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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old February 8th, 2013, 09:36 AM   #1
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XL1S: no DV output. Buy a second one or?

I purchased a used XL1S about six years ago. I'm a beginner (very) slowly teaching myself about video production. My very-long-term project is a documentary about a hobby club that I belong to. I have about two hours of usable footage that would probably edit down to fifteen minutes, based on content. I'll be shooting much more footage on this project in the future.

My XL1S plays back fine through the viewfinder but my MacPro does not "see" the camera via the DV Firewire connection. At first the DV socket worked fine but gradually became worn. It worked OK for a year or two after I made a shim to position the plug correctly but finally failed. I bought a new socket and after some brain-surgery-like work, removed the old socket from the PC board and carefully soldered on the new one. It didn't help.

So, here are some possible solutions:
1. Transfer my shot but not-yet-downloaded footage via a borrowed camera then buy a new or more-recent camera, probably HD. The downside to this is that my existing footage will look different from newly-shot footage.
2. Buy a second used XL1S and hope for longer-lived DV output. Since my current XL1S still works fine, I'd like to be able to sync both cameras so I could simultaneously shoot interviews with one camera set for a medium shot of the interviewer/interviewee and the other one for a close-up on the interviewee. Is this possible? If they can't be synced, trying to edit with "wild" video from one to match the sound from the other doesn't seem very likely.
3. Have my XLS1 professionally repaired. The cost of this would probably exceed the price of a second used one.
4. Some other solution.

What do you think?
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Old February 8th, 2013, 10:01 AM   #2
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Re: XL1S: no DV output. Buy a second one or?

Hi Charles,

Frankly, I would argue strongly for option #1.

DV Info Net began life as The XL1 Watchdog and therefore the old XL1 / XL1S will always hold a special place in my heart, but the brutal truth of the matter is that it's now very much an antique. It was a very cool concept and it made a big impact at the time and all, but these days I would say it's at "collector status." And that's not to take away from anybody who is still using the XL1... there are plenty of people here who are indeed still shooting to this day with the XL1, XL1S and XL2. Bless them all. However, I cannot recommend getting another one at this point in time.

Although the current HD recording formats are all based on flash memory, you can still have the best of both worlds with an HDV camcorder. It's backwards-compatible with your existing DV library, still shoots DV if you want, and the main thing is that it can also shoot High Definition video. Which leads me to my shameless plug: the link in my signature below will take you to my Canon XH A1 HDV camcorder that's up for sale. It's a fully loaded kit and the camcorder has a brand new tape transport. Just had to point to it!
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Old February 8th, 2013, 10:21 AM   #3
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Re: XL1S: no DV output. Buy a second one or?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
Although the current HD recording formats are all based on flash memory, you can still have the best of both worlds with an HDV camcorder. It's backwards-compatible with your existing DV library, still shoots DV if you want, and the main thing is that it can also shoot High Definition video.
The ONLY caveat I would put forward is BUY LOTS OF TAPES NOW while they are still available.

DV tape manufacturers are slowly stopping production. The closing of the JVC tape line a couple of years ago left me in a terrible position and unable to use my two JVC GY-HD200s to record any more. JVCs are notorious for not playing well with others. Canon is a little "friendlier"...
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Old February 8th, 2013, 11:37 AM   #4
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Re: XL1S: no DV output. Buy a second one or?

Point noted -- and while still in "shameless plug" mode, my XH A1 kit for sale includes ten DV cassettes, an HDV mastering cassette, and a cleaning cassette, all Canon branded, all new.
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Old February 8th, 2013, 12:56 PM   #5
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Re: XL1S: no DV output. Buy a second one or?

For starters what is your budget for a replacement capability?
What capability do you really need?
Where do you want ot be video gear-wise in 1, 2 or 3 years?

For just playback for capture to an NLE almost any MiniDV camcorder with firewire conenction will work.

As Chris notes, the XH A1 is a nice camcorder.

The HV20/30/40 give HDV and DV playback as well.

On the pure DV front, the GL2, new or used, should give you some very good SD capability that should match the XL1s nicely. On the other hand the GL1 is rather long in the tooth.

With a decent NLE you should be able to match the footage from differnt camcorders very closely using the various filters available as long as the final product is intended as SD video. (And the camcorder are used within their performance limits, epsecially low light capability.) On the other mixing the XL1s footage with HD in a 1080 HD project would probably not work very well.
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Old February 8th, 2013, 10:59 PM   #6
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Re: XL1S: no DV output. Buy a second one or?

Thank you all for the speedy and thoughtful responses. I'm still open to hear from others, too.

Chris, I was pretty much expecting solution #1 to be the way to go and your comment reinforces that. Your XH A1 sounds like it could be a reasonable replacement. If you weren't such a prolific and respected poster on this site I would be suspicious of your motives but I'll certainly consider it. SD is good enough for my hobby documentary project (so old footage could be similar to new) but HD would be useful for others.

Shaun, the limited future availability of DV Mini tapes is also an important factor. I don't shoot much and once they're downloaded (and backed-up at a remote location) I don't have much need for the tapes and would probably re-use them a couple of times before discarding them. Still, it would be much nicer to use the current technology of flash cards (no moving parts, nearly infinitely re-recordable, etc.). Anyway, if I went this route the ten tapes in Chris' offer plus the five new ones that I already have would be a good start. That brings up the question: is it advisable to shoot on different brands of tape? Mine are Sony while Chris' are Canon. I haven't researched the idea that the lubricants in different brands of tape are not compatible and could cause problems. (Sorry for the digression).

Don, you've brought up some excellent points, too. I could buy anything but tend to be thrifty for something that I don't use very much. My main requirement is a three-chip CCD with lots of settings (that's why I chose the XL1S). I had figured that a semi-pro camera that was good enough for wedding videographers and small market TV station spot news would give me about ten years of use before requiring major service or becoming too much of a dinosaur. I don't have expectations beyond my own amusement in learning it, documenting my hobby club and entering short videos at local competitions. A 5.5-88mm or similar standard lens is all I need. I'm a lifelong still photographer (hence the desire for lots of camera settings) who got interested in video via my wife's friend who makes amateur documentaries. After seeing a few of hers I figured that I could do better.

Where do I want to be video gear-wise in 1, 2 or 3 years? I'd still be using whatever I replace the XL1S with. I'd add a shotgun mic and a handheld mic (don't want the loss of spontaneity of hooking up wireless lavalier mics). I don't expect to ever use any lighting.

Hey Chris, maybe we think alike. I've had my 60D new since switching from film in 2008. I don't care much for the standard 28-135 but the 60mm macro is nice! Maybe I should just switch to a DSLR that shoots video (what a coincidence, you've got a 7D for sale!).

Anyway, thanks again to all for your kind and considered responses. Further comments are welcome. I'll be thinking about this for a week or two.
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Old February 11th, 2013, 02:49 PM   #7
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Re: XL1S: no DV output. Buy a second one or?

Hi Charles,

Regarding tape brands, you can switch between them fairly easily *if* you run a head cleaning cassette through the camcorder for 5 to 10 seconds (max.) If possible, shoot through your supply of one brand first, be sure to capture them all into your computer upon playback, and then switch to the next brand, to avoid an excessive amount of jumping back and forth between brands.

Sending you a private email in case you're seriously interested in my XH A1 kit for sale.
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Old February 11th, 2013, 11:42 PM   #8
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Re: XL1S: no DV output. Buy a second one or?

Thanks, Chris, for the tape advice and the heads up on the XH A1. I've pretty much decided on just getting an inexpensive Mini DV camera solely for playback/download of tapes shot on my XL1S. Then in a couple of years I'll probably upgrade to an HD camera that has a flash drive. I'll keep returning to dvinfo.net -- I have a lot to learn. Perhaps someday I'll be able to help someone.
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