| 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratio shooting formats|
| Variable frame rates|
| Customizable Cine Look|
| Total Image Control|
| XL Mount Interchangeable Lens System|
| Flourite Zoom Lens with Optical Image Stabilization|
| SMPTE time code|
| Custom Presets|
| Professional Audio Connections|
| Open Architecture Design|
| Additional Features|
| Complete Feature List|
16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratio shooting formats
With an increasing consumer shift towards widescreen TVs that deliver the full width of film-based theatrical movies, plus the resulting need for productions in the 16:9 aspect ratio, Canon's XL2 offers both the standard 4:3 aspect ratio and the 16:9 widescreen TV aspect ratio. Representing the ratio of the screen width to its height, the 4:3 aspect ratio is that of the common TV screen, and is the most commonly used aspect ratio in broadcasting today.
The 16:9 aspect ratio is the more common aspect ratio for film-based movies, and produces full screen playback on widescreen TVs. 16:9 also is the world standard aspect ratio for HDTV.
By offering a camcorder that is able to be switched between the two aspect ratios, Canon opens the door for multiple production options with the same camera -- the XL2.
Variable frame rates
60i / 30p / 24p (2:3 and 2:3:3:2 both with 1/48th second shutter speed) frame rates are available in the XL2.
The demands being made on the video production community to be able to provide solutions under a multitude of different scenarios have been met with the Canon XL2. It delivers 60i, 30p, 24p (2:3 and 2:3:3:2) frame rates. 60i (interlaced) is the standard video frame rate that has been in use for decades; it's what you see on your home TV, and is captured by handheld consumer camcorders. Progressive (non-interlaced) scanning mimics a film camera's frame-by-frame image capture. 30p, or 30-frame progressive, a non-interlaced format, produces video at the rate of 30 frames per second, delivering spectacular clarity for high speed subjects. Shooting in 30P mode offers video with no interlace artifacts.
The 24p frame rate, for example, is now widely adopted by those planning on transferring the video signal to film. But film/videomakers turn to 24p for the "cine" look even if their productions are not going to be transferred to film, simply because of the "look" of the frame rate. Also just as important as 24p, is the shutter speed of 1/48th per second. This is the standard shutter speed that movie cameras use. The combination of 24p frame rate and 1/48th perfectly mimic a motion film camera.
24p with 2:3 pulldown produces video with the look and motion of film. (24p, used in conjunction with a cine gamma curve on the XL2, produces images that have similar tonal characteristics as film. This mode is used when the finished video will be shown on television. 24p with 2:3:3:2 pulldown, is used when the video is going to be transferred to film. The 2:3:3:2 pulldown allows to editing software to extract true 24 frames a second.
Customizable Cine Look
With "big name" and not so well known producers turning to digital video for their "films," increasing emphasis has been placed on delivering the cine look to video. The Canon XL2 offers its users the ability to customize their video recordings using a number of variables: color matrix, gamma, knee, black stretch, vertical detail, coring, sharpness, noise reduction, color gain, hue, and film grain. Each one of these can be adjusted independently, thereby giving you precise control over the "film-like" appearance of your video. Because Canon utilizes a 12 bit DSP (Digital Signal Processor) maximum image quality is preserved.
Total Image Control
Professional videographers need to have control over the set-up of their camcorder. From complete automatic setting to fine adjustments of Master RGB, Setup Level, Master Pedestal, Skin Tone Detail, Program AE, Gain, AE Shift and Lock, White Balance, Shutter Speeds, Aperture Control, Zebra Patterns Clear Scan and Interval Timer the XL2 has the total image control that professionals need.Because Canon utilizes a 12 bit DSP (Digital Signal Processor) maximum image quality is preserved.
XL Mount Interchangeable Lens System
A key feature of the Canon XL-series camcorders (and the only MiniDV format camcorders with this feature), is the XL mount interchangeable lens system. Unlike other systems, the XL2 offers users the ability to change lenses, whether from within the XL series of video lenses, third-party cine lenses, or Canon's extensive range of photo lenses. This not only makes the XL2 a far more versatile camera, it also opens up incredible opportunities for the XL2 user.
Within the Canon XL system alone there are four lenses: the new 20x OIS, 16x OIS, 16x Manual, and 3x Wide. Then, using an XL system adapter, the entire range of Canon photo lenses is available -- a tremendous boon to those producing wildlife and nature documentaries, for example. Other companies also offer a variety of specialty cine lenses that can be used on the XL2.
Flourite Zoom Lens with Optical Image Stabilization
Canon is known worldwide for its optics -- its broadcast and photo lenses, for example. The new 20x Professional L-Series Fluorite optical zoom lens for the XL2 is an outstanding lens, using fluorite to deliver outstanding resolution, contrast and color reproduction. In addition, the lens features Canon's superb optical stabilization system. This corrects camera shake instantly and, with its SuperRange feedback system, even catches low-frequency vibrations, refining the movement of the vari-angle prism, delivering the most advanced optical image stabilization available today.
SMPTE time code
The Canon XL2 offers many on-camera enhancements to help capture high-quality footage, including features commonly found on broadcast camcorders. Among these is the placement of a SMPTE time code on the tape. SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) time code is a digital signal that assigns a number to every frame of video, representing hours, minutes, seconds, frames, plus some additional information. The SMPTE time code is used to identify a precise location on a video tape, a mainstay of professional editing allowing all tape and equipment to work together for precise editing.
You can choose Drop, Non-Drop, Rec Run and Free Run modes. Also provided is User bit settings, allowing the inclusion of reel number or other user data.
The XL2 also generates SMPTE color bars with 1 KHz tone (-12dB and -20dB). SMPTE color bars with tone are the standard method of setting up video and audio monitors and edit suites. By using industry standard color bars and tone, the XL2 fits in with all production equipment.
Three custom presets are provided on the XL2, and each can be assigned any one of a number of functions, accessible at the touch of a button, for faster and easier camera operation. Among the functions are: color gain, color phase, sharpness, setup level, V detail, color matrix, gamma, knee, black stretch, skin detail (hue, gain, area, Y level).
These custom presets can be transferred to another XL2, or to a computer (3rd party software required), using the IEEE1394 connection.
Professional Audio Connections
The Canon XL2 offers in-camera features commonly found on more expensive production and broadcast camcorders. Among them are professional audio and video connections. The XL2 offers 4-channel audio through two built-in XLR connectors with phantom power. These inputs are designed for use with professional microphones. This balanced connection allows for the use of very long cables without the introduction of outside noise.
Condenser microphones need "phantom power," with +48V power going to the microphone along the same wires that carry the audio signals. The XL2 supplies this through the XLR connectors.
BNC connectors are used in professional and broadcast video applications. These connect a two-wire coaxial cable using a bayonet mount.
Open Architecture Design
You can customize the XL2 to fit your specific application and preferences through a full range of accessories. They include optional lenses, viewfinders, mounts and microphone adapters.
3CCD Progressive Scan
Multi-functional Color EVF with 2" LCD Monitor
For total shooting comfort, the EVF can be mechanically adjusted left to right and forwards and backwards.
Two Custom Keys
You select options from either the Camera Menu (Index Write, Zebra pattern, VCR stop, TV screen, Audio 1 in, Audio 2 in, Zoom grip speed, Zoom handle speed) or the VCR Menu (TV screen, Data code, Audio 1 in, Audio 2 in) and create up to two customized settings for each.
Advanced Accessory Shoe
New Standard Lens
Complete Feature List
CCD's Aspect Ratios and Shooting Modes
DSP (Digital Signal Processor)
Customizable Cine Look
Gamma controls the general brightness (luminance) of the picture and the contrast of the picture. Adjusting gamma allows you to control the way the camera reproduces various tones. Video shot on the XL2 can be gamma corrected to allow for the final usage of the video -- where it will be shown. The display medium can distort the brightness, therefore if the gamma is corrected for the display medium when the video is shot, the display will show the correct brightness level. By switching to the Cine curve, the tonal qualities of the images produced have shading and coloration similar to that of film.
Color Matrix (Video/Cine)
The XL2's Color Matrix function manages the hue and saturation of the video to reproduce the most accurate color. The color matrix defines the camera's color output; the matrix lets you define the amount of primary and secondary colors that are produced. The primary colors are red, green and blue, with the secondary colors (cyan, magenta, yellow) made from the combinations of two primary colors. With the XL2's Color Matrix, you can change from a video to a cine "look" for the end product.
Among the XL2's picture-enhancing circuits is the knee circuit. Setting the control to high, medium or low manages the highlight compression of the video signal.
The XL2 gives the user control of the depth of black in dark areas of an image. To emphasize contrast in the video's dark areas, "Stretch" is selected. To deepen or enhance the dark area, "Press" (compress) is selected.
Vertical Detail (Normal/Low)
There are 2 settings: "Normal" for vertical detail optimized for playback on an interlaced monitor, "Low" for vertical detail optimized for a progressive scan monitor like a PC.
Coring (-6 to +6)
The Coring function on the XL2 is useful in helping to remove image "noise." Coring removes fine detail information that is not a major contributor to the picture detail but which adds noise to the image. You can adjust just how much detail information is removed - just enough coring to reduce picture noise, but not enough to hurt the detail in the image.
Sharpness (-6 to +6)
The XL2 is capable of changing the degree of sharpness in the picture. By using this feature, pictures that do not require a lot of detail can be softened. This feature also can be used to hide imperfections during close-ups, for example. Increasing video sharpness can increase the video noise slightly.
Noise Reduction (OFF/H/N/L)
Noise Reduction removes video noise -- non-picture artifacts such as those commonly found in low-light images -- without hurting image detail or creating motion artifacts. This is important for two reasons. The first is that we have become used to viewing high quality video. The second is that video noise makes compression -- to DVD, for example -- less efficient.
Color Gain (-6 to +6)
The XL2 can deliver 13 steps of color gain, from off to oversaturated. This adjustment allows you to shoot in black and white.
Color Phase (-6 to +6)
Adjust the Color Phase towards red or green for exact control.
Film Grain (one setting)
The XL2 has one setting to add 'film grain' to the image. This simulates the effect of shooting on film.
Total Image Control
Master RGB (R: -6 to +6, G: -6 to +6, B: -6 to +6)
The Master RGB control offers 13 steps of adjustment each to the red, green and blue components of the video signal.
Setup Level (-6 to +6)
Setup level adjusts the standard point of the black level of video signal. In USA (NTSC) the black level is set for 7.5 IRE, in Japan (NTSC) the black level is set at 0 IRE, for PAL and SECAM systems the black level is set for 0 IRE. Professional cameras use 3 IRE for the black level. The XL2 has a 13 step adjustment, with the default mid level being 3 IRE.
Master Pedestal (-6 to +6)
The Master Pedal controls the starting point of the gamma curve. This will change the dark areas of the picture.
Skin Tone Detail
Hue, gain, area, Y level (+/- 6 steps). During setup EVF shows a zebra pattern over masking area flashes between picture and white-mask. During setup EE and IEE1394 out flashes between picture and zebra pattern, enabling you to easily smooth out skin blemishes and wrinkles with total control.
Program AE (Auto, TV, AV, Manual, Spotlight, Low Light, Green)
Gain (-3 / A / 0 / +3 / +6 / +12 / +18 dB)
Control the amount of gain to balance between quality and getting the shot.
With the XL2, you may want to make slight adjustments to the image brightness to compensate for backlighting or for scenes that are being rendered slightly overexposed. When in Auto, Tv or Av Modes, you can engage AE Shift in the camera menu, then turn the menu dial to add or subtract a bit of exposure. There are 13 steps available for creative control.
You can hold the exposure at a particular setting by engaging AE Lock on the XL2. This prevents unplanned exposure changes with a moving subject, for instance.
White Balance (Indoor, Outdoor presets and 3 user settings) The XL2 uses an electronic white balance process to calibrate the picture for accurate color display in different lighting conditions (i.e. sunlight versus indoor incandescent). Automated white balance settings include a fully automated mode, an indoor mode and an outdoor mode. (When the XL2 is set to Green Mode, white balance is fully automated and cannot be adjusted.) In addition to these set standards, the XL2 lets you set the white balance manually by selecting manual select, then pointing the camera at a white object (such as a sheet of paper) that fills the field of view. The XL2 gives you the option of setting and saving as many as three white balance presets that can be reused for non-sequential shooting. Manual white balance works best for dominant color or monochromatic scenes and close-ups, in rapidly changing lighting conditions and in places lit by certain fluorescent or mercury vapor lights. White balancing should be performed prior to any recording.
In 60i and 30p modes there are 30 shutter speeds as well as clear scan shutter speeds. In 24p there are 29 shutter speeds including 1/48th second and clear scan shutter speeds.
There are 23 aperture settings available with the 20x lens. This setting can be adjusted in 1/4 steps.
Zebra Patterns (100%, 95%, 90%, 85%, 80%)
Zebra stripes, displayed in the viewfinder but not recorded, can be made to appear over any area that is overexposed. This black and white zebra stripe feature is activated via the camera's menu. Use this feature to guide the adjustment of the aperture and shutter speed. The zebra pattern settings that are available in the XL2 are: 80 IRE, 85 IRE, 90 IRE, 95 IRE, and 100 IRE.
The Clear Scan feature allows you to record a computer CRT screen or similar equipment without displaying a black band or flicker on the screen. The XL2 can adjust shutter speeds from 61.9 Hz to 201.5 Hz in 117 steps, allowing you to perfectly match the CRT's scan rate.
By selecting the Interval Timer on the XL2, the camera can be programmed to record at various intervals for varying amounts of time. This provides time lapse motion videography.
Set intervals include: 30 seconds; 1 minute; 5 minutes; 10 minutes. Set recording times include: 0.5 second; 1.0 second; 1.5 seconds; 2.0 seconds.
4 channel independent controls
Canon knows that audio is crucial to professional productions, and the XL2 provides the highest standards in audio capture available on a digital video system with a 16-bit, 2-channel recording option. The XL2 also has two additional 12-bit recording channels allowing simultaneous recording on four channels. Audio levels can be controlled manually to further extend sound quality as it is recorded.
Controlling audio levels is essential for real-time event capture and the XL2 permits both automatic and manual audio recording. Manual control allows for setting balance and level
2 XLRs on body
The XL2 has two built-in XLR connectors on the camera body. XLR connections are used in professional and high-end audio equipment. This balanced connection allows for the use of very long cables without the introduction of outside noise.
Phantom power on body XLRs
Condenser microphones need "phantom power," with the voltage going to the mic along the same wires that carry the audio signals. The XLR connectors on the XL2 provide phantom power.
2 other channels through MA-300
For more creative control, Canon offers the optional MA-300 microphone adapter, which easily connects to the XL2's Advanced Accessory Shoe and powers without wires. The MA-300 lets you connect two professional XLR connector microphones in addition to the two connections on the camera body.
The XL2 uses a high quality stereo electric condenser microphone.
All audio setup by switches under audio door
Input selection and attenuation
XLR gain up adjustment
This feature is available through the menu system
VU meters: side body and EVF
Metal construction with level control.
1kHz tone (with color bars) -12dB and -20dB levels
The XL2 internally generates a 1kHz tone along with the color bars. This provides a stable, unvarying audio signal that can be placed on the video, aiding setup of audio equipment. Two levels are available for setting the master audio level on the camera.
Zoom rocker (23 degrees/ one side, manual control - 16 speeds)
Zoom speed control behind rocker handle.
3 memories In addition to creating custom settings for camera and VCR mode using the custom keys, you also can establish three presets for several camera adjustments, including gamma, sharpness and skin detail. Once you have established a look to your video, you can save the information. On top of that, you can transfer this information to another XL2 or to your computer via the IEEE1394 connection. - Store: color gain, color phase, sharpness, setup level, V detail, color matrix, gamma, knee, black stretch, skin detail (hue, gain, area, Y level) Each of the three memory presets on the XL2 allows you to store several camera adjustments: color gain, color phase, sharpness, setup level, V detail, color matrix, gamma, knee, black stretch, skin detail (hue, gain, area, Y level).
Internal and External Store / Recall
The three memory presets can be saved in-camera or externally -- in a PC or another XL2 -- and recalled.
Copy Custom Preset from another XL2 through IEEE1394
A custom preset saved on another XL2 can be transferred via the IEEE1394 connector.
Store / Copy from a PC through IEEE1394 (3rd party software needed)
A custom preset saved on the XL2 can be stored in a PC, sent there via IEEE1394 connection. The same connection allows a preset stored on the computer to be copied to the XL2.
SMPTE color bars with 1 kHz tone (-20dB and -12dB)
Color Bars are an electronically generated video pattern consisting of eight equal-width colors, used to establish a proper color reference before recording and playback and for adjustment purposes. Using a lead-in of color bars for 10-60 seconds has become a de facto standard in professional film and video circles. The color bars also can be used during shooting to allow the adjustment of reference monitors. The XL2 can generate color bars on tape prior to shooting; this allows for fast hand-off to the professional broadcast and/or film post-production environment.
The XL2 internally generates a 1kHz tone along with the color bars. This provides a stable, unvarying audio signal that can be placed on the video, aiding in the set-up of audio equipment.
(5 levels: 100%, 95%, 90%, 85%, 80%)
Zebra stripes, displayed in the viewfinder but not recorded, can be made to appear over any area that is overexposed. The black and white zebra stripe feature is activated via the camera's menu.
Use this feature to guide the adjustment of the aperture and shutter speed. The zebra pattern settings that are available in the XL2 are: 80 IRE, 85 IRE, 90 IRE, 95 IRE, and 100 IRE.
With the XL2, Canon has added a BNC connector to the RCA connections and the S-video connection found on the XL1 and XL1S. The bayonet mount BNC connector is used in professional and broadcast video applications.
AAS (advanced accessory shoe)
VL3, MA300, VFL-1 (light only), DM-50. When accessories such as the VL-3 video light, DM-50 directional microphone, or the optional MA-300 microphone adapter -- devices that are compatible with the Advanced Accessory Shoe -- are attached, the XL2 can exchange data with them and supply power directly to them.
The LANC (Local Application Control Bus System) is a remote terminal that allows you to connect the camera to LANC-compatible editing equipment.
Not only can you capture high quality video with the XL2, you can stream it over the Internet. With streaming video, the content is compressed and encoded to make the file size smaller and more quickly transmitted. This lets the video be played as it is being received.
Built-in shoulder pad
To make use of the XL2 easier, there's a built-in shoulder pad. This makes extended use of the camera less physically demanding.
Dust gasket on tape door
To offer further protection to the tape, tape handling mechanism, and other internal components, the XL2 has a dust gasket on the tape door.
Wireless remote controller
The wireless controller supplied with the XL2 can operate the camera from a distance of up to 16 feet (5 m). Point it at either of the camera's remote sensors while you press the buttons. (Remote sensors are located at both the front and the back of the camera.) The tally lamps light up to indicate the camera is in range and responding to remote control commands. Other than the standard on-camera functions, there are four functions that only can be operated using the wireless controller: Special playback, Data Code on/off, Self-timer. The remote sensor on the XL2 can be turned off to prevent interference from other Canon wireless controllers being used nearby.
-Color EVF / 2 LCD convertible
-Right / left adjustment
-Before / aft adjustment
-Brightness, color, sharpness and contrast adjustments
-EVF LCD indicators: rec/shutter/gain
-Center cross hair (on/off)
-16:9 shown as letter box
-EVF display (all, some, OFF - same as XL1S)
-Body compatible with FU-100 B/W EVF (not with current color EVF)
Software - DVPC Recorder - only available to XL Owner's Club members
Record directly to PC (XP only) -single file or individual scenes in different files. Compatible with any major editing programs -AVI-Type1 / AVI-Type2 file format
Power Standby modes (VCR Power Same)
The XL2 has been designed to consume as little power as possible and comes with power saving features such as auto off features (activated after about 5 minutes of inactivity) to further extend battery power for field and remote work.