Fuel and the Tao L-Port
Jim MacAllister describes using the XL1 as a playback deck with machine control through the camera's LANC (Control-L) jack.


Thrown together by Chris Hurd

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