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Old September 8th, 2003, 09:36 AM   #1
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compatibility problem with tape shot on XL1?

Hi,

We use an XL1 regulary. We have a rack mounted Sony DV deck, and a small Panasonic clamshell deck for more portable screening. We have never had compatibility problems before.

Recently a tape seemed to be all messed up and with mostly no sound for the first 6 minutes, after the first 6 minutes the tape is ok.

I looked at it on both our Sony & our Panasonic decks and it did not work in either one, and then finally I tried playing the tape back in the camera and the whole thing including the first few minutes looks and sounds fine.

I have heard about odd brand compatibility issues between cameras and decks, but this is only 5 minutes of the tape, and we regulary use this combination of camera/decks without a problem.

I'm assuming other XL1 users have used Panasonic or Sony decks, since Cannon does not make a deck that I am aware of.
Have others experienced this? Any thoughts, suggestions, ways to prevent this?

Thanks!

Sage Rockermann
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Old September 8th, 2003, 10:18 AM   #2
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Hi,
I'm no expert, but the issue may be misaligned heads in the camera itself. I had this problem a while back and thats what it turned out to be. Basically, when you are recording, the heads are off a bit, so when you play back on something with good alignment you'll see mosaic on the video and the sound will be messed up (it will appear as if the heads are dirty in whatever device you're having trouble with). But then if you play back on the original recording source, it will work fine because the same misaligned heads that recorded the picture will be able to play it back just the same.

So I guess one way to test whether or not this is the problem is to try to find an old tape that plays back OK on both of your decks and then try it in the XL1, if the tape doesn't play back correctly in the XL1 then I would suspect that it is a misalignment of the heads or some other issue with the XL1 itself.

Again, I'm not technical genius, I'm just making a suggestion from experience. It may be some sort of odd compatability issue or something. But either way, good luck, I hope you figure it out!

Robbie
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Old September 8th, 2003, 07:55 PM   #3
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Agree, it sounds like it might be a slight variation in head alignment, which can happen over time as gear ages. That it was only the first few minutes of the tape might mean it some subtle issue with the casssette itself, perhaps a tension issue. If the gear you were playing it on is DVCAM or DVCPro, they might be more sensitive to slight alignment drigft.

Does it happen with other newly shot tape from the XL1? If not, it may well be an issue with the tape/cassette.
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Old September 9th, 2003, 08:04 AM   #4
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thanks for the responses robbie & don.

no, it hasn't happened with any other newly shot tape, so it could just be the tape itself...

and yes-- the gear i was playing it back on is dvcam.

i think my plan is to make a dub from the camera to get the video off the weird tape & then do some tests with the camera before using it again.
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Old September 14th, 2003, 07:22 PM   #5
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Tape compatibility.

We had the exact same problem. Oddly enough, it seems that the SONY DV deck ONLY likes SONY tape!

At first I didn't believe it so we tasked our engineer with getting to the bottom of it, I mean, tape is tape, right? WRONG.

We were using Panasonic tape and the deck would not read anything off the tape including time code. We then tried Canon tape and Fuji tape. Nothing changed.

We had to make BetaCam dubs of everything, using the camera as the source, to be able to import it into the AVID. This seemed like a waste of effort, and alot of unnecessary wear and tear on the camrea, especially because we have the DV deck integrated into the edit system specifically to be able to go directly into the AVID.

Lo and behold, as soon as we switched to SONY tape...problem solved! We have never had a problem since then. The down side is that we had to give away about 150 Panasonic tapes that we had in stock and replace them all with SONY.

Stay safe, RB.
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Old September 14th, 2003, 07:59 PM   #6
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The school I teach at uses Sony DV decks with Panasonic tapes without any problems. I suspect the answer is elsewhere.
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Old September 14th, 2003, 08:17 PM   #7
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If you're going to switch tape brands/types in a cam or deck, don't forget to clean the heads. I have some good links here---one "how to" link goes into quite a bit of detail about cleaning heads.

http://www.dvfreak.com/tape.htm
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Old September 15th, 2003, 07:37 AM   #8
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Jeff,

I know of two other LE agencies and Miami-Dade Television that have had the same situation arise.

We looked every "elsewhere" we could find, no one could come up with a satisfactory explanation or fix. Just for info, a SONY engineer was the one that told us that it was a tape compatibility problem with the SONY deck. It might not make sense but the switch-over worked worked for us.

Be thankful that your deck isn't as picky as ours.

Stay safe, RB.
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Old September 15th, 2003, 08:07 AM   #9
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The school has 8 Sony decks and none have ever exhibited symptoms such as you describe. If that were my deck, Rick, I would send it back for service. Sony literature speaks of compatibility with other formats etc. It was irresponsible of the Sony engineer to say the fix is using only Sony tapes. It's fine for the short run, but only using Sony tapes is not fixing the problem.
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Old September 15th, 2003, 08:40 AM   #10
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We actually did send the deck back to SONY, twice, as the problem arose as soon as we installed it. Both times they sent it back saying that they could not find anything wrong with it.

I guess it's just "one of those things". Thankfully, wrong answer or not, the deck continues to work properly. It seems that no one can come up with a satisfactory explanation.

RB
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Old September 15th, 2003, 10:23 PM   #11
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It seems that every tape brand has its own tape coat. it is even recommended to use one type of tape per camera as bugs like this can occur or to clean the heads before using another brand. The XL1 is relatively solid and accepts many type of tapes but with time these kind of problems did occur for me too on our XL1. As a matter of fact, the low end canon camera seem to have this recurrent sound and/or image bug with some tapes and not on others... Weird.
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