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Old February 24th, 2006, 04:56 PM   #1
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FS4 with XL-1s communication problem

Hi,

I was shooting in the field the other day with my FS-4 Pro connected to my XL-1s.

It was a calm shoot, and I had the chance to analyze a reoccurring problem with my XL-1s/FS-4 Pro set-up. After connecting the FS-4 to the XL-1s for the first time that day (observing the start-up order of Camera on first and then power up on the connected FS-4), everything worked like it should. I switched the FS-4 into SYNC mode with a tape running in the XL-1s to trigger the FS-4 SYNC mode, and as a safety net. The FS-4 responded immediately to start button on the XL-1s.

However, after turning the FS-4 and XL-1s off for a break in shooting and then re-powering after the break, this harmonious condition no longer existed. It was impossible to re-establish highly desirable condition with recycling the power on the XL-1 or the FS-4, powering both down and restarting etc... Oddly enough DIRECT mode did work. I continued shooting in DIRECT mode (which was a pain in the ... since I wanted the back-up on tape) which meant starting recording on the XL-1s and then starting recording on the FS-4 by double pressing the record key to start and double pressing the stop key to stop - (not fun). I was invariably forgetting to pause the recording to tape after stopping the FS-4.

In my frustrated attempt to reinstate the SYNC harmony I switched the XL-1s DV Control to ON (I don't know why I haven't done this earlier). I don't remember if doing this immediately solved the sync problem, but it definitely made it easier to see that the FS-4 was recording or not when the tape was running.

In any case the sync between the FS-4 and the XL-1s did return, unfortunately, I can't say how or what caused it.

Here is what appears in the VF when the Xl-1s is set to DV Control ON:

[DV IF] means that there is no communication between the FS-4 and XL-1s,[DV STOP] means that the FS-4 is paused or stopped,
[DV REC] means that the FS-4 is recording

And here is where I need the help of someone with an XL1s and the FS-4. When I am recording with the DV Control set to ON on the XL1s and start recording, the [DV REC] in the VF blinks periodically to [---]. Does that happen to anyone else. Does anyone know what that could be indicating?

Thanks,
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Old February 24th, 2006, 10:53 PM   #2
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Daniel --

I'd love to help, but you XL-1S owners have more fancy bells and whistles than us lowly XL-1 owners!

Cheers
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Old February 24th, 2006, 11:04 PM   #3
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when the display blanks out like that for me, it means that i'm not recording... it's only happened on one shoot, when i had the typical bunch of very short clips on the fs-4... the disk was at least two-thirds full.

i was hitting the the rec button on the camera too many times, too close together... i think that you don't want to hit the rec button until after the fs-4 has finished writing it's last avi clip after you've told it to stop recording, which takes a second or so.

very few people will be hammering the rec button like that, but at some point, you could perhaps corrupt the file system of the hdd??... what i do now is to reformat the disk before nearly every shoot... i tried to recreate the problem after formatting the disk, but was unable to... so it doesn't happen very often, and i'm thinking that i might not have had the external battery pack plugged in when it did happen... so it could have been power-related as well.

from day one, i have always shot with the dv control enabled on the xl1s... my boot up order changed like yours did, but now it's pretty consistent with the external battery pack plugged in, aka, i don't have to power down everything and restart, to get sync back.

i don't shoot without the external battery pack, if i can help it.

vic, the main thing that the xl1 is missing is the dv control from the camcorder... i don't know how that would affect the operation of the fs-4, but having it sure makes a big difference in the useability.
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Old February 24th, 2006, 11:19 PM   #4
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My XL-1 will control the FS-4 OK -- I just don't have any indications in the VF that it's doing so. I haven't been using the new FS-4 long enough to really put it through its paces, so I'll have to keep tabs on it, based on Daniel's comments.
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Old February 25th, 2006, 04:44 PM   #5
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I checked the XL-1s instruction manual and it says that [---] appears in the VF when the connected equipment is not in record, or record pause mode. (Not very helpful).

It sounds like the reason for the [---] appearing in Dan's (one) situation is different than the reason for why I am getting it. In my case the [---] flashes between the [REC] and itself when I am recording, and [STOP] and itself when the camera is paused. In my case this flickering [---] only happens when the FS-4 is in SYNC mode, and doesn't happen when I have the FS-4 in DIRECT mode. Also the fact that the [---] is blinking in and out, has no apparent effect on the recorded material I am shooting, the captured clips are not corrupted. Also, the clips I have been recording are not very short, so Dan is experiencing something else.

Unfortunately, I can't recreate the problem here in my studio. I have tried all sorts of power-ups and power-down combinations, and except for some minor hiccups the FS-4 and XL-1s have been communicating perfectly... I hate that! Why does the bloody thing strike when I am under pressure, and then work fine when I am trying to pinpoint the problem under controlled circumstances? ... Machines are not supposed to respond to stress! ... And of course, anyone who would check the unit for problems would think that I am full of it.

I was hoping to narrow the problem down to a problem with the FS-4 or one with my XL-1s, by recreating the problem on the XL-1s and then testing the FS-4 on my XL-1 to see if it occurs there as well. But since everything is working fine with my XL-1s at the moment, I guess I can't do that.

Has there been any studies on the effects of cosmic rays and sun spots on video equipment?
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Old February 25th, 2006, 10:05 PM   #6
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Not really sure what the problem you are having is, but each time you fire up the Firestore you will have to hit the upper most left button, which will say "SYNC," in order to sync it again. This is what I have found anyway.

Let me know what happens.

Mike
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Old February 26th, 2006, 12:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic Owen
My XL-1 will control the FS-4 OK -- I just don't have any indications in the VF that it's doing so.
say what?? i don't believe that you can make the fs-4 start recording by hitting the rec button on an xl1.

daniel, it sorta sounds like there is a communication error going on there, but it's not enuf to stop the fs-4 when it's already in record mode.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 03:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
say what?? i don't believe that you can make the fs-4 start recording by hitting the rec button on an xl1.
Sure you can. You have to have a tape running at the same time though.

Quote:
daniel, it sorta sounds like there is a communication error going on there, but it's not enuf to stop the fs-4 when it's already in record mode.
That's what I'm thinking as well. I just wish that I could find out if it is a problem with the FS-4 or maybe the FW bus on my XL-1s.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 04:11 PM   #9
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>>say what?? i don't believe that you can make the fs-4 start recording by hitting the rec button on an xl1.<<

Yep, as Daniel says, you sure can. I just did it. As long as there is a tape in the XL-1, it works fine. No indication in the VF, but otherwise works just like the FS-1 did for me.
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Old February 27th, 2006, 05:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Kohl
Sure you can. You have to have a tape running at the same time though.
EDIT: now i remember what the glich was... you can only do that when both of 'em have videotapes in the tape drives, which is what you were just saying, lol... i don't use videotape anymore.

you were still unable to duplicate the problem? that can be very frustrating.
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Old February 27th, 2006, 05:25 PM   #11
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Hi Dan,

I don't know if we are talking about the same thing - but you can control the REC start and REC pause functions of the FS-4 with a good o'l XL-1 as long as there is a tape running in it at the same time. The FS-4 responds to the tape transport mechanism on cameras that don't have a DV control function.

You can't control any of the FS-4's play functions when the XL-1s is in VTR mode either. So the only difference between the SYNC controllability between the XL-1 and XL-1s is that you have to have a tape in the XL-1 and the XL-1s has a handy [REC] display in the VF.

I hope that that has cleared that up.

I tried to recreate the problem again today, and everything is working fine - so I don't know what is up. I must have dreamed the problem - or I just get too stressed while shooting these days. If there is indeed a problem, it must be because of something that I am not aware of that I am only doing when I am on a real shoot.
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Old March 3rd, 2006, 12:41 PM   #12
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Hi,

I just wanted to let you all know that I have narrowed things down to a problem with the DV Control function on my XL-1s. I will be sending it to Canon soon.

So my FS-4 is off the hook for the moment.
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