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Old April 23rd, 2003, 03:10 AM   #1
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Urgent Advice on XL1 Camera Problem

Hi to all, I am new to DV i Community and would like to ask for some urgent advice with regard to an XL1 camera problem.

I am currently in Tajikistan, a small central Asian republic, working on my first film. (A film to accompany my application to graduate film school) Thus, the closest Canon service center is in Russia and I have to figure out something on my own fast and hope you can be of help.

O.k, briefly…

I have a used XL1, which was working perfectly when I bought it in August 2003. However, a month ago I started having frequent reoccurring visual and sound glitches (Pixels shifting on the screen during play back – and sound cutoffs or sudden noise)

After reading about the tape and head problems on this site, I concluded that I must have used bad tapes since I ran out of Sony tapes and had to buy “EMTC” tapes here in Tajikistan where there are no tape choices.

Upon advice from the DV I Com, I used a Panasonic head cleaner for 5 seconds. Problem was not solved.

I found a technician in a foreign news agency here who opened my deck and carefully cleaned the head manually. To our surprise the head was clean. After closing the camera and recording again on a Panasonic DVC-PRO tape, the glitches were still there. There were visual and sound glitches once we started to move the camera and less or none when the camera was stable and the filmed subjects were not moving.

We tried filming without tape and the result on the monitor was without glitches at all even when the camera was moving 180 degrees. Finally the technician tried using the camera to record from their DVCAM player and monitor unto the tape in the deck of the camera, the result had the same visual and sound glitches.

The technician gave up saying that it must be something electronic in the camera that he can not fix.

Any feedback would be helpful since I am in the middle of shooting my film and I am desperate for help.

Thanks,

Louly Seif
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Old April 23rd, 2003, 05:06 AM   #2
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If moving the camera causes the glitches, it may be an issue with something loose in the tape path.
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Old April 23rd, 2003, 05:21 AM   #3
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So you think it is mechanical…

Don thanks a million for a prompt reply…so you think it is mechanical not electronic. Is there anything I can do to check on this? When the technician opened the deck there was nothing unusual or loose but maybe you can point my attention to a specific part or another thing.

Thankx

Lou
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Old April 23rd, 2003, 10:08 AM   #4
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My two cents:

Check the camera battery. Check it with a multimeter to see if it has the apropriate voltage. Since when the recorder part of the camera is working it draws more power from the battery then when it is in standby mode.

Take the button cell battery out and wait a wile. Maybe it will go into default settings and that can solve it somehow.

Open the tape compartment, turn the camera upsidedown and shake it gently to see if something is lose in there.

Desconect and reconect the viewfinder.

Detach and reatach the lens to the camera.

Try recording in every recording mode (AUT, Manual, etc) to see if it hapens in all of them.

Try viewing the tape in another MiniDV recorder.

Pray!

Much of this things you might call plain silly, but when you'r desperate, anything goes.

The best of luck to you.
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Old April 23rd, 2003, 04:53 PM   #5
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Arnaldo's suggestions are all worth a try. But my money's more along the lines of Don's gut feeling; something's wobbling. Since both your audio and video are affected I'd bet that there's a capstan roller somewhere in there that may not seem loose on inspection, but may be out alignment and shifting the tape's path across the heads.

I hope Arnaldo's tips work. But, if not, Canon service is your only recourse. If you do send it in be sure to send a tape with a sample of the problem with it.

Good luck to you, Louly.
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Old April 23rd, 2003, 04:55 PM   #6
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A couple other tests. Try playing a known good MiniDV recorded tape on your machine. See if movement makes a difference during playback.

And try playing a tape with with glitches recorded by your XL1 on another machine. Are they still there.

Are the glitches alwasys in the samp place on the tape?

Is it restricted to one tape, or does it happen on all tapes?

Something loose in the tape path may mean it has some play and causes slight variations in the tape tracking whihc can cause the artifacts you see. And clean heads could still be worn heads meaning weak playback signal.
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Old April 25th, 2003, 11:51 AM   #7
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Thanks

Thanks for all the advise, sorry for the delay in replying as their was no electricity for two days (Tajikistan, bummer!) I will certainly try all the tricks mentioned above and keep you posted. Arnaldo, when you said “PRAY!” you actually made me laugh a lot, which I have not done in days now…so thank you Don, Ken and Arnaldo for all the advise and the cheering up too.

Will revert soon.

Lou
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Old April 28th, 2003, 02:34 AM   #8
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I seem to have a somewhat similar problem with an XL-1 with severe glitches in both audio on avideo content.

But my problems don't seem to be related to camera movement, instead (this could just be a guess or a exaggerated piece of imagination) it seems to react to movement in the picture.

Anyway, the camera is being repaired at the moment by a local authorized Canon service. I'll post info about the cause when I get it back.
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Old April 28th, 2003, 04:00 AM   #9
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If you have to change tape brands, there is a higher risk that the tapepath (capstan...) is contaminated, than the possibility of clogged heads. Small amounts of debris may shift the alignment. That's also why cleaning tape often doesn't work, because it only cleans the heads. So ask the technician to inspect and clean the tapepath.
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Old April 28th, 2003, 06:16 AM   #10
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Not imagination

Dear Jami, I can assure that it is not imagination, mine does the same too...I have visual glitches every time my subjects move even when the camera is stable. But also when the camera moves (I assume since then the picture moves)

I have tried some of the tricks posted, here are the results of the trials:

- When I play a well-recorded tape on my camera, I have few glitches. (On another camera – no glitches)

- When I play a tape recorded with glitches on a another camera, there are glitches but they are considerably less.

- Some glitches are always in the same place but others sometimes change their place. (I guess this does not tell you anything but that is the way it is, seriously)

- Removing the finder, the cell battery, trying different modes did not change anything.

- As Jami’s camera, my picture has glitches every time a subject (a person that I am filming) moves or the camera moves.

Awaiting patiently Jami’s camera coming back from service.

That could be plain stupid, I apologize I am a novice, but, Andre, how do I (or the technician) clean the tape path… Do you mean all the rounded cylinders that rotate the tape or what exactly do you mean by the tape path?

Thanks to all,

Louly
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Old April 28th, 2003, 06:23 AM   #11
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"As Jami’s camera, my picture has glitches every time a subject (a person that I am filming) moves or the camera moves."

Even with IS turned off?
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Old April 28th, 2003, 06:38 AM   #12
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Yes

Yes...even when IS is turned off. And even when i am using the 3x lens which does not have IS.
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Old April 28th, 2003, 07:28 AM   #13
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I forgot to mention that I've also tested playing back tapes recorded with my XL-1 on another camcorder and most of the glitches are still there.

They often seem to be less severe, but still make the recorded tape almost useless.
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Old April 28th, 2003, 11:07 AM   #14
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You state that you have a used XL1, not the newer XL1S. How much use did this XL1 encounter before you bought it, meaning about how many hours did it see? Was it refurbed before you bought it? Could potentially be the heads if this XL1 of yours has seen a lot of action. How old is it?

It may also be an alignment anamoly, which could potentially be caused by something wobbling inside, or more possibly it is that you have some residue in the tape path (guide pins, rollers, etc). As Andre suggests, clean the entire tape path with denatured alcohol and a cotton swab.

What brand of tape are you using? Do you mostly use the same brand of tape or do you switch brands frequently?

- don
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Old April 28th, 2003, 06:56 PM   #15
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If the glitches show up when the tape is played on another known good camera, it is probably a problem in the original camera even in record mode.

If there are more glitches when played on the original machine, it shows the problem is on both record and playback. The floating glitches are probably playback in origin, the glitches at fixed locations are probably from the record process.

If they appear when the subject moves, you may be seeing a field/frame substitution error correction artifact.

Sounds like it may be worth having the machine serviced.
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