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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 November 16th, 2010, 11:37 AM   #1
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Reset button on XL H1

Weird things start to happen.... (never mind having one of my XL2 cams come down smashing on the studio floor)

One of my XL H1 cams starts to behave rather erratic. Insert a brand new tape and it shows (after recording 10 sec color bars) that I only have 42 minutes left on the tape. OK insert another brand new one and same results. Hmmm... remove battery, wait a minute, re-insert battery and start up again. Now it shows 45 minutes remaining? Do a test recording and in playback the timecode freezes for just a split second and audio also drops out. I tried the same tape in 2 other XL H1 cams and it is fine.
Tape cleaner also didn't yield any results.

Then I started wondering if I should rather do a systematic approach to the problem. (you gotta understand that the next "capable" Canon repair agent is like.. 2000 kM away).
The manual just makes a little reference to the "reset" button on the hand grip. But the million dollar question is how to use this button?
Has anybody ever reset the cam to factory specs?

Any help is much appreciated.
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Old November 16th, 2010, 11:49 AM   #2
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Usually, you power down the camera, remove the battery, using a very small dia. screw driver or pen tip, push the reset button for 10 seconds or so (check the manual).......and that should do it.

Jim Martin
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Old November 16th, 2010, 01:17 PM   #3
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LOL I did check the manual. Couldn't find any reference to it. But now for the good news (so far)... Did the reset as you suggested and Voila!

Currently it behaves OK. Let's see if this simple reset sorted the problem.

Many Thanks again for your help
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Old November 16th, 2010, 08:10 PM   #4
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Lovely country Namibia wonderful wildlife.

I don't have a XL-HI and haven't had to do a reset on the A1 or A1s but the general rule is to actually write out your list of custom settings on the cam before doing a reset .. don't rely on your memory ;)

Cheers.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 11:39 AM   #5
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Indeed Allen. We are fortunate to live in this haven of wildlife. 'been also fortunate to make a few wildlife documentaries (links listed somewhere here on DVinfo).

Ok so here's the update:
Reset the cam and still the same problem. I spoke to a technician in Cape Town (agent for Canon camera repairs) and he recons it might be the tape mechanism or rather the tensioners. So it seems I have no choice other than to pack the cam(s) and send it cross border. Or do I have another choice?
I kind of fiddled with the idea of living with the worn out tape drive and acquire a nanoflash from convergent design.( not yet found a retailer in South Africa that sells these units - please advise if you know of someone)

All XL H1 cams have SDI output, so in theory (and this is where I need you educate me) I would get superb results in "full HD"? Better than anything from the new XF300?
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Old November 17th, 2010, 07:56 PM   #6
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I'm interested in seeing the reply to this.

I'm also thinking about getting a Nanoflash for my XLH1 (or a Ki Pro Mini) - but at the same time I'm wondering would it be better to sell the XL and use the money from that (and the money earmarked for a Nanoflash) and just buy a XF300?
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Old November 18th, 2010, 09:10 PM   #7
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Well I am a Canon XL H1S/Nanoflash user and have been more than happy with this combination. Images a truly fantastic. Especially at 200mb+ I-Frame... they are really clean and they just pop!

I ultimately went with this over upgrading to the XF cams, and I am very happy with the choice (mainly like the shoulder form factor of the XL)
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Old November 19th, 2010, 05:30 AM   #8
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I fear this thread is getting slightly sidetracked from the original post but it evolved into "desperate need for solutions".
As far as I'm aware the XL H1 (not the "s") does not embed audio on the SDI signal? And I see no separate audio inputs into the nanoflash. So I presume that I need to buy 3 new XF300 then. Damn!
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Old November 19th, 2010, 07:34 AM   #9
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You are right - the XLH1 only embeds the video (no audio and no timecode) in the HD/SDI out. However I believe there is a work-around solution whereby you have 3 cables from the XLH1 (1.HD/SDI out 2. Timecode Out / and 3. analogue audio out - all 3 go to the Nanoflash). There are some threads in the Nanoflash section that deal with this. All of the XLH1 Nano users seem to be happy with the result.

Alternatively there is the Ki Pro Mini, which is less expensive than the Nanoflash, and this has its own separate XLR inputs so you can bypass the camera audio altogether if you wish to.

However, from what I can gather the Ki Pro Mini is not able to recognize the 25fps mode from the HD/SDI output from the XLH1, meaning you would only be getting interlaced (I think I am right here, but it is a bit puzzling).

The Nanoflash it seems can recognize the Canon progressive mode though (which is why I am leaning towards the Nano). These are issues specific with the XLH1 - with newer Canons these issues were resolved I believe.

So many choices! At the end of the day I still like my XLH1, and I like the shoulder format. I just know when I finally buy the Nano, Canon will release info about a new tapeless XL camera with the XF codec - I was always just one step behind!
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Old November 19th, 2010, 01:04 PM   #10
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You're right with always being one step behind (grin) same here. Maybe someone who has a similar setup can chime in and share how he/she circumvented the problems of the XL H1 / Nanoflash combination.

Audio to the nanoflash would only be for reference/synching as I mostly record audio to a Marantz 671.

It's heart wrenching to think that 3 XL H1 cams are destined to be door-stoppers and not even 3 years old.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 04:57 PM   #11
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It is very simple to get the audio from the XL-H1 into the nanoFlash. You need a stereo cable with male RCA jacks on one end and a male 3.5mm plug on the other. This plugs into the audio out RCA jacks on the right side of the camera and into a port on the bottom of the nanoFlash. There is a setting on the nanoFlash to accept analog audio in. I have found it to work quite well and am quite please with my nanoFlash and XL-H1 combination.
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Old November 21st, 2010, 01:54 PM   #12
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Willard - thanks for the info. If possible I would like to ask you a couple of questions regarding your Nanoflash / XLH1 set up if you dont mind.
I'm almost ready to buy one, but just need to confirm some things first.

1) Where did you get the audio cable you described?

2) With regards to timecode do you use another cable to capture this (or do you generate timecode in the nano)? Do you still record to tape as back-up or do you just bypass it altogether?

3) Have you seen a marked improvement in the quality of the footage? I'm happy enough with the HDV quality, but when I try to do any color correction the image falls to bits (and artifacts become much more obvious). Does the Nano really improve this? Was the improvement in image quality worth the extra investment in your opinion?

4) With regards to editing: what software do you use (and do you use an intermediary codec to edit)?

5) How do you mount it on to the camera (back-plate or hot-shoe)?

Thanks for the info! (Bjorn - sorry to hijack your thread, but I guess this will be of value to you too!)
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Old November 21st, 2010, 05:15 PM   #13
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1. I bought the cable at a local electronics store

2. I purchased the combination remote/time code cable from nanoFlash.net so that I can record either to the nanoFlash alone or to both the nanoFlash and tape. I have used it both ways, but currently am shooting only to the nanoFlash. When one records to both they use the camera's time code, but with the nano/Flash only, one uses the internal generated time code.

3. I think there is a marked improvement in picture quality and of course nanoFlash files meet stringent broadcast standards while HDV does not. I am shooting 50mbs MXF files. Many shoot at higher bit rates for even better quality, but I have decided to go with the 50mbs for now because of the drastic increase in hard drive space consumption with the higher bit rates and the 50mbs footage looks quite good to me. One the down side the camera is heavier and more cumbersome to use with the unit attached and one has to contend with the cables, but all in all I am happy with the unit.

4. I use Vegas 10 to edit and I have not yet done substantial color correction with footage taken with the nanoFlash so I do not want to venture an opinion as to how it holds up to color correction (I will find out more about this during the winter months when I am not in the field so much). Vegas 10 handles the 50mbs MXF files very well with no need for an intermediate codec.

5. I mounted the unit on the rear bracket that came with the XL-H1, by drilling a hole through the bracket in an appropriate spot and attaching it with a 1/4" threaded knob.
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Old November 21st, 2010, 11:29 PM   #14
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Great info Willard. It seems that nanoflash is the best route to go from here on. I'm very happy to hear that Vegas can run with the MXF fles and that there is no need to convert to an intermediate codec.

The only tiny drawback is that you say the unit becomes more cumbersome to use. I do quite a bit of running around in the bushes for nature/wildlife documentary and I've aways found the XL H1 a bit heavy for this kind of work. (samples here: Chilli's videos on Vimeo )
For a recent Rhino translocation video I took a XH A1 along and I must say that it was so much easier to work with.

And this is now exactly the point where I need to flip a coin (or do I?). Either buy 3 nanoflash units for the existing cams and have all advantages such as broadcast quality / I-frame etc or buy 3 XF300 cams and expand my camera arsenal to 9 in total :-)

But logic dictates that there are far more advantages with the XL H1 / nanoflash combination that it seems to become a no-brainer and buy the nanoflash.

Thank you all for your input.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 04:34 AM   #15
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Yes, thanks for the info Willard! I had a look at your website and you have some great shots there. By the way I noticed that you use the 7d for your photography. Have you integrated footage from both the 7d and XLH1 + Nano, and if so how do they compare when edited together? The reason I'm asking is that I had also considered getting a Canon 550 (T2) as a B camera.

I was quite shocked when I had a look on the internet and saw the current secondhand price of the XLH1 - their price has dropped substantially since I last looked. Right now the least expensive option will be to get the Nanoflash and stick with the XLH1.

By the way Bjorn, I'm usually based in Uganda in case you ever wander up North & East from Namibia.
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