XL H1 Firmware Upgrade Details - Page 3 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 August 29th, 2006, 08:05 AM   #31
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Dear Sandor,

My guess is that posting of Canon's firmware would need Chris Hurd's and Canon's permission.

I recommend that you call Canon. They are very helpful, and then have been sending out the firmware update the same day, for delivery in one or two days.
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Old August 29th, 2006, 12:57 PM   #32
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Canon posts firmware updates for their still cameras all the time. I have updated my 5D digital still camera twice in the six months that I have owned it. I wonder why it's such a mystery for Canon video cameras. It isn't that hard to transfer the file to an SD card and then follow the instructions. However, neither Chris or anyone else is going to post the file if Canon doesn't want it posted.
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Old August 29th, 2006, 01:08 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandor Bondorowsky
Can someone post the update file that's on the SD card?
Sorry but the firmware update file is Canon's intellectual property and DV Info Net does not have a license to distribute it. Therefore it will not be posted here, nor will I allow any links to someone else's unauthorized file upload. That's the way the legal ball bounces, folks. Just call Canon and get it directly from them; it's an easy thing to do. Thanks for understanding,
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Old August 30th, 2006, 01:05 PM   #34
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I just did the firmware upgrade on my two XL H1's. Here's the gouge:

ORDERING: I called the 800 number in the afternoon last Thursday, 24 August. The very courteous lady in Chesapeake, VA initially assumed I would send in my cameras, as she seemed unaware that SD cards with the firmware could be mailed out. But she promptly checked with a supervisor and set up the order based on my phone number. She told me it would be 7-10 days, but when I mentioned that others were receiving their SD cards within 48 hours, she said she'd check again with her superviser. Total time of the call: between 5-10 minutes. Number of times placed on hold while the very courteous lady checked with a supervisor to verify what I told her, or looked in her database for information: 3.

Parenthetically, I was quite disappointed to learn that despite having previously filled out the online XL Owner's Club form -- several times, actually, because they had some bad code in their Owner's Club web site so it wasn't working correctly at first -- and providing my camera information by email AND telephone, only one of my three XL cameras (an XL2 and 2 XL H1's) is listed in Canon's database. Guess I'll have to revisit that in the email survey I just received from Canon.

SHIPPING: My order was not shipped until this Monday. It departed Chesapeake, VA on Monday AM, 28 Aug by UPS overnight and arrived at my home in Houston on Tuesday.

UPGRADE: Interestingly, previous posts and the Canon web notice indicate the current firmware version as 1.0.2.0. The version I received was 1.0.3.0 (as printed on the SD Card, the instruction sheet, and as read by the camera). The instruction sheet says "Firmware updated to correct time code problem" which is the same primary issue mentioned online for the 1.0.2.0 version. So I don't know what the difference between 1.0.2.0 and 1.0.3.0 really might be, if any.

Another parenthetical comment...There is also a 1.0.3.1 firmware mentioned on the instruction sheet: "Both 60i/50i switches is turned on, and time code error is fixed." So I guess that fairly well confirms what most of us assumed anyway: that the NTSC/PAL upgrade is strictly a firmware deal. But that last ".1" will cost ya!

Anyway, I followed the instructions to the letter...except where I assumed that "CA Adapter" really meant "AC Adapter." ;-) All went perfectly. It's a five minute operation, about 3:40 of which is just waiting for the new firmware to overwrite the old one.

RESULTS: I didn't check other features like iris, but I tried the Focus Preset ("Rack Focus") on both cameras before and after the upgrade. NO change at all, as previously reported. I am happy to note that, YES, a synched timecode now does hold when the camera is powered down. I set my A camera on Free Run timecode, hooked the B camera up in Ext Control to synch, and unhooked. Let 'em run for a bit to eyeball that they were actually synched. Turned 'em both off while we had dinner, returned with a full belly to put both cameras in Manual, and found them still synched up. I'll leave both cameras in Free Run for couple days and then check to see how much drift there is (or hopefully isn't).

Having now gone through the process, I have to agree with those calling for video camera firmware to be available online. It is just like upgrading your digital still camera firmware or computer BIOS. Definitely something to do carefully and correctly, but not hard to do at all. I would have said that I could understand the company wanting to keep a record of which cameras have which firmware version, but given the weak showing by the Owner's Club, I wouldn't say that now. They'd save money on support staff, SD cards, and shipping to spend a tiny amount making the firmware available on their web site, even if you had to sign in to get your download (which would also cover the concern about maintenance records on the cameras).

Of course, proceed with due care when messing with firmware. But done properly, it worked out fine!
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Old August 30th, 2006, 01:45 PM   #35
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Thanks for such a comprehensive and very informative report, Pete. I'm in full agreement with you in the opinion that Canon should simply offer the firmware upgrade as a downloadable file from their web site. Much appreciated,
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Old August 30th, 2006, 02:46 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johan Forssblad
Hi,
It works differently here. Canon in Sweden said they will not send out any SD card because:
Johan, the Canon Scandinavian (which is located in Sweden) maintenance seem to have odd policy. First, they give flase information. For example, they claimed that the upgrade to NTSC and 24F is not offered by Canon but instead by some third party, and thus, is not recommend. Only after I pointed out, that Canon does advertise the upgrage itself, then they changed the response. Maybe we have to ask the European headquarters in Holland to get the firmware SD card?
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Old August 30th, 2006, 03:32 PM   #37
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I seriously doubt that they gave out false information intentionally. Most likely it's just a case of unfamiliarity with such a specialized product as the XL H1. That particular office might be too small to maintain a knowledgeable staff for it (if they're limited to a small staff, then they probably specialize in the consumer camcorder lines only). It might be more accurate to say that their initial information was simply misguided or just not well researched. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt please.
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Old August 31st, 2006, 04:12 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lauri Kettunen
... the upgrade to NTSC ...
Hi Lauri,
??? Isn't that a downgrade? He He. /Regards Johan
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Old August 31st, 2006, 10:02 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
I seriously doubt that they gave out false information intentionally. ... Let's give them the benefit of the doubt please.
Chris, yes, you definitely have a point. My intention was not to underline the feedback, but instead to say, that one has to find the right people with whom to talk with. Should have said this explicitly. Otherwise, I fully agree, most likely, in a smalller maintenance office they simply are not familiar with all the details, and consequently, their reply was based on a kind of cultivated guess of what could be going one.
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Old August 31st, 2006, 09:20 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johan Forssblad
??? Isn't that a downgrade? He He. /Regards Johan
Maybe you guys get a couple of extra lines in PAL but we (NTSC) had 1.3 MHz chroma bandwidth in the I channel (not that any American manufacturer ever made a set that could receive it).
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Old September 1st, 2006, 05:50 PM   #41
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Painless

More to the topic at hand: I called the 800 number yesterday morning, waited on hold for a good long time, finally got to the right guy who said "We have two options. Send the camera in or we can send the upgrade to you." I chose the latter and the card was here when I got home from work tonight. It installed without a problem. Just one word of note: the "Updating firmware... " message disappears leaving a blank screen well before the install is complete. Blinking of the card activity LED is your only indication that anything is happening during this time. Typically if power goes down during a firmware upgrade you are in deep kimshee so it's a good idea to plug the AC adapter into a UPS for this process (Ernesto is rolling through at the moment).

Curiosity led me to check the flash card. It contains a single 7 MB file called VBJ3.FIM listed as a "Unix Exectable File" which appears to be a binary of some sort. From this we learn that the camera's OS is Unix!
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Old September 2nd, 2006, 05:45 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johan Forssblad
Isn't that a downgrade? He He.
Johan, could you call again the Canon maintenance in Sweden and explain that if an SD card is sent to people in Northern America, most likely we are also able to update the firmware in Scandinavia.
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Old September 3rd, 2006, 02:15 PM   #43
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TC UPDATE: After synching TC last Tuesday, I left both my XL H1's in Free Run, 24F HDV to see how close they'd stay. After just under 115 hours, they had drifted by 79 frames. That's about two-thirds of a 24F frame drift per hour, or a little less than 1 frame/hr assuming 30fps modes drift by the same amount.

I don't know but would guess the cameras use quartz timing similar to digital wristwatches. The slight drift seems congruent with that idea, as does the fact that the displayed clock time has drifted fast by a couple of minutes since I last set the date/time on the cameras 8 - 9 months ago. The camera that had the faster TC also had the clock that was "more fast."

Other users with two or more cameras will probably find different drift rates, as the +/- error of any given timing crystal will be random, but hopefully this little experiment is useful by way of example. The firmware update definitely does allow you to keep your TC synch while powered down, but the utility of this is at best around an hour for 1-frame or smaller synch errors. The upshot, I think, is that if you want frame-accuracy, you'll need to re-tether at least hourly. If you need absolute rock-solid lock, you probably need continuous tethered GenLock.
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Old September 4th, 2006, 07:13 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Bauer
... After just under 115 hours, they had drifted by 79 frames.
At 24 fps 115 hours is about 10 million frames. Thus the difference between your two cameras is about 8 ppm. That's quite reasonable for a pair of battery powered non-ovenized crystal oscillators.
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Old September 4th, 2006, 07:45 AM   #45
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Yeah, about what one would expect. The take home message is that although the firmware now does allow the externally synched Free Run timecode to continue while powered off, there will be a gradual drift. Folks shouldn't wrap for the day assuming the cameras will automatically be frame-accurate tomorrow. Gotta re-synch regularly if you want frame accuracy.
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