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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old June 5th, 2004, 11:33 AM   #16
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ok the way it goes:

every tape i record on via XL1 be it sony tapes or panasonic MQ tapes i get what i believe canon calls "mosaic noise". it's not the computer or the firewire cable because my 1 chip sony doesn't do it. nor do any other tape brands operate that way in the sony. i've run a head cleaner through and i still have the problem. the best way to describe the mosaic noise is sparadic (spelling?) flashes of gray boxes/rectangles.

on average how much does it cost to send something in to canon to have it fixed. they've suggested it might be the recording heads. HELP???
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Old June 5th, 2004, 12:48 PM   #17
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Sorry to hear of your trouble, Chris. I've no idea what the "average" cost would be. It would depend on whether or not your camera is still under warranty.

We have many threads of correspondence in this section of the forum concerning repairs and service. Do a Search on "drum" or "repair" and you'll turn up pages. Here's a relatively recent thread that might give you some tips on what to expect.

Good luck.
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Old June 6th, 2004, 11:41 AM   #18
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Myron,

Just to be clear. When I was speaking of heat related component failure, I wasn't talking about the environment that the camera was in. What I was referring to was a weak component such as IC, transistor, resistor, capacitor, etc. that alters its value when operating in its own ambient heat up that occurs in all electronic equipment(ever notice your cell phone warming up after you talk for a long time). There are small spray cans of 'freeze it' spray that are used for diagnosing these problems. On the other side of the coin, there can be problems with components that don't work when they are cold. We use a soldering iron to apply heat for finding these problems. Anyway, I hope Canon will fix it for you.

Also, what you said about not seeing any problems while the footage was recorded is due to the fact that your viewfinder is not showing what just got recorded. It is showing what the lens is seeing at that point in time.


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Old June 7th, 2004, 08:10 AM   #19
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Hi Greg
Actually, even though I mentioned it was Autumn here and the camera wasn't doing much work when it still gave trouble, I wasn't being flippant - I had understood your post was talking about a camera component heat failure. I've re-read your posts, and I detect that you are probably in the camera technician area. I'd love to ask you a few more questions, but meanwhile I understand your suggestion that some form of heat component failure is a serious possibility for the problems I have experienced. Frankly, I'm a tad concerned now that I didn't mention the variation in 'jump' timecode position in my handwritten note to accompany the XL1 to Canon. Due to my inexperience, I felt it was unwise to potentially bore them with every little 'symptom', like as if I'm the only bloke that ever had a camera malfunction. I just hope they are thorough in their consideration of the possibilities, given that I included a sample tape with the problem.

I shall certainly keep you informed of the response I get from Canon. I am hoping that will only take them 2 or 3 weeks. M.
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Old June 7th, 2004, 11:05 AM   #20
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Myron,
One other question. Did you send you camera in for yearly maintenance?
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Old June 7th, 2004, 06:46 PM   #21
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Unfortunately I was unaware that I should send it in for regular annual maintenance, given that it was quality gear and not receiving a lot of use. Can you clarify if annual maintenance would be a normal part of a warranty - I was thinking a warranty is for when something goes wrong? Then again in hindsight, obviously annual maintenance performed correctly would almost certainly head off some developing issues. I'm not the sort of bloke that would seek someome else to blame. Without pre-empting what Canon may find - I take responsibility for (in hindsight) potentially unwise activities like leaving tapes in the camera etc. However, in fairness, I also react to good advice, and on rechecking the manual it is pretty brief in these areas. I see on p13 of the manual it says not to leave cassettes in the camera after use. After I bought the gear, I had handwritten beside that ' Is this only for a storage situation? Presume OK for a week or two with unpredictable shooting?'. What about if you own a quality deck (or other equipment) are you supposed to send it back in for regular annual maintenance? Would really like to hear what you think should be normal procedure for anyone owning quality camcorder equipment. Maybe you can reference me a good article on a website somewhere? Thanks, M.
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Old June 8th, 2004, 03:33 AM   #22
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Hi Myron,
With a bit of luck your playback fault may be just that - playback only and not a record fault. If not a component fault as Greg suggests, It sounds to me (not a tech. but a pro user) like a mechanical fault. Although considered pro gear, the transport mechanism is very fragile and prone to misalignment, causing all kinds of errors on playback. Shock from bumpy roads (Qld rainforest tracks?) would need to be avoided.
My XL1s needed a whole new transport after a trip to Japan, but I blame myself for not taking it onboard as cabin luggage. You Idiot! Never again

So my advice here (learnt the hard way) is buy yourself a good bag to keep it safe. I recommend Portabrace, but have a look at B&H Photovideo on the 'net. That's where I got mine, and I'm in Australia too.

With the light duty yours has had, it is possible the fault was present from new.

You won't see record faults as they happen generally, as the viewfinder is showing you the signal before it gets put on tape. Thankfully, really dirty heads will cause an error message though, so keep a head cleaning tape with you always.

Finally, on your mention of decks for playback use, I use a Sony DSR11 DVCAM unit but I have had problems with playback compatibility, simply because the minute tolerances DV uses for tracking, so I often have to recapture a shot using the XL1 as the Sony won't play it.
I guess that's why DVCAM uses a wider track pitch or whatever for cross-compatibility, at the expense of tape duration.
Among the benefits of a DSR or similar is the ability to master jobs of up to 4+ hours, frame accurate export to tape, ability to record in DVCAM or DV format, and as a backup unit, connected to the firewire output of the camera.

When capturing, the best way to save wear and tear on your machine is to use clever software that scans and captures in one pass.

I hope I haven't bored anyone to sleep.


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Old June 9th, 2004, 11:35 AM   #23
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No, I would not expect alignments as part of the warranty. Even when you warrant a car you still have routine maintenance to perform.
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Old June 11th, 2004, 12:41 AM   #24
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Hi Mark

I've been away for a couple of days, and just wanted to acknowledge your post. At this stage, it seems best to wait for Canon's response about my camera problems. However, on the other points you mentioned:
1. The case idea. Yeah, just after I got the XL1 I went out to the desert and Lake Eyre, the Gulf etc but the camera spent the whole time 'accessable' on the back seat of the Patrol, so no damage issues there. I actually bought a Pelican hard case for it, but took it around unused as I didn't want to have the extra time step for grab shots of bustards etc as they presented. I've got used to it now from this thread, but I'm still basically amazed the XL1 transport mechanism is apparently so fragile. I mean, many people I know have their cheap miniDV cameras, and they sure as hell don't fuss over them any more than I do with the XL1, yet I'm not seeing them having fragile tape transport issues.
2. On the head cleaning tape, I have a Panasonic AY-DVMCLA 'dry type' cleaner. I'm a bit gunshy on using it, as I've read so much about possible cleaner damage to the heads. I guess it's more a case of having it in the kit,and then using it when you have to. Again, as the viewfinder shows me what is going through the lens, I presume I will only see the dirty heads blockiness etc on playback. Isn't that too late, given my critical scene has then already been shot, only to decide the heads were dirty? I presume dirty heads affects the record AND the playback? Sorry if this is a dumb question!
2. Clever software that scans and captures in one pass. I've just obtained ScenalyzerLive that seems to be what's needed there. Any experience with it yourself?
3. This clever capture software means the camera transport is not hunting around, so it would seem full tapes can be dropped on the HDD (cheap now) and then bring it into the NLE from there. This suggests maybe managing without a proper deck like the DSR11 or the Panasonic AGDV2500 I am interested in. My gut feeling is that despite the cost of these decks AND the smart capture software, it would probably still be a reasonable idea to get one for general use - and you mentioned the advantages including ability to archive miniDV tape onto the bigger tape format they take. What's your experience? I'm sort of thinking that with the 'coming' of prosumer HD the deck won't be useful one day? Then again, realistically there must be an ongoing use for std def for many years yet? Cheers, Myron.
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Old June 13th, 2004, 01:30 AM   #25
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When I said the mechanism is fragile I didn't mean to imply that the XL1 is more so compared to other mini dv units, I mean mini-dv generally, compared to larger ENG formats. Take a look at how thin the metal in the transport is and how tiny the moving parts are.
But like you said, no need to treat your camera any different from a "cheap miniDV camera". I also have a cheap Sony handicam DV that I have used professionally in places I considered too risky for taking my XL1, not because I thought it was fragile, but because it is worth much more, not just in actual cost but because it's my means of making a living. One location was inside a coal bunker with fine dust everywhere.

I don't think you need to worry too much about the head cleaner as long as you follow the directions.

You will only see dropouts on playback, where they may be only playback dropouts, or they may have been recorded that way. If you wind back and play the glitch portion again and the dropout is exactly the same frame, amount of pixillation, and area of the screen, it is more likely to be a record error , ie dirt on the record heads. If the glitch plays back differently in some way or not at all, it sounds like a playback error. Clean the heads and try again.

If when shooting, the heads get really dirty the camera will tell you in the viewfinder to clean the heads, but there's always that worry in your mind that everything is working perfectly. The more important the shoot, the more the worry, and in my experience, the more likely something will stuff up!

I haven't had any hands on with scenalyzer but if it stops your camera/deck from having to spool around and preroll for every shot it could well save you the need of a feeder deck. Whether or not you need one is up to you. If you can give it plenty of work to do to justify the expense or you need the extra duration of large DV tapes . . . then again you might just WANT one. ; )

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Old June 16th, 2004, 10:57 AM   #26
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I haven't used Scenalyzer either, but I have not heard any complaints about it, especially for the price. One of the big reasons to use Scenalyzer is for 4-track support since not all NLEs will do this.

Yes, I also agree that Canon's miniDV drive is not more fragile than other miniDVs. However, the camera has more heft and in a fall...well who knows?

Another option for you would be either a Firestore or Quickstore disk transfer system. Using those critters speeds your clip logging and makes your miniDV only a redundant tape drive. I am assuming you can use 4-track with it, but I don't have that answer.
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Old July 16th, 2004, 09:32 PM   #27
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Okay - for all those that were interested in my problem - here's the news from Canon.

I received my XL1 back a couple of weeks ago from Canon Australia (sorry I've been too busy to post). Remember this went through a local dealer's warranty repair service division, who sent it direct to Canon.

1. The reported fault typed on my dealers jobsheet upon despatch was:
When played in VCR mode tape jumps for last 20 minutes - gets worse the more you play. Please refer to attached sheet. (This sheet was my bigger handwritten explanation, and I also included a faulty tape paused at the point where problem was obvious. Refer to this thread for full details of what was experienced, and also a lot of useful comments from you guys).

2. The service details (from Canon) now typed on my dealer jobsheet given to me was:

' Unit was sent to authorised warranty repair agent. They carried out the following: Disassembled unit, Supplied and fitted main PCB assembly, cleaned and calibrated as required, reassembled unit, checked and tested operation all Ok'.

3. As this was an extended warranty repair, it was no charge to me. However, I noticed that it cost A$982 for the job as covered under the warranty. I recall my original 5 year extended warranty was A$500 at the time.

4. It works fine now - I've used a full 60 minute tape with no problems on playback right to the end.

5. I've rechecked my previous faulty family wedding footage (shot with this camera) and the last 20 minutes or so still jumps on playback. I kinda expected this, and believe that footage is permanently lost? The damage seen upon playback must have been happening during record.

6. I feel a bit 'remote from the process' so far as Canon's repair was concerned, but that is how the system evidently works. I mean I would have liked to have had a detailed yarn with some informed person about some of the suggestions you guys made. This would have been good for my education. For example, I mentioned to a dealer technician (not Canon) when I was collecting the XL1 about the possibility of spring tension loss if a tape was left in the camera too long, (I think it was Nick's idea) and the techie claimed no springs are under tension unless the camera is actually working in record or playback. I wish I knew more about the facts on this type of thing. At the moment, I assume a replaced printed circuit board PCB may mean Gregs component heat breakdown suggestion is close on the money?

7. If anyone can drag themselves away from the XL2 thread, I would appreciate your views in hindsight. Does it still look like I was just unlucky etc? This won't change anything, but I'll probably feel better, if you know what I mean!

kind regards to all. Myron.
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Old July 17th, 2004, 06:54 AM   #28
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Yeah, just unlucky. Something decided to break (or was broke from new) and your footage was the victim.

But also lucky. Lucky you bought the extended warranty!
Good luck with it in the future.

Cheers

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Old July 18th, 2004, 08:05 PM   #29
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Myron, Sounds like greg was right (he wins the prize!) check your inbox

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Old February 10th, 2005, 08:35 AM   #30
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Hello,

Hate to resurrect the dead, but I am having a problem that I believe may be at the heart of some of the problems other Canon users are having.

I see this on my Canon XL1, and on my Brand New Canon XL2!

Now my concern about sending cameras out for repair, is that many times the technicians have more important things on their minds (non-business related) to even read your detailed reports. They just throw it on the test bench and read the numbers. That is just sad, but being in the technology business for over 25 years, I know this happens.

I sent my Canon XL1 in for periodic maintenance and I mentioned several things that I wanted specifically checked, and after speaking with several people from tech support (Never anyone that actually worked on my camera by the way... they wouldn't let me speak to any specific technician), it became evident that my detailed explanation was being used as a coaster. The letter that came back with my unit made no mention of my concerns at all, it just stated that they cleaned the heads and that everything was within spec.

My playback problem and other minor concerns were still present :-(

And this problem still exists intermittently even after 4 or 5 visits to Canon.


--- My problem ---

* upon playback on my cheap feeder decks I get all kinds of problems ranging from video drop-out to audio distortion and cut-out.

* At times my XL2 gives me some drop-out while playing my XL1 tapes.

* At times my XL1 gives me some drop-out while playing my XL1 tapes.

* At times my XL1 and XL2 give me some drop-out while playing my XL1 and/or XL2 tapes.


--- My Observation ---

* I have noticed certain activity that is usually present when I am experiencing playback issues, and it might be related to what many of you have described here, and if not, please look to see if this is true with your systems as well.

This also occurs on tapes that will not playback correctly on my feeder decks, but appear to playback fine on my Canon Cameras. Although the footage looks good, this Timecode Irregularity is present.

-- Timecode Irregularity ---

While watching the timecode display upon playback I notice (not always, but when difficulties are present) that the timecode will play along smoothly, and then pause... it then starts playing smoothly again but starts at several frames ahead of where it left off. This is probably because although the timecode stopped /froze in its display, the tape kept playing and when the timecode came out of its deep freeze, it picked up the frame that it was on. This happens every 5 to 40 frames and is not obviously consistent where I can determine any rational.


--- My Sad Conclusion ---

Canon may be right, the heads might readout aligned on their equipment, I think Canon has a more deeply rooted problem. I hear this from many owners that have sworn off of Canon and stick with Sony or Panasonic.

This is upsetting as I purchased this new XL2 as a backup to my XL1 that I thought might have a problem that eluded Canons technical team. I am about to shoot an important job, and due to my XL2 purchase, can not go out and by a different camera :-(

Besides, I like the XLs, I can get some really great images with my tested lighting techniques. It would take a much more expensive camera for me to get the same results (although my lighting would be much easier).

So I wish that Canon might explore this issue and come up with a solution. I know that many users may never experience the problems that some of us are having, but there are enough of us to warrant the extra effort and thereby making Canon a Super Value among all of the competition!

I am now conducting Tape Tests, but I know a lot of pros that use cheap tape for their non-critical work, and they never experience problems on their gear... why should our Canon cameras be any different??

Please comment...

Thank You :-)
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