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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old September 23rd, 2007, 02:49 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Morgantown, WV
Posts: 3
Heads need cleaned?

I am new the the Canon XL series. I have an XL 2 and it has performed wonderfully since May. I set it up to record the other day and I popped in a prerecorded tape. Selected VRC mode - pressed PLAY - and got nothing!

I set the camera up for taping. Mounted it to tripod and inserted a tape. The tape I had planned using had been previously recorded on. It was a new tape though – not damaged in any way. However, before I attempting to record - I first selected VCR mode to make sure it was the tape I thought it was before recording on it. It should have played normally – as that tape was used just the previous day when I captured the content from it onto a PC. It played fine at that time.

When I pressed the PLAY button on the wrist handle the camera performed as though there was no tape in the machine. Instead of having a read out on the display such as 00:42:24:22 and an action image. The display was blue with --:--:--:--. Nothing!

The tape seemed to move forward in the machine though. I thought I could hear it. I tried another tape. Same thing.

Next – I put it in record mode only because there was a presentation starting I was supposed to record. I let it roll to see if it would record. I felt as though I must have set some VCR function ON/OFF in the menu and that I could fix it later. Once I returned home I set it up again. I put it in VCR mode. It seemed to have recorded only the last 5 minutes of an hour long presentation.

When in VRC playback mode with a good taped that was previously recorded - it seems to play some now – except periodically I get blocks of patched color – not a clear image – looks like huge pixels. And it will flicker from the actual time read out (ex. 00:42:24:28) to (ex. --:--:--:--) and the screen goes from a distorted image to blue and back. Then it recovers and plays OK for a little while again.

It seems as though it is having trouble reading and recording to the tape. This is a new camera for me. I am unaware of this kind of a symptom. Perhaps it only needs the heads cleaned? Perhaps it is something more critical! I don’t know.
Marc Debiase is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 23rd, 2007, 04:00 PM   #2
Major Player
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Posts: 839
Sounds like a classic case of dirty heads. Did you get a "Dirty Head" warning?
Sometimes, if you aren't looking, it will come and go unnoticed. Get a dry-type head-cleaning tape and run it for 8-10 seconds. Maybe do it twice. That should help. Have you been taping in dusty conditions? That's when I have the most dirty head trouble.
Steve Siegel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 23rd, 2007, 04:17 PM   #3
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Morgantown, WV
Posts: 3
Dirty and Dust

I been filming around traffic - cars, people, etc..., in the city. I tried an experiment I just thought of while reading other posts. I put the troublesome tape into a consumer Canon camera I have - wound it up to about 42 minutes - where trouble started in the XL 2, and I got the same reaction. Flickering, blue screen, etc.... Its a ZR85 - a great little camera.

I think it is a combo of two bad tapes - the two I had that day, and the heads probably need cleaned as well.

I am pleased that I am sure it is not something REAL BAD!

Oh - I should add. I am glad to have a forum to interact with others on filming, etc... I signed up in April - and just realized I have to sign in to the forum with my FULL NAME! ?=/

Thank you for responding!

Last edited by Marc Debiase; September 23rd, 2007 at 04:32 PM. Reason: Additional comment
Marc Debiase is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 24th, 2007, 08:53 AM   #4
Major Player
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 342
Hey, Marc. Welcome to the the wonderful world of XL2 and DVinfo, both the best of the best.

It does sound like dirty heads, which a cleaning tape should fix, but do be careful not to run it too long, or too often - they are quite abrasive.

I lived in Morgantown for most of 2004, and some of 2005, and I've been a fan of Mountaineers football ever since. It's a most beautiful place - maybe one of the best kept secrets in America. I think you and I met at some filmmakers get-together there. Your name certainly is familiar.
Jack Barker is offline   Reply

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