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Old July 21st, 2005, 11:13 AM   #1
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Lost audio with VL3 video light?

Hello all,

I'm telling you, if it's not one thing, it's another with at least my set of GL2's. I have a fleet of 4 for my videography business. Last year I had the mysterious shut-down problem with two of the cameras. It took about 6 trips back to the FSC before they finally replaced the darned things for me. Could you imagine... being on a shoot and POOF, the camera would just shut down!? It would power right back up on its own, but that lost 5 seconds could mean disaster in the wedding industry.

Now, wouldn't you know it, the same two cameras, now replacements, don't have the power issue, but they rarely and randomly drop audio when being used with the VL3 video light! They might work fine for a few shoots, then a whole portion of video will have broken audio or no audio at all. I noticed it has something to do with the video light because during one clip you can obviously notice the sound go away when the light is turned on.

Has anyone else had this problem? If so, what was your solution? These cameras are 'brand new', according to Canon, and I don't use any other hot shoe accessory.

I'm actually contemplating selling all of these cameras all together and move onto something else. It's very stressful not having reliable cameras for my line of work. I've been holding out for the next generation of Canon prosumer cameras... like a high-def job... but the Sony FX1 is already out there and fairly affordable.

So, any advice on both fronts (the audio/VL3 sound issue and the possible conversion to the FX1) would be appreciated!
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Old July 21st, 2005, 11:43 PM   #2
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"Now, wouldn't you know it, the same two cameras, now replacements, don't have the power issue, but they rarely and randomly drop audio when being used with the VL3 video light! "

Can we establish, first off, how and with what are you recording audio? The on-board mic? A auxiliary mic plugged into the mic in socket? What?

Okay, when I use my MA300 Audio adaptor IN the "hotshoe" - the same place as your VL-3 lamp ( I have one of theses lamps too!) - then the onboard mic is cancelled out. If I do not use any aux mics to the MA300, or I forget to switch on the mic, I get nothing. So, in this scenario, there has to be a "cancelling" circuit/function that "removes" the on-board mic from the capturing process. Bottom line here, I can not use the on-board mic. The lamp uses the hotshoe for power, lighting levels - the Auto function - and the ON position which keeps the lamp on continually. I gove the example of the MA300 to suggest that there are has to be circuitry within the MA300 foot that "knocksout" the on-board mic OR feed to the DV tape of audio from the onboard mic. So, IMHO, my immediate thoughts are with the VL-3 light itself. It is appearing to nbe mimicking this same result. Even more so as you are getting the same result on 2 separate cameras, with the same lamp - then I would be definitely be looking the lamp. Why? Because it is highly unlikely that the "same" camera issue is on both - more likely the lamp is "suspect".

Now this maybe an intermittent issue. This makes it even more frustrating and irksome. These "sometime" issues are often the hardest to track down. There maybe an issue that only comes to "light" when the VL-3 has been on for sometime and when it is "hot" enough then you get to be aware of an issue.

Personally, I'd be:

1/- Inspecting the foot of the light to check the screws were tight

2/- Inspecting the 9 mini male connectors on the lamp and - harder to do - the 9 female "receivers" on the camera.

3/- Operating the "switch" on the lamp to pick up any looseness or see if I could repeat the "issue" there.

4/- If I was getting this intermittent issue on 2 separate cameras, with the "same" light, I'd be taking back the lamp for replacement.

5/- Considering getting a source of light separate from the functioning of the camera!

This is my aux light source:


About stepping up to the FX1 .. I don't have any advise!

Hope this helps,

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Old August 11th, 2005, 03:16 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply... and the delay in getting back to you on this. The issue is with the onboard audio and using different VL3's. That pretty much rules out the light itself. I'm looking into other light sources that will match the VL3 in performance. Any suggesstions? I'd like something that is rechargable and/or able to be dimmed as I only really ever need 3 watts of juice. I don't care too much for wearing battery packs.
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Old August 25th, 2005, 11:21 AM   #4
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Well, got the cameras back today from the FSC. Wouldn't you know?! The same audio problem exists!

Here's my email to the rep I've been dealing with today:

Hi ******,

I'm writing in reference to Order Numbers ******** & ********. I got the second camera back today. These are the cameras that were experiencing audio loss when used in conjunction with VL3 video lights.

I put both through a test with the light. WITHIN 2 MINUTES I was able to duplicate the same problem I sent both of these cameras in for. I specifically in my letters and in emails explained what to do. Put the light on the camera, turn it on, watch the audio bars on the LCD, and begin turning the light on and off. After a couple attempts with EACH camera the audio cut out over and over and over again.

Furthermore, I was asked if a third party wireless microphone was used in conjunction with this problem. I replied that these instances happen ONLY with the GL2 and a VL3 video light. Doesn't matter which light... tested 5 different ones with the same result. So no, no wireless mic here. What do I get from the tech? "We have thouroughly tested your camera and found it to meet factory specifications although the intermittent sound loss you have experienced MAY BE CAUSED BY THE THIRD PARTY WIRELESS MICROPHONE".

With all due respect, where did the tech get I was using a third party wireless mic? Was it when I said the problem has never happened with a third party mic?

I live 2 hours from your location. I'm ready to drive up there personally with these cameras and show your techs the problem. I don't know how else to get the situation resolved. Even then, it sounds like the tests the cameras are put through is turning it on, seeing that everything lights up, and putting back in the box... there you go, factory spec! How about putting them through the same test that I do to get them to fail, over and over again!

This is frankly an outrage that it takes so long to get anything specifically addressed. What I explained to do is not hard. It seems like this is just being ignored. I send these cameras in because PEOPLE'S WEDDING VIDEOS are getting screwed up because of flaws in these cameras, flaws that are not hard to duplicate and thus, should not be hard to address to fix.

What do I get in return? Tech's that obviously are either not getting necessary info I am forwarding or simply ignoring it. Refer to the wireless mic point. How is anything going to get done or fixed that way?

What do you suggest I do at this point? I need to RELY on these cameras in two weeks to begin shooting weddings again every weekend through the end of October.

Please respond as soon as possible.
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Old August 26th, 2005, 06:09 AM   #5
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You are really scaring me Matt. I'm wondering if my Camera is going to do the same thing. As of now, my VL3 Video light works fine on my camera, there is no audio loss. In fact I asked some GL2 owners, and they have not had any such problems. However, I have had one odd thing happen when using my VL3 light: One time I turned on the light, and the Color Bars appeared on the view screen. That only happened once though, and nothing else has gone wrong.

...But I'm going to start using my Sony HVL-20DW2 light instead, it fits in the same spot but is "self-powered" and it doesn't use the GL2 power. Also, the light is much better, 1 or 2 lamps can be turned on plus, it has a diffuser to give soft light.
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Old August 26th, 2005, 08:07 AM   #6
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Hi Tyler,

Thanks for the response. I've been looking into getting some self-powered lights myself. I'm sick of dealing with Canon at this point. I'm pretty much ready to file a lawsuit.

Tell me more about this Sony HVL-20DW2. I've been looking for a self-powered light that will perform almost exactly the same as the VL-3. I'm really big on being unobtrusive and have found the low 3W's of juice the VL-3 puts out is perfect to just light up my subject matter enough in darker situations. I guess my question is, when only using one bulb with the diffuser on the HVL, is it about the same as the VL3? How long will the batteries last?

Any info you could provide would be fantastic!


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Old August 29th, 2005, 12:38 AM   #7
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Well guess what Matt? I decided to use my VL3 light at my cousin's outdoor patio party yesterday, and the audio came out terrible. It was excessively noisy, and unclear. The VL3 had something to do with it, I'm fairly sure, it must be because the accessory shoe attachment interferes w/the audio in unpredictable ways. I'm throwing the damn VL3 out, it's too "spotlighty" anyway. BTW, several people at the party complained the light was too obtrusive, even if you are 8-12 feet away.

I like my Sony HVL-20DW2, but I'm not sure if it's the very best option. I use it because it was an old accessory from my Sony Camera. It uses the NP-f960 Litium battery, so the lifetime is very long, I'm not sure how long, but it has never run out on me. Also u will need the charger for that battery. But it has a plastic diffuser that clicks right on and give u soft light, your subjects are lit much better. I know there's more expensive add-ons out there, but with the HVL, I'm not in a hurry to upgrade, it looks a little strange on the camera in terms of "fashion" but it gets the job done.
best of luck
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Old August 29th, 2005, 07:37 AM   #8
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Hey Tyler,

Believe me, the HVL sounds like a great option. I've done a lot of research into lights and it seems to be the most versitile on-camera battery (self) powered light out there. When you talk about that diffuser... is that an accessory that comes with the light itself... or is it something that would need to be purchased separately?

I'm looking for a couple of these lights now.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 07:03 PM   #9
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The diffuser comes w/it. It looks like a rectangular transparent plastic box.
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Old August 31st, 2005, 02:57 PM   #10
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They came in today from B&H... but I don't have any batteries yet! Ordered them from Ebay (much cheaper) so I guess I'll have to waid a couple more days to fire up these Sony lights. As for the diffuser... does it come attached to the light already? I'm not seeing anything other than the light itself (which has a tranparent 'smokie' rectangular cover already attached).
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Old September 2nd, 2005, 09:01 PM   #11
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The diffuser is a separate piece, it's just like I descriped, a rectangular shaped box, or lid, that clasps right on. Maybe yours didn't come with it, was it used? BTW don't forget the charger for the litium battery. Call B & H about the diffuser.
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Old September 2nd, 2005, 09:35 PM   #12
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I bought these puppies new... I guess Sony doesn't sell them with the light anymore? Not sure. I'll contact B&H about it. I picked up some generic NP-F970's on ebay for way cheaper than the real thing... plus they come with chargers. I've always found that if you're not using the batteries with the camera it's meant for, generic is the way to go! In this case, it should work just fine with these lights. I'll test it's life span when they arrive.
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Old September 3rd, 2005, 10:54 AM   #13
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Contacted B&H, they had no idea what I was talking about...lol. Did a search online for the diffusers too, and couldn't find them. You wouldn't happen to have a link, Tyler? Let me know!

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Old September 5th, 2005, 05:02 PM   #14
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Lost Audio With VL3


I use the VL-10Li Light with my GL2. The light is operated with a separate battery unlike the VL3 which is dependent on the camera battery.
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Old September 18th, 2005, 10:25 PM   #15
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I was just reading up on your ORDEAL with Canon GL2s. YIKES!

Listen, if you go over to http://vidled.com and check out the warmLED on-camera DIMMABLE LED light, it might be something you may be interested in as replacement for the VL3. It uses only 4W, but puts out close to 15W halogen equivalent, in a very even, and wide beam.

If you email me, I think we can work something out for you, in regards to price.
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