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Tips on Shooting with the Canon XL1 in Low Light

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 9/15/2010

Night scenes add mystery to any video sequences but they can be difficult to capture. However, if you own a Canon XL1, you may already have everything that you need. Here are some tips on shooting with the Canon XL1 in low light.

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    Overview

    The Canon XL1 MiniDV Digital Camcorder is a professional-quality camcorder that comes with a not so big price. It has the ability to take still images, and it comes with a 16x optical zoom lens and image stabilization technology. Shooting with the Canon XL1 in low light can also be a breeze with its 3CCD lens, but only if you know how to do it correctly. So, here are some tips to help you take video in low-light situations.

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    CCD Features

    The CCD (charge-coupled device) lens come with three different color lenses for the three primary colors: red, blue and green. Basically, a beam will come through a prism. This prism will break apart the colors and then send them to the correct CCD. The CCD lens has a large Source: http://www.amazon.com/Canon-XL1S-MiniDV-Digital-Camcorder/dp/B00005NKXS dynamic range and high resolution. It also makes a better copy of the images being film, and in turn this provides you with a better picture quality than standard lens.

    But, this system also helps you take video in low-light situations. The CCD lens cuts down on noise and provides users with high contrast. All you need when taking video when in a dark setting. It also cuts down on aliasing, which is when an image is distorted due to different signals meld into each other.

    The Canon XL1 also comes with its own Pixel Shift technology. This allows you to capture as much detail as possible when you are filming a scene. It also reduces the noise associated with low-light situations.

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    Tip 1: Use a Tripod

    While the camcorder does offer the user a number of ways to improve images in low-light situations, there is still no way to avoid the basic techniques that are always needed when filming in darker situations.

    Always use a tripod when taking shots. Even the most advanced camcorder will be susceptible to shaking hands when it’s dark outside. This will cut down on noise and provide for a more stable shot.

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    Tip 2: Add Some Light

    Use light, but use it sparingly. If your whole goal is to film a night scene, you want it to appear like it is night, not day. Try lighting only certain areas of the shot, and then filming that section. Don’t try lighting up the entire area, or you will only cause your camera’s autofocus to freak out. It won’t know what to focus on, causing it to quickly go in and out of focus.

    If you want the scene to appear dark, try bouncing the light off of a reflective surface until it highlights the intended subject. You will have to do some experimentation to get this right, but it will be effective once you do.

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    Tip 3: Move in Closer

    Avoid zooming in and out of subjects. It will cause the images to appear distorted and grainy. Instead, move the camcorder closer to the object. Use a wide angle lens to catch as much of the scene as possible.

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    Tip 4: Try Some Experimentation

    Experiment ... a lot. It’s going to take some practice, but you already have a good tool in the Canon XL1 to help you with the process. Keep the settings on the manual settings. It will help you better adapt to the capabilities of the camcorder.