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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 March 1st, 2004, 11:27 AM   #1
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Hey guys.....twice this week I have shot video that has had 5 thick black bars going through it. Another time, instead of black bars, there was five lines of video from earlier on the tape!! Both of these tapes were new....neither of them from the same pack. I cleaned my heads not too long ago. Any insight??

FYI...I am shooting on the XL1
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Old March 1st, 2004, 12:18 PM   #2
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The mosaic you are experiencing is often caused by tape brand. Although there have been many discussions here surrounding the various manufacturers, no conclusive direction has ever floated to the top.

My experience with both of my xl cameras has been to use premium tapes. I have always stuck with Sony, and with great results.

The symptoms you indicate might also translate into a drum replacement in the near future if they persist. Both of mine have been replaced, one at 6 months, the other after 2 years. As this is a wear item, it must be considered a part of your on-going maintenance budget. Canon is quick to perform this task, as it seems to me in my experience that this is a frequent fix at the repair depot.
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Old March 1st, 2004, 12:45 PM   #3
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The bars (5 in NTSC, 6 in PAL) clearly indicate that one of the two video heads on the drum are clogged or worn-out.
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Old March 1st, 2004, 01:09 PM   #4
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Is there a way to determine myself whether the drum is clogged or in need of repair??

Thank you both for your responses.
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Old March 1st, 2004, 01:20 PM   #5
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If you didn't change tape brands, just run a cleaning tape which should solve the problem when the head is still OK. If you changed tape brands a cleaning tape is probably not able to remove the "sticky" risidues and you need a professional cleaning. Hopefully the cleaner, in order to get more money in his pocket, doesn't tell you the head is gone when it is still OK
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Old March 1st, 2004, 03:56 PM   #6
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worst case scenario.....

how much should this set me back if we are talking full on drum/ head repair?? I couldn't pin Canon even to a ball park.
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Old March 1st, 2004, 10:56 PM   #7
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We had the same problem early on when we used Panasonic tapes in our XL1 and XL1s cameras.

Believe it or not, after many phone conferences and at the suggestion of one of the Canon techs, we switched to SONY Premium tapes...end of problem.

Now, I know, there are many people who'll debate everything and anything but, for what it's worth, we have never had a recurrence of this problem. That includes playing the tapes in the SONY decks we use to feed our AVIDs, so, while there may not be a scientific, technical, philosophical or extraterrestrial explanation as to why this happens, I only care about the fact that the problem is GONE.

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Old March 2nd, 2004, 01:11 AM   #8
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I have actually always used TDK tapes. I have never had a problem until now. Of course...there couldn't possibly be a worse time to have problems. Such is life I guess....
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Old March 2nd, 2004, 06:26 AM   #9
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<<Rick wrote:Now, I know, there are many people who'll debate everything and anything but, for what it's worth, we have never had a recurrence of this problem. That includes playing the tapes in the SONY decks we use to feed our AVIDs, so, while there may not be a scientific, technical, philosophical or extraterrestrial explanation as to why this happens, I only care about the fact that the problem is GONE.>>

What a wonderful explanation Rick! Cuts right through the what ifs and hypothesis to the real world answer. I too went down the road of various brands, and have found the annoying problems of head clogging to dissapear once the premiun tapes were in use.

To the O.P., I hope this helps and you can avoid the expense for now of a drum replacement. $?: perhaps 500 - 800 in Canuck bucks.
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Old March 2nd, 2004, 06:55 AM   #10
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Chris,

This is a common problem that arrises with the XL1. I had this problem a couple of years ago after movinig to Japan. I had always used Sony tapes, and still do, but the bars still appeared and as Andre said my heads needed replacing. The whole thing cost me 40 000 yen, about US$350. That price also included a couple of lens mods.

There is no clear cut method to avoid the occurence, sticking to one tape brand is a good start but clearly not a 100% perfect solution. Yearly servicing and cleaning is a good idea and just like with a car regular maintenance a little bit often can save a big bill later down the road.

As for tape brands it seems to depend on who you talk to, one Canon service tech says Panasonic another says Sony. Buy the best tapes you can afford and really avoid switching, especially between Panasonic and Sony as they use different lubes, one wet and one dry, which certainly causes problems and reduces head life.
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