GL2 HAs Eaten a tape like old VHS VCRs used to at DVinfo.net

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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon GL2, GL1 and PAL versions XM2, XM1.


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Old August 27th, 2010, 05:02 PM   #1
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GL2 HAs Eaten a tape like old VHS VCRs used to

I have a customer's shoot tape stuck in my tape deck GL2 (it has CCD problems so it is mainly used for recording) just like old VCR's used to eat VHS tapes. The tape ribbon appears (can't see it to verify) to be snagged and wrapped around elements inside the camera.

Has anyone else experienced this? What are my options? I see it as either 1) spend a few hundred to send in for repairs (somewhere) to get the housing removed and the tape freed or 2) reshoot on main cam (or upgrade the whole production to T2i shoot + HD).
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Old August 27th, 2010, 06:12 PM   #2
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well, as I used to work for a company that transfers home movies to DVD and web, we were constantly bombarded with consumers asking the same question. The cameras and decks ranged from VHS to 8mm to miniDV and of course none at the level of the GL2.

As we were not a repair center, the answer I gave them was, "For me to get this tape out, I will destroy the camera but your tape will be saved and only the portions that are stretched or torn will be lost."

The answer I received back was ALWAYS "Do it! and what do you recommend to replace it?"

So I offer the same advice...the GL2 may still look good and have a purpose but for the money you will spend to get the tape out and have it back in working order (replacing pinch rollers, adjusting tensioner arms, etc.) and the downtime involved as the parts will undoubtedly have to be ordered,
You would be much better served by updating to an HD camera.

Since you mentioned the T2i, I'm hoping you've read all the threads related to the reality of shooting on DSLR's. Personally, I will never be without a true video camera until they can blend the two products together (maybe by the end of year) There's too many situations that the DSLR's just don't work well in. Though the projects they do fit in look spectacular.

Either find someone who has done the whole "demolish a camera to get the tape out" thing or get brave and do it yourself and hang the parts on your wall! Honestly it's not that difficult as long as you don't touch the tape and abandon the idea of saving the camera. Kinda fun actually! Then make sure you get some 1/8" splicing tape and a block (probably about $20) and you'll be all set.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 06:33 PM   #3
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yikes. So are we talking $100 or so to remove the tape from the camera, or are we talking significantly more? What is an official Canon repair likely to cost? I have been working with them (email chain) on this but I hesitate to send it to Canon because what I need is the footage, not su much the cam, and they have a reputation for keeping anything that isn't attached to the cam.

I did poke around with the idea of just getting a small screw driver set and goign to town trying to get the tape out myself. I have a 3rd cam (GS320) I also use as a deck, so I can still record the footage with out resorting to my main cam as a playback device.

How bad would it be to not splice / cut the ribbon adn simply try to remove the entire ribbon and put the tape in a new cam? is this likely to cause a similar jam on the other camera? Or is tape damage not likely to carry between playback devices?

In other words, is the camera more at fault in tape tangling events, or is the tape more at fault? Ie bad / old tape causes the jam, but the cam is fine, or is it bad / missaligned cameras that ruin tapes, but the tapes can be used elsewhere after being removed?

I know this is all speculation if you haven't seen the cam, so guest guess and "hunch" answers accepted. :-)

regarding the T2i, I have one already and have been shooting for a company that uses the 7d workflow, so I'm familiar with the aquisition end (would need to figure out my own post production work flow though).
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Old August 27th, 2010, 06:35 PM   #4
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also, where would I get splicing tape and a block (no idea what those are).
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Old August 27th, 2010, 06:52 PM   #5
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Don' know what they'd charge...when we did it we charged $50 plus the tape transfer which was a whopping $10. Generally it's the camera at fault. While everyone remembers to clean heads, very few people realize the rubber and plastic parts wear out and must be replaced after a period of time. The GL2 certainly qualifies for that replacement even if the hours are low. Rubber will dry rot and shrink.

If you plan on putting the damaged tape back in a different deck/cam it MUST be spliced and the stretches and tear MUST be removed or you will further damage the tape and possibly another deck/camera.

Since you are unfamiliar with splicing blocks, I would recommend finding someone around your area to do the edit. Check with audio studios and ask for engineers who are familiar with tape splicing (us old-school guys!) Worth the phone calls.

See if they have the block (same size as DAT tape) and if they don't have the block, get one of these...

Aluminum DVM Splicing Block for repair or editing DVM Video Tape

and you'll need the splicing tape

DVM splicing tape for DVM Video Tape 1200 inch roll

and razor blades

Single Edge 100 razor blades for tape editing

Looks like the prices have gone up on this since I bought it about 5 years ago.

Hope this helps!
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Old August 27th, 2010, 07:29 PM   #6
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Jason, have you tried video repair shops in Boise? Look for the oldest guy there, don't let a kid work on it.

If you haven't physically spliced (edited) magnetic tape, you need to practise doing it many times before you try it on the real thing.

Even so unless the tape damage is a very slight 'crinkle' which this doesn't sound like, by editing it you'll lose frames and see the jump on the screen even if it plays through properly. But if you're very lucky the damage might be on the customers 'out takes'

When you put a clients tape in your machine spool it to the end and back before starting work with it. This aligns it in your transport just in case the clients camera has a slightly different tape guide alignment. Hope this helps.

Cheers.
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