Bizzar playback at DVinfo.net

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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old February 23rd, 2003, 03:44 PM   #1
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Bizzar playback

Here's one i never heard of. Taped a concert last night and was reviewing my footage today. Everything was good until about 15 minutes in and i started noticing weird blips. Hmm... maybe its the VCR. As time went on it started getting worse and definatley had that blocky digital look. Ok, something must be wrong with the camera. Client wants to see the tape tomorrow i'll just telling him i'm sorry about the blips and work out something. It gets worse. The screen turned into bars. Every other one was moving video and the rest were still image. Naturally i was freaked out because my client isn't going to be happy and my camera's screwed up. I put the tape in my little Elura 40MC and it plays fine. I guess my playback head must be screwed up on the xl1s. I've only used the camera twice. I'm gonna call Canon but was wondering if anyone else has seen this.
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Old February 23rd, 2003, 04:05 PM   #2
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The first thing I would recommend with any new camcorder is to *always* run a head-cleaning cassette through it, first thing. I know it doesn't make any sense, but it works. Glad to hear your Elura plays the tape okay. About 4 or 5 seconds of a head-cleaning cassette will fix your XL1S. Hope this helps,
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Old February 23rd, 2003, 04:13 PM   #3
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One of the two playback heads is dirty. Thus the alternating good and bad images. If you have a head cleaner tape you can run it. Be sure to follow the direction on the cleaning tape. If you don't have a cleaning tape you can use a brand new tape to try to clean the heads. Place the tape in the XL1 and fast forward about 5 minutes into the new tape. Press play and then rewind. This will place the tape into reverse search. Keep the tape in reverse search for several minutes and then try to play a prerecorded tape and see if it plays properly.
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Old February 24th, 2003, 07:19 PM   #4
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I would try cleaning the heads first, but if you have black bars across the screen then your heads are probably out of alignment.
Contact Canon for Service.
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Old February 25th, 2003, 07:53 AM   #5
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Jeff, can the alternating good/bad image (I've referred to this as banding in other posts) ever be caused by the record head? I've had this problem with my XL1S since it was new and each time I've taken the time to check, the problem always appears at the same place on the tape. Usually the bad spot will only last about 10 frames. The drum assembly has been replace twice by Canon Service and I still get several instances of this on every tape I record. I'll be sending it back to Canon again sometime next week. This has been my only complaint with the XL1S, but it is a major problem for me.
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Old February 25th, 2003, 08:04 AM   #6
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Yes, one of the record heads can become dirty or clogged also. If this is the case the tape plays back the bad images (blocky, banded etc. depending on the severity of the clog) no matter what machine plays it back. Why? Because it was recorded that way. If one of the play back heads is dirty, the tape will play fine on another machine.

When you say the same place, what do you mean?
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Old February 25th, 2003, 08:34 AM   #7
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<<When you say the same place, what do you mean?>>

That the glitch appeared to be recorded to tape and would be visible at exactly the same frame(s) every time the tape was played.

Part of my problem is that I often record in very windy conditions with blowing dust/sand a common occurance. I have tried to protect the camera with a PB rain cover, but even so, there will often be a glitch within the first few minutes of turning the camera on and often before any dirt or sand has started to fly. (I record oval dirt track auto races).

I am currently constructing a plexiglas enclosure to eliminate the possibility of any dirt getting to the camera just to determine once and for all if that is really the problem. The box should be ready in time for four days of racing later this week and will provide a good test. If it works, I'll post some pictures if anyone is interested.
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Old February 25th, 2003, 09:16 PM   #8
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The fact that it occurs in the same spot on the tape just confirms that it was recorded that way and not a playback problem. I'd love to see your racing pictures.
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Old February 25th, 2003, 09:51 PM   #9
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Jeff, I was talking about posting some pictures of the plexiglass box, not racing pics, but you can see some of those as well as some short clips from various races at www.HighDesertRacing.com. I finished the box this afternoon and will have a chance to check it out later this week. I'm hoping it will eliminate some of the problems I've been having with clogged heads.
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