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Old October 31st, 2002, 11:19 AM   #1
ncardenas
 
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drop outs

Hello,
I have been working on a project for a few weeks now and everything has been going great until last night. I'm caturing all video from a XL1 for my project. As I said, everything has been working great, but last night I started experiencing problems with video and audio drop outs. I was wondering if it was just dirty heads or something of that nature and if it was something I could take care of myself. I have always been skeptical about head-cleaning tapes and am not sure about the alcohol on the Q-tip procedure. I'm assuming neither one of these methods are recommended, but I'm short on time and $. Am I SOL and have to send it in to get serviced? Or is there hope? It's very frustrating because I'm so close to finishing this project. I'd greatly appreciate any suggestions. Thanks for the help.

-Nate
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Old October 31st, 2002, 11:41 AM   #2
Warden
 
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Let's start with a lot more information. When and where do you notice the drop outs? Are you using a Non-Linear Editor (NLE)? If so, can you provide any details about the hardware and software you're using? In the short term buy a miniDV cleaning tape and follow the directions to the letter. Use it for just the amount of time specified. If that works great, if not, I need answers to the questions above. Good luck.

Jeff
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Old October 31st, 2002, 12:18 PM   #3
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Jeff's right. Get a head-cleaning tape and use it per its instructions (you may also need a good magnifying glass to read them if you're over 35).

DO NOT even think about shoving an alcohol-soaked Q-Tip into the tape transport!

The most common causes for drop-outs during capture that we see around here seem to be:
  • multiple re-uses of tape,
  • use of different brands of tape without intermediate cleanings. Some brands use a 'wet' lubricant' while others use a 'dry' lube. Mix them together and you get mud (kind of). Our motto concerning tape brands is Pick an' Stick! to a single brand.
  • disregard for the need to clean the camera's heads with a cleaning tape periodically.

I am assuming that your "drop-outs" are occurring while transferring footage from your camera to your computer. But if you're actually observing problems while playing back footage from your computer you have a different range of possible problems.

Give some additional info, as Jeff requested, and we'll try to help further.
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Old October 31st, 2002, 12:43 PM   #4
ncardenas
 
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Hey Jeff and Ken,
Thanks for your replies.

First off, I'm using a Mac G4 w/FCP 1.25.
As I said in my original post, I have not experienced any problems with playback or capturing until last night. I have been working on this project for weeks now and figured the heads on the XL1 were in dire need of cleaning.
The dropouts are occuring during capture and tape playback, so I'm pretty sure it's not the editor. I tried the miniDV cleaning tape last night and followed the directions, but no luck. I never really trusted cleaning tapes on analog heads much less digital heads, but I tried it anyway. After that did not work, I was thinking about the alcohol thing but decided to wait to hear from someone who knew. Thanks for the advice Ken. I won't do that.

The tapes that I have been using are the Sony DVM-60. I shot everthing on them and have not recorded over them at all. So, as far as reusing these tapes, the use is for playback only. I feel like I'm at the end of the line here. What should I do and how should I do it? Should I try the cleaning tape again? I know it says not to use it for more than 3 times in a row. Help me, please. I'm pulling my hair out of my head and have no more fingernails. Thanks again. -Nate
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Old October 31st, 2002, 01:10 PM   #5
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One item I neglected to mention: I assume that you've shot in SP mode, not LP mode?

Do you have access to another dv camera or deck? If so, try playing one of your problem tapes to see if the drop-outs also appear on this unit. (If not, you might consider capturing footage from this cam/deck.)

I would also try to shoot a bit onto a brand new Sony tape while the camera is mounted to a tripod or is just resting on a table to see of the problem appears again. It's possible that the "drop-outs" could have been caused by shock (were you shooting while dancing? <g>).

Beyond that, it's time to send the camer in for service.
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Old October 31st, 2002, 02:41 PM   #6
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If you have been shutteling the master (camera original) tapes back and forth a lot capturing, try fast forwarding and rewinding the tapes a couple of times. Then go to the part with the dropouts and try to capture again. Can you see the dropouts in the viewfinder of the camera when you playback? Are the dropouts always in the same spot or does the location change?

Jeff
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