Dirty Head? But I just cleaned it! 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 August 4th, 2009, 03:57 PM   #1
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Dirty Head? But I just cleaned it!

Please take 15 seconds to look at my raw footage from last week wedding and let me know if you have any idea what's going on.

Orange Video Production On ExposureRoom
pw: why

So here is the story.
I have 4 months old XH-A1s. Brand new from B&H. I shot Save the Date video in downtown Chicago 2.5 weeks ago. Before I shot that video, the camera had shot probably 4 weddings, no playback at all. Then while I was shooting the Save the Date video, "please clean the head" message shows up. I didn't expect that message from my pretty brand new camera so I didn't have head cleaning tape then. I proceeded with shooting and later I found out about 30seconds to one minuted footage was lost. It was simply blank. It was somewhat important shots, but I worked around it. I ordered cleaning tape from B&H very next day and as soon as I got it from B&H, I cleaned it as directed.
I shot a wedding 2 weekends ago, and I noticed a frame or two shaking in the middle of shooting. I freaked out and cleaned the tape right there (Yes, I carried around the cleaning tape with me just in case) but didn't fix it. Shaking still happened a couple times during the shoot. I captured and posted on Exposureroom for you to view.
It's password protected because the footage has not been approved by my bride yet.
Please take a moment to view it and let me know if you ever had similar experience, if so, have you fixed it and how.
Thank yo so much again, everyone!


J.J. Kim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 4th, 2009, 08:49 PM   #2
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Probably a silly question because you are likely already onto this one. - have you been mixing Sony and any other tape brand?

Something going wrong early in the life of a product is more likely than one might imagine. Despite the incredible precision and build quality of today's mass produced items, rubbing surfaces still dress and settle. Most settle within or into specification, odd ones will settle outside of specification and will need warranty service which is what warranties are for.

If you still have a warranty, use it. Besides getting the problem fixed, this establishes an evidentiary record if it is not fixed or the same problem recurs in an unacceptably short period of time outside of warranty.
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Old August 4th, 2009, 08:57 PM   #3
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I don't think it's a tape problem. That would create some actual breakup of the image. Dirty heads or a date glitch will cause "blocking" or a complete loss of the image.

If you had the image stabilizer on, it looks like it went spastic. This should be a warranty item.

I saw something kinda similar when I first got my camera nearly two years ago. I chalked it up to the fact that I wasn't used to holding and shooting with it. After the first few tests, it never reoccurred. It could have been a "settling in" issue with a new camera, but I find that unusual.

You might want to take a ton of test footage to see if the issue repeats. If it does, a call to Canon service is in order.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 03:32 PM   #4
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I agree, I don't think that's a dirty head problem. Probably the dirty head message was coincidental. If the camera was pretty new and you never ran the head cleaning tape, that could happen. I don't think they tell you in the manual to use a head cleaning tape when you get the camera, but you should. Also switching tape stock, reusing tapes, using old tapes can cause that problem.

But what your clip shows is something else entirely, I think. I would do lots of testing, both hand held with OIS on, and on tripod with it off of course, panning and static shots, and see if the jump happens again. If it does, it's definitely a service issue. You might want to go ahead and send it in with the tape so the service department can check it out.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 03:37 PM   #5
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I have been using Panasonic Professional miniDV tape since 2005, so I believe it's not the tape issue.
Never used tape twice or old tapes.
I had a frame drop a couple times before during my last 2.5 years with XH-A1, but this is totally different.
During weddings, I do quite a lot of hand held shots and never had this problem before.
Maybe I will try what Bill suggests with OIS.
Thank you all so much for the advice.

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Old December 11th, 2009, 10:26 PM   #6
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dirty head warning

I use Panasonic Professional miniDV also and in the last few weeks i have been getting the dirty head warning to each time it has been in cold weather shooting 30 degrees and lower
i have ran the head cleaner dont seem to help now they say dont use sony tape in a canon does that mean my head cleaner should be canon as well
Chas Briggs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 12th, 2009, 03:45 AM   #7
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This comes up a lot. The balance of opinion seems to be that is is safer to use the same brand, although some would say it doesn't matter.
Here's the last reference: How often should I use a head cleaner?

Last edited by Colin McDonald; December 12th, 2009 at 04:37 AM.
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