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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old November 21st, 2005, 11:41 PM   #1
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2 Cam Shoot - Sync Issue

Got a question for multiple XL2 shooters, I shot a wedding this past week with a friend in Florida who also shoots an XL2. We use the method described by Chris Hurd on how to sync up 2 XL's via Free Run Timecode and the remote control.

We'll I just started to edit and am finding that the tapes are not in sync. So I'm thinking that I'm doing something wrong in post, since we both saw the same come up on each others viewfinders when we held the cams up side by side.

I'm taking a clip from each tape and importing it into Premier Pro, once in the bin I double click that file to bring it up on the preview monitor, say this tape runs from 12:10:10.1 thru 13:00:00.0, I type 12:15:15.00 into the monitor window the preview scrolls to the spot and I see what the shot was, I also copy the timecode into the windows clipboard and call up another angle from another tape and repeat the import and queue. However this time the 2nd cam footage is not dead on at 12:15:15.00 but anywhere from 1 second to several off forcing me to do a scan for flashbulbs or something.

Am I doing something wrong, did these cams drift, is there some lesson that I can learn for the future? Anyone out there that's done it please let me know.

Thanks,
Miguel
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 01:43 AM   #2
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Well, since you can't jam sync these cameras they are not going to be perfectly in sync. What you said about a visual common mark reference is the best way to do find sync, at least with these cameras. I usually get a head and tail slate in case I have to cut a huge clip somewhere in the middle so I'm covered on both ends. The new XL H1 does have TC I/O for jam syncing two or more cameras of that type. I've always had success when using a slate or flash as you mentioned.
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 04:19 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Emory
Well, since you can't jam sync these cameras they are not going to be perfectly in sync. What you said about a visual common mark reference is the best way to do find sync, at least with these cameras. I usually get a head and tail slate in case I have to cut a huge clip somewhere in the middle so I'm covered on both ends. The new XL H1 does have TC I/O for jam syncing two or more cameras of that type. I've always had success when using a slate or flash as you mentioned.
Well it's a tough lesson learned, we anticipated that the 2 of us shooting would have sync'd cams and we could really offer some nice 2 cam shots like an over the shoulder shot of cam 1 from #2 during interviews or family pics.

The ceremony was easy enough to sync with flashes but other shots I know that I'm not going to be that fortunate on. Just really would like to understand how they can drift 30 to 40 seconds off in 1 day, the process seemed to be easy enough when we set it up. In fact the 2nd day of shooting the hair and nail appointments we didn't even think about timecode, we just turned on our cams, checked that we both saw the same number, assumed we did and started gunnin'.

I used to use the clamshell of my cellphone for a slate/clapper, I didn't do it this time putting trust into new technology that I was using for the first time, next time, yes I'll go back to the cellphone slam to have a slate unless I can get this working between now and then to the point that it's frame accurate.

Miguel
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 05:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miguel Lombana
Just really would like to understand how they can drift 30 to 40 seconds off in 1 day.........
Now that is hard to understand it drifting that much. Are either of you powering down much if any during that time? It's never going to be perfect with those cameras because they're not designed to be jam synced. Even Digibetas slip a few frames or a second or two every now and then. Are you sure that you were using freerun when doing this? I have used my index and middle fingers (like sticks) as a common mark on network shows that I've worked on. They don't care what it is as long as it gives the editors a reference mark. One other way to secure the code for each camera is to just let each camera see/record the other's code in the LCD window. That is a something I saw a bit of on shows using non syncable cameras.

Last edited by James Emory; November 22nd, 2005 at 05:52 PM.
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 05:16 PM   #5
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Wow, you're saying Free Run didn't hold these two together? What a huge disappointment. Were the T/D batts fresh in each camera?
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 06:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
Wow, you're saying Free Run didn't hold these two together? What a huge disappointment. Were the T/D batts fresh in each camera?
Hey Chris, my XL is about 3 weeks old, the other shooters is a year old but we put a new battery in it before the shooting began, all tapes were new non-striped Sony Excellence series.

We did power down several times during the 2 days, since we were shooting the rehearsal on day one we didn't do anything with the cams until the following morning, however prior to that shoot, we did a check on the viewfinders and audibly counted out seconds and we "appeared" to be in perfect sync. What I haven't done is load tapes (1a/1b) which are the rehearsal footage and the first shot just a few minutes after we sync'd, when I'm done editing the ceremony (later tonight) I'll load those tapes and see what happens, this may offer a clue. The real issue is seeing 12:12:35.0, 12:12:36.0, 12:12:37.0 etc and audibly counting off thinking we were in perfect sync to later find that was not the case.

Going back and editing, I'm finding that we're almost 30 to 40 seconds off, what I can't confirm is where the drift was caused, however with the suggestion by James, next shoot, we'll setup and film each others viewfinders, if there is an error we'll see it clearly in post and start to root cause. Only issue now is that I'm not shooting any major booked events until March of next year with this guy so I need to find someone here in Phoenix that I can experiment with until I get my last GL2 sold and acquire another XL2.

BTW, I do have a ticket opened with Canon to see if they can offer insight.

Miguel
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 06:30 PM   #7
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Miguel, since you said that you always checked your sync before rolling, I'm thinking that the other shooter broke sync and either forgot to tell you or doesn't want to admit it. I would shuttle through his footage and see if there's not a break somewhere. That's another reason why I always do a tail slate, in case a shooter accidentally breaks sync. I had a shooter do it on my last multicamera shoot and he didn't tell me and it drove me nuts trying to figure out why my 3rd camera was missing 10 seconds in the timeline. It's not the fact that it happened that got to me as much as I wasn't told and had to spend time, off the clock, to find the issue. The tail slate saved me alot of time because when I finally figured out that he broke sync all I had to do was to slide that track to the tail sync reference and everything was good. I just patched that hole with a wide shot.
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Old November 24th, 2005, 02:33 AM   #8
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I am having the same problem with my xl2's. Within a few minuets of using the syncing method with the remotes one camera will be lagging behind the other by 2 seconds (seriously what's up!!)

any comments Chris?
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Old November 25th, 2005, 01:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Padilla
I am having the same problem with my xl2's. Within a few minuets of using the syncing method with the remotes one camera will be lagging behind the other by 2 seconds (seriously what's up!!)

any comments Chris?
Canon's initial tech support response was to make sure that I'm importing the project files into a 29.97 project (which I am) and if the issue is there when I import the footage from my XL2 and not my JVC deck. I'll appease them and import from the XL2, however I don't expect anything different since the timecode is recorded on the tape and I'm pulling the info from the file in Premier. They have requested for future input from me, which I'll deliver.

Mike, It might be a good idea for you to open a support case with them, the possibility of a few shooters showing the same concern may motivate them to find us a solution. Obviously short of a rubidium time standard to keep the onboard clock at 1ppm accuracy, they might say, it just works that way and due to powering off and on the unit, this is what is giong to happen, but this much drift really does seem odd.

Keeping everyone posted.

ML

Miguel
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Old December 4th, 2005, 05:05 PM   #10
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Same problem

I am having the exact same problem, except mine differs about 4 seconds. How would you get out of sync using free run, which supposedly runs independently of power and the tape compartment?
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Old March 26th, 2006, 04:50 AM   #11
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Any solutions yet?

Hey I realize its been a while for this post but has anyone heard from canon regarding a solution? I would really love this to actually work!
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Old March 26th, 2006, 08:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Padilla
Hey I realize its been a while for this post but has anyone heard from canon regarding a solution? I would really love this to actually work!
Mike not really, I dropped the support case with Canon long ago. Also I've not done anything that required a 2nd cam since this shoot. FWIW, I read an article in the February DV Magazine (http://www.dv.com/news/news_item.jht...leId=183701598) which spoke about this method of syncing Z1u's and that they slipped as well, the suspect was quoted in the article:

In the end, the Sony Z1Us did a great job—they consistently performed well. The cameras ran nonstop for 7 days, and most of the camera ops were comfortable with them after a few hours of constant use. The timecode slipped on all of the cameras, but because it was recording time of day, all of the logging still works, just not to the frame.

This again may have something to do with what happened with the Canon's, for now I'm actually playing with a new toy, an HDV Sony (HC1) which is creating a whole new bunch of post issues :-)

Miguel
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