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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
Can't find it on the XL1 Watchdog site? Discuss it here.


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Old April 28th, 2002, 06:20 PM   #46
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Or picture-in-picture, compositing, effects, etc. etc. etc. Which makes the XL1S junk for a lot of what I intended to use it for.
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Old April 28th, 2002, 07:09 PM   #47
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I hope this thread does get some attention from the people at Canon. There is no telling how many potintial, undecided, buyers read this board. I can tell you from personal experience that it comes up quickly when searching for info on xl1s.

Most people coming into this at this level spend a long time before deciding on either an xl1s or a PD-150. Any reports of this problem with the PD-150? Someone mentioned earlier that they had the same problem with their VX-1000.
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Old April 28th, 2002, 10:13 PM   #48
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Chris,

Do you (or anyone else reading this) know someone at Canon tech support who'd read this thread and take note? I suspect that most of us are huge Canon supporters. I know that I spent my very first bonus check ever, around 1978, on a Canon A-1, and over the years have accumulated a lot of Canon gear. Based on the fixes that Canon applied to the EOS-D30 based on user reports of difficulties, I'd like to think that they'll do an update on the XL1S, assuming that it's possible.

It seems that this problem with the XL1S is common, if not actually on every camera. There's one last piece of evidence that'd be really useful to gather: taking the video/S-video output directly into a "real" monitor, i.e. not a TV, but a device that shows the whole display. There wasn't one at Keeble and Shuchat when I was diagnosing my camera, but I'm sure that SOMEONE on this board has one. I used to work at Grass Valley Group, and we had a lot of tasty monitors that would show you the whole picture. Of course, they have black backgrounds, but a little fiddling with contrast and brightness should show if the dreaded black line is there on the analog outputs. That might help Canon narrow down the problem.

I'd be happy to print this thread out and mail it to the right Canon person, if anyone has a pointer. Alternatively, maybe someone at Canon could just browse the thread online :-)

It's in Canon's interests to fix this ASAP; the longer they wait the more cameras are out there needing adjustment or repair.
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Old April 28th, 2002, 10:56 PM   #49
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Alex,

I just finished photography of an educational dramatic feature. I hope to post an article on my trials and tribulations shooting a dramatic feature with the XL-1 and 1s. For the entire shoot we used two hires monitors in underscan, mainly to aid focusing and to reveal any flags or booms dipping in along the edges. I can tell you the blanking problems (or errors as I rather call them since they can be adjusted by Canon) do show up in analog as well.

For what it's worth, and I alluded to this earlier, this is an old problem and it's quite common even with top of the line broadcast cameras. The difference is that with a DigiBeta or BetaSP camcorder, the blanking can be adjusted in the camera with the aid of a waveform monitor. In the case of the XL-1, or any other high end consumer camera, there is no such adjustment available to the user (for good reasons) and any adjustments must be done at the factory or authorized repair shop.

My hope is that Canon will throw in the adjustment gratis when requested as part of our annual checkup. I don't know what's involved adjusting the vertical and horizontal blanking in these cameras but I don't think it's an impossible task. I'm open to being corrected if there are issues specific to the XL-1 or digital camcorders in general that would prevent this from being done.

I have now used four cameras in the last month -- one XL-1s, two XL-1, and a Sony TRV900 -- the blanking varies from camera to camera. The XL-1s I used has wide vertical blanking (black bars on both sides of the frame); while the XL-1 has wide horizontal blanking (a black bar at the bottom of thre frame); the Sony has wide vertical but it shows up on the right side of the frame only. I'll post some frame grabs from the current production once we get it wrapped up.
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Old April 28th, 2002, 11:23 PM   #50
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Very interesting, Ozzie. The vertical black bars on both sides of the frame that you saw on an XL1S are very common in the XL1 (even on frame grabs on the Watchdog site). The horizontal black bar that you saw on the XL1 is the XL1S problem that we've been discussing. Looks like the problems aren't specific to model.

I do hope that it's a simple factory/repair shop adjustment.
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Old April 28th, 2002, 11:33 PM   #51
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>>Looks like the problems aren't specific to model. <<

And I'd venture to guess they vary from camera to camera as well. My XL-1s has no horizontal bar at all, only vertical and on both sides which is unusual.
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Old April 29th, 2002, 02:50 PM   #52
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For everyone's information, I just called Canon support and was told that I shold contact Adobe and find out a way in which the "problem" can be fixed in the authoring software!! (no kidding!).

Very nice lady tried to help me, then went and asked "someone else" and that was the reply I got. I explained that this was causing some consternation with other users, and suggested that she should let her management know that it is a serious situation which could cost them sales - she said she would.

I think what this needs is a concerted effort by all concerned to call Canon and complain about the problem. Once they see that there are a lot of unsatisfied people out there, they might think about doing something about it.

My temporary work-around when outputting to an mpeg is to oversize the rendering by 16 pixels top and sides and then crop it (during the rendering process) by 8 pixels on all four sides - effectively getting rid of the overscan.
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Old April 29th, 2002, 03:05 PM   #53
 
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where's Chris (Hurd)? Chris...HELP!!!!
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Old April 29th, 2002, 04:15 PM   #54
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mine too

I've been yapping with Alex in email for abit now but, thought I should just make sure a put in a "My XL1S has the damn lines too" post in case anyone from Canon ever looks at this thread. I've talked to the owners hotline a couple times now and have been told that the problem report has been sent to the research department to figure out and that should be hearing from them eventually. We'll see. Being able to say that I get the same problems in XpressDV, FCP3, Premiere, and Video Vegas shuts 'em up about software 'issues' fast enough. If you call them, and urge everyone to, make sure you say you have tried it on various platforms and still get the lines. It will help skip that whole software rap the tech support people like to go into.
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Old April 29th, 2002, 04:37 PM   #55
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I wonder how Soderbergh handled this problem (in Full Frontal). Perhaps Canon made sure they sent him absolutely pristine cameras.
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Old April 29th, 2002, 06:40 PM   #56
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One way we work around the problem is to blow up the frame just enough to meet specs. This is, of course, not a good solution by a long shot since it degrades the picture. Another work around that does not require blowing up is to wipe in just enough of the same frame. This can be noticeable depending on the frame.

I don't recommend either of these feeble solutions but it did get us approved by the stringent PBS tech department for a number of years. It seems tech people don't care how the picture looks as long as it "meets specs".

I was talking with a tech type who knows a lot meore than me about these matters. He thinks Canon can fix the problem by altering the programming of the chip in the camera. It seems there are computer types who have been "experimenting" with the on-board firmware of digital cameras. But this is way beyond my field of knowledge.
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Old April 29th, 2002, 06:42 PM   #57
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Don't know if this is any help, but I once had a problem with Sony that seemed to be going nowhere when talking with the lower-level staff.

So, after determining who the president of the company was, I sent a certified letter to him laying out the problem. Within days, one of the president's top customer service guys called and got the whole mess cleaned up pronto. The president also followed up with a letter.

Now THAT'S service, hoss.

You might as well "get on record" with this problem; who knows, if all you send certified letters to the upper echelon, it might work wonders. Someone needs to post a name and address so that everyone sends the certified letter to the same person.

Good luck (I don't yet own a Canon; otherwise, I'd take the lead)
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Old April 29th, 2002, 06:52 PM   #58
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This morning I talked to Jerry at the Jamesberg, NJ service center. I described the problem of the black line at the bottom of the frame, and told him that there were one hell of a lot of angry XL-1s users out there. He was well aware of the problem, and explained it to me this way.
He said that every camcorder manufacturer has to deal with these scanning defects and each chooses to do it differently. Some put thinner black bands at the top and bottom, some on the sides. Canon chose the bottom for the XL-1s. I asked him why have them at all, and mentioned that there was no black line at the bottom with my XL-1 (as had been confirmed in several posts here). Yes, he said, but you have them up both sides on the XL-1. Indeed, when I got home I pulled up an XL-1 frame and there was a 6 pixel-wide line up the left border, and a thinner one up the right.
I suppose if I can have lived with the lines up the sides for years with the XL-1, I can live with one at the bottom with the XL-1s.
By the way, calling the service center direct in Jamesburg at the non toll-free number (I believe it's 732-7000 with the appropriate area code) gets past a lot of the bullshit.
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Old April 29th, 2002, 07:27 PM   #59
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Yes but..............

Jerry didn't answer the question....WHY have them at all???

Why not just build a camera that has NO black lines - top bottom or sides??

That's what I'd like to know.

Ron
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Old April 30th, 2002, 05:30 AM   #60
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Personally I'm not botherd by black lines so much... What bothers
me is the little white (or a line that has a different brightness?)
which is also pulsating over time. That is bothering me much
more, cause this actually is very very noticable on computer
footage. A little black bar might even proof usefull in PIP effects
(to have a small black line surroung the B footage from the A
footage). And since you resample a PIP frame you might as
well crop it first (which is very easy with todays softwares).

Ofcourse if you want to play it straight on a computer you still
see it, but is that such a problem, really? As I said, I have much
more problems with my white/brightness line that pulsates.
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