XL-1 and wide screen in viewfinder

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Does anyone know of a workaround to view XL-1 wide screen as a letterboxed image while shooting?

-- Luis Remesar (coyotep@earthlink.net), November 07, 1998


I was wondering this same thing. I was also heard something about the problems that may arise transferring the wide screen through some fire wires, any one know? Thanks

-- Stuart Ashton (john.e.gras@usa.net), February 03, 1999.

Since my initial post I've shot widescreen with a Panasonic EZ-1 and I'm about to start editing. I shot at frame movie mode (30fps) and was able to view the letterboxed image in the viewfinder on playback. Does anyone know if the XL-1 can do this also?


-- Luis Remesar (coyotep@earthlink.net), February 04, 1999.

the XL1 will not display it's 16x9 mode in the viewfinder or during playback, but this mode will play back correctly on a 16x9 TV... Although you are better off shooting in 4x3 and just composing the image for 16x9 and then using something like the clip command to give black bars on the top and bottem if you want to release this on a 4x3 format letterboxed.

-- Michael Biggins (blackout@blackout.com), February 04, 1999.

Many of the Sony LCD displays that are released in Japan and elsewhere in Asia support 16:9 aspect ratio. I've successfully patched these into the XL-1 and used it instead of the eyepiece. There are other advantages to this: The stock viewfinder on the Canon clips off about 10% of your recorded frame, and is often a stop and a half darker than the recorded image. Using an underscan monitor with this camera is a must, especially given how difficult it can be to focus. Good luck.

-- Patrick Redding (pat@mybc.com), June 23, 1999.



Can you give me some more details about your success above? Like, exactly which model LCD did you get to do that and where? How much? How did you patch it in?

I am thinking about using the Steadicam SK-2, which they say they can tweak their 4:3 monitor to 16:9. Any thoughts on that?

Thanks in advance, Mark Estabrook

-- Mark Estabrook (markestabrook@sprintmail.com), December 02, 1999.

I have been wondering ever since I got my XL-1 whether or not there is any REALLY FEASIBLE way to shoot something in 16:9 and show it back in its intended format. Honestly, who in the hell has a widescreen television anyway? What I'm really asking is is there ANY practical use for the awesome 16:9 capabilities on the XL-1? I would love to hear any thoughts on this. Thanks in advance. -Nick (babyfighter@hotmail.com)

-- Nick Hanson (babyfighter@hotmail.com), December 16, 1999.

The 16x9 is nice but not exactly what it's cracked up to be. You need to think about what you are getting when you shoot in that ratio. It's not giving you a wider picture, it's just compressing the existing 3x4 ratio so it can be stretched out later. Test this by viewing an image in 3x4 first, then go into your menu and switch to 16x9. Pay careful attention to the left and right sides of the frame when switching. Do you see more? You won't, it's still giving you a 3x4 ratio, it's just squeezing it so it can be stretched later. In film, you would use an actual anamorphic lens to take in more of the image on the left and right sides of the frame. A film camera sees it in 16x9 before putting it on film. The XL1 sees it in 3x4 and just squeezes it. I was strongly considering shooting my independent feature coming up in 16x9, but when I saw the viewfinder problems, I decided not to, especially since it's not true widescreen.

-- Kevin Hollaway (khollawa@attglobal.net), January 05, 2000.

Kevin, I also have an XL1. I finally finished a script and am ready to start shooting but couldn't figure out to use the 16:9 option or not. Eventually I want preview at Sundance or some film festival. I've search all over the web for a workaround for the inherent problems with trying to pull this widescreen stuuf off, short of buying another lense that still have viewfinder problems anyway...

The answer you provided has been so insightful that I just had to tell you thanks. Now, I can finally move on to something else...

-- Shane (shanefilm@yahoo.com), May 07, 2002.

Whilst using an older model D.V cam and not using the in-built 16:9 mode but instead filming in 4:3 and adding bars later, I recorded some footage with the bars on first and looked at it on a small separate monitor (that attached to the camera) and then put black tape where the bars were and shot in 4:3.

It made composing the shots very easy for 16:9 use.

-- John Webser (john.webster@onetel.net), December 03, 2003.

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