Anyway to defeat the auto off on the XL-1 at DVinfo.net

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Old February 28th, 2002, 07:27 PM   #1
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Anyway to defeat the auto off on the XL-1

The XL-1s is a dream for many reasons not the least of which is the ability to leave it on. When working a 10 hour day with multiple takes, it's great not to have to go through the hassle of turning it back on every few minutes just to check the lighting or the blocking.

Our second camera is the XL-1 - is there ANY way to prevent it from going into standby mode or turning itself off after a few minutes?
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Old February 28th, 2002, 08:19 PM   #2
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Hello Ozzie,
The only way I know of is to remove the tape, which might not be a practical solution for your situation. This was a major peeve for many of us XL1 users which Canon remedied with the XL1s.
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Old February 28th, 2002, 08:47 PM   #3
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Oh well, I was hoping for some secret miracle workaround. Can't have everything I guess.

Thanks.
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Old February 28th, 2002, 11:58 PM   #4
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That's frustrated me, too. I'd like to be able to record into the Firestore without the No Tape indicator flashing in the viewfinder. At least you can turn-off the display on the external LCD monitor, which helps a little, but I still see it when I use the viewfinder for zebra checks.
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Old March 1st, 2002, 10:02 PM   #5
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Ozzie, I have an article on the Watchdog which may help. Go to www.dvinfo.net > Articles Menu > Camera Head > Standby Mode Explained. Hope this helps,
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Old March 1st, 2002, 10:08 PM   #6
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Ozzie, I have an article on the Watchdog which may help. Go to www.dvinfo.net/xl1.htm > Articles Menu > Camera Head > Standby Mode Explained. Hope this helps,
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Last edited by Chris Hurd; March 1st, 2002 at 10:52 PM.
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Old March 1st, 2002, 11:33 PM   #7
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A good article with some very useful ideas. Putting it in standby manually is by far the best. If the XL-1 could actually control an external recorder via the FireWire as the XL-1s can, that would be almost the perfect solution. I've been using that connection with the XL-1s to make a simultaneous backup. It's a no brainer - the camera will start and stop the external recorder, pause, record, everything is controlled.

Thank you for the tip.
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Old March 2nd, 2002, 08:11 AM   #8
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There is a way to kill all viewfinder text and icons, or just certain colors, without effecting the video image. It involves opening (switching off) some lines in the viewfinder cable. That requires fabrication of an adapter cord. There is an article on this somewhere in the Watchdog under the genral heading of B&W viewfinder conversion.
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Old March 2nd, 2002, 10:12 PM   #9
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Don's article is on the Watchdog in the Articles Menu under Electronic View Finder.
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Old June 15th, 2002, 12:09 AM   #10
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I don't know how kosher this is with the rest of the XL1 community, but what we did on set was pop a tape into the camera but don't close the tape chassis, just push the outside door closed. It will push the tape chassis a little bit but not enough to engage the load mechanism.

Then you can stay in standby mode forever.

I am now waiting for a barrage of replies from people telling me about some horrific pitfall we overlooked while doing this.

Another thing we did was to run a firewire from the XL1 over to another consumer MiniDV camera. I can't remember the camera's model. That way the director could walk up to the performers, and using the LCD display on the second camera, he could set up a shot by actually looking at what the camera is going to see. He could do camera direction while standing right in the middle of the set.

The tape we were shooting was also going to be letterboxed in the final edit. One neat trick we found was that if you put the XL1 into 16x9 mode, even if it was squished in the viewfinder, this second camera detected 16x9 and its LCD display would display video in proper letterboxed fashion.

We would block the shot a few times and get the camera composition figured out from the second camera, put the XL1 back into normal aspect ratio and then shoot.

We also would shoot every seen on the second camera via firewire for a perfect backup tape.

Has anyone else tried these techniques?
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Old June 15th, 2002, 12:23 AM   #11
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Very clever tips! The open tape door to defeat the auto shut-down became a standard work-around used by many XL1 shooters.

But your 16:9 preview tip using a 2nd camera is new to me.

Thanks very much for passing them along!
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Old June 15th, 2002, 12:44 AM   #12
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That 16x9 thing with the second camera surprised everyone when we tried it The director was tickled pink that he could stand in the middle of everything and actually move the performers back and forth without having to stand off-camera shouting directions.

Also, if necessary he could actually maneuver the camera while I was looking through it to show me the exact movements he wanted.

I'm not sure, but I don't think they can even do this in the big league film productions can they?

I know they have through-the-lens video from the Panaflex camera but I don't think the director can walk around a place people and things exactly where he wants them.

I have seen a few of those "The making of..." vignettes on DVD and have noticed the crew watching a B&W monitor with green tape masking out where the letterboxing is going to be.

It doesn't seem that the big leagues have advanced very far. We may have them beat with this technique.
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Old June 15th, 2002, 09:03 PM   #13
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Great tips! Now I just have to remember to use them. I don't know if this will work but instead of not closing the loading mechanism all the way, how about removing the tape from a DV cassette and using just the shell. I haven't tried it but this works on most broadcast decks.

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Old October 28th, 2002, 01:04 PM   #14
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Now that I'm back in the Firestore game (re: non-linear editing on a mac post), I found these posts in the archives regarding the XL-1 auto-off.

Have others (Chris, etc. ) had 100% reliability recording to the Firestore fw drive? If so, it seems like another way to get around the auto-shutdown on the XL-1 would be to run an 83 min tape in the LP mode. That would give you 2 hours of continuous recording if you needed it (like for a long, continuous performance with no opportunity for tape changes), and drop out concerns about LP shouldn't matter since the good stuff is on the fw drive.

I haven't tried Jeff's idea about a shell, yet. Anyone else?

I know, I could solve this by upgrading to an XL-1S, but my war department would be less than sympathetic.

I could also use the "open chassis" technique, but I'd rather not see the flashing no-tape icon in the VF. Plus, that would negate the auto start-stop capability of the Firestore.

Decisions, decisions......
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Old October 29th, 2002, 01:41 PM   #15
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If you don't want the camera to go into standby mode, there is no need to use a tape at all (OR a blank shell). Just eject and remove the tape, shut the inner door, and then shut the outer door with no tape. The camera will never shutdown.

I don't see the purpose of ejecting, inserting a tape, NOT closing the inner door, but closing the outer door - you have done nothing that leaving the tape out will do. And I would not want to risk my XL-1 by putting in a blank shell. Who knows what that would do.

Just leave the tape out!
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