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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old October 4th, 2006, 01:41 PM   #1
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Riddled with problems! Please help me fight my curse.

I'm having the worst luck of my entire life, I'm literally going out of my mind trying to sort one problem - and as soon as I think I've done that, another one turns up. I've been trying to capture footage from my Canon Xl1s to my powerbook (G4) for weeks now, and am getting nowhere. I hope someone can help me, I'll be forever grateful. Please!

Ok, where to start?

I'll start with the fact that my Canon chewed one of my tapes, but i'll leave that for now to concentrate on these other problems (it hasn't done it since so I might be in the clear (can't afford to fix the heads anyway)...

But as you can imagine, I'm desperate to get the footage onto the safety of a DVD, so I can assess the damage.

Here be begin -

- Firstly, my (practically NEW) G4 wont recognize my firewire. I've tried with a few firewires, and a few camera's - so I'm guessing its the firewire port right? I have to get that fixed (am I right here?)

- So secondly, in the meantime I thought I would capture onto my PC and then burn to DVD and get the footage onto my Mac that way. Then the voodoo queen decided to stick some more needles in me and break my firewire port. The canon now constantly reads 'DV in' al the time (It likes to say it especially when the firewire is CLEARLY not anywhere near it). Has anyone else had this problem? how much to fix it? have i blown the board or it is something superficial?

- Thirdly, Im now writing this message again from here because I just accidently put my hands on some buttons on the keyboard (I have no idea which ones) and deleted everything. You can not tell me i am not cursed - I swear to god something does not want me to make this film. I may sound calm in type, but im tearing my hair out as i write this and am on the verge of tears.

- Fourthly (trying to remember what i wrote), so not being able to wait i went out and borrowed a 1 chip camera of a mate. I managed to capture some footage, but not without a horrible, glitchy, electronic sound at points throughout. It sounds like the mechanics on the camera itself. I dont remember my Canon xl1s doing this. Is it because im capturing 3ccd footage off a 1ccd camera? (and i also used an external boom mike when shooting with the xl1s). If i capture off another 3ccd cam should i not get these sounds?

- Fifthly, with some of the footage I did capture (with bad sound), I burned to cd and put on my mac. Now once loaded in fcp, i get this horrible thick black border around the picture in both the canvas and viewer. Does anyone know how to get this off (or why im even getting this in the first place?)

- Sixthly, the picture is also constantly in and out of focus. I should of noticed this whilst shooting - but I didnt cos im a fool. It was an auto focus throughout, and I suspected the camera may be just adjusting to the changing light levels. But it does it ALL the time, outdoor or indoor! How do i fix this???? Is it something else im going to have to pay to fix?


THANKYOU THANKYOU for taking the time to read this. Its been quite cathartic for me to write this - i dont know any other film makers so im completely alone here, my actors and crew are relaxing at home, and im going absolutely insane. Please help me, i'm begging and not afraid to admit it!

Cheers, jack :)

P.S Is there such thing as a service that will capture everything smoothly for me and burn it to DVD?)

If my computer crashes now, just before i click send - you will never hear from me again (because i'll be giving up filmmaking, not killing myself)
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Old October 4th, 2006, 02:28 PM   #2
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Jack.
First off, so sorry about your situation, but, unfortunately this curse you refer to goes back 3-4 generations surrounding a dispute between your tribe of Moors and a desperate pack of marauding Brownies hell bent on relieving Islam of any fruit bearing tree.

Again, Iím sorry.

Not knowing your skill level would it be a good idea to get some tutorial material? How about taking your apple to your dealer and see what they come up with? Spinning your wheels and going crazy on your own is not the best ideaÖ

Hopefully someone else will pipe in with a real-world solution
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Old October 4th, 2006, 02:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack King
Now once loaded in fcp, i get this horrible thick black border around the picture in both the canvas and viewer. Does anyone know how to get this off (or why im even getting this in the first place?)
This indicates that your source footage does not match the sequence settings. Look at the clip settings of one of those clips you brought in.

Now, select your sequence icon and view its settings. Likely you'll find the dimensions for your source material are smaller than that of the sequence so it fills the remaining space with black.

This is actually useful at times if you have widescreen footage but want to put it into a 4:3 sequence. FCP will then automatically put the black bars at top and bottom for you.

Good luck, I've had days like that where the snowball gets bigger and bigger.

-gb-
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Old October 5th, 2006, 02:03 AM   #4
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bad luck mate.
As to your fourth point. The sound isn't because its a one chip camera. I always use my one chip to download to save wear on the good one. It could be it recorded badly or maybe the heads are dirty? Did you record in the extra long mode, the 90 minute way? because that can make it difficult for other cameras to read (I have been told but never did it)
On your sixth point. The automatic focus tends to go in and out of focus especially if there are 2 possible things in the screen at different distances or something extremely far away, try focusing on the moon with auto focus and the moon pulses. Always best to use manual or just press the "push AF" button.
The black bars definately sound like a format problem with the program. I doubt having it on ntsc instead of pal would do that but you would know easy enough if you have 29 frames per second instead of 25.
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Old October 5th, 2006, 10:32 AM   #5
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Thanks alot everyone, I really appreciate the feedback and helping me fight this curse!

Chris - I did record in LP (how do I record in SP? It never seems to give me the option) - so your right, it could have something to do with that. If its not that, and say it is the heads (it's definitely not the sound recording, its a good mike and i'm getting the noise on every scene, regardless of sound levels, noise etc) then how can I clean them? Do I need to buy some kind of cleaning cassete, or can I just use a cotton swab drenched in chemicals? Anyone got directions on how to do that?

Thanks again everyone, i calmed down now. Just need to get my canon fixed. If anyone else has got anymore advice, please keep posting. Jack :)
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Old October 5th, 2006, 11:33 AM   #6
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Keep little tools and chemicals away from your camera. Get a head cleaning cassette (about $10US). It takes 10 seconds. I clean mine whenever there is a hint of a transport problem. Others clean based on hours used or calendar.

Your audio problem is either from a recording problem or playback of an LP recording on a camera other than the one that recorded it.

You can change the record mode in the XL1s menus. Time to read the manual.

It was difficult to follow the firewire problems. If your one-chip is working then your Firewire port is ok. Sounds like your XL1s firewire port has a problem.

Another possibility that you see black borders in your FCP canvas and preview windows may simply be that the windows are not set to "FIT". See drop down button at the top of each window.

As for accidently deleting everything you've typed, command-A and then any key will do that (you are telling it to select everything and then the next keystrok replaces "everything" that was selected).
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Old October 5th, 2006, 11:57 AM   #7
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record mode can be changed as follows from page 35 of the manual.
MENU> VCR SET UP>REC MODE....>SP

Yes your firewire problem was confusing if the one cmaera worked and the other didn't. If this is the case and you have a 4pin to 4 pin firewire you could try hooking the two cameras together to see if they see each other.
Also try on more computers, maybe bring your camera to your friends. I once thought my computers firewire was broken when in fact 2 brand new firewire cables were both bad. The third cable worked perfect so the best option is to have as many ways to test as possible to find exactly where the problem is.
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Old October 5th, 2006, 01:33 PM   #8
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As for the in and out of focus bit, has the XL1 not got a reputation for this? Not sure if the XL1s is as bad. Certainly I know my xl1 has a tendency to hunt when in Auto.

Keep calm, look at your issues as individual ones and not as a whole, and deal with them one by one.

If it's any consolation, I've spent three nights un-succesfully trying to figure out how to update a website template. FRUSTRATION!!!!!!
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Old October 5th, 2006, 05:06 PM   #9
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Thanks again everyone, im going to take all of your advice and get this film FINISHED. Best of luck to everyone with yours!!!!!

Jack :)
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