Dropouts on the first 6-8 minites of tape - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).

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Old April 7th, 2009, 06:55 AM   #16
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Berrien Springs, MI (Now spending most of my days in Vietnam)
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Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
I think microgrit got in your transport, it got shook up in moving the A1 and into the tape path and on the head. The first 6-8 minutes of stop/start tape 'cleaned' it off causing those dropouts.

I understand about dust and it would be my first suspect as well, given the environments that I shoot in, but what I don’t get is how dust could cause this kind of problem on the first 8 minutes of tape and then cause no further problems for the rest of the tape. Please understand .... this is not just one tape. This has been a consistent problem over the last 30 tapes that I have used in this camera. I am not talking about little glitches, I am talking about dropouts so bad that the tape cannot be captured at all for 30 second chunks and then it may capture 10 clips that only last a couple of seconds each, and then go completely blank for another 30 secs. (I have set my editor to automatically break clips up at a time code break)

Then, after about the 8 minute mark I get NO dropouts at all. This is the exact same thing that happened with my first camera so I am just wondering if it could be a head wear issue and for some reason the first 8 minutes of tape is no longer making good contact with the heads ....

As a work-around I just started putting 8 min of bars on tapes before I started shooting, but it still leaves me nervous enough to not go out on my next shoot with out a new camera. I can't take the risk of shooting interviews in SE Asia only to get home and find out that they are full of dropouts.

I appreciate your advice about keeping the camera out of the dust as much as possible. I also cover all of the cracks with tape, however, I know that I could do better. I have tried the Portabrace covers, but find that it impedes my shooting. What to do ....
Frank Spangler
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Old April 7th, 2009, 08:52 AM   #17
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kansas City, MO
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Have you tried using your head cleaning tape and then switching tapes to something like Sony's Digital Mastering tape? I had serious trouble with those Panasonics; now I use the Sony PHDVM and haven't seen a dropout since I switched. Of course they cost twice as much; even so tape is cheap.
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Old April 8th, 2009, 02:38 AM   #18
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I had one drop out in the middle of an important, non-repeatable performance using the cheaper Sony tapes.
For any shooting that is critical I now use the more expensive ones (that say HD on them).
I haven't had any problems using the more expensive Sony tapes. But I haven't had any further problems with the cheaper ones either!
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Old April 9th, 2009, 07:18 AM   #19
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Stay away from Panasonic Tape

Sony or TDK has never failed me. Panasonic had failed me many times until I stopped using them.
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Old April 9th, 2009, 10:10 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Michael Padilla View Post
Also I have noticed that sometimes I will get more or less drop-outs on import when trying a re-import.. for example I imported a tape today; got a dropout within the first few seconds of shooting.. so since I caught it and it was so early in the tape.. I stopped import and started over..

second time around there was no drop-out on that frame. Reasons?
One of the things I do before a shoot where I'm using tape is to fast-forward the tape to the end, then rewind it back to the beginning. The theory of operation is to get uniform tension on the tape, with no points of unexpected slack, so while shooting tape movement is as consistent as possible.

My guess is your tape had a small amount of slack. Running the tape took it out, so when you rewound the tape and played it again everything was AOK.
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Old April 9th, 2009, 10:22 AM   #21
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I have been using Panasonic miniDV tapes since 1999 and have only had ONE occassion where the tapes used were guilty of major dropouts that were uncorrectable.

It happened at a wedding where we were using 2 Sony VX2000's and both cameras exhibited the exact same 'noise' and massive pixelation issues that last the entire tape on both cameras. Everything was -blocky- and looked like a 1980 atari video game.

In the past 10 years, and after filming hundreds of weddings and other events, there have only been maybe a dozen instances where we have even had llike a 1 sec blip on tape. Aside from the above event which was a disaster, we have never had any issues with panasonic tapes... and we order batches of about 150-200 every year from B&H.

So to have only a handful of 'issues' out of 1500-2000 tapes... not too bad.

The other thing I will say is, early on, we learned that using the EP mode (where you get 90 min out of a 60 min tape or 120 min out of a 80 min tape) caused most of our issues. Since we had 5 different cameras (2 GL1s, 2 VX2Ks, and 1XL1s), tapes recorded on one, were not able to be played back on another without significant dropouts and pixelation.

Once the tape was placed back in the camera it was recorded on, everything was fine.

So lesson learned there is, be careful when using EP mode too!
KR Productions; www.kyleroot.com
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