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Problems Digitising footage using XL1

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Eve Myhill
Problems Digitising footage using XL1
on Mar 29, 2011 at 6:22:53 pm


I usually work in Hd, but in the past I've used a canon xl1. A client of mine wants to use some previously shot footage and mix it in with a newly shot interview.

I received the footage from another company and popped it in the camera but when it played back the picture pixelated and rolled, a bit like when its the wrong frame rate. So just in case i digitised this into fcp and playback was the same with garbled, intermittent sound.

I got in touch with the prod company and the chap said

"The material is standard PAL widescreen, shot on a Sony Z1 in the DVcam

I digitised and edited this material without problem when we used it last

I transferred the tapes using a standard Firewire connection into one of
editing systems."

I'm not sure what's wrong, my other old tape playback fine. Does the canon have a switch that makes playback weird or something?


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Todd Terry
Re: Problems Digitising footage using XL1
on Mar 29, 2011 at 7:27:48 pm

Not sure, but two observations...

I don't know where in the world you are or what TV standard is the right one for your location... but the footage you are trying to digitize is PAL footage. Is your XL1 a PAL camera or an NTSC camera? If you are trying to play PAL footage in an NTSC camera, that could be the culprit.

Secondly, you said that the footage is DVcam footage. Obviously they put DVcam format footage on one of the small-shell MiniDV-size tapes. The XL1 records in DV format, not in DVcam format (which, although can use the same tapes, is a faster-speed format). I've never tried it because I've never had any reason to, but I'm not sure the XL1 can play back DVcam format tapes. I can't say for certainty that it won't... it might (but if so it would fall into the "happy accident" category). That's not what it was designed to do, though.

So you probably either have a PAL/NTSC issue, or a DV/DVcam issue, or a combination of both.

The best/surefire way to digitize the tapes is using a real PAL DVcam tape deck as the source.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Joel Servetz
Re: Problems Digitising footage using XL1
on Mar 30, 2011 at 12:35:04 am

If the tape was recorded in PAL, you definitely need a PAL playback deck. The XL-1 cannot play back DVCAM.

Joel Servetz
RGB Media Services, LLC
Sarasota, Fl

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