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.
With this feature, the XL2 conforms with industry standards and is fully integrated with today's production equipment. The camera lets you choose Drop, Non-Drop, Rec Run and Free Run modes. It also provides User bit settings which allow 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, as well as edit suites, before recording and playback, and for adjustment purposes. Using a lead-in of color bars for 10-60 seconds has become a standard in professional film and video production. 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.