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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old April 26th, 2007, 11:30 PM   #1
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Ok, This Really Upsetting Me!

I hope someone can provide me with some help because I am going nuts! I was filming my daughter and son's first school musical of the year with my XL1S (less than 5 hours on it) and a new Panasonic Professional Mini DV. I finished filming the concert (on playback this was all good, about 30 minutes worth) then I paused the camera, walked to the end of school and started recording again (now here's the problem); when I started recording again (on playback the screen has 4 or 5 lines (horizontal) which shows two different scenes intermixed with some random pixelation, but only lasts for about five to ten seconds or so). Now understand that the camera has less than 5 hours on it, I am using good quality tapes, taped on only once, and I take good care of my equipment, so what am I doing wrong? This is so frustrating to me because this is the same problem I had with my old XL1... ANY HELP IS GREATLY APPRECIATED, or I will soon have a camera for sale!
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Old April 26th, 2007, 11:47 PM   #2
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Run a head cleaner through it. We've had this discussion many times before. My Panasonic wanted a head cleaning about 4 tapes from brand new. When you buy a camera, the FIRST TAPE in it should be the head cleaner. It has been documented several times across different brands of cameras.

Our own Kennelmaster, Chris Hurd, even stated once that it should be a law!

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Old April 26th, 2007, 11:54 PM   #3
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I've had a bit of that too...but cleaning the heads seems to clear it up pretty well.
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Old April 27th, 2007, 12:05 AM   #4
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Do we know what causes this? and why it only happens 5 seconds out of 30 minutes? I will try it and let you guys know, I really appreciate the fast responses!
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Old April 27th, 2007, 08:12 AM   #5
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For important events where I only get one shot at them, I head clean before shooting to help ensure captureing it well. I always pre and post roll for 5-10 seconds to let these things pass as they usually don't last for too long. I would normally say sending your camera in for service would be worthwhile if this happens alot, but you said yours only has 5 hours on it.
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Old April 27th, 2007, 08:51 AM   #6
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As Greg said, you should always clean the heads as soon as you receive the camera. You can't know what the camera was subject to before you got it, new or used. Dust, chemical vapors and on and on. That tape drum did not just appear in the camera. It had to go through a manufacturing process, transportation, storage, installation, more storage and on and on. They will get foreign material on them.

It also takes a little time for the heads to break-in and fit the tape properly. This is another reason for using one brand of tape, as this will shorten that time. Once you have the camera broken it, stick with that tape brand religiously. It will save you a lot of trouble. If you must switch brands, clean it well and then try to stick with that brand so it can seat properly on the drum.

Next, I recommend fast forwarding the tape and rewinding it before using it to tension it properly. This may even have fixed your problem with stopping and when you started it again it may have changed the tension and not made good contact. Just a possibility.

And, please don't be afraid to clean the camera heads with a cleaning tape. Every manual I have read recommends regular cleaning. If you wait until the camera tells you to clean them, you are already going to have had problems.

If you have a constant problem with a camera and if you have not had the camera for much time, try this trick----change to a different brand of tape. I got a camera a couple of years ago for a guy on ebay. The guy was very nice and even threw a couple of extras into the Kata bag it was shipped in. Problem was, he didn't wrap the camera for shipping. He simple put it into the bag with everything else, added some peanuts and shipped it. It arrived in quite a mess and I had to spend a lot of time cleaning it up.

I had a JVC camera too at that time and was using JVC tapes. I stuck a tape in it and it was really bad. So I cleaned the heads with a cleaning tape and tried again, no good. I cleaned it a bunch, several times and it was slightly better but still was bad. I cleaned it again and just couldn't get it to work. I was ready to contact the guy and try to get my money back, when I decided to stick a Sony tape I had laying there in. It worked perfectly and that camera never had another problem or drop-out and is still in use today by my brother, who does weddings.

The moral is, if you have trouble with a camera that does not want to change, try using a different brand of tape, especially if it was a used camera and you don't know what tapes were used in it before. Some work better with some cameras than others. I have never had a single issue using Sony tapes in Canon cameras. They seem to love them.

Anyway----good luck!

Mike
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Old April 27th, 2007, 09:15 AM   #7
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Thanks again for the responses, I ran a head cleaner through it and I will see what that brings. I will keep you posted on the progress! Thanks,
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Old April 30th, 2007, 05:43 AM   #8
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jeff , I'm having the same problems. Right at the time I'm in full use of the camera and at one point it came up in Orange "Clean Video heads" in the finder right in the midle of action that I could not stop. The tape came out double shot(Funny) picture in places. I've used a cleaning tape ASAP after and have had the same problem now for two tapes.

I've noticed it does not do it as much on Standby mode as the camera is running. I'm to the point that I was going to head to canon to see if they can clean it.

Anyone have any idea how and what is the best way to clean the heads ?
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Old April 30th, 2007, 09:15 AM   #9
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I have found that the "pixelation" that has happened to me is when I am "cycling" the record button on and then off and than on again! For example, I walke into a door way, beagn to shoot through a window, 2-3 seconds, (wrong shot angle) turned the record off and than turned it back on again in a second or two (moved to the left) and I think maybe the tape is catching some slack and recording partially over another scene. Does this make sense to anyone, or am I just confusing everyone?
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Old May 1st, 2007, 06:01 PM   #10
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Any suggestions?
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Old May 1st, 2007, 06:32 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Jeff Mayne View Post
Any suggestions?
First, why stop the camera for a few seconds, unless you are trying to edit it in camera, that's what your NLE is for.

Second, you could very well be causing improper tension between the tape and heads by stopping and starting like that. I would not do it.

Third, did you get the cleaning tape and really clean the heads?

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Old May 1st, 2007, 06:37 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jeff Mayne View Post
I have found that the "pixelation" that has happened to me is when I am "cycling" the record button on and then off and than on again! For example, I walke into a door way, beagn to shoot through a window, 2-3 seconds, (wrong shot angle) turned the record off and than turned it back on again in a second or two (moved to the left) and I think maybe the tape is catching some slack and recording partially over another scene. Does this make sense to anyone, or am I just confusing everyone?
The slack in the tape is starting to make sense. The idea to send a wee bit of voltage to the rewind motors to maintain tape tension was a key feature in the most expensive reel-to-reel audio recorders of the 80's. It certainly was a welcome distinction for me when I used those machines regularly. The machines always instantaneously played back at the correct speed.

Applying that idea to minidv cameras, I am thnking that rolling off of pause might result in either a compression or expansion of helical scan data tracks on the tape for a few seconds until proper tape tension is re-established. In playback mode that expansion/compression would be read as a minor speed change, and could very well result in incomplete data recovery, i.e., pixelization.

The only way I know to avoid that kind of thing is to let the camra roll. You will be able to identify the good shots anyway.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 06:39 PM   #13
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Yes I cleaned the heads well... The turning on and off of the recording was a sporadic movement, I need to remember to just let it run and then edit it out in post. From what I have seen all of the dropouts have occured where I have stopped and started the camera. I had a few random pixels floating when I first used the camera but I have not seen any since. I will keep you all posted to any further problems. I am going turkey hunting tomorrow and will gather alot of footage so I will see if it is solved.
Thanks Mike,
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Old May 1st, 2007, 07:33 PM   #14
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I always import full tapes, then watch through for individual takes and mark them. I then use "Make Subclip" to separate them into individual takes, roll those off into a "Clips" bin and add the thumbnail column. I make sure to have the Reel name show as well so I can sort by that and I have to add zeros to the beginning of the marker number for 1-9 to get them to sort correctly.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 01:18 PM   #15
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Ok, I went through the whole day on Wednesday and never had an issue with the camera other than my hunting and filming partner was reviewing the footage and did not tell me and I recorded over part of his very sucessful hunt and will never be able to get that back, but otherwise the camera worked without a hitch; then comes Thursday... We got up at 5:00 am and headed out to the woods, I fired up the camera and handed it to my partner as it was his turn to film, he recorded about five minutes of footage of me walking into the field and setting up the blind, then paused the camera (that part was great), the recorded my interview and the word "CLEAN HEADS" came up, so we played back the footage and got that infamous set of lines that run from right to left 4 sets of each with different footage in each four sets (total of eight lines) sets of lines, from the time we started to record, until he quit. I reviewed the footage, it was of course bad, so I then went to the end of where we recorded and had the issues and recoded again and the camera worked like it was supposed to? I went back to the truck, cleaned the heads again and the camera has worked fine ever since! WTF???!!! This is a brand new camera!!! How the heck is this happening? Is it just the fact that we are pressing record to soon after the camera comes off of standby? HELP ME PLEASE!!!
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