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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old January 10th, 2008, 09:49 PM   #1
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Are dropped frames unavoidable?

I am using Panasonic AMQ tapes in my XH-A1. Typically I have one to two dropped frames per every hour of HDV footage. Is there anything I can do to correct this issue? I've had my camera for about 5 months.

Thanks,

Jerry
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Old January 10th, 2008, 10:19 PM   #2
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I use the the standard red sony premium tapes, probably downloaded 60 -80 hrs footage, never had a single dropped frame.
I would try a different brand of tape.... or is it that your PC / Mac is not powerful enough to deal with HDV? What is your PC / Mac spec?

Jon
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Old January 10th, 2008, 10:53 PM   #3
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I think there is a specific reason for dropouts...not random. I've had my A1 for a long time, and I haven't had a single dropout since I bought it. I think its due to me never scrubbing my tape back and forth after shooting before capture. If your doing certain things I can see why you would want to but honestly, I treat my tapes like a tapeless format as dumb as that sounds. Tape what your going to tape (which in my case normally is an entire tape, hence mine being a different situation), then capture the entire tape, then rewind the entire tape and store it away. Backup the capture on DVD-R.

If its film or narrative work, I say use the entire tape, and when you capture, capture the whole tape and rewind it fully. Sounds like you shouldn't have to but it hasn't failed me yet. Tape is made to be rewound and scrubbed around in but because of dropouts, I don't do that anymore.

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Old January 10th, 2008, 11:04 PM   #4
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I'm about to start using Pana MQ 83m and I'll fast fwd each tape to the end and rwd before use.

Interestingly the A1 manual says do a recording test first with a new machine and clean the heads....if necessary! I'll run the Pana cleaning tape first.

I also leave my tapes tail out for archiving, the pack is smoother no tape edges sticking out for the atmosphere to attack. You rewind old tapes first before playing, maybe years later.
Cheers.
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Old January 11th, 2008, 07:27 AM   #5
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You shouldn't be getting dropouts like that. I use an XHA1 daily and haven't had any problems in more than a year of use.

Do they appear in the same place every time? Are they there when played back in camera or only in capture? Do you always use the same kind of tape? Are the dropouts there if you play back in different decks?

I'd say it needs to go back to the mother ship if the dropouts are consistently there when played back in camera and after running a cleaning tape.

If you only get them in capture, you need more drive space or a new firewire cable; make sure the camera or deck is the only thing on the firewire -- you can't daisy-chain firewire and capture consistently.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Neal View Post
I am using Panasonic AMQ tapes in my XH-A1. Typically I have one to two dropped frames per every hour of HDV footage. Is there anything I can do to correct this issue? I've had my camera for about 5 months.

Thanks,

Jerry
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Old April 8th, 2008, 11:43 PM   #6
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You could also have purchased a bad batch of tapes..
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Old April 9th, 2008, 01:26 AM   #7
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I believe that dropouts blamed on tape are, more often than not, dropouts due to marginal firewire cables. It's a good idea to test shooting directly to computer, to see if you get any dropouts without tape possibly being the culprit.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 01:34 AM   #8
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Sorry, I know it's obvious, but I have to ask (since there is a lot of confusion out there regarding dropped frames): do the dropped frames occur in the exact same spot every time you try to re-capture the tape?

Last edited by Daniel Browning; April 9th, 2008 at 02:05 AM.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 02:02 AM   #9
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I have shot three events since getting my A1, each using about 4 Panasonic AMQ tapes, and used a few more tapes as test footage. I didnít know that I should run a cleaning tape before using the A1, so I got about 1 hard dropout per tape. (hard = repeatable at same time point)Ö. At least for the first two events.

I have started using a cleaning tape pass before recording an event, logging tape batch numbers and performance, and purchased an nNovia recorder as backup. So therefore on the last event, there were three clean tapes without any dropouts.

FWIW, I use an HV20 with cheap Costco TDK tapes for shooting 2nd cam during the same events, and like the A1/AMQ story, it had the same dropout frequency, wasnít cleaned when new, and was dropout free on the third shoot after pre shoot cleaning.

So for now, Iím cleaning before any critical shoot, and I am keeping careful records of tape history and batch numbers.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 02:10 AM   #10
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The first 30 seconds of the tape is more prone to dropouts, just record anything in the beginning for about half a minute.

I would avoid longer (thinner) tapes like 83 minute ones. I do not even think they are recommended for HDV.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 03:53 AM   #11
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I had a dropout using Sony Premium 60 tape. I bought the camera new and had not run a cleaner tape through it. I understand the instruction manual suggests somewhere that you run a cleaner tape through a new camera.
I was alarmed by the dropout. I didn't know what it was and it happened in the middle of an important take of an unrepeatable performance by a singer.
Neither my dealer or the Canon UK service centre could tell me what the problem was. I left the camera with Canon. They wanted to keep it for two weeks. I needed the camera as I was in the middle of shooting so I was getting a bit stressed.
Back home, I scoured this and other forums and identified the problem as dropout.
I returned to Canon the next morning to collect my camera. Incidentally they weren't interested that I had identified the problem.
I ran a cleaner tape and switched to Sony HD tapes.
I haven't had any dropout using these tapes.
However I ran out of Sony HD tapes on a shoot and used one of the Sony Premiums. I used a cleaner tape before I did this. I got two dropouts on the one 60' tape.
By the way I have used many Sony Premium 60 tapes on my Sony A1E and have never experienced drop out.
In my opinion _some_ XH A1s are prone to dropout. It's the luck of the draw.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 08:18 AM   #12
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I've had good luck with about 30 Panny tapes without a dropout. Then I started getting one or two short dropouts on about one out of four of the next 20 tapes. The only differences between the two groups of tapes are:
-The second group was shot in much colder weather. (All of my shooting is outdoors.) This may be a contributing factor, but I'm disinclined to believe it.
- In the colder weather I had the camera inside the Porta Brace rain cover, partly to keep in a little warmth and to protect it from snow falling out of trees. When trying to press the Peaking and Magn. buttons by feel I would sometimes hit the record review button instead. Aside from being very annoying, this has a similar effect to scrubbing, although maybe not as severe.

As I recall, the dropouts occurred near the points where the camera started and stopped. These were hard, repeatable dropouts that would not be recovered by an additional try at capture attempts.

The conclusion I draw from all this is that, as others have said, scrubbing is bad and should be avoided. I've also come to shoot fat. By that I mean that I'll start rolling 10-15 seconds before I start caring about what's being recorded.

So far I haven't lost anything I care about, touch wood.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 08:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Gooderick View Post
I understand the instruction manual suggests somewhere that you run a cleaner tape through a new camera.
Actually it doesn't say that at all & I've never seen any instruction to do this for any camera regardless of manufacturer. I never heard about this suggestion until I joined the forum here. In theory I suppose it makes sense... & if there were any validity to it, one would think manufacturers should include some sort of addendum sheet... bright neon orange or green... with a big old READ ME FIRST printed on it :)
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Old April 16th, 2008, 12:34 AM   #14
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Drop Outs

Responding to comment by Trip. I have only recorded approximately 8 tapes through the A1. I have never had a dropout when recording indoors. The only dropouts I have had are when recording outdoors. I record in North Dakota and at times during the winter, so I also attribute increased drop outs to cold weather.

Also, it appears humidity may have a slight impact as well on it. No hard facts as to when it will occur. I also agree it seems to be dropouts usually occur early but I have had them occur late during a recording as well. I didn't run a head cleaner through when I first used the camera and when the temperatures dropped, I not only dropped frames but actually recorded a minute of blue screen. Since running a head cleaner through, I still experience the occassional outdoor dropout but it isn't too bad. This again has only happened under cold conditions. It seems like everything has to be in perfect condition to work in cold weather.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 04:24 AM   #15
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I have more times read (in polish forums) about dopouts in XHA1 - but always with expensive Panasonic Tapes.
I recommend to use Sony Excellence and most of "dropout" users says - it definitelly solves the problem. Maybe ist it worth to try.
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