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Old November 30th, 2003, 06:42 PM   #1
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XL1s Artifacts - what's causing this?

Hi folks. It's been a while since I've been to the DVInfo.net forums. Glad to be back with a new handle.

Okay, so I've been encountering a really frustrating artifacting problem with my XL1s, and I can't seem to figure it out. Here's the basic description:

1) They always seem to be white
2) They look like old-school ASCII characters (white squares)
3) They appear at random intervals

I use:

1) Canon XL1s w/ 16x manual
2) Panasonic 63 and 83 MQ tapes
3) Panasonic Head Cleaner

Normally, I just used the head cleaner as instructed (ever 50 hours or so). However, after this problem appeared, I use it 3-5 seconds at a time, usually between every new shoot I do (about 3-4 tapes per shoot).

It's bizarre - the artificating only occurs here and there, sometimes not at all, sometimes twice in thirty seconds. It's totally random. Very annoying, though, and it's ruining all my favorite takes.

The artifacting is usually no more than a frame in length.

I've digitized my footage using a Sony PC-9, a Sony DSR1800, and the XL1s itself. This problem seems to occur no matter what deck I use, which leads me to believe its happening in the recording process.

Here's a screenshot:

http://www.sundevilpictures.com/artifact.jpg

Here's a 5-second Quicktime of the problem (1.5mb):

Click here

Please let me know if you have any advice, input, or a solution. Thanks!!
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Old November 30th, 2003, 06:48 PM   #2
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Here's the same screenshot with highlights so it's easier to see:

http://www.sundevilpictures.com/artifact2.jpg
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Old November 30th, 2003, 10:39 PM   #3
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Gosh, Jonathan, isn't that much head cleaner use going to be too hard on the heads?

Regardless of how long you've had the camera, maybe you should send it to Irvine for servicing and tell them the problem. I've had two XL1s's for a couple of years now, and had a problem kind of like that with one of them, plus minor problems on both. I've been REALLY happy with the service center; last month they even replaced some assemblies on one camera and didn't charge any more than a regular service!

It's well worth the 4-6 weeks (for me it's usually four) without your camera.
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Old November 30th, 2003, 11:02 PM   #4
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It's a bit of a puzzler. I've not seen this problem before.

It's hard to see in your QT file but certainly easy to see in your jpg. What struck me while looking at the jpg was that these artifacts seem to occur at boundaries in contrast. The glare from the glasses frames, the edge of the chin and the edge between the dark cap and the bright forehead. To me, as a non-technician, this suggests some sort of DV compression glitch rather than a problem with your heads. (In my experience head alignment problems will tend to affect the entire image, not just isolated spots.) These are the areas where I would expect to find oddities with respect to over-sharpening (which does not appear to be the case here).

Lorinda is probably right; Canon Service is probably your only practical path on this one. I definitely wouldn't scrub those heads any further.

Good luck with this and let us know how this turns out.
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Old December 1st, 2003, 07:25 PM   #5
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I do not have a XL1 but does it have a reset button on it like my Sony's? I have occationally had problems with my DHR1000 Sony DV deck and SOny PC10 camcorder. Solved them by pressing the master reset button resetting whatever it resets!!!!!!!!!.


Ron Evans
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Old December 1st, 2003, 09:39 PM   #6
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Thanks much for the replys.

I'm hesitant to go to Canon, simply because of the inherent cost of factory repairs, but perhaps it's my only choice. I'll keep you posted on the outcome.

Ron - could you elaborate a bit? Are you saying you had the same artifacting as seen in my screenshots and solved the issue by reseting the camera options back to their default settings?
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Old December 2nd, 2003, 09:34 AM   #7
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I can't be certain the artifacts were exactly like yours but yes I have got rid of artifacts on both camcorder and deck by pressing the reset button and then resetting all the parameters back to my own. For the most part this of course is reseting the clock etc. Again I am not sure about the XL1 but the Sony's have a small reset button on them, it is not a reset in the menus that I am talking about, but a small physical button that needs a small pin or pen tip to press.

Ron
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Old December 2nd, 2003, 02:11 PM   #8
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There is no such mechanism in the XL1s. You may, however, be able to approximate it by removing the main battery and the back-up (watch-style) battery overnight. This may have the effect of resetting all of the camera's tweaks to their factory defaults.

But I don't think this will solve the problem at hand.
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Old December 2nd, 2003, 02:30 PM   #9
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It would be worth a shot. I doubt those are DV compression
errors. Usually (macroblock) errors look quite different. Most of
us have probably seen them in mpeg files sometime.

My guess would be that some electronic component is working
wonky from time to time. Looks like some interference or illegal
quantizing that is going on.

I would try to eliminate the problem by capturing directly to
your PC (without tape) and capturing with different cables &
computers as well.

Could in theory be a faulty cable or interference on your firewire
port as well, although that would probably result in dropped
frames. Not sure.
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Old December 2nd, 2003, 03:16 PM   #10
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If I'm not mistaken, you were filming from the roof of PSA, and that's SGM in the background.

(fuzzy inside)
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Old December 2nd, 2003, 03:56 PM   #11
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huh?

R.K.S.,

Once more, spelled out, please? :)

Thanks.
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Old December 3rd, 2003, 12:35 AM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by Robert Knecht Schmidt : If I'm not mistaken, you were filming from the roof of PSA, and that's SGM in the background.

(fuzzy inside) -->>>


:)
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Old December 3rd, 2003, 12:42 AM   #13
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Lorinda - spelled out ;)
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Old December 3rd, 2003, 01:12 AM   #14
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Jonathan,

Good thing you added the "wink;" otherwise, I would have been offended. Or maybe I just don't get it/managed to misplace my sense of humor.

For the record, I'd like to tell you that some of us either can't afford to, or feel a little too old to be enrolling in film school. One of the things I've liked about this forum is the prevailing courtesy shown by the big guys helping out the little ones.

If the pros on this forum always steered me to film school, I would have given up.

On the other hand, responses like yours certainly help me remember my place, so thanks for that.

Good luck figuring out your problem.
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Old December 3rd, 2003, 01:55 AM   #15
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Um, I didn't mean any offense by that.

Robert correctly spotted Parking Structure A (PSA) at the SC campus. In your last post you asked him to spell out PSA, if I'm not mistaken. I thought rather than literally spell out the name, I'd just tell you what he meant.

Didn't mean to take a pompous dig at you or anything.


To Ken and Rob:

Thanks!
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