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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old April 25th, 2002, 04:49 PM   #16
 
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Don...

I think you may have missed one point. While the still images were used to display the problem, the black bar across the bottom is visible on the video, as well. Most of the video I produce for customers are viewd on a computer display, not a television. The balck bar is ALWAYS visible if I don't crop it out. That's just plain unacceptable. If it's a design flaw, that's worse than if it's a QC problem. In one case it's stupidity, in another case it's only sloppiness. My impression is that some cameras don't display this problem. That makes it a QC issue.
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Old April 25th, 2002, 06:04 PM   #17
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I visited Keeble & Shuchat in Palo Alto today, to try a new XL1S. Their video guy, Fred, was very helpful, and we spent about an hour trying things out. My camera has a PK manufacturing code, their display camera is PJ, and the new camera that we tried is QB. ALL have the identical problem, as Chris has indicated would be the case.

Fred thought that this was a serious problem, so he called Canon tech support, and they suggested sending my camera in. He got the impression that, although they didn't admit to a specific problem, there was a fix available. Note: this was only his impression. There's every chance of getting the camera back unchanged. I'll let y'all know.
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Old April 25th, 2002, 06:30 PM   #18
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Hello, I had posted another thread about this subject before, and I think even this problem isn't normal for a camera so expensive, I can live with it, but there is an issue more annoying that the bottom line one.

It's the red stripes in Frame Mode:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1587

I still don't know if all XL1 have it, but it is so bad, that it is keep me out of filming in frame mode even if I love this feature.
It seams this feature is defective and it's a kind of rip-off from Canon :-(
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Old April 25th, 2002, 09:04 PM   #19
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<<<-- Originally posted by Don Palomaki : If it is the same on all units, it is not a QC issue, it is a design issue. -->>>

ROFL!! It's a "feature"!

Just for the record, guys, I noticed that my XL1s also shows a tiny black bar at the bottom of the frame. It is not visible in the NTSC frame but is noticeable in a digital frame. I'm not really sure whether or not it's worth pursuing (for my purposes) with Canon.
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Old April 25th, 2002, 09:44 PM   #20
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For what it's worth, I've also noticed a black vertical bar on the left side of the raster. In the "old" analog days that would be due to wide vertical blanking. That was enough to have the broadcast technical standards people reject a tape. A few black lines at the bottom or top of the raster is due to wide horizontal blanking - not as common but still grounds for rejection.

As it has already been pointed out, this is a BIG problem when doing any picture in picture effect. It's totally unacceptable and should be no big deal to correct.

I have two XL-1 cameras (a plain 1 and a 1s) - the one with the "wide vertical blanking" is the XL-1s. The plain XL-1 shows a proper raster, so I would suspect this is due to poor QC, or at least, a lack of care in ensuring all cameras conform to industry standards.
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Old April 26th, 2002, 01:30 AM   #21
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I experimented with crop and zoom (actually, resize) in Premiere. It looks truly awful. However, Virtualdub's resize, with the appropriate crop settings, looks just fine. TMPGEnc doesn't seem to care: the resulting MPEG-2 files are about the same size.

So, there's a workaround, but it's a pain, because of the extra rendering steps.
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Old April 26th, 2002, 06:24 AM   #22
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A crop and resize (especially the resize) is unacceptable in
my eyes. I've plonked down enough money to get full
resolution image without any distortion. Resizing only further
degrades your image, so I'm not going to do that. Fortuntely
for me I'm doing my stuff widescreen so I have got no
trouble with this bar at all. I did notice problems with red in
frame mode though, this is even more concerning for me...
Planning to do some more tests with this shortly.
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Old April 26th, 2002, 07:49 AM   #23
 
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It's quite unacceptable, I agree Rob. There seems to be a consensus that most owners reporting here seem to have this problem. I wonder if anyone does NOT have it, at this point. Perhaps, we, as a group, could approach Canon with a request to fix this once and for all. I'm quite against a service tech's recommendation that we send the camera in and MAYBE, maybe not, it can be fixed. I am also wondering if the problem is a scan (blanking)problem, as suggested by Ozzie or if it's a lens alignment problem. If the lens uses a mask, misalignment(a lens rotation) would not only cause a black bar, but, other optical defects, as well.
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Old April 26th, 2002, 10:07 AM   #24
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If it's a lens misalignment, it's in the mount, and probably not the lens. The problem exists on my camera with the 16x and 3x zoom lenses, with or without the 1.6x extended, and with the EF lenses that I've tried with the EF adaptor.
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Old April 26th, 2002, 12:13 PM   #25
 
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Since the EF lenses, and a lens with a 1.6x adapter essentially overfill the focal plane, that's a good indication to me that it's a horiz blanking problem. A tweak of the electronics is probably what's needed....provided the ability to tweak is there...quien sabe?
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Old April 26th, 2002, 12:24 PM   #26
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It might be firmware, especially around the automagical "pixel shift" technology. That, of course, would be the ideal situation. Unfortunately, unlike Canon's digital still cameras, which can be flashed by the user, the XL1S doesn't have an obvious way to do this, although flashing by Firewire would be feasible (and fast!).

So, the question is: how best to address this with Canon? Do we all call individually? Is DVinfo.Net known to Canon as a valuable resource for promoting the use of their products? Would a "petition" signed electronically by a bunch of us have the most effect? The XL1 vertical line issue seems to have been dealt with quite well. This is almost as serious, albeit with a pain-in-the-neck workaround which wasn't possible with the vertical line problem.
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Old April 26th, 2002, 12:46 PM   #27
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Not to bandwagon, but the warranty clearly states "...free of manufacturing defects...". A warranty is basically a thinly-veiled marketing tool. This is Canon's top-of-the-line video camera.
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Old April 26th, 2002, 12:58 PM   #28
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The blanking problem used to be an adjustable one, albeit with a great degree of skill. I have a feeling this is something Canon can still do at the factory or as part of their annual maintenance.

To give a very simple explanation of what the vertical blanking is all about -- the vertical black bar is the nanosecond the scanning beam is tured off and back on while it scans from left to right and back again. If this nanosecond interval is too long the blanking (i.e. the vertical black bar) will be too "thick" and the raster, or frame, will be slightly more square than it should be. Blanking was never a problem with old TV receivers since they always underscanned anyway, but with today's receivers and especially with NLE systems and QT movies, the entire frame is revealed. I suspect Canon has not given this top priority as a problem to be solved.

The horizontal interval is similar but it's based on the common sync between transmitter and receiver (or between recorder and monitor) -- they both need to sync up on the horizontal interval at precisely the same rate - 60cps NTSC and 50cps PAL. Fortunately the horizontal interval has always been a few scanning lines wider than necessary. Because of this, there is room to place time code and other vital information on the "free" lines in the horizontal interval. VITC is a common use of these extra lines. Broadcasters are putting in all kids of other information in this enterval -- time of day, date, reel number, etc.

The vertical and horizontal intervals can be measured with the use of a waveform scope. There are calibrating marks on the scope's screen that tell you when the intervals are too short or long.

All this is true of analog video but I don't see why it would change in the digital domain. Sync is still sync. TV sets and monitors haven't changed a great deal in the last 20 or 30 years.
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Old April 26th, 2002, 02:42 PM   #29
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"Is DVinfo.Net known to Canon as a valuable resource for promoting the use of their products?"

I sent "Chris" at Canon tech support a link to the previous thread on this topic. Who knows whether he actually brought it up with his supervisors.

As for a petition, I think by posting here and expressing your dissastisfaction, you've already signed one.

Alex, thanks for championing this for us. Do let us know what you find out.

I haven't noticed any red lines in Frame Mode. If somebody posts a scientific procedure for reproducing these, I'll check it out.
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Old April 26th, 2002, 10:42 PM   #30
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More data:

In Frame mode, the problem is slightly worse: the black bar is maybe 2 pixels taller.

In 16:9 mode, the black bar is still there, perhaps 1 pixel shorter. This strongly suggests that the problem is nothing to do with the capture side of the CCD: as I stretch the image horizontally when entering 16:9 mode, the black bar covers a totally different part of the image than when in 4:3 mode.

So, this suggests that the problem lies in the processing after the CCD. Per Ozzie's posting, this may be a "simple" horizontal blanking adjustment.

One last variable that I want to eliminate: both my capture systems run Windows XP, and so are using the Windows DV codec. Although I use the MainConcept DV Codec 2.04 for rendering on output, there's no way that I know of to replace the Windows DV codec for capture. Although captures are fine (i.e. full 720x480) with my consumer Sony TRV10, there may still be a strange interaction with the Windows DV codec and the XL1S. Anyone out there seeing this problem with a different capture platform, e.g. a Mac?

Thanks! Alex.
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