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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.


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Old April 12th, 2008, 01:40 PM   #1
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Strange format

I'm in a bit of a predicament and not 100% sure what to do, Canon South Africa doesn't seem to know either so I'm hoping someone here might have the answer.

We filmed a studio set up about a week ago using my PAL Canon XLH1. As a back up camera for cut aways we used a PAL Canon HV20 (Which I normally use for a playback deck)

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I wanted to check the footage that I shot on the XLH1 on the HV20 and tried to play the tape, it didn't work, so I placed the tape back into the XLH1 and it played back without any problems. To double check I took a tape that was recorded on the HV20 and tried to play it on the XLH1 and this time round the tape that was recorded on the HV20 didn't play back on the XLH1...

I found this a bit odd and double checked the recording modes of both cameras. The XLH1 displayed HDV in the viewfinder which seemed abnormal as it would normally either display HDV50i or HDV25f.

I switched the settings on the side of the camera between HDV and HD and suddenly the camera jumped back into HDV50i mode. Great, so it's recording in HDV50i again BUT now refused to playback the tapes that was shot on it when it only displayed HDV.

It seems to me that the camera accidentally recorded in a strange format that it only recognizes for playback when the camera is set in that format. The crises right now is that two episodes of this 24 episode series that we filmed was shot in this mysterious mode and we cant get the camera or a Sony HDV deck to play the tapes back for digitizing.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what might have happened and how we can get the camera reset to playback the tapes. At this point reshooting will be financial suicide and the frustrating part is that the camera did play back the footage when it was in this funny mode with only HDV displayed on the screen.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Regards

Didi Schoeman
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Old April 12th, 2008, 06:02 PM   #2
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Is it possible that you recorded the footage in 60i or 24f? It seems like maybe the footage accidentally was recorded in NTSC language (as that's an option on the h1) which is why it won't play back on the PAL HV-20. Have you tried playing back on a NTSC HV-20? or Have you tried playing back through the SDI port or the Composite port on the H1 and just importing it that way?
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Old April 12th, 2008, 06:46 PM   #3
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There is a menu setting in the XLH1 which can determine the XLH1 basic playback setting. See page 98 in the manual. I found this and other settings can interfere with Firewire signal output as well. Is you XLH1 dual standard Pal NTSC or only Pal. If you somehow recorded in HDV 60i the camera may not Auto sense what to play if you have a menu setting telling it to record in Pal. Also the camera may not communicate with a computer which is looking for an HDV version of firewire when the camera defaults to DV. I don't think the HV20 has this issue.
By the way if your tapes are still incompatible on playback you may have some alignment issues going on if the problem is not a Pal NTSC issue. You may even have both HTH
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Old April 13th, 2008, 10:39 AM   #4
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The camera is not a dual mode camera and can only record in PAL, that said, I also have a feeling that it might have recorded the footage in NTSC mode, how it managed to switch itself into that mode is a mystery, how to get it to switch back to that mode is the big question.

Canon South Africa does not offer the "Software" or "Unlock" upgrade for dual mode, for that the camera needs to be sent to Europe...

When you fast forward or rewind the tapes you can view the footage in the viewfinder, as soon as you want to play back the footage it stops... the camera refuses to play the footage which tells me it doesn't identify the format...

Getting hold of an NTSC camera in South Africa is not going to be easy... isn't the sony HDV cameras standardized as dual compatible between NTSC and PAL, that might be a way to test the footage.

Any other ideas are welcome!!! Thanks for the advice!

Didi
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Old April 14th, 2008, 10:36 AM   #5
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How do you switch between PAL and NTSC modes???

Does anyone know how to switch a dual mode camera from PAL to NTSC or vice a versa?

We tried to play the tapes o a Sony HDV deck that can play both PAL and NTSC formats but the deck couldn't play the tapes. The technician however mentioned that in general the Sony deck has issues with Canon footage...

I'm hoping to get the camera to start up in NTSC mode, it's not a dual mode camera but maybe the dual mode feature has been activated... any advice would be appreciated.

Best regards

Didi
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Old April 14th, 2008, 06:24 PM   #6
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Didi,
Did you originally plan to record in 25F on the XLH1. I don't think any Sony HDV machine can deal with that except maybe the newest M45 deck. Older Sony decks can really only recognize 50i or 60i.
As for your playback options. Make sure you are not in DV for playback standard if you recorded HDV and vice versa. Maybe you can leave it in Auto and see if the camera figures it out. Signal Setup menu when in Playback mode Manual page 98 HTH
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Old April 14th, 2008, 06:32 PM   #7
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Didi, make more noise at Canon, if SA can't help, ask for the manager and get onto his boss in Japan. The clock is ticking, good luck.
Cheers.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 02:16 AM   #8
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Thanks all. It looks like the camera managed to switch itself into 24F mode in NTSC, how it did that is a massive mystery but two of the tapes are definitely in progressive NTSC mode.

As the camera is not a dual mode camera it refuses to recognize the footage and we cant get it back into NTSC mode (while in the NTSC mode it did play the footage). As pointed out by Daniel the Sony dual decks deal with 50i and 60i but when it comes to the f modes it's a definite no-go.

Does anyone know of a service provider in the USA that has Canon 24F facilities that can transfer the movies on to DVD data disks???
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Old April 16th, 2008, 03:26 AM   #9
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Didi, don't you want PAL direct DV tape copies? With data discs you could well be out of the frying pan into the fire. Try a local network, they usually have NTSC/PAL conversions going for ad. agencies etc. It'll be quicker, no import duties and you can monitor progress. Cheers.
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Old April 17th, 2008, 09:01 AM   #10
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Hi Allan

We have tried various agencies over here, the major problem is that none of them can playback 24F which is native to Canon...

DV tape copies would be better than Data disks....

Regards

Didi
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Old April 18th, 2008, 06:16 AM   #11
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didi you might be better off buying or borrowing an HV-10 (probably around 300-500 used) which will play back your 24f and then converting in your editing system.

I believe the pal to ntsc switch is in the menu settings. perhaps camera settings?
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Old April 18th, 2008, 12:49 PM   #12
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Didi,
Maybe you should insist that Canon upgrade your XLH1 for free so it can playback the NTSC tapes and then if it happens again you can switch it to the proper mode. At least they should let you borrow a demo model of something which plays back the the tapes and then you can send the machine back to them when you are done. HTH
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