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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 October 5th, 2010, 01:03 PM   #1
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tape dropout??

Hi,
I bought a used XHA1 and the previous owner told me he used Panasonic tapes so I ordered several boxes. The problem is there are occasional 2 -3 seconds of nothing..no sound, no video (not even pixelated).
Does this sound like a tape issue or a maintenance/repair issue (according to the previous owner it only had 20 or so hours on it ).
The tapes I bought are the cheapest Panasonic available, ME DVM60 but my new HV40 doesn't have the problem.
Thanks very much,
Randy
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Old October 5th, 2010, 03:48 PM   #2
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I have read about xh-a1 users not being too happy about panasonic tapes because of drop-out problems and you do have to consider that tape is never 100% drop-out free, not even the very expensive ones, they will be much less sensitive to drop-out's compared to the cheap tapes but it can always occur.

Another thing about the xh-a1 as I own one, my camera has the most unreliable tape mechanisme of all camera's I ever had, I have had it serviced at Canon but they tell me it's OK. 2 Years ago I lost one hour of footage on a brand new expensive hdv tape. I always used new tapes (same brand each time) and my camera was then a few months old. Over 100 non recoverable drop-outs probably caused by high temperature/humidity differences between out- and inside.

Thing what worried the most was the camera never gave any warning. Since then I purchased a ext recorder and have been happily using a sony hvr-dr60 and run tape as backup. Sometimes I need to take a small part from the tape (the dr60 takes 12 seconds to start up and if it realy has to go fast I record to tape first and manually activate recording on the dr60 after that.) and that worked fine untill some time ago I noticed I again had a tape with many drop-out's, it was a tape that was used a second time but even then, multiple dropouts every few seconds without the camera giving a warning. I ran a cleaning tape after that and then it was normal again.

No way i will do a important shoot on my xh-a1 on tape alone, in that way my dr60 has been the best investment I made for that camera, next camera will be tapeless anyway but even then I will see for a hybrid solution to have double backup on a shoot.
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Old October 5th, 2010, 04:13 PM   #3
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Yikes, that's not very encouraging...come to think of it I lost (or never recorded) 8-10 clips (all about 115 seconds long) shot in one session..they just weren't there when I captured the tape.
I want to go tapeless too but it may be a while...in the meantime I guess I'll try a different brand tape even though the HV40 has no issues.
Thanks Noa, any suggestions from anyone else?
Randy
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Old October 5th, 2010, 06:19 PM   #4
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Hey Randy, i had similair issues...
But i was able to catch it...

I was starting to find that between the first 7-17 seconds, i would get no signal on playback...Timecode would continue as if nothing happened..
Fortunately, i played back on another XHA1, and all was fine..Somehow, the signal is getting recorded to tape, but upon playback, there's a 10 second gap..I'm finding this to be a nuisance..

Bad news is that i can't count on my camera as a deck, but the good news is, that information still gets recorded to the tape...

I hope that this is similar in your case...
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Old October 6th, 2010, 08:30 AM   #5
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Thanks very much Peter, that sounds promising since I did capture all with the HV40.
I'll capture from the XH later today to see if it makes a difference.
Thanks again,
Randy
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Old October 6th, 2010, 04:43 PM   #6
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Well hell, no such luck Peter...there must be something wrong with the camera.
Thanks any way,
Randy
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Old October 6th, 2010, 07:47 PM   #7
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Guys, did you try a camera reset?

Might help ..

XH A1 30f footage keeps freezing! HELP!!!!

Cheers.
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Old October 7th, 2010, 09:02 AM   #8
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Thanks Allan,
Yesterday, I called Canon Service Center to refresh my memory on sending a camera in for repair and the tech asked if I had tried a "reset" (pushing a physical button underneath the LCD). Is that what you mean by reset or are you referring to the link you provided (resetting the microgrit or something)?
The reason I don't think the reset button is going to help (but still hopeful) is because it records fine to a laptop via the firewire...it does seem to have something to do with the physical heads/transport.
If you think the reset button might help though I will set it up and let the tape record full and see what it looks like on the timeline (I can't take it on a paying gig unless I can use a laptop).
Speaking of which some guy hired me to shoot his kid playing high school football. These clips as you may know are only as long as the play lasts (usually 10-20 seconds). The last game I shot was missing the whole second half of the game ...it didn't record anything at all after the first half! The kid only played every other play of their offense which would have only been about 8 plays (they were getting an ass whoopin') but still absolutely nothing on the tape.
I may have screwed things up too by using a tape head cleaner for up to more than a minute on several occasions in an effort to resolve the problem (10 sec before every shoot makes more sense).
I wonder if tape brand/model can have anything to do with it. The guy I bought it from claimed that it only had 20 or so hours on it and he used Panasonic tapes. He didn't say what model and I bought 5 or 6 boxes of the cheapest Panasonics available (ME DVM60).
I just re-read this and it sounds pretty random but I'm trying to give you all the info I have.
Thanks again Allan,
Randy
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Old October 7th, 2010, 08:00 PM   #9
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Hi GR, yes pushing the reset button under the LCD. The only mention of it in the manual is in troubleshooting P149 AND you lose all your custom settings so before you press it, actually write out a list of ALL of them, never trust yr memory for things like that. :)

How about yr DV tape cleaner, you're not rewinding it and reusing it are you, never do that you're just depositing crud back on the heads .. use it once through then throw it out and get a new one.

Yep you're definitely using your cleaner too often, imo 10secs every 10-15hrs rec/play with name brand tapes and before every important shoot and after you shoot in dusty locations .. is about right. Clean the top of the A1 spotless before you open the tape transport, dust causes tape dropouts.

Those Pana DV tapes you're using are Ok.

From your description I don't think you've done any tape head damage SO FAR but stop running the cleaner like you're doing. Did the previous owner say how he cleaned the heads?

I'd send the A1 into the shop for a check, you can't keep having those troubles, its demoralizing if nothing else. HTH
Cheers.
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Last edited by Allan Black; October 8th, 2010 at 06:49 AM. Reason: can't spell
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Old October 8th, 2010, 01:38 AM   #10
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If you search this forum for panasonic tapes/canon xh-a1 you can find some user related problems, here is a part I copied from this thread: XH A1 Tape Preference

"I use the Sony PHDVM-63DM tapes. They're about $16 (USD) each. I've had zero dropouts. Before that I tried out the cheaper Panasonic AMQ tapes, about half the price of the Sonys, but after several tapes we had a box of 10 and had dropouts in 5 different tapes out of that box. Later on I had a dropout out of a tape from another box. Switched to Sony, no problems at all since then."
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Old October 8th, 2010, 09:18 AM   #11
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Thanks guys...you know these are looking more and more sensible to me...
Datavideo DN-60 Digital CF Card Recorder DN-60 - B&H Photo Video
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Old October 8th, 2010, 08:51 PM   #12
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GR, remember the sad fact is, if you don't fix the tape problem in your A1, imo you'll never be able to sell it, not even with that DN60.

I'd contact the guy you bought your A1 from and ask how and how often he cleaned the heads, that might be a clue as to what the problem is.

Cheers.
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Old October 9th, 2010, 08:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
I'd contact the guy you bought your A1 from and ask how and how often he cleaned the heads
Don't see the reason for that, I think it's just a canon issue because the camera seems to be very picky about what tapes are used. I mean, I lost one hour of footage without any warning from the camera during recording and Canon service tells me my camera is just fine??
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Old October 9th, 2010, 11:32 AM   #14
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<i>I mean, I lost one hour of footage without any warning from the camera during recording and Canon service tells me my camera is just fine??</i>

Have you resolved that issue Noa, if so what did you do?

I just emailed the previous owner (for the 3rd time) asking what kind of (specific model) tapes he used. If I find out they were different I'll try that...otherwise I think I'll start buying the cheap Sony "Premium" (about $2.25 each online) that never gave my XL1S' a problem for the 5 years I had them. I have also "reset" the camera just to grasp some more straws.
Thanks again guys,
Randy

Last edited by G. Randy Brown; October 9th, 2010 at 11:34 AM. Reason: add details
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Old October 9th, 2010, 12:18 PM   #15
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No, I never found out what the problem really was, thing was that I recorded back on that specific tape that had all those drop-out as test and all was fine so it was no tape error (that tape was used the first time and was taken out of it's wrapping on the filmlocation) There was a big difference in humidity and temperature between the outside and inside location so that might have something to do with it but one would expect the camera to tell you something is wrong.

I have been using a hvr-dr60 ever since and tape as back-up, some weeks ago I needed a short part from tape and noticed the same problem, again a lot of drop-outs. It was only on one tape which had been used once before, I tried some other earlier used tapes and those were fine. Again no warning from the camera whatsoever.

If I would have a critical shoot and no way to record to a second source I would use a cleaning tape just before the shoot and use the most expensive tape I could buy. (preferably Sony's) Usually they say to buy one brand of tape and stick with it and to always use tapes only once but I did exactly that and see what it did for me.

I think that your suggestion of changing brands to sony might work well, only use a cleaning tape before you use other brand tapes.
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