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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old October 25th, 2004, 09:49 AM   #1
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recording/playback problem

I'm not sure if this is a camera problem or a tape problem. I bought a used gl1 from a guy about 6 months ago and have not had any problems with it until recently. He sent sony tapes with it, so I am continuing to use those type of tapes. All of a sudden, when I play back footage, not all of it's there. Some of it plays back fine and some of it disappears and plays back as a blue screen. When I use the fast forward search button, some of the footage is there. As soon as I release the search button, I get a blue screen. I thought at first it was a tape problem, so I put a new cassette in and it did it again. I then used a different camcorder to play the footage and again, I get a blue screen in places I know there should be some footage. It's almost like it's a tracking problem, but with it being a digital camera, I don't know if that's possible. Sometimes the screen is split into about 8 different horizontal bars and every other bar has the footage and the other bars are blue. I have some very important footage on these two tapes and need to get it dumped onto my computer. Does anyone have any suggestions?
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Old October 25th, 2004, 01:12 PM   #2
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This sounds like the camera needs a good cleaning and maybe a head alignment/replacement. It's possible that the previous owner mixed tapes, which is reputed to cause head clogs. Canons seem more prone to this; both horizontal banding and blue screens were not uncommon on my XL-1 until I had it serviced and aligned; I finally had the head replaced. I'd send it in for evaluation & service, then pick a good tape, such as Panasonic MQ, and stick with it.
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Old October 25th, 2004, 03:56 PM   #3
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Vic-

Should I send it back to the manufacturer (canon) or take it to someone "qualified" to work on canon equipment?

Am I going to be able to retrieve the footage or is the footage damaged because of the camera?

Thanks for the advice.
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Old October 25th, 2004, 05:15 PM   #4
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Send to the Canon east coast facility -- they reportedly have the best turn-around. My experience has been that the footage is likely not recoverable....I lost an entire job due to that problem.
Since then, I've moved to recording direct to hard drive whenever possible.
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Old October 27th, 2004, 07:39 AM   #5
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Run a Sony cassette head cleaning tape in it for 30-40 seconds and then play back a tape that you know to be good. I have repaired several hundred Canon camcorders, including several dozen GL1's and 70-80% of the time it is simply dirty heads and 30-40 seconds with a Sony head cleaner is absolutely safe and usually effective. Unfortunately if the heads were dirty/clogged when the recordings were actually made, those recordings will be permanantly distorted. Post an update after you try that.
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Old October 27th, 2004, 09:10 AM   #6
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I did pick up a head cleaner. The only one they had in the town I live in was Panasonic. I ran it for 10 seconds like the directions stated. I put a new tape in and did some recording and that seemed to take care of the problem. Thanks for the response.
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Old October 31st, 2004, 05:32 AM   #7
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So you are having problems playing back tapes YOU recorded on
YOUR GL1? Have you tried running a cleaning tape? Otherwise
the camera is probably ready to be serviced by Canon. Tape
alignment is very much an issue with digital cameras (to read
tapes from other cameras for example). It might be that your
head assembly needs replacing or needs to be re-adjusted (since
the GL1 is an "older" camera as well).

If you truly need your footage I would suggest you try the tape
in another camera if you can. Or better yet get or rent a DV deck,
which usually have more resiliant and more tolerant tape
mechanisms.
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