Canon XL H1 Goes “Green” For Tumbleweed Entertainmen
When the California based Tumbleweed Entertainment production company needed a versatile, digital High Definition acquisition solution to help educate viewers to become more “eco-friendly,” it chose the XL H1 HD Camcorder from Canon U.S.A., Inc. Designed with a wide array of broadcast-quality professional features, the cost-effective XL H1 HD Camcorder is Tumbleweed Entertainment’s choice to capture footage for a made-for-mobile series, consisting of 12 three-minute short films titled Go Green. The series, which includes episodes on home-energy management, automobile fuel economy, and the recycling of household refrigerants (as well as many other topics), will premiere on a major 24-hour mobile programming network. PHOTO ABOVE: Left to right: Tumbleweed Entertainment Producer/Director Brian Weidling; (middle, behind camera) Director of Photography Matthew Talesfore; right
"The client was interested in developing green-focused content for its mobile programming network, so we suggested producing a series of shorts on ways that people can be more eco-friendly,” stated Brian Weidling, producer/director and partner, Tumbleweed Entertainment.
Once the network gave Go Green the green light, Weidling and his partner, writer/producer Paul Galichia, began to research the right tools to accomplish the project. In reviewing the network’s technical criteria, “We found that the Canon XL H1 HD Camcorder was one of the cameras on their list,” Weidling explained. “We had used Canon cameras in the past, and they had always been very good workhorse products for us.”
“The type of glass that Canon uses provides a better look than most of the other cameras currently in the market,” Weidling added, explaining that his eight-person crew captured Go Green’s video using the 20X HD lens that comes standard with the XL H1 HD Camcorder. This 38.9 - 778mm lens is coupled with the XL H1’s Super Range Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) system, sophisticated Canon technology that corrects camera shake instantly for steady shots even when they're hand-held at long focal lengths or taken while the XL H1 HD Camcorder is in motion.
“I tout the XL H1 HD Camcorder for its Image Stabilization and the results we achieved,” remarked Weidling. We shot most of the programs on sticks, but not 100 percent of them. These programs are designed for viewing on the Internet and cell phones, where even a slightly shaky picture can quickly become distorted and pixilated.”
The key to the Canon XL H1 HD Camcorder’s Super Range OIS system is a unique gyro sensor that detects motion and continually adjusts the camcorder’s vari-angle prism to eliminate jitter and shake. The camera then re-examines the image after it is received by the CCD and sends additional information to the prism to further stabilize the picture.
While most of the program material was shot on location with director of photography Matthew Talesfore, the design and operations of the Canon XL H1 HD Camcorder also made it easy for him and Galichia to go out as a two-man team for B-roll footage.
“Weight-wise, the XL H1 has a really nice, solid feel,” Weidling noted. “The combination of the lens and camera body provides a professional feel. Some of the other camcorders on the market are too light. You get too much of that ‘shaky-cam’ look just because you are dealing with something that is hand-held.”
Weidling also likes what he describes as the “professional” eyepiece of the Canon XL H1 HD Camcorder. “To be able to flip that up and have such a great view is unbelievably helpful,” he noted, adding that the camcorder’s “peaking” focus-assist feature is also very helpful to attain sharp video, as it “broadens out the lines and the edges of something that is totally in focus.”
Weidling and Galichia have known each other since graduate school, but only formed Tumbleweed Entertainment approximately a year ago. For them, the production of the Go Green series is a personal education. Weidling explained. “As TV producers, we were ‘ecology laymen’ when we started shooting this series, but I think that helped in creating the content. As we developed and researched these Go Green topics, we wanted viewers to relate to our initial feelings when we started the series to understand our message.”
“We’re hoping to turn this into something bigger,” Weidling concluded, “but whatever we do, the Canon XL H1 HD camcorder will likely be an integral part of our plans.”
Because the footage was all shot digitally, they note that they are also mastering all of the episodes with an eye toward future distribution on other platforms such as online and video-on-demand. Weidling and Galichia are editing their Go Green shorts using Apple’s Final Cut Pro and will deliver the segments in QuickTime for the mobile programming network.