A1, 4:3 SD Dropouts at DVinfo.net

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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 11th, 2008, 12:19 PM   #1
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A1, 4:3 SD Dropouts

Greetings! I've read the threads on dropouts when shooting HDV with the A1, and haven't seen SD dropouts addressed.

I did a short 20 minute shoot with my first tape with my new A1, all factory settings except for configuring the camera in 4:3 and SD to match the material in a current ongoing project, and of course the XLR inputs selected. I did the head cleaning routine first, per recommendations on this board, and used Panasonic AY-DVM63PQ tape which so far has worked marvelously on my SD shooting with my earlier XL-1. I have AY-DVM63AMQ tapes on hand, was planning those for HDV shooting, but I may need to upgrade early and use them for SD as well.

I had about four dropouts during that first 20 minute shoot; camera on a tripod (i.e. not a lot of physical shaking) with moderate temperature and dry conditions. The footage looks as if a fraction of a second is gone, maybe 5-8 frames. It's just enough to ruin a shot, the image jumps and a piece of audio is gone, truncating or losing a word. The timecode second/frames counter is consistent through the dropout and does not show any lost frames.

I understand HDV uses the Long GOP recording procedure which is different than with SD. Does the A1 still use this same Long GOP even when it's set for SD, but it down-res's the image to arrive at the SD image?

Any opinions on this, other than using better tape, or ...?

Thank you for your consideration!
Jeff Johnston
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Old January 12th, 2008, 07:07 AM   #2
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Hi Jeff,

I've been using the cam constantly in SD mode since about one year. I recorded dozens of cheap SONY premium tapes, partly under rough conditions (skiing, paragliding, quartemile race...) nevertheless I do hardly have any dropouts - probably one every 3-4 tapes, which seems pretty normal to me. So, it's probably not a generel problem of the A1...
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Old January 12th, 2008, 10:36 AM   #3
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The camera does not use Long GOP when recording DV. Intermittent dropouts are always a hard problem to test for. Even though the camera is new I would run a head cleaning cassette again and see if the problem goes away. Try recording a tape or two. and check to see if it has the problem. Also check the tapes on another machine and see if they playback well there. If the dropout problem persist then maybe you should take it back.
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Old January 12th, 2008, 04:32 PM   #4
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I've been using mine almost exclusively on SD for the last six months with standard DV tapes and haven't had one drop out.
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Old January 12th, 2008, 08:32 PM   #5
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Outside of dirty heads, drop-outs are not usually attributable to the cam--most commonly caused by a coating flaw on the tape. So if you've tried cleaning the heads and that had no effect, try using a different tape, or even try a different brand like the Sony Premium--see if you get a better result.
Also--sometimes tape, when made, will have a tendency to stick to itself, especially if wound a little tight. One way to work around this is to wind the tape forward and then rewind it. That may solve any sticking problems.
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Old January 13th, 2008, 03:03 PM   #6
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I have also heard that when you change brands then you should clean the head as the coating can be different. I believe that this use to be a much bigger problem years ago but it isn't going to hurt.

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