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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 April 19th, 2010, 05:14 PM   #1
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unusable footage

I was wondering if anyone else has had problems with the XHA1 tape? The camera seems fine but every once in a while it will glitch out; I will do the shoot and when I play back the tape it has digital looking lines and squares of different colors through it randomly and the footage is unusable. It even looks worse when I bring it into my editor, although the audio seems to be fine. Sometimes it may be through the whole tape and other times it could be when I start and stop recording. I've changed tapes, taken the battery off and on, cleaned the heads and nothing works. I realize I can send it in for repair but I'm worried that because it's an intermittent problem they may not find it. So I'm hoping someone else might know something. Please help!!!
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Old April 19th, 2010, 05:41 PM   #2
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What brand of tape are you using Sabrina? You should be using the same brand cleaning tape.

Before opening the tape transport, always use a damp cloth and thoroughly clean the top of the camera to remove all dust and grit. When the tpt pops open almost invisible dust flies up and into the compartment.

So it's possible you have fine microgrit loose in the tape transport and it gets on the tape. Unload the tape leave the transport open and upend the cam and give it a light shake. Then if you have one use a dustbug with a small nozzle and very carefully vacuum the inside of the tpt.

Change tapes in a dustfree area if you can and do it fast .. have the new tape out of its case ready to load and never ever leave tapes sitting around out of their cases. If I'm going outdoors into a dusty area I load a new tape before going out. HTH

Cheers.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 10:28 AM   #3
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unusable footage

Thanks Allen, that's very helpful. I didn't think it was dust because I have heard many others state that the notification light came on telling them to clean it; mine never has but I have cleaned it. I am utilizing Sony HD tapes, I had tried others and hoped that this would solve the problem but the 2nd time I used one I had the problem again. I will purchase the matching cleaner, take the steps you recommend and pay more attention to the dust factor. Thank you so much again!

Sabrina
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Old April 20th, 2010, 04:21 PM   #4
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Settle on one brand of tape and stick to it.

The only time I've had problems like that is when I've switched from Sony to Panasonic, or from Panasonic back to Sony.

Each time the problem has gone away after I've cleaned the heads but returned almost immediately if I switched tape brands again.

I use the Sony cleaner with Sony tapes although admittedly it's because I get one cleaning tape as part of the package with each batch of tapes I buy.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 04:44 PM   #5
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Hi Bill .. using the same brand cleaner .. clean the heads before you switch to another tape brand.

The label on a DV cleaning tape says you can use it TWICE but only use it once you don't want to deposit crud back on the tape guides and heads. They say TWICE because of buyer resistance paying $$$ for a tape to use once.

BTW Panasonic is no longer importing DV cleaning tapes into Australia but you can still get them in some stores. I just bought 10 so I can sell my Canon XH-A1 with tapes.

Hi Sabrina ..
your *clean the heads* message doesn't come on because your heads are not dirty.

The almost invisible bits of microgrit are lying around loose in the transport .. and vibration and heat causes them to move around .. they land on the tape surface as it passes over the tape guides and this causes the picture dropouts.

You'll see posts from people saying tape dropouts only happen in the first few minutes of their tapes then the tape plays OK. There's not much grit in their transport.

Some have instances where they see a picture dropout then after rewinding back a few minutes .. on replay it's OK! .. the grit got on the tape surface AFTER the recording and rewinding cleaned it off. It hasn't gone it just moved somewhere else. I've seen that happen .. but some types of grit will pressure stick to the tape surface when the tape packs tightly on the spool.

If the grit is present during recording and causes a dropout .. cleaning it off the tape won't cure the dropout.

Microgrit is everywhere .. you've just got to keep it out of your cameras tape transport.

I probably should say I've had 46yrs experience with magnetic tape and our own studios. But we're coming to the end of the tape era so keep a machine in good condition to play your family DV tape archives and buy a solid state cam before it dies. In another few years nobody will know how to repair them.

Cheers.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 04:44 PM   #6
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Did you buy your Sony HD tapes from a reliable source? I bought a twin pack off Ebay and although I have no way of checking, I suspect they were counterfeit as the quality was terrible and match the kind of problems you experienced except I had audio glitches too.

I decided to throw them away, clean the heads and write the whole experience off as my fault for trying to save a few pounds
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