How to Sync Two XL-H1s? at DVinfo.net

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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 March 21st, 2006, 12:59 PM   #1
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How to Sync Two XL-H1s?

I have yet to hold an XL-H1 in hand for more than a few minutes, but I will be renting two of them for an upcoming shoot in a few weeks time. Since I don't have a camera here to test with, I'll be asking a bunch of questions here over the next few days to prepare myself for the shoot.

The first issue I'd like to get sorted out is how to most easily sync the two cams without using an external timecode source. Does anyone have experience or at least a theoretical understanding of how this is done most efficiently (i.e. cheaply *and* reliably)? If that matters at all, I'll be shooting in HDV 1080/50i, and editing in FCP 5.

TIA for any pointers!

Cheers,

Ron
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Old March 21st, 2006, 01:05 PM   #2
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Hi Ron, this is pretty easy, just slave one XL H1 to the other via Time Code input and output. Go into the Signal Setup menu in each camera, set one for TC output, the other for TC input. Connect the cameras via BNC cable at the respective Time Code in/out jacks and you're all set.
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Old March 21st, 2006, 01:08 PM   #3
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See pp 60-61 in the manual. It's a simple matter of connecting the master camera's video signal to the Gen Lock input on the slave camera and the Time Code Out connector from the master camera to the Time Code In connector on the slave and setting the proper sync mode in the Signal Setup menu.
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Old March 21st, 2006, 01:13 PM   #4
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Thanks for the quick reply, Chris! Some more questions:

- Will a standard 75-ohm video cable with BNC connectors do?

- Do I assume correctly that the 'master' cam will have to be on but does not necessarily have to be recording for the slave to record proper TC?

- What happens if the 'master' powers down - is any re-syncing or something of that sort necessary?

- What other issues should I be aware of?

Sorry for all the questions, but this is my first multi-cam shoot where TC-syncing is possible.

TIA,

Ron
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Old March 21st, 2006, 01:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. J. deLange
See pp 60-61 in the manual.
Thanks for the pointer and the instructions! Since I don't have the cam, I'm also lacking the manual. Is the manual for the PAL-version available for download anywhere? The Canon UK support site doesn't even have the XL H1 listed in the camcorder category!!!

TIA,

Ron
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Old March 21st, 2006, 01:26 PM   #6
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I haven't found the European version anywhere online, but I can't imagine it being all that much different from the North American version... 50i/60i frame rate and shutter speed differences aside... all other aspects of operation should be identical.
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Old March 21st, 2006, 02:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
I haven't found the European version anywhere online, but I can't imagine it being all that much different from the North American version... 50i/60i frame rate and shutter speed differences aside... all other aspects of operation should be identical.
Thanks, Chris - d'led der US-manual. Any feedback on my reply to your first post?

Regards,

Ron
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Old March 21st, 2006, 02:53 PM   #8
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The Australian Canon site has the PAL version of the manual:

http://www.canon.com.au/products/vis...1_support.aspx
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Old March 21st, 2006, 03:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent Rozenberg
The Australian Canon site has the PAL version of the manual:

http://www.canon.com.au/products/vis...1_support.aspx
Thanks for passing this along, Vincent! Your can always count on the Australians - same is true for Epson inkjet drivers in English - but I digress...

For reference, the TC syncing info can be found on pp. 56-57 of the PAL-manual.
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Old March 21st, 2006, 03:16 PM   #10
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More questions:

It appears that the XL-H1 supports two ways of syncing TC:

a.) Connecting TC OUT on the Master to TC IN on the Slave (the method suggested above by Chris)

b.) Same as a.), plus connecting composite video out of the Master to GEN.LOCK on the Slave (the method suggested above by A.J.)

What's the advantage of b.) over a.)?

TIA for any insights!

Ron
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Old March 21st, 2006, 07:17 PM   #11
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If all you want is that the time codes be the same then it is only necessary to connect the time codes. If you want the video truely synchronized so that a frame or field on each camera starts at exactly the same time then you will have to connect the Gen Lock signal as well. This would be important if you were connecting to a switcher and planning to dissolve between cameras in real time, for example but would not be so important if you were just editing tapes from the two cameras together. OTOH if you are going to run one cable running the second one isn't much additional effort.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 12:36 AM   #12
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Ron,

You should be able fine with any working 75ohm cable.

Make sure you have your time code set to free run, and all you have to do is hook up the camera's once then you cna remove the bnc cable there should be no drift in tiem code. (so it won't matter what either camera is doing, on/off working as a doorstop whatever)

Check your time code when the camera powers off, sometimes it's set to regen from it's previous start point, if that's the case when it powers down it will not hold continuous tiem code (and you'll need to resync)

Be aware of whether you're doing a line-cut multicam shoot or all of the cut's will be done in post. If it's a line cut you'll have to feed genlock the entire time (to both a camera and the switcher) as aj described above
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Old March 30th, 2006, 03:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Hiltgen
Make sure you have your time code set to free run, and all you have to do is hook up the camera's once then you cna remove the bnc cable there should be no drift in tiem code. (so it won't matter what either camera is doing, on/off working as a doorstop whatever)

Check your time code when the camera powers off, sometimes it's set to regen from it's previous start point, if that's the case when it powers down it will not hold continuous tiem code (and you'll need to resync)
I can't get the slaved cam to keep the synced time code after standby or power off and back on. In the manual it even says 'However, the external time code lock will be lost if you turn the camcorder off, set the camcorder to VCR/PLAY mode or change the position of the FRAME RATE switch.' Who's right? The Manual or Nick?

Quote:
Be aware of whether you're doing a line-cut multicam shoot or all of the cut's will be done in post. If it's a line cut you'll have to feed genlock the entire time (to both a camera and the switcher) as aj described above
I also tried to get a GENLOCK sync to happen, but GENLOCK just kept blinking on the side display of the slave cam, no matter how long master and slave were connected. FYI, I tried connecting both composite out and SDI out on the master to GENLOCK on the slave. Neither worked. Both cams are set to HDV 1080 50i. Any ideas?
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Old March 30th, 2006, 08:50 PM   #14
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Ron,
As for the genlock out issue there are a few gotchas with the menus and switches.
Was your composite out switch set to the BNC or the RCA? Only one is active at a time so you should confirm you were actualing sending out composite video.
Also check your menu settings
External Sync in Signal Set Up
TC Out is a menu item
In SD Mode TC In doesn't work
Genlock will not work in HDV is SDI is set to SD Locked Page 61 NTSC Manual
As a reference signal you can use HD Y or Composite not SDI
One of the architecture choices in the Canon is two switches or menus items where one or none would do. On Broadcast cameras TC out is always present. Here it is a menu function. Maybe it saves Power?
It does not surprise me that the timecode implementation is fragile. The preset timecode doesn't go up as you roll tape. You lose timecode if you eject the tape. This is typical of consumer products as opposed to industrial and broadcast. If they say you can't turn the power off then they haven't thought of multicamera use with batterries. HTH

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Old March 31st, 2006, 08:19 AM   #15
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Ron I would default with the manual on this one. I was forcing time code when changing batteries and if I recall correctly we were having time code issues on battery changes.

If it's a huge issue to regen the camera's for every battery change a solution may be a "clockit" box. Which willl force time code in (for about 12 hours at a time) and should also hold genlock as well. Of course the genlock is a sort of non factor, if you're not doing some sort of line cut or feeding a jumbo tron or what have you.
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