How to Use a Canon XL2

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After purchasing a Canon XL2 digital camcorder, consult the manual, reading it cover to cover, to locate and learn the functions of all of the button controls on the camera. Discover the many features and settings of the Canon XL2 with tips from a professional videographer in this free video on cameras.

Part of the Video Series: Canon XL2 Guide
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So how do you use a Canon XL2 video camera? A Canon XL2 video camera is an incredible piece of equipment; well-engineered, well-built, way beyond its price tag; so it's a great first camera for anybody looking to do videography commercially. It's a very simple camera to us; almost all of the controls are button controls right within your reach of your hand here. When you're holding it and you've got it on, everything is handy. Once you learn where everything goes, all of your controls are right where you need them. Putting a button's a lot less driven by men use than a lot of the cameras nowadays. And it's a strong hardy camera; it's heavy so it holds nice and solid. Basically what I'm going to tell you to do is go to your manual. If you want to learn how to use your Canon XL2; you could tell this, this manual here is a little beat up 'cause I use it a lot. Read it front to back. Go through it and then read it again and then go through it and check all of the buttons on the page that tells you how to use it and what are each button does. Go through each single individual button. You want to touch them all. You want to know what they do. You want to know about manual focus and iris controls and you've got an automatic iris setting here. You've got auto focus and manual focus and de-filters on your 3 wide and de-filters and image stabilizers on your 20 power or your 16 power. All of the settings are on the camera for your mode, format; your 43, 16, 9, 60i or 30p or even 24p frame rate which is a nice thing about the XL2 camera; it has that 24. You've got automatic and manual gain control; automatic, manual lighting. You've got your white balance, here is a push button white balance, shutter speed right here on the hand, on the sitting part. So its got everything right out in front of it. As you go through, use all your buttons, see how it works. Use your zooms, use your other zooms. You've got a locking if you don't want to accidentally touch that zoom. You've got, over on this side, you've got your battery spot, you've got your controls where you can plug it, plug in all your external wires for your external controls, run out to a TV. One of the cool things about Canon XL2 is it actually has the ability to run four different channels of sound on it. So what you're looking at there is the ability to run XLR plugs to your four individual sound places. And that is all controlled right through this panel here. You've got automatics and manuals and all. You've got your mic control. The mic on the XL2 is pretty hot. It's a real sensitive stereo mic. I put the wind muff over just to help with other sounds too besides wind to deaden a bit. The real advantage to the Canon XL2 in its price range is that it's got a removable lens which allows you to use other lens with the use of a Ef Adapter. You could put other lenses on this, Canon lenses from still cameras. To take off the lens is just a matter of pulling this back and popping it off. Then you could take and replace it with the 20 power. And I use all of these lenses depend on if I'm doing wild life photography or just shooting interviews. If I'm shooting interviews, I'll use the wide 23; if I'm doing wild life photography I always use the 20 power with the image stabilization and that gives me the opportunity to get way out there and the 20 power works really nice. A lot of nice things about it; you do have your menu controls too for some of the other features and benefits of it. One of the things I really like about this is that you can control your zoom variable or constant. So if you want to just be able to zoom in and out really quickly, you've got it or if you want to control zoom and you don't want to depend on yourself and your fingertip, you can control it without, and you could also set it right here; fast to slow; you setup the speed of it. The shoe on the top is not a hot shoe but it's a good place to put an extra light or if you want to mount another microphone up there. And it has two view finders; it has the eye and then it's got the screen and the screen is, the eyepiece is really just magnifying the screen. The power control on this camera is very versatile also. It has, of course the external control VCR off and then you've got your automatic, your TV mode, your audio-visual mode and your manual mode which is I, what I use mostly. If you're doing professional photography, you'll want to use the manual setting. And then it's got the fully automatic setting back here that will take care of everything for you. So it's really nice, easy to use powered aisle. Another accessory I'll find a good to use with my XL2 camera and it's really nice because the XL2 camera with this mounting pad and I took the mounting pad and put a piece of velcro on it so that I could attach my external drive to it. Now I've a piece of velcro on the other side of this hard drive; I can attach the hard drive to the camera and then by way of the fire wire, to the fire wire connector, I can have two of everything. I have the, the tape recording and I have the digital recording here. This is a lot easier and faster to use when you're transferring to your computer for editing. It's just a drag and drop system. It takes about a tenth of the time as capturing with your tape. So this is a really nice accessory to have with your Canon XL2 and the FS4 or the FS4 Pro which is a forty gig hard drive is made by Focus Enhancements; it's really a great tool. You've got your head phone plug in here and your fire wire plug in there and your external control plug in. So this really cam, this camera really has it all. It's, it's a very versatile, easy to use, well-made camera. I shot a twenty minute short film with it. I understand a lot of independent films are shot with this camera right here. If everything hadn't gone to high def, I would still be using this camera exclusively. It's just been a great camera. It turns out some nice projects. I love to use it at weddings and now what I'll do is I will, when I do weddings 'cause high definition isn't necessary for weddings, I'll use this as my main sitting camera and then I'll use my new Canon X8 as my camera that I move around with because it is smaller and lighter. So set this camera, use the four channel sound and take my other Canon and wander around with it and get the other shots so I can do a two camera shoot. But all in all, excellent camera, well-engineered, well-built, strong, hefty, powerful and a very good price for that camera.

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