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Old 05-04-2007, 12:57 AM   #1
Mr Sparkle
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 3,748
Default ADVC Family Common Problems & Solutions

Here are a few of the more common problem scenarios:

Problem: The unit is not recognized by the computer at all. No new device - unknown or otherwise - appears.
Solution 1: If your product is an ADVC50, make sure the internal onboard DV port is connected to the computer's FireWire interface port. An ADVC50 simply placed into a PCI slot inside you computer, does not communicate with the system.
Solution 2: There is a slight possibility that the ADVC unit's firmware is bad or corrupt. Try it on another machine. If the same thing happens, contact Technical Support for further instructions.
Solution 3: There is a very, very, very small chance that this is a PHY speed issue related to very early (circa 2000 and earlier) TI-based FireWire controllers. Again, this is highly unlikely in any modern machine.
Problem: The unit is recognized but Windows cannot load a driver for it.
Solution: This occurs on some Dell and large-OEM-built machines. The cause is the result of a corruption in the Windows installation itself. Try a Repair install of Windows. If that does not work, contact Technical Support - they have some files that may work. In all cases, a fresh installation of Windows from the Windows installation CD, and not the CD that restores the system to its shipping state (which was already broken) will work.
Problem: The system reports dropped frames during capture.
Solution 1: In most cases this is a throughput or communication problem on the system's end. The system capturing must be able to sustain at least 3.7MB/sec transfer to the hard drive. Disable any background tasks, realtime anti-virus programs, etc.
If the system is on the slower side (slower than 2GHz), try disabling audio and video preview during capture, if possible.
Solution 2: This can also be caused by a bad FireWire cable.
Solution 3: This can sometimes be caused by an overclocked PCI bus. The FireWire clock is dependent on the PCI bus clock being set to its default specification. Consult your mainboard's manual to find out more information on how to ensure this setting is set properly.
Problem: There appears to be repeated frames in the capture, yet the system did not report any frame drops during capture.
Solution: This can be caused by a weak or unstable video signal. If the source device has some kind of video stabilization or filtering function, try turning it off/on. The ADVC300 should handle almost all of these types of situations with its Time-Base Corrector (TBC) functions. For other ADVC units, putting the video signal through a TBC should fix most of these issues.
Problem: I can capture fine the first time, but after that I only get a black screen when capturing again, and I have to cold-restart my computer before it works again.
Solution: This is the "Windows XP SP1" issue. It was fixed by Microsoft with Windows XP SP2. (visit to download this update)
Problem: I captured some video and I see distortion/garbage on the top/bottom/left/right sides of the picture. Why?
Solution: This noise is normally unseen as it's in the overscan area (the part of the image that "overshoots" the visible TV screen). Since the ADVC encodes the entire video frame, you end up seeing the entire picture on your computer monitor. This is normal and will appear with any device that captures the entire video frame - not just the ADVC series. Most editing software will either let you cover the area with a black matte or crop the frame.
It is rare to completely get rid of the distortion/garbage, but if you're capturing from a VCR, adjusting the tracking and/or cleaning the VCR heads can help (if the noise is indeed tracking distortion in addition to the normal overscan noise).
Problem: I can't see video and/or hear sound during capture. What's wrong?
Solution: Probably nothing serious. Not all capture software will preview the incoming video or audio. The data being provided by the ADVC is already compressed in DV format, so in order for the capture software to provide video and/or audio preview, it would need to decompress the incoming stream. This requires additional CPU power and can interrupt the capture process. Some programs provide full-motion preview with audio if the system is fast enough, other programs provide reduced resolution or framerate and no audio, while some may not provide audio or video at all during capture.
If there is no audio upon playback of the captured file, then something is wrong with your computer or the audio connections to the ADVC unit.
Problem: The captured video is black and white. What's wrong?
Solution 1: Check that the NTSC/PAL switch matches the type of video you are capturing. For PAL, you might have to set the NTSC Setup Level to the '0 IRE' setting. Note that for ADVC300, the IRE Setup Level switch also doubles as the PAL/SECAM input toggle in PAL mode.
Solution 2: If you are connecting to the source using S-Video, verify that the S-Video cable is okay. S-Video carries brightness and color information on separate lines, so if the color line is broken, the signal will be black and white.
Solution 3: If you are connecting the source using S-Video through a SCART adapter, verify that your source device is sending a S-Video signal through the SCART connection. Not all devices do, and not all devices do in all cases.
Solution 4: If you are playing an NTSC tape in a PAL deck, note that not all decks output a true NTSC (NTSC 3.58) signal. Many PAL decks play NTSC tapes as NTSC 4.43, which most PAL display devices can handle. The ADVC units require a true NTSC 3.58 signal, and the output of the ADVC units in NTSC mode is a NTSC 3.58 signal. So for input, your source device should be sending NTSC 3.58 and not NTSC 4.43, and for output, your receiving device needs to support NTSC 3.58 recording as well.
Problem: Widescreen footage is captured distorted - people are skinny and tall when played back.
Solution: Technically this isn't an error, as widescreen analog input is generally anamorphic (a 16x9 image squeezed into a 4x3 frame) and doesn't always have a way to signal the receiving device that it should be displayed widescreen.
The clip's 16x9 flag needs to be set for correct playback, or whatever software you load it into needs to be told to treat the clip as 16x9 and not 4x3.
The Enosoft DV Processor application will allow for on-the-fly 16x9 flag setting during capture. Be sure to disable Aspect Ratio Conversion and just enable the Embedded Data Processing to set the flag to 16x9.
Please note that the Enosft DV Processor is not a Grass Valley product and GV is not reponsible for its support or use.
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