Newbie Shock: Avoiding Pitfalls & Nightmares at

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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 January 21st, 2007, 12:42 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Concord, MA
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Newbie Shock: Avoiding Pitfalls & Nightmares

I don't know about the rest of you but when UPS rings the bell and delivers a brand new camera I find myself going into "newbie shock." This happened to me about 2 days ago with the arrival of an XL-H1. This - despite the fact that I've used an XL-1s for over four years. Chalk it up to ecstasy, fear, the unknown, or any number of idiosyncratic foibles. The affect, at least for me, is often a bad case of dumb. Although normally not fatal, it makes the first 72 hours with my new toy something less than pleasurable.

With the thought that others may have experienced a similar malady, I believe a useful thread would consist of tender suggestions, personal experiences, warnings, "must-dos," "don't dos," and the like for helping each proud new owner survive "newbie shock."

So here are a couple of personal contributions with the hopes that others will share their wisdom as well as their gaffs and goofs.

-Many of the settings shown in the XL-H1 Manual include the TAPE / CARD graphic to the left of a row of letters and icons representing various choices for the setting under discussion. It took me an inordinately long time to figure out that TAPE=Camera (for recording video) and Card=Memory Card (for recording still pictures). Because this was preset at the factory on "Card," many of the initial menus I was attempting to investigate were mysteriously unavailable. When the light finally dawned, finding the Tape/Card switch (p.13, Back View, #21) which is hiding in plain sight also took a while.

-The XL-H1's index (p. 155 for English) seems never to have the entry for which I'm searching. Although they are graphically most uninviting, the newbie will do well to force himself/herself to wade through the "Components Guide" on pages 10-15. You are much more likely to find what you are looking for there than in the index. I admit to a strange aversion to consulting these pages, at least initially. Of course it never hurts to look over the actual camera a few times.

So there you have it . . . a partial confession along with a couple of gentle suggestions. I hope others will fess-up as well and pity the poor newbie in their state of shock.
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Old January 21st, 2007, 06:39 AM   #2
Join Date: May 2003
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Here's one: First thing, run a head cleaning tape for 5 or 6 seconds. THEN, pop in a tape and "enjoy the new toy." I don't know about other manufacturers, but Canon does specifically recommend cleaning the heads before first use.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 11:14 AM   #3
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I`m going through the shock even more, i`ve only used a 'pro' level camera (over $1k) on a few occassions so its ALL new to me. The first step was sitting and readnig the manual through before even turning it on. Next step, learn as much as I can about it and accessories etc that we will need, still, not turning it on. 2 weeks later, we still haven`t tested it out much, its more for an outdoor project and its too cold to risk it right now, and inside the building is too dark to do much without bad results, so its a patience game. The fear is now gone at least, feeling comfortable about what you will and can do before trying to jump in helps :)
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 03:19 PM   #4
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I couldn't find where the memory card was...

And my first XL-H1 arrived broken.. I had a blue stripe running down the left side of everything I shot.. I was freaked.. The vendor replaced it.. but my heart was in my mouth for the two weeks it took to get a new one wondering if I'd get stiffed. And.. I also ordered an import to save a few grand (some say this is stupid, it *WAS* definitely more aggravation).. When I got the camera, the default language was Chinese (I think).. so it was kind of a game to figure out what menu item was "Language", and what was "English".
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