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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 February 25th, 2011, 04:50 PM   #1
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Disappearing footage

So i've had this camera for 6 years now and this is the first time I've ever experienced anything like this, maybe someone can help.

I had an operator use my camera they shot it in 60i. I took the tape but when I play the footage back (through my hv-40) nothing shows up, no image, no time code movement no nothing. but the tape plays, when I hit stop the time code jumps to the point where I've stopped it at. Strange right?

So i'm thinking it just didn't lay anything to tape and go to fast forward it but when I fast forward it I see the footage! but when I hit play again it disappears. So I've switched from HDV to DV now the time code rolls the whole time but no picture (playback standard is locked).

So I've tried playing it back through the h1 and I get the same issue (nothing shows up). but it appears when i fast forward. So I'm freaking out thinking it's the camera pop another tape in (from the same batch as this one) and roll for a minute or so. It plays back perfectly, no issues at all in either camera.

Since it's 60i I'm going to try and play it back through a different camera and see if that works. Has anyone experienced this before? It's not the end of the world if I don't get this footage but it sure would be awesome if it's salvageable. Could this be operator error? Camera and offloader seem to work fine now with a different tape (and operator), Suggestions?
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Old February 25th, 2011, 07:23 PM   #2
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Hi, Nick.................

This issue has appeared on just about every model of every make of HDV camera made over the years.

It usually only affects one tape (tho' it has been known to hit 3 out of 4).

I have never seen an authoratative reason from a tech, but speculation has fingered just about every part of the tape transports and the tapes themselves.

If you do a search on "blue screen during playback" and the like, you should find plenty of instances of it.

I can't suggest a fix as nobody knows the cause, but trying it in as many different tape transports "might" just get a hit.

Otherwise you're out of luck.


CS

PS:

Thinking back, someone did actually manage to recover the data on such an afflicted tape by FF to the end, then using the wireless remote to play the tape backwards.

Much to everyones amazement, it actually worked.

No promises though, but it's got to be worth a try.

Last edited by Chris Soucy; February 25th, 2011 at 08:44 PM. Reason: ++Update
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Old February 26th, 2011, 04:22 AM   #3
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Re: Disappearing footage

That actually happened to me once. After switching the camera off and shuttling the tape around a bit the image came back.There was no explanation for it, at the time I believed it had been caused by some dirt or something on the tape.

Do you have access to a post production house?

I've heard that when this happens you can get around it by running it through a Sony HDV deck (the image may be captured through the SDI output and captured to a computer with SDI in).
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Old February 26th, 2011, 07:43 AM   #4
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Re: Disappearing footage

Thanks guys I'll try those fixes, I actually will have access to the small sony HDV deck in a couple of weeks. I'll try that out if these other fixes don't work.
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Old February 27th, 2011, 02:05 PM   #5
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Re: Disappearing footage

Trying a higher quality deck could help get you the footage. The recording is out of alignment for some reason and may be intact but not in the place the deck is expecting to see the data. Canon may be able to help you recover the signal. If you do find a deck which plays it back be prepared to copy it ASAP. While this could be an isolated instance the camera may need some maintenance as well.
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Old February 28th, 2011, 07:59 PM   #6
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Re: Disappearing footage

Nick, a similar situation happened to me when I started using my XLH1 back in 2006. I was using Panosonic tapes in my XL1 for many years without any problem so when I upgraded I figured I would stick with them. No way. Some tapes worked fine playing back in my Sony 25U deck others only showed a picture if I would FF the footage. I switched to Sony Digital Master Tapes and they always work and hundreds of hours later not a single dropout.

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Old March 4th, 2011, 08:13 AM   #7
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Re: Disappearing footage

Hey Leon, Yeah I've been using sony tapes in the camera since December 2005 when I bought it (I actually had to look that up I can't believe the camera is over 5years old now) and this is the first time I've ever had an issue with anything like this. I have access to a sony HDV deck today and I'm going to see if the footage plays back in that. For anything super important I usually use the HDV Master tapes but for small stuff like this I've stuck with the sony premium tapes. I think the best bet is to send the camera in for it's yearly maintenance. I keep thinking I should sell it but then I keep using it...
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Old March 4th, 2011, 06:36 PM   #8
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Re: Disappearing footage

A student has this happen when the playback deck was set for DV, but the tape was in HDV - or visa versa.

Good luck.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 07:29 AM   #9
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Re: Disappearing footage

So the good news is a sony HDV deck sees the footage the bad news is it won't transfer back to the computer so I'm going to try and take the component out of the deck and feed it into an aja kipro and capture the footage that way, fingers crossed.
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Old March 6th, 2011, 01:37 AM   #10
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Re: Disappearing footage

I was able to trick the computer into capturing it live off the deck so no need for the kipro. I do plan on sending the camera in for service anyhow (it's been a couple of years) but at least this problem was solved. So jsut for the record (and I'm glad it ended up being 60i not 24p) the sony HDV deck was able to read what the xl-h1 and the hv-40 could not. Also my theory is that the operator may have changed the format mid shot (I.e I think it went from 16:9SD to HD and that may have led to the problem) thanks everyone for the suggestions!
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