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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old August 11th, 2005, 09:18 AM   #1
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DV Tape Striping in the XL2

Is it important to stripe mini dv tapes for the XL2? I was told it embeds the time code so the tc numbers will be consistant from start to finish. Is it a waste of time or is it in fact a good practice?
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Old August 11th, 2005, 09:25 AM   #2
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It will definitely allow for a continuous timecode track on the tape which could prevent possible capture problems down the line due to timecode breaks. Prudent use of the record search buttons if the tape has been moved or taken out and replaced will help locate the last bit of timecode on the tape to eliminate breaks in tc.

There are good arguments both for and against. Striping the tapes would increase the wear and tear on the heads, but not striping them requires care in avoiding tc breaks.

Just my .02 worth,

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Old August 11th, 2005, 10:08 AM   #3
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i always stripe tapes for use in my GL2, never in my XL2 and have not yet had any timecode problems with the XL2 (caveat: only been shooting regularly with it for a few months). the only TC problems i've ever encountered have been from accidentally using unstriped tapes designated for my XL2 in the GL2 (easily solved by not batch capturing in FCP, though it is considerably more time-intensive and can also mess up already-captured clips). but i believe the info you were offered is correct. the XL2 delivers continuous timecode. nice!
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Old August 11th, 2005, 10:26 AM   #4
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Considering that the camera's Rec Search + and - buttons will always insure that you have unbroken time code, I just can't see any reason to pre-stripe tapes for the XL2. In my opinion it's not worth the time required nor the wear on the tape transport mechanism and recording heads. The simple, quick employment of the Rec Search buttons means you'll never have a problem with broken time code on the XL2.

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Old August 11th, 2005, 02:22 PM   #5
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I second what Chris says. I've been shooting with the XL2 since it's release and not had one speck of trouble with the TC.

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Old August 11th, 2005, 05:14 PM   #6
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Agreed, no real point anymore....

ash =o)
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Old August 11th, 2005, 06:46 PM   #7
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Yep, I agree too. Not striping also lets you use the End Search feature, for times when you've been checking something you've already shot, and then need to locate the last recorded section to continue with the next shot. (Unfortunately, this only works if you haven't removed the tape.)

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Old August 12th, 2005, 07:48 AM   #8
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Another thing to consider is that whe I record XL2 24PA on a prestriped tape and there are breaks in the footage, my editing software (prem pro 1.5) loses track of the cadence. So it appears it only checks the cadence at the begining of the capture and assumes that it is consistent. If you stop recording and there is a break, and that little break is striped with non 24PA, the software doesn't care. When it gets to the next 24PA segment on the tape, Premiere just keeps the cadence from the original clip. Often times it is wrong. This has caused me to have to recapture several tapes in segments. to avoid this.

So striping has become a non issue for me.
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Old August 12th, 2005, 01:15 PM   #9
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Marty, excellent caveat. Question: do you get 24pA breaks only when there is 60i striping "underneath" or does PPro lose cadence even for 24pA - 24pA scene breaks (just plain old "Record Off"-"Record On" in otherwise continuous 24pA recordings)?

My understanding is that within the 5-frame 60i segment that holds the original 4 frames of 24fps footage, only the "A" frame of EACH segment has the flag. The DVX-100a manual says this is why 24pA camera mode may have a slight delay in stopping recording (but I'm not sure the XL2 manual mentions this), ie, the camera needs to finish writing the 5-frame segment before ceasing to record. Along those lines, if there is too much space (or too little, if that is possible?) on the tape between frames flagged as "A" it does make sense that the cadence would be thrown off.

In any case, if PPro (or whatever editing app) only reads an "A" frame at the beginning of a captured file, you'd get exactly what you describe -- which is too bad because one could envision software smart enough to read ALL "A" frames and either identify a cadence problem for manual correction, or do an auto-fix by duplicating (preferred) or deleting a couple of frames.

Since PPro apparently doesn't do it for us, perhaps there is some easy way to identify "A" frames on the timeline and manually fix the cadence without much ado. Marty, is the cadence problem easily evident in the source monitor window as ghosted images from the wrong fields being paired up to make a frame? If not, perhaps it would work to make sure that the frame count for the final frame before a scene break is divisible by 4 in a 24fps timeline and 5 in a 60i timeline, and if not, repeating frames to make it so?

I haven't had much time to work with 24pA in the past few months, but plan to do a lot in the near future. Now that my day job is slowing down for a while, I plan to do some testing on this kind of stuff, starting this weekend (yea!!!!)...if I learn anything in the next week or two, will post.
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Old August 12th, 2005, 01:27 PM   #10
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The way you can tell that you have a problem is when you are scrubbing the Premiere timeline in a 24PA project you should never see a "field". It should look progressive. If you see a field you probably have a problem.

I think I have had a problem with this in Premiere in several different circumstances. Here are things that caused it.

1.Break in 24PA footage on a prestriped tape.
2.Break in timecode on a non pre-striped tape. (not always but sometimes)
3.No reason. Tape is fine but Premiere just loses sync at some point. Possibly a tape dropout that isn't visible but causes the cadence to be disrupted?

My solution?

Capture using Vegas 5.0 or 6.0 for all 24PA. I let it split clips into individual files and it appears Vegas checks the cadence on every new clip. Then I edit in Premiere as normal.

If Premiere has scene detect and it checks at the beginning of every new scene for the cadence that might fix this. I haven't found this option so I have not tried it.
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