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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 15th, 2011, 09:32 AM   #1
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Firewire solution - Please help!

Hey guys.

I finally managed to get some paid work (big step for a 20 year old student filmmaker) and, just as I have it filmed, I try to upload it and I discover that my firewire port on my XH-A1s is fried. -.-

I've tried different cables and different computers, but it is just not recognizing that there is even a device plugged in.

This is urgent, I can't afford to disappoint my first client, and I am begging for some help on this.

Is it possible to get a small, HD Canon handycam to use purely to playback the footage I have recorded on my XH-A1s? Will this work? Or do I need another XH-A1s to recognize the tape and upload it?

Thanks a lot, guys.

Last edited by Ciaran Fallon; July 15th, 2011 at 09:32 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old July 15th, 2011, 12:04 PM   #2
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Re: Firewire solution - Please help!

Hi,

It should be possible to play your Canon XH A1S HDV-tapes on a Canon HV30 (Firewire) or Canon HV40 (USB/HDMI) or a XH A1.
Also have a look here:
good inexpensive camera to pair with an XLH1

Regards,
Stany
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Old July 15th, 2011, 12:09 PM   #3
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Re: Firewire solution - Please help!

Thanks for the answer! I don't suppose you know if it will play on any cheaper cameras? I'm pretty skint right now. Hahaha

Thanks :)
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Old July 15th, 2011, 12:17 PM   #4
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Re: Firewire solution - Please help!

As you only need it to play/capture your tapes you might have a look on e-bay. If you recorded in 24/25F then you will have to look for a Canon, I don't think Sony or other camera's will be able to play this framerate.
If it was my camera I would certainly send it to Canon for repair.
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Old July 15th, 2011, 12:28 PM   #5
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Re: Firewire solution - Please help!

I do plan on sending it back to them. The only problem is that I have to use the camera for some work over the next few weeks. Do you know how long it would take for it to be repaired?

Thanks for all the help, man. :)
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Old July 15th, 2011, 12:44 PM   #6
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Re: Firewire solution - Please help!

I once had to send my XH A1 to the Canon servicecentre in France and it took about a month to get it back. This was at the time when Canon repaired the handstrap fixing point (design weakness on XH A1). They fixed it for free, even didn't have to pay for transport :-) Hope your cam is still in warranty ;-)
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Old July 15th, 2011, 02:58 PM   #7
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Re: Firewire solution - Please help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ciaran Fallon View Post
Hey guys.

I finally managed to get some paid work (big step for a 20 year old student filmmaker) and, just as I have it filmed, I try to upload it and I discover that my firewire port on my XH-A1s is fried. -.-
* * *
Is it possible to get a small, HD Canon handycam to use purely to playback the footage I have recorded on my XH-A1s? Will this work? Or do I need another XH-A1s to recognize the tape and upload it?
There is a much more basic question to ask.

The basic question is this: what is the playback setting in your camera's VCR/Play menu? I ask because you did not mention setting it to HDV. Most computers will not recognize an XHA1 when set to "Auto" rather than "HDV" in the camera's VCR/Play menu. This used to be the most common cause of computers not seeing an XHA1. Maybe, you already know this and took care of it. (That said, one of our Gateway laptops sometimes used to not see the XHA1 until we switched the cam setting to "Auto" and switched it back to "HDV.")

As for getting a small consumer cam, the answer depends on the shooting format you used.

If you shot in 1080i (what the manual may call 50i for PAL countries and 60i here in NTSC land), you can use virtually any HDV cam with a functioning firewire port and tape mechanism. As a film student, surely you know somebody else who could loan you the use of the camera for the few hours that capturing would require?

Does being a film student mean you shot in 24f? If that is the case, your options narrow. Stanny mentioned the Canon HV30 and 40. I would add the older and less expensive HV20. Over here, I've seen used HV20s on offer for prices ranging between $200 and $400 ($US).

Again, if anybody you know has one, you might be able to borrow it for the few hours it would take to capture your footage to a computer.

If you shot in 25F (which would be 30F over here in NTSC land), it will be much harder to find something. I do not know of any inexpensive consumer cams that would play 30F.
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Old July 15th, 2011, 11:32 PM   #8
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Re: Firewire solution - Please help!

A question you may want to consider is, "how did the firewire port of the XHA1s get fried?" There have been reports of name brand PC compatible computers that have incorrectly wired front panel firewire ports with 12 volt power on the data ground lines that will immediate burn out any device you connect.

HV30 Problems (cannot power up)
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Old July 15th, 2011, 11:58 PM   #9
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Re: Firewire solution - Please help!

That is another possibility but is pretty rare. Note that the incorrect wiring fried the HV30 and that Ciaran's XH is still working except for the firewire port. That points to the port's wiring not being the problem.

Ciaran, if you have or can borrow get a multi-meter (older ones may be called a VOM), the link has some instructions on checking the plugs to rule out the problem Eric noted.

Some more questions, Ciaran. Were you able to capture from the camera in the past or is this a camera you bought used and this is the first time you tried to capture with it? Have you ever captured video from any camera on this computer before?

If so, then the obvious place to start is being sure your XHA1 has the correct HDV setting in the VCR/Play menu.

Logically, if you have the correct VCR/Play setting and a computer that previously has not had problem, it is much more likely that the camera's firewire port is worn out. Not fried, necessarily, but maybe too loose for good contact, anymore, and in need of reconditioning. In that case, a secondary small cam is indeed the obvious work-around for the time being.
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Old July 16th, 2011, 09:55 AM   #10
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Re: Firewire solution - Please help!

Thanks very much for the support, guys. I really appreciate it. :)

I have had the camera for about a year and half and have uploaded footage onto the same computer since I first got it, so I don't think the computer port is the issue, but thanks for the suggestion.

I don't know if it is just my imagination, but the firewire on the cam does seem looser than I remember it being originally. I realised that my settings were on Auto as opposed HDV, but even after changing that it doesn't work.

I ran into some issues with 25 fps before; Final Cut didn't seem to like it at Uni but Vegas - that I use at home - seemed fine with it. Just out of habit I record everything in 50i nowadays.

I got the number of a place nearby that apparently fixes all types of cameras and have a good rep. I certainly hope it as you suggested, Jay, and the firewire is just loose as opposed to fried; it will save me a lot of money. I have looked online for a HV20 and the cheapest I found was over 200. Its a shame I can't find one with a cracked lens or something just to upload with.

And I am the only person who owns a HDV camera on my whole course! Everyone else have DSLR's because they are cheaper. Hahaha

Really thankful for the support again, guys. Thanks a lot :)
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Old July 16th, 2011, 10:56 AM   #11
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Re: Firewire solution - Please help!

For 50i, absolutely any HDV cam will do. The place that fixes cams may have something in a parts pile or know where you could pick up a very inexpensive but functioning consumer HDV cam.
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Old July 17th, 2011, 05:34 AM   #12
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Re: Firewire solution - Please help!

I had the same problem - got it repaired, but now I use an old HV10, picked up on eBay for next to nothing, to get the video onto my Mac
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Old July 18th, 2011, 11:44 AM   #13
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Re: Firewire solution - Please help!

So it doesn't matter if the cam I buy isn't a canon if I filmed in 50i? Like, I could pick up a Sony or Panasonic and it would read the tape fine?
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Old July 18th, 2011, 12:19 PM   #14
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Re: Firewire solution - Please help!

It needs to be an 1080i HDV camcorder not just a DV model. I don't think Panasonic ever made such a camcorder and I think JVC only manufactured 720p HDV models. Get a Sony or Canon HDV camcorder to read the tapes.
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Old July 18th, 2011, 04:17 PM   #15
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Re: Firewire solution - Please help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ciaran Fallon View Post
So it doesn't matter if the cam I buy isn't a canon if I filmed in 50i? Like, I could pick up a Sony or Panasonic and it would read the tape fine?
I agree with Eric's response on this, and comment only to add two additional comments.

One is that there were some other brands of consumer-grade 1080HDV tape camcorders out there such as Samsung.

Second, because 50i HDV (or 60i on this side of the ocean) is a standard format, any 1080HDV consumer camera will play back tapes shot on another 1080 HDV camera. The possible exception is with cameras used so heavily that the recording heads (on the shooting camera) or playback heads (on the playback camera) have started drifting off alignment. Most consumer cams will not have been that heavily used. Before I switched over to tapeless recording a couple of years ago, I regularly did multi-cam event shoots with cameras including an XHA1, a Canon HV20 and a Sony HDRHC1. The tapes were interchangeable and I often used the HV or HC to capture all the tapes from a shoot.
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