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Old February 16th, 2003, 06:54 PM   #16
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Yes unfortunatley the problems continue. (Audio drop outs and video glitches) I was trusting that it was fixed and did lots of backups out of FCP to MiniDV tape thru the MX300, but now i know it can't be trusted for this. Also I believe it still has audio drop outs and glitches recorded to tape while filming. (I can't check the latest tapes again as they are now out of my posession). The MX300 being nice and small, I take it everywhere, and my XL1s stays at home a lot. I am thinking about getting an XM2 to replace it the MX300. And then send the MX300 in to the repairer again and again. I have an extended 5 year warranty, the first year is over but I will keep sending it back if only to get the repairer to keep invoicing Panasonic for work. Maybe then something will be done?

(I was talking to you months ago about this problem when I was known as Morbid666 but Chris Hurd made me change my user name or lose access to these pages)
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Old February 16th, 2003, 07:05 PM   #17
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Oh, right. I remember you (morbid666). So that's your name! This is just a thought. Could some of these problems be a result of using cheap tape, or mixing tape, or even because of possible head problems? I had similar problems with a DVL9500 because the tapes I used were of poor quality. When I cleaned my heads for the final time, and switched to FUJI miniDV tape, I never had problems from dirty heads.
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Old February 16th, 2003, 10:05 PM   #18
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Hi, Andrew. I'm sorry to hear you've still got glitches even after the firmware upgrade.

Just want to clarify something. Am I right to say that you get video & audio glitches on transferring video shot from your MX300 video via DV to FCP?

And if you playback without connecting via DV i.e. through AV OUT or monitoring through LCD / Viewfinder you don't get glitches at all?

Do your glitches look like the one on the PDF Tech Bulletin on Frank's MX500 page (http://www.dvfreak.com, click on MX500 buying info, scroll down to
"Panasonic MX300 latest firmware info (PAL, version 1.6)"
)? 2 to 3 misplaced squares? Or perhaps worst, horizontal stripes?

I'm trying to figure out if your glitches are the ones that can be fixed with the firmware upgrade, or something else... Thanks in advance!

====NEW EDIT=====

I suspect once your DV port is used, either record or playback or merely hooked to another DV device PC or cam, there will be glitches. Somehow, my system (Matrox RT2000) does very well with Sony cams, but is less stable with my MX300 - glitches still appear occasionally on the Capture Movie window of Premiere when I do PLAYBACK PREVIEW (use the Premiere's software buttons to PLAY the tape & observing the Capture Movie window) to find the correct starting place, BUT when I capture to disk, everything goes in WITHOUT glitches. That's what matters in the end. It can glitch all it wants when previewing, but CAPTURE MUST BE PERFECT!
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Old February 17th, 2003, 12:18 AM   #19
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====NEW EDIT=====

I suspect once your DV port is used, either record or playback or merely hooked to another DV device PC or cam, there will be glitches. Somehow, my system (Matrox RT2000) does very well with Sony cams, but is less stable with my MX300 - glitches still appear occasionally on the Capture Movie window of Premiere when I do PLAYBACK PREVIEW (use the Premiere's software buttons to PLAY the tape & observing the Capture Movie window) to find the correct starting place, BUT when I capture to disk, everything goes in WITHOUT glitches. That's what matters in the end. It can glitch all it wants when previewing, but CAPTURE MUST BE PERFECT!


By further optimizing my system (playing with registry, faster memory speed settings in BIOS, BIOS PCI latency set to 64 instead of 32) I was able to reduce the frequency of occurance of playback preview glitches from every 10-20 seconds to maybe as little as once a minute or once every two minutes. :)

Maybe there's some limitation in the MX300's DV port that makes it not as forgiving as say, a Sony's?

Maybe there's not enough buffer / CPU power in the cam?

Maybe too much video data due to wildly changing picture that overwhelms it?. My playback preview glitches seem to appear after changing scenes or if the scene has a lot of action in it i.e. FRAME mode with some wild panning.

Playback preview glitches also happens when I've foolishly rewound back tape that I've shot on previously, and just randomly re-record "patches" of new material in different places. I also get AUDIO + video glitches when I playback - but that's because I upset the timecode & it's really my fault 8O.

Food for thought....

====NEW POST====

Oh, one more fact. I have a dual CPU motherboard (Abit VP6) with double 1 Gigahertz speed Pentium IIIs running MS Win2K Pro, with 1 GIG of PC133 memory. 7200 rpm drives. After the firmware upgrade 1.6, I didn't have any Playback Preview glitches - except when I played back sections of tape that I rerecorded new stuff over old stuff (see above) but that's to be expected & it's not the system's or the cam's fault.

Recently, I removed one CPU. That's when I saw Playback Preview glitches again just like before the firmware upgrade 1.6. AAAGHHH! :( Strange.... I had to do the optimizations and that helped reduce the freq of occurances of Playback Preview glitches (see above).

My theory is that with double CPUs, the capture mechanism worked better 'cos one CPU was used to run OS etc. while the other concentrated on handling Premiere & the capture process. Therefore less bottlenecks in the system & playback preview glitches dissapear. Anyways, VIA motherboards are known to be slower than their Intel counterparts.

Not everyone has double CPUs! :( So my suggestion is to try to optimize your system as much as possible. Don't use NTFS formatted hard disks to store your video, use FAT16 or FAT32!
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Old February 17th, 2003, 01:16 AM   #20
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Here are some tweaking advice for those with WinXP & Win2K:

http://www.videoguys.com/TweaksWINXPVE.html

http://www.videoguys.com/WinXP2.html

For David La Borde's older WinME/98 and Win2K guides, see the left hand side of http://www.videoguys.com/techsupp.htm under "OS Tweaks for NLE"
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Old February 17th, 2003, 10:51 PM   #21
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I will do some more experimenting probably tomorrow but I am quite sure the problem occurs even playing out thru the av into a tv monitor.
I use Panasonic tapes. I only use them once. and never use other brands. I have use the head cleaning tape twice and its been in for repair twice. If the head were a problem surely they would have cleaned them?
My computer is a G4 Dual P 800, OS 10.2.2 760MB ram, 2 hard drives 7200rpm. defraged seperate drive for capture scratch.
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Old February 17th, 2003, 11:45 PM   #22
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Well Andrew, I just don't know. But it could be that your heads get dirty and/or there's something wrong with the heads. It's just a guess.
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Old February 18th, 2003, 12:29 AM   #23
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I am unclear on quite what the problem is with Andrews camera, or is there more than one perhaps. Is it known for sure if any audio/video glitches are actually recorded on to tape, i.e. they are repeatable, in the same place every playback, and therefore will be seen on any output (camera LCD, computer or TV)? I searched for his earlier posts (not in this thread) and they seemed to imply he could rewind the tape and sometimes get no glitches or glitches in different places and this, if I understand correctly, is just when previewing in the camera LCD. So are we saying the computer doesn't feature as such in the problems?

Richard
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Old February 18th, 2003, 04:20 AM   #24
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I realise i'm coming into this thread a little late but i think it's important to understand that the MX300 glitches can be demonstrated by just connecting one MX300 to another MX300! This is exactly what I got Pana Australia to do in July 2001 (AFAIK I was the first one to 'discover' this unfortunate problem/bug.)

Just to make it absolutely clear that my (or yours or theirs) PC is *not* the cause of the glitches get them to just connect two x MX300's via firewire, play one into the other and you will (eventually!) see glitches on both LCD screens - this can take up to 20 mins of carefull watching but then you might get two or three glitches within 5 mins. The problem is very random and never repeatable in the exact same place - it is *not* a glitch on tape, it's within the firewire data stream - 'super-block' (?) corruption or similar term...
I suspect that the intermittant nature and the sometimes loooong time of very careful watching to catch the millisec glitch are the reasons why Panasonic cannot always see the problem...

It's a tough problem but it exists and it can certainly be fixed - my MX300 has been glitch free since around Oct'01.
I find it truly amazing that there is no official upgrade communicated around *all* Panasonic distributors - it sounds as though they are still selling cams with old firmware - ridiculous!
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Old February 18th, 2003, 04:30 AM   #25
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I suppose to be fair to Panasonic it is very easily possible that the PC or some other problem within the cam (tape/heads) *can* cause very similar glitches...
You may have more than one problem - it may be a combination of PC, heads/tape and firmware giving you very similar glitches.

Again, to prove it is (or is not!) an MX300 firmware problem, connect the suspect MX300 to another one or even any other DV camcorder with firewire (I used my TRV900 as an 'input') and play a tape from the suspect cam and that will prove that it's not a PC problem. Provided that you *cannot* recproduce the fault in the exact same spot repeatedly then that also rules out tape and head problems...
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Old February 18th, 2003, 05:08 AM   #26
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Thanks, AngryofMayfair, for the extra tips!

I remember some of those huge threads about this glitch at dv.com (and DV Doctor). Because of your perseverance (and persuasion) with Panasonic, we have all benefited.

Visit us more often, even it's just for a hello, or some news from Down-Under.
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Old February 18th, 2003, 09:22 PM   #27
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I agree with AngryofMayfair. It takes PATIENCE to see the glitches - especially when hooking up via DV port to another cam.

I find that the glitches come out more frequently with computer DV hookup.

Usually the first glitch happens within the 2 seconds of pressing PLAY. It can easily be seen on my Sony Digi8.

When I went to Panasonic Malaysia since I suggested that I could demonstrate the problem, they brought me to the back room & hooked it up to their NV-DS30s via DV port. They couldn't see the first glitch because the NV-DS30 gives a black screen for the first 2 to 3 seconds. We watched for 2 minutes, no glitches. Aagggh!

It seems the NV-DS30 was more "stable" & didn't easily show the glitches in the usual segments that I am likely to have glitches - unlike my Sony. And Sony doesn't do that "first 2 to 3 seconds black screen" thing.

I find that glitches TEND to happen at places where:
1) there's a great luminance change i.e. vidcamming a giant outdoor LCD screen which was showing bright explosions,
2) when I cam in FRAME mode & do wild panning,
3) or when there's lots of busy-ness in the scene i.e. crowd of people.

And that segment has to be say 5 seconds long - long enough for the internal buffer to overflow?. I say TEND because the glitches appear 1 time out of 3 to 5 tries in that general location, with a few seconds variance. Sometimes I get lucky and see it in the same place twice in a row. Play it enough times & it will be seen, eventually.


One sure way to recognize that it's the glitch that upgrading firmware WILL SOLVE: Capture to PC a segment that has the glitch, it will be either 2 or 3 consequtive frames. In those frames, you will see that some blocks of the video has been moved about, usually up or down a few pixels, kind of like a few pieces of jigsaw puzzle have been taken out & moved about.


How do you know it's not the glitch that can be solved via firmware upgrade? If you see:
1) some black squares,
2) discolored squares like when your VCD player fails to read that VCD,
3) horizontal bands of video displaced, like shutter blinds.

All these symptoms only lasts for a few seconds.

It's DV error caused by tape and / or dirty heads, when the error correction cannot rebuild the data. Usually it comes with some "squarks" or sometimes silence in the audio. Time to give those heads a clean! You dont' have to wait for the "Clean Head" error message to come up on your cam.

You may not want to continue using the tape... transfer the contents to another cam/ dv tape / computer.

Sometimes the bit of dust or dirt gets loose the more times you play it, so by the 3rd playback it MAY no longer be there.


As for Panasonic, you may want to capture to PC & print out the frames with glitches, plus attach a detailed report when you send your cam in. This proves that your cam has a problem. So that they know you're serious, and they can log it properly & send it to Panasonic Japan. The fix must come from Panasonic Japan. Show them the techbull.pdf that I got from Stuart in Panasonic Australia - it's with Frank's web page http://www.dvfreak.com/pana_mx5.htm, scroll down to
"Panasonic MX300 latest firmware info (PAL, version 1.6)"
This proves to them that others have recognized the problem & there is a fix.

If this is the first time your local Panasonic service center has come across this glitch, then they don't know about the firmware upgrade, and will blame your PC. I guess Panasonic Australia, Panasonic Malaysia, and perhaps Panasonic Hong Kong (Alan Suen, one of our forum members who got his firmware upgrade is from Hong Kong) know about it, so you won't get any hassles there. I know this chap from Russia who's having major problems trying to get his upgrade.

Perhaps someone in power can pester Panasonic Japan to tell all their PAL service centers about the upgrade?
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Old February 18th, 2003, 10:00 PM   #28
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One more thing. If you've never sent your cam in for service, or did but have never been told your cam has the EEPROM / firmware upgrade, then you've still got the default 1.4 firmware in your cam.

I think 1.6 firmware (fixes glitches & better OIS when zooming over 6x) came out in October 2002 - that's when I got mine fixed.

1.5 firmware fixes the glitches but doesn't have the better OIS fix.


Yeah, it isn't fair to the user: to have mental torture trying to figure out if his / her DV computer is broken. Maybe a worldwide FREE recall for firmware upgrade is in order?
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Old February 18th, 2003, 10:16 PM   #29
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More tips that I learnt from Terrence when I first got my MX300.

Never switch tapes. Use Panasonic. Use tapes once. (Andrew Hogan's practice too).

Record Color Bars for the first 30 seconds of the tape. Then rewind & play back, observing the LCD carefully.
This cleans up any dirt that may be there, shows any imperfection on the tape. Also helps when you give your tape to someone & they need to calibrate their equipment to your tape.

Don't have to get those really expensive high grade Panasonic tapes. It's OK to use LP with your LP90min / SP60min tape if you don't plan to use another deck or give it to someone else. Quickly transfer it to computer after the shoot (the manual says the DV tape recordings last like 6 months?!!!!!?).

Don't leave the tape in the cam longer than you have to, put it in before the shoot, and take it out right after the shoot. Try not to transport the cam with the tape still inside. The tape gets wound around the heads etc. and tape damage may occur if you are unlucky.

My own experience: tape does get bent / bowed at the edges especially if you leave it in the sun, in the car boot on a sunny day. Beware! This has resulted in some glitches in that section of tape - the type that can't be fixed via firmware upgrade.
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Old February 19th, 2003, 02:14 AM   #30
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Whilst I agree in general with your excellent comments about tape/cam care I have to admit that I don't actually follow the advice!
It's strange but I think it's because I had a Sony TRV900 that was an absolute lemon - it chewed up tapes, the mics were faulty and it also had a lens that seemd to leave a nasty green flare on anything that had the slightest backlight in the scene...
I got so paranoid whilst I had the TRV900 - I used to remove tapes after use (despite the TRV900 not having a decent 'end search' like the MX300!), never take it outdoors in showers, lots of little things like that - I was almost afraid to use it because of it's inherent faults...
Since getting rid of it and buying the MX300 I have enjoyed the (almost) total freedom of having a decent cam that does not need such 'kid glove' treatment! I keep a tape in it, threaded up and ready to roll (I do a bit of 'stringer' work for local ch9 news) I leave the battery on the cam, I use it in light showers and I take it everywhere in the back of my car, and it just works!

About the only thing I am not keen to do is use different brands of tape - I *know* that can be a problem, especially for the hyper-sensitive TRV900...

Maybe I am being foolish but for some reason I feel that the MX300 will not let me down, unlike that pile of expensive junk from Sony...
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