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Old February 27th, 2004, 11:03 AM   #1
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xl1s artifacts + lost recording

Hello all. I've had my Xl1s for about a month now and everything has been great until yesterday. Upon viewing the footage that I shot earlier that day I ran into some problems that I haven't had before. Everything was fine until about the 20 minute mark. Then I started getting drop outs (mixed frame with two different scenes interlaced every other line). This lasts about 10 seconds than nothing but a blue screen with no sound. The strange thing is there is about 10 minutes of footage missing.

I then go to view tape #2 (same shoot) and the first 2 minutes is the same, just blue screen with no sound, then the drop out problem as previously stated for about 20 seconds and then everything is alright.

I've read that drop outs are not that uncommon at the beginning of tapes, but this happened on Tape #1 at the 20 minute mark. Possibly a bad tape?

I cleaned the playback camera (Canon Z50) with a Panasonic cleaner (to rule it out) and it is definitely the Xl1s. I then cleaned the Xl1s with the same cleaner (1st cleaning ever) and recorded 2 minutes on the presumed bad tape (tape #1) and everything was fine. Popped in a fresh tape (to rule out drop outs at the beginning of the tape) and everything is fine. Hopefully the cleaner did the trick, I'll find out today and post my findings. Anybody else experiencing this?

The drop out problem is one thing, but what really bothers me is the lost footage.

Also of note, tape #1 actually had about 2 minutes of footage from a test done a week ago and I started recording where it left off (not over).

I've had the camera for only 1 month (brand new) with 10 hours of recording time max. I only use Fuji tapes and this is the first problem I've had with the xl1s. Yesterdays shoot was at the beach with a little mist yucking up the lens (filter) from time to time, nothing severe. Had a Kata Rain Guard on as well. She has been babied since day 1. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks.

Kevin
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Old February 27th, 2004, 02:15 PM   #2
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I had exactly the same problem with my XL-1 a few years ago-- tried everything including a factory cleaning. The second time I sent it back, they changed the drum. That fixed the problem.

Total loss of A/V isn't due to mixed tapes or other easily fixable stuff. It's a camera problem.

Send a tape with the problem when you send it in.
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Old February 27th, 2004, 02:53 PM   #3
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Thanks Vic. What was the turn around time?

Kevin
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Old February 27th, 2004, 03:33 PM   #4
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Every time I've sent in a camera, repair turn-around has been within a week of when they received the camera.
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Old February 29th, 2004, 09:21 PM   #5
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Well, after the cleaning with the Panasonic Head Cleaner I've shot 2.5 hrs worth of material without a single problem since my original problem with drop outs and lost recordings last Thursday. Not even drop outs. Hopefully it was an isolated incident. I also came across another posting here that actually quoted the XL1s manual on page 105 that states:

"When mosaic-like noise appears on the playback picture, the video heads may be dirty. When the video heads are badly contaminated, the camera may show a blank blue screen."

So it is a plausible that I just had badly contaminated heads when I did the recording. Thanks for all of the help.

Kevin
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Old February 29th, 2004, 11:53 PM   #6
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I hope that takes care of it -- be careful, though. Switching to the Panasonic Master tapes seemed to help, but I still occasionally got the interlaced video. My total drop out (blue screen) occurred at 30 minutes into a taping, and lasted the rest of the tape. The camera was only a couple of weeks old at the time. That "feature" never occurred again, but I still continued to get the occasional interlaced banding problem. The first time back to the factory, Canon said they "adjusted the frame". The second time (after the warranty period, of course), Canon replaced the drum (on my nickel). Since then, I've only had the occasional 2-3 frame glitches that we've come to love in the world of DV. That's one reason I prefer to use the Firestore when on the sticks-- the tape is only there for backup. I hope you're out of the woods, but I suspect you're not -- the heads should not have been seriously contaminated on new camera.
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Old March 1st, 2004, 10:36 AM   #7
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Vic, thank you for sharing your experience. I'll definitely keep a close eye on it and if the problem occurs again, off to Canon servicing it goes. I did read recently here on the board that it is recommended to run a head cleaner in your xl1s the day you receive it which I did not. Also, of the 12.5 hours of total recording time, 99% of it has been done outdoors in conditions where head contamination is highly possible (tape change). Hopefully this is the case. Thanks once again.

Kevin
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Old July 29th, 2004, 01:04 PM   #8
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Just posting the resolution (so it seems) to my dilemma with the lost recording and mosaic problem. To recap:

Had an instance of a lost recording for 20+ minutes, no audio, no video, and no time code just blue screen. There were no signs of any problems when recording though. Xl1s was only 1 month old with 10 hours of recording time. Ran a cleaning tape and all was fine.

A month and 20 hours of recording time later and the problem occurs again but for just a minute. It seems that it happens per recording session and not per tape, such as if I record for 5 minutes and stop it and then resume recording for the next take, the previous 5 minute take would exhibit the problem but then the following take would be fine.

At this point I was in full production so I couldn't send it in. Fortunately the problem never happened again.

2 months later (on the last day of shooting) a separate problem arose. I never use the Xl1s as a playback deck with exception to this one time out of necessity. Everything played and fast-forwarded fine but on rewind I would get the "Eject Tape" error and it eventually ate the tape. Luckily I was able to salvage the footage.

So I sent it in to Canon servicing and they got it back to me a week later and they replaced the Recorder unit (under warranty). It seems to be working okay but to be certain I went searching here for other users who have had their recorder unit replaced and I ran into a post where a user had the exact same problem (lost recording + eject error) a year ago and had the recorder unit replaced. I emailed her and asked if she has had any problems since and she replied with:

"Yes, once Canon replaced the recording unit inside the camera, it did fix the problem (knock on wood!). I have been using the camera every week for about 15-30 hours a week for over a year since the problem first occurred. A Canon rep told me that the problem was a mechanical defect "off the line" and nothing could predict or prevent this from happening (pretty much, it was just a faulty device). He also told me that the XL1s has about 1000 recording hours on it, so that I should get it checked every year to make sure that the heads have not been worn out from use.

Thankfully I had a back up camera with me that day so I was able to continue shooting without delay.

Hope this helps!"


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