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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old October 5th, 2005, 12:42 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Portland, ME
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deadly banding on ol' XL1

Hello all, I've benefitted greatly from this forum over the years, and have finally joined only to post a desperately sad query.

Have worked my XL1 hard for the past 6 or so years. Have not had it routinely maintained and serviced, because I am foolish. Have used various tape stocks at times, but mainly Sony Premium. Have rarely run head cleaning tapes through. Have dropped it off the end of an 8 foot crane a couple times, and yet it seemed in great shape afterwards.

Not so now.

Just shot 6.5 hours of footage for a beautiful Bermudian wedding, came back to LA, popped a tape in the XL1 that I shot with, and played back nothing but blue with stuttering time code. Pissed myself. Borrowed an Optura from a pal, played some of the tapes, found them struck through with 5 black bands permanently across the image. Yes, on all the tapes.

I am looking for a high-end playback deck with variable tracking or something magical that will save me, but I fear from what I've gleaned from many past posts that one of my record heads is clogged, and the tapes contain only half the data, and no amount of alignment work will dig any hidden stripes from these tapes.

No chance, right? Do these tapes sound at all salvageable in any way? Any suggestions at all? Or just keep crying?

Thanks for any help you might provide,
S
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Old October 5th, 2005, 05:31 AM   #2
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Did you try any playback at the event? If that worked, you have a chance.
Perhaps a slim chance, try a couple other machines known to have good, clean heads.

If all else fails, Grey Goose on the rocks may help.
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Old October 5th, 2005, 12:56 PM   #3
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i had the same thing happen to me, i don't know of any way to salvage the footage.

you may need to get the heads replaced, it cost me just under $400 on my xl1s... i also got a firestore.
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Old October 5th, 2005, 02:46 PM   #4
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Pain, be my bride tonight.

All 6 and a half hours of footage are irretrievably corrupted by the black bands of death, and it's now clear from playing back with the same poor results in several different decks that I am the victim of a kaput or clogged record head.

Dewars alone can cure me now.

Thanks anyway, better luck to you all,
S
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Old October 5th, 2005, 06:25 PM   #5
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May the Dewars do its duty, yet leave you refreshed tomorrow.

If there are tipss for others to be learned frrm this they might be:

1. Periodic professional servicing of machines that are used a lot is a worthwhile investment - a trip to the factory every year or two might be a benchmark to use.

2. Always a good idea to do a spot check record/playback before an important shoot, and maybe during a lull in action if it is a log event with several tapes, to reduce the chance of a big surprise after the event. Also gives a chance to bring in a backup camcorder if there is a problem.

3. A quick pass of a cleaning tape every two dozen or so tapes is probably a reasonable idea.

4. If anyone else is shooting at an event, get their names and contact info. One might be able to get usable footage from them, at least better than none at all.
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