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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon XL2 / XL1S / XL1 and GL2 / XM2 / GL1 / XM1.


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Old October 11th, 2004, 10:36 AM   #1
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Nightmare

Had a huge gig in mexico this past weekend. Shooting a promotional video for a city there. Used my brand new XL-2.
Got back sunday night and played some tapes back on the
TV. For the most part. I was happy with what I saw. Later that
night I wanted to dub a few scenes to give to a friend. So
I stuck a random tape from the shoot, into the xl2, and ran
a cable to my gl2. I noticed a problem right away. It looked like
pixalization. Long story short. The whole 1 hour tape appeared to be worthless.

The people I've talked to so far are thinking that it is the tape that I used. Sony Premium. And one person inparticular says that he's never gotten good results with Sony's in his XL1's.

I just dont understand that. I've shot over 200 hours with my GL2 in dust storms, rain, heat, cold, wind, with sony tapes and
have never had a single problem. But for some reason they don't work good in XL cameras?? Does that make sense?

Anyway, I've included a link to 2 clips to show you the problem on the tape.


The first clip was played back from a GL2.
The second clip was played back from a JVC mini-dv deck.
when you load up the page, right click on the link to save it to
your computer

www.elpez.com/problem.html

The reason for the 2 different clips, is to show the difference in the way the "problem" appears. I guess it could be considered good news because it doesnt appear that the error was "burned" into the tape. It's almost like, if I could find the right playback device, the footage might playback correctly.

So, my questions are"

1. Was there something wrong with the just the tape?
2. Is there something wrong with the XL2?
3. Is there a compatibility issue between the XL2 and the Sony
tapes?
4. Is it possible that I might be able to find a playback device that
would display the footage correctly?

Let me go on to say, that I am blown away by the XL2. Many of the scenes that I shot came out beautiful. I just hope nothing is wrong with my camera.

Thanks,

John
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Old October 11th, 2004, 11:03 AM   #2
 
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I seem to recall that the XL1 had similar problems when playing back tape in a different playback device. It's not so much of a tape problem as a record head alignment problem. Your record head may be within Canon alignment specs but not close enough if another playback device has its heads aligned at the other end of the allowable tolerance.
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Old October 11th, 2004, 11:12 AM   #3
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When testing different cameras for my book, I ran into a similar problem: anything shot on a canon would not play in any other camera brand. What's surprising is you were going from Canon to Canon. (If I understand your post, the tapes play fine on the camera you shot the video on, right?) I'd see if you get the same problem if you play the tape in a DV deck. If so, can you please let me know! I'm on the fence about XL2 for this simple reason.

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Old October 11th, 2004, 11:17 AM   #4
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As others have said, it sounds like a tape path alignment problem. My XL-1 started doing that AFTER it was sent in for a routine cleaning. Tapes would not play back properly on my Sony Deck. I sent it in again and they got it fixed.

You can capture from your XL-2 and hopefully circumvent this dillema for the short term. For the long term you may need a Canon Deck assuming they make one.

Greg
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Old October 11th, 2004, 11:24 AM   #5
 
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After canon's latest bruhaha with the canon 20D DSLR, I'm convinced their production QC is non-existent. Some simple things to try:
1-playback on a Sony DSR-11 or something like that
2-try Panasonic tape. I use panasonic exclusively and never had a problem. Sony cams record at a slightly different pitch than the ROW. Their tape may be optimized a little differently.
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Old October 11th, 2004, 11:29 AM   #6
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You might consider (for the next time) not using tape. Invest in a portable FireWire hard drive that writes edit-ready DV files, such as the FireStore FS-4, the MCE QuickStream DV, and the nNovia A2D. These things pay for themselves over the long run. They bypass all the limitations of DV tapes and completely eliminate the video capture process.
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Old October 11th, 2004, 11:31 AM   #7
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Playback the tape from the camera that recorded it. If it plays fine from the original camera, but not other cameras, it's tape path alignment of either or both cameras at possible fault. If it doesn't playback from original camera, you've got a tape or camera issue. Try Bill's suggestion to tape using a Panasonic brand tape. Before switching brands run a tape cleaner through the camera, following the directions printed with the tape cleaner.
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Old October 11th, 2004, 11:41 AM   #8
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Thanks for all of the input so far.

I forgot to mention in my original post, that I first discovered the problem while playing back from the XL2. The very same camera I recorded the tape with.

I get the same effect when playing back from the XL-2 and GL-2

But I get a different effect playing back from the JVC deck.



j.
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Old October 11th, 2004, 11:51 AM   #9
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FYI-
I use Sony Premium tape and have never had a problem...we shoot for NFL films weekly and uplink our footage from a Sony DSR-1500 recorder and have no playback problems either.

You need to trouble shoot your configuration:

1. You could have a clogged head, try cleaning the heads.
2. Have you tried playing back the tape in the same camera it was recorded in? (this will help to determine if it is an alignment issue)
3. Have you tried recording on another tape? (this will help determine if the actual tape was defective).

Bottom line is why didnt you playback the footage after you shot it...this should be a habit, especially when shooting out of the country.
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Old October 11th, 2004, 01:08 PM   #10
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That somebody has such problems may not be that surprising. The manual says on page 30 (section Recording):

Before You Begin Recording
Make a test recording first to check if the camcorder operates correctly. If necessary, clean the cideo heads (page 108).

Page 108 is about cleaning the video heads with a cleaning cassette. For me it seems Canon does expect that some cameras may at first have problems which can be removed by cleaning the heads.
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Old October 11th, 2004, 05:08 PM   #11
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Sadly, I can relate to this problem. My XL1 came from the factory with a poorly aligned tape path. Tapes would play back OK in camera, but not in DVCPro decks (with the adapter cassette). Canon in NJ pointed the finger at the Panasonic DVCPro decks my news clients used. After 2 trips to factory service they got it fixed.

BEFORE you send the camera back for repair, use the camera to dub every tape you recorded on it. Once the camera comes back from repair, odds are that your tapes won't play worth a darn in the camera....a point Canon failed to mention before they did the repair.

Happily, my XL1s and now the XL2 play fine. But, it was my own nightmare trying to convince the factory tech that the problem was in the Canon camera, not the Panasonic DVCPro decks.

Good luck.

Bob
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Old October 12th, 2004, 12:34 AM   #12
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This definitely sounds like an issue with the camera. All of the above is good advice.
Sony tapes are optimized for use in Sony cameras and decks that have a high-speed rw/ff feature, and thus have a bit of extra "lubricant" (I'm unsure exactly what it is) on the tape that gums up non-Sony cams and decks. I know several people that have had decks rendered worthless due to extensive use of Sony tapes. I've been using Panasonic tapes exclusively for several years and have never had any problems in my XL1.
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Old October 12th, 2004, 04:17 PM   #13
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I've got hundreds of hours on decks and cameras with nothing but Sony DVCAM tapes and never a problem.
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Old October 12th, 2004, 07:49 PM   #14
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Like Bill, I strongly suspect that your Sony tape stock is just fine, John.

Of course it's too late now, but I really recommend running a head cleaning cassette *the very first thing* when you pull a new camera out of the box. Why should you need to do this? Well you shouldn't have too, but these days it's a good practice for *any* new camcorder, no matter which make or model.

One other thing, you might want to contact your dealer and see if they can assist you with maybe getting this camera back to a factory service center and have them check it. Who knows, maybe your dealer will be good enough to swap cameras for you and *they* can deal having the other one serviced. Meanwhile, if this happens, be sure to run a head cleaning cassette in your new one, and check it out at the dealer's while you're there.

Unless of course you bought by mail order? In which case you'll need to consider going directly to factory service. The tape transport is covered by a 90-day warranty at any rate.
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Old October 13th, 2004, 10:39 AM   #15
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nightmare

I made some tests before to run with my XL2. I record one tape Panasonic with Sony hd 40 and I saw it in the camera. After that I used the same cassette in a Canon Z 80. Perfect. I saw this cassette in the Xl2 and was better. Did the same With Xl2 in p24/30/etc. Loaded in Vegas. Edit.With Vl3, in the night...son on, son ...Combining all the possibilities you can imagined..I think ,buy panasonic..
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