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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 May 30th, 2009, 12:47 PM   #1
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recovering xha1 footage

I have 7-8 valuable tapes experiencing the dreaded "dropped frames" problem and want to know if anyone has a viable solution to recovering footage from these tapes? This seems to be a problem for others here as well using the xha1 and panasonic tapes (ay-dvm63pq). Has anyone come up with a solution? After a lot of searching, I have seen very few answers.
My particular problem regards tapes I shot last summer which were fine when recorded (I was able to preview and capture the parts of the tapes I was interested in at that time). Now I cannot playback tapes without dropped frames every few seconds or, even worse, the dreaded blue screen and no timecode. Storage (heat/humidity/magnetic fields) should not have been an issue as these are stored with other tapes. Fast forwarding and rewinding reveals the footage and, curiously, dropped frames do not occur at the same exact spot on each playback. I have tried playing one of these in an HV20 with similar results. I know the cause is important to get to the solution, but my main concern is how to salvage (if possible) any of this footage.
Any help is appreciated.
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Old May 30th, 2009, 02:51 PM   #2
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Hi Brad,

If it were me I'd first try to capture the tapes using a Mac-only app called Capture Magic.

Big Mug Software presents Capture Magic HD

It captures tapes regardless of timecode glitches and tape damage that would normally choke Final Cut Pro and cause the capture to stop. While the sync tends to drift it is there to work with and the footage is recovered. Perhaps there is something similar for PC if you're editing on a Windows machine.

If that didn't work I'd try making a firewire dub of the tape from the A1 to the HV20.

If that didn't work I'd try the analog outputs of the A1 or HV to see if the signal is recoverable that way. If it is you'll lose a generation in the analog to digital conversion but at least you'll have it.

As a last resort you can try sending the tapes here:

Sony Media Services

They've performed amazing things for people in the past who have given up hope recovering footage full of artifacts.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Bulin View Post
I have 7-8 valuable tapes experiencing the dreaded "dropped frames" problem and want to know if anyone has a viable solution to recovering footage from these tapes? This seems to be a problem for others here as well using the xha1 and panasonic tapes (ay-dvm63pq). Has anyone come up with a solution? After a lot of searching, I have seen very few answers.
My particular problem regards tapes I shot last summer which were fine when recorded (I was able to preview and capture the parts of the tapes I was interested in at that time). Now I cannot playback tapes without dropped frames every few seconds or, even worse, the dreaded blue screen and no timecode. Storage (heat/humidity/magnetic fields) should not have been an issue as these are stored with other tapes. Fast forwarding and rewinding reveals the footage and, curiously, dropped frames do not occur at the same exact spot on each playback. I have tried playing one of these in an HV20 with similar results. I know the cause is important to get to the solution, but my main concern is how to salvage (if possible) any of this footage.
Any help is appreciated.
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Old May 31st, 2009, 03:53 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Bulin View Post
...curiously, dropped frames do not occur at the same exact spot on each playback. I have tried playing one of these in an HV20 with similar results. I know the cause is important to get to the solution, but my main concern is how to salvage (if possible) any of this footage.
Any help is appreciated.
At the very least, I'd try a cleaning tape run through your cam for 6-10 seconds or whatever since you say this happens in different places. That alone to me means they aren't dropouts at all and possibly debris on the head drum, etc. I see this every once in a while (albeit not as severe as yours seems) when capturing and capture stops with Avid. But I'd say maybe 80% of the time I can start capture again several seconds before that point and be successful, then just have to match frame the two clips if I had to.

I've always had an idea that Canon's tape transports leave something to be desired. They just aren't robust for some reason and are the cause of most of these "temp dropouts" I've had to deal with. I bet if you could rent/borrow a Sony hdv deck you wouldn't see these issues.
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Old June 4th, 2009, 05:24 PM   #4
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Joel and Bill,
Thanks for the quick responses. I will try the Capture Magic program as Joel suggested. A little more information: I have cleaned the heads and continue to get problems with only certain tapes (good idea though Bill). As for capturing via firewire or analog to another camera, I doubt that will work as I am seeing no signal on the XHA1 upon playback throughout much of the tapes. I will let everyone know how this turns out, as I have seen this problem in other posts--just no good answer. I feel the probable causes are dirty or misaligned heads pn the xha1. Less likely is a bad batch of tapes since I could play them back and capture at one time--though problem tapes approach 10 in number, which is how I ordered them.
Joel--where in Wisconsin are you? I grew up there and return quite often.
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Old June 4th, 2009, 10:42 PM   #5
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Hi Brad,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Bulin View Post
Joel and Bill,
Joel--where in Wisconsin are you? I grew up there and return quite often.
I grew up in Grafton - about 20 miles North of Milwaukee. I'm in Whitefish Bay now.

You?
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Old June 15th, 2009, 09:55 AM   #6
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lived between LaCrosse and Madison for most of my life, now working in Yellowstone as a guide/instructor. Great opportunities for a videographer out here. Haven't had time to try your suggestion yet, but will post when I do. Thanks again.
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Old June 16th, 2009, 11:15 AM   #7
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This could be work (especially if there are numerous dropouts), but if you can get two (or perhaps more would be needed) captures with the dropouts being in different places, you might could use something like Womble to cut from the captured files and then splice together a file that is whole.
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Old June 8th, 2010, 12:37 PM   #8
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For those still remotely interested, I have solved my problem. After trying a Canon HV20 and a Sony Hdv deck with no results, I tried a Canon XLH1 to play back these tapes. Although there were still a few dropped frames, this was the only solution that worked. After a trial at the store, I rented this camera for the weekend and downloaded every tape. Perhaps the xlh1 has a enough leeway in its playback to ignore slight tape problems or this camera just happened to have the heads just perfectly to play my tapes? Either way, perhaps this could work for anyone else with a similar issue.
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Old June 8th, 2010, 08:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Bulin View Post
Curiously, the dropped frames do not occur at the same exact spot on each playback. Any help is appreciated.
Brad that's the clue .. dust or microgrit got on the tapes surfaces AFTER you recorded them .. if it was deposited on the surfaces BEFORE the tape reached the heads when recording .. the grit would cause dropouts appearing at exactly the same t/c locations each time on playback.

From your explanation using the XLH1 I'd say it may have a slightly stronger/tighter tape tension so that when you spooled and played the tapes its tape guides removed and cleaned off the grit. I've seen it happen.

More here ..

unusable footage

Cheers.
__________________
30+ years with our own audio and visual production company and studios.
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