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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old June 13th, 2009, 11:42 AM   #1
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VISTA Firewire problems with XL2 (and most other cams).

I was in the process of buying the latest XL-H1s last month and a friend who is keen on learning DV phoned to ask advice on the best first semi-pro camcorder to buy for a simple project. I told him to buy an XL1 and he managed to find a decent one on Ebay...but up until now he has not been able to transfer footage on the tapes to his (Vista loaded) laptop via the normal firewire!

I've just recently bought another XL2 (my third!) for a new filming project in France & Italy, and decided to download some tapes on to my new HP laptop instead of my main large PC-system. I've always run the PC on XP pro because I much prefer it to Vista and everything works OK with the firewire. However, the new laptop has the latest vista installed and for some reason does not recognize the XL2 at all...even though the firewire has been checked to be working.

I've also checked it on a separate Mac OS X laptop working via leopard to check if the XL2 may be the problem....but no...the Mac picks up the XL2 via the firewire perfectly.

I've surfed the net and there are actually THOUSANDS of people with Vista on their PCs and laptops having the same problems with not only Canon XL camcorders but a whole range of different camcorders. This problem definitely stems from Vista!

I don't fancy dumping the Vista and having to reload with the old XP1 on my latest laptop, but am tempted.

Does anyone out there know of a simple download/driver or some way of fixing this firewire nightmare with the dreaded Vista?
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Old June 13th, 2009, 12:23 PM   #2
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I have searched everywhere online for a fix to this headbanger Vista problem and eventually found this to be the main snippet of advice from Microsoft:

Windows Vista does not enumerate an IEEE 1394a device that you connect to the computer

...But, I've tried to follow the complicated 'fix' and yet the problem is not rectified.

Anybody got another idea?
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Old June 13th, 2009, 04:38 PM   #3
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While I haven't read about firewire problems specifically related to Vista, I have read about firewire problems specific to the lower end firewire chips used in laptops. An ExpressCard firewire card may solve the problem (but don't take my word for it).

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Old June 13th, 2009, 06:14 PM   #4
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If you spend a short time looking on the net you'll find that this problem with Vista and firewire is widespread and far greater than even I at first thought.

Regarding your points about the Expresscard, I'll check that and see if it helps. As mentioned, all the PC's and Macs and laptops I've tried that run on operation systems other than Vista all work perfectly via firewire with the XL camcorders, but none with several Vista laptops.

I'm using a decent laptop: HP Dual-core 2.10GHz with 3gig ram, 300GB internal HD and 400GB external HD, so I reckon it will perform OK if I load XP, but I'd rather get the task of it simply recognizing the XL2 using the Vista Premium it already has installed instead of messing around with a different operating system.
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Old June 13th, 2009, 10:32 PM   #5
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Hmm? I guess I'm one of the lucky ones, I've only used Vista to capture my footage from my XL 2 with no problems. I will tell you that the new Adobe CS4 does seem to have some wacky intermient capture problems. I don't use a laptop though either, sounds like that might be the problem.
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Old June 14th, 2009, 01:07 AM   #6
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I second the comment on using another firewire card, one that uses the Expresscard bus. This will most likely have a third party driver and will not conflict in the same way your current on board firewire is. You should also find out the chipset of your firewire and search for drivers. But honestly, firewire 400 cards are cheap- so I might just take the plunge.
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Old June 14th, 2009, 06:18 AM   #7
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The onboard HP firewire insignia does confirm that it is working and connected, but just doesn't recognize a camera.
All my main editing is done with my main large tower PC with separate large screen and powerful processors etc - so for the time being I can simply transfer files via an external hard-drive, but I just wanted to set up the laptop for checking some DV work while on location in other countries.
I'll give the tech support a ring on Monday and see if they can sort it out before going down the route of getting extra expansion cards.
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Old June 25th, 2009, 04:06 PM   #8
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Firewire problems

I certainly sympathize with you. That driver snipe hunt is no fun at all.

I was having a firewire problem on an XP sp2 machine running Avid Xpress Pro a while back. At first it wasn't clear if it was a driver issue, inferior chipset, or possibly faulty hardware. But I was able to solve the problem with a PCMCIA firewire card for under $50, and no more wasted time scouring the interwebs for elusive drivers.

Similar problems running cameras, decks, and interfaces like a Pro Tools Digi 002 from on-board firewire made me wary early on, and now whenever there is a firewire problem I usually start with hardware as the first expected point of failure in my troubleshooting routine.

In the PC world it's easy to blame Vista for lots of things (I certainly do), but in your case it may just be a matter of the on-board firewire chipset not being supported by your NLE. I've built a few Avid and Premiere/After Effects systems and I find its a good idea to check your hardware against your software's requirements, or against the specs of a certified system (especially with regard to Avid). In your case, It sounds like you're trying to get a laptop to work, so you don't have the luxury of switching out the hardware.

In laptops, and also desktop systems I've built, I have had good results from SIIG firewire and pcmcia hardware. Not necessarily an endorsement, just a reflection of my experiences. They are widely available online and in most retailers (including Fry's). I've heard that most SIIG cards have a higher quality Texas Instrument chipset, as do some of the Belkin firewire cards.

I have both pcmcia and expresscard firewire adapters and they work great and have been well worth the cost. They have outlived the machines they were originally bought for
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Old June 26th, 2009, 06:40 AM   #9
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I phoned the tech division of HP and they confirmed that the XL2 has compatability problems with Vista. It is possible that the later XL2 without Grain-mode is OK, but I don't think there were any internal changes so it is more likely a problem with most XL2 firewire connections to laptops that have modern Vista premium software installed. The older XL1s also has the same firewire problems with laptops working on Vista. The latest XL-H1s doesn't seem to have the same problems (maybe placing the XL2 tapes inside the XL-H1 chamber and uploading via firewire will work, I haven't tried that yet!).

The tech division advised me to try to revert my laptop back to original factory mode and then re-load Vista so that it was exactly the same as when I bought it - this would rule out all other possible related issues. This I did, but it didn't help at all.

In the end I gave up wasting time with Vista & firewires and sorted it out by a different route.

I've now simply downloaded the XL2 tapes via firewire to one of my main PC tower systems working on XP Pro, transferred the Avi files to a 400GB external HD; and then finally connected the HD (via USB2) to the laptop working on Vista. All is now sorted! :)
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Old June 28th, 2009, 08:24 AM   #10
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I guess I'm lucky too (or the OP is unlucky...)

I use an XL2 with two different Vista laptops: a Lenovo Netbook (with an Express34 firewire card) and also a HP Compaq 6710b (built in firewire). Both are running Vista Business.

I capture directly to disc using the built in video capture of Vista. I also have Premiere Elements 4 on the HP and capture tapes from the XL2 without problems.

My editing PC I built myself. It has an Asus MB which has built in firewire and it's running Vista Ultimate 64-bit. I can capture from the XL2 into Premiere CS3 also without issues.

PS: my XL2 is one of the earlier models with the grain mode.
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Old June 28th, 2009, 09:21 AM   #11
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Thank you, David, for the information. I wonder if there are any subtle differences between Vista Business and Vista Premium home?

Here are some others with similar XL2 Vista problems:

FireWire - Vista Forums
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