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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old July 5th, 2005, 11:13 PM   #1
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Can you damage an XL2 by shooting lasers - YES!!!!

So I have a job right now making a TV commercial for a plastic surtion. He wanted some footage of laser Tattoo removal in the spot.

For the shoot we all had to wear protective glasses so the light would not hurt our eyes. Apparently this laser projects very bright colored green light out of it. -I could have never known in a million years that this could damage the XL2 camcorder! :(

I zoomed in right on the laser beam that comes out. It sort of zaps one after
another burning off the skin that contains the tattoo. Very soon I noticed that playback of everything I have recorded sence has, what apears to be green dots burned into the center of the image.

It is very noticeable, and not something you can just ignore. Seems to be missing about 10 - 15 pixels right in the middle. They are burned in green the color of the laser. - Anyway, is this something that can be fixed? What part of the cam do you think is broken??? :undecided

Tyson.
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Old July 5th, 2005, 11:49 PM   #2
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Pixels in one or more of the three CCD image sensors in the XL2's CCD block have been damaged by the laser. You'll need to send the camcorder to the Canon Factory Service center in either Jamesburg, NJ or Irvine, CA for a repair estimate. Call 1-800-828-4040 for contact info.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 06:08 AM   #3
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I guess the rule-of-thumb would be:

If the human eye requires protection (glasses, goggles, etc.),
the cam lens requires protection (filter).

This would hold true for filming the sun during eclipse, lasers, tig welders, etc.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 07:29 AM   #4
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And actually the CCD block (equivalent to the human retina) is more delicate than the lens.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 07:55 AM   #5
 
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I certainly would not hesitate to ask the doctor to cover the cost or repair, or part of it, anyway.

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Old July 6th, 2005, 08:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Gladwell
I certainly would not hesitate to ask the doctor to cover the cost or repair, or part of it, anyway.

Jay
Really? I don't do too many paid video gigs, but what if someone hired me to shoot a scuba diving expedition and I jumped in the water with an unprotected cam? As the professinal videographer hired for the job, wouldn't they expect me to know how to protect and use my gear? Wouldn't I look unprofessional if I tried to collect a repair bill for the water soaked cam?

Granted, tattoo lasers may not seem as obviously harmful as deep sea diving :) But still, when the doctor had everyone wear eye protection, wouldn't it have been prudent for the shooter to say something like "I'm sorry, I didn't realize that the laser would be so intense. I'm going to have to verify that these light levels aren't going to damage my video equipment before we can tape this."

Then he could have asked for advice here and found out that the laser would almost certainly damage his CCD blocks before the damage was done.

I just would really be surprised if the doctor paid for part of the repair. I mean he did his job by making sure that everyone's eyes were protected. Its really not his responsibility to know what the videographer's camera can handle.

As a similar example, if a scientist hires you to shoot a solar eclipse, aren't you going to make sure your camera is equipped to tape that? If not, is it the scientist's fault?

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Old July 6th, 2005, 08:48 AM   #7
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Hopefully you had some kind of production insurance?
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Old July 6th, 2005, 10:05 AM   #8
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So, having a very limited knowledge of filters, I'll be the first to ask, exactly what kind of filter should he have used? I'm under the impression it's not as simple as putting a ND in front of the lens. Are there filters that will reject certain types of rays to be able to handle eclipses, lasers and what not without damaging the CCD block? Is there a filter designed specifically for this use?
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Old July 6th, 2005, 10:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick King
This would hold true for filming the sun during eclipse, lasers, tig welders, etc.
Wow, guess I've been lucky! I shot quite a bit of welding work once (MIG actually, not TIG, but I can't imagine the difference would matter to a CCD) and didn't even think of protecting the lense. I didn't have any negative results from the shooting, and I've shot 8+ hours of footage since then with no noticable CCD problem areas.

Hmm...I wonder what kind of filter I should use in the future?
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Old July 6th, 2005, 10:45 AM   #10
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I'd imagine that for the laser shot you could have just used some gaffers tape to tape a pair of goggles to the lens. It might not have worked, but it might have been worth a shot to protect the lens.

For welding, I'd think a piece of Welder's Helmet glass would work well. You can buy it at some welding supply places.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 11:01 AM   #11
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Replacing the ccd block should run about 650 bucks, I've done it before.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 01:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane Smith
Wow, guess I've been lucky! I shot quite a bit of welding work once (MIG actually, not TIG, but I can't imagine the difference would matter to a CCD) and didn't even think of protecting the lense. I didn't have any negative results from the shooting, and I've shot 8+ hours of footage since then with no noticable CCD problem areas.
Duane,

Welding might not be bright enough that the iris can't compensate. But I would be leary of exposing the lens/CCDs to any light source outside that for which it was intended, namely light which the human eye can see.

I'd use the same protection used to protect the human eye.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 01:43 PM   #13
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Thanks for posting this Tyson. I think it's very important to know about, especially if higher end cameras could be damaged. I have recently worked on a show for Discovery Health Channel, Plastic Surgery Before & After, a few times featuring an Atlanta doctor, what a coincidence. Occassionally, a laser has been used but no damaging effects were noticed. We have shot with a PD-150 and a DSR 570. I will have to check into this further.

I have also shot some welding with my XL-1. I don't know if it MIG or TIG. It wasn't very long, maybe 10-20 seconds and I haven't noticed any visible damage from that. I will certainly be more aware now because of your post.

As far as the doctor being at all liable, I would have to agree with Philip. I think the doctor should only be responsible for his environment and the known effects of a laser to tissue and obvious effects to direct contact with other objects. But, I don't think he can be held responsible for having to know about the sesitivity to all other electronic gear. I think Canon should have tested for things like this and included warnings in its manual. You may want to mention this to them. This is one of those situations where you're just going to have to eat it and just be that much more knowledgeable.

Last edited by James Emory; July 6th, 2005 at 02:32 PM.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 02:01 PM   #14
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I've also shot welders (including plasma welder) using both XL1 and XL2 with no noticable damage to either camera.

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Old July 6th, 2005, 02:26 PM   #15
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Tyson, I just thought about something. Did you have a UV filter attached to your front element or were you shooting with a bare lens? I use the typical Tiffen UV filter and maybe that's why I didn't experience any damage from shooting welding or I was just lucky. I don't know the strength of mine but it mainly protects the front element from debris. Maybe there are stronger ones that can protect against certain bands of laser light. I wonder what the shooters on these build out shows use when shooting all that welding on motorcycles and cars? I remember back with tube cameras that shooting any bright source was a no no because of burn in.
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