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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 July 6th, 2008, 02:50 PM   #1
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In VCR/Play Mode, no Image or Sound Plays Back

My XH A1 will no longer playback footage shot in the camera (or any other tape for that matter). At first I thought it was the tape, so I switched to a new one, rolled bars for 1:00, rewound and hit play.

The camera is in VCR/Play Mode, blue screen on the viewfinder. Rewinding, the display shows the time code going backwards. Pressing play, the time code freezes, the green arrow indicates playback is in progress but there is no signal in the viewfinder or A/V1 port. The deck responds to the controls but there is no video or audio being displayed.

I have reset the camera back to its factory defaults, thinking a menu item had been selected.

This camera is six months old. I notice the warranty on the video head is only 90 days, so with my luck that will be the issue.
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Old July 7th, 2008, 01:27 AM   #2
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Hi Anderson.....

Try putting in a tape with greater than 10 minutes of video on it, and press PLAY, then FF (in PLAY mode) so that it shows (or should show) the high speed contents of the tape.

If you can see video in FF or REW (but not PLAY) in VCR mode, it would seem (and please don't quote me on this, as I have no concrete proof, even now) that the head alignment is indeed off and will need attending to.

Why this happens, if indeed it has happened to you, is a complete mystery.


CS

Last edited by Chris Soucy; July 7th, 2008 at 01:28 AM. Reason: Whoops.
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Old July 7th, 2008, 09:17 AM   #3
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That doesn't sound like a head alignment problem to me. If the heads are out of alignment, the tape would play back in the device that recorded it. Unless the heads got out of alignment after that tape was recorded, which I guess is a possibility. But all the head alignment problems I've seen don't show up as a blue screen.
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Old July 7th, 2008, 11:21 AM   #4
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Off for Repair

I returned the camera to my dealer this morning and they were baffled as well. They took the test tape from my camera and put it into an identical unit on the sales floor. The tape would not play in their camera either...so it appears my camera fails to record or play back.

Not playing back is bad enough....an even scarier prospect is the apparent recording issue, especially since the camera "appears" to be recording. In the field you'd have no way of knowing if you are really are recording.

I've sent it off for diagnosis and repair. Even after its repaired, I'm looking into buying a hard disk recorder to make me feel more secure. An episode like this can really shatter your confidence in a piece of gear (especially when it six months old).
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Old July 7th, 2008, 11:44 AM   #5
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Please keep us informed. The exact thing happened to me. I was on a trip and shot 15 full tapes, all with the same settings. One of the tapes from the middle of the shoot has the exact same issues. I never resolved the problem.

Clay
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Old July 18th, 2008, 11:43 PM   #6
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Oh my,

Same problem here while on a shoot in Nicaragua. I don't know what happened, but all of a sudden, no reliable playback.

I was digitizing yesterday and today after my shoot I got squat. Blue screen except when scanning.

So, I figured it was a dirty/clogged head. A cleaner tape didn't help. So I considered the problem of alignment.

Sure enough, with the gate open, I placed some gentle pressure on the tape with my finger and I could engage playback. Great. Well, at least I can get the footage digitized. I just have to squeeze the tape carriage for an hour at a time. Sheesh.

I bought the cam in November.

It's July.

Buyer beware.

Seriously, this is sad. I know this ain't a seriously pro camera, but getting 1 year out of this thing shouldn't be a problem.
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 02:50 PM   #7
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Repaired Under Warranty

I bought my camera in November as well.

The camera came back today after being sent back to Canon for analysis and warranty repair: "The manufacturer cleaned the heads and tape path. Use new tape and avoid playing tapes which have been used in this unit. Head was clogged by one or more bad tapes."

The tapes in question were brand new FujiFilm DV141HD (recommended by the vendor). I guess I'll have to start cleaning the heads before and after a shoot and look into a hard drive recorder to make sure I don't get burned.
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 02:39 AM   #8
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Exactly the same problem here. Camera worked fine one week ago but this morning, after a regular recording I only had a blue screen without timecode on playback. Also in scanning mode only a blue screen. Tried another tape, head cleaning, reset the camera to factory settings without success...

Anyone for a solution?

Only thing I can think of is sending the camera to Canon for repair....

RW
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Old June 13th, 2010, 07:49 AM   #9
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So I did. And got it back 4 weeks later. The Canon repair centre replaced the heads and the whole tape mechanism. Costs: nearly 400,- but after one telephone call with Canon the company was so kind as to pay half of the costs because this problems shouldn't happen in this kind of camera even not after 2,5 yrs. When I tried the camera (with the same tapes as I tried it before I sent the camera to Canon repair: Sony HDV) exactly the same issue happened: lost time code and footage...Then I decided to change the tapes to Sony Premium DV (since the heads were changed this was the opportunity to change the tapes too) and since then everything works well. I filmed for over two hours at different times and no problems. As expected: exactly the same quality (since the HDV signal is exactly the same on DV and HDV tape) and no dropouts. So maybe it was a tape issue after all although the repair service did not mention this.

Well, after missing the camera for a month I'm very happy too have it back and to find Canon so consumer friendly as to pay half of the repair costs. And I will use the 10 bucks per tape cheaper Sony Premium DV tapes which will save a lot of money in the future.
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