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Old July 2nd, 2006, 11:49 AM   #1
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Tape dropouts -- please help!

I shot an entire wedding recently and came home to check the footage only to find it's nothing but dropouts!! I've never seen anything like this before. It literally skips every second, leaving major artifacts, discontinuous timecode, and only half the audio... for the entire day! I can't comprehend how this could happen. I even taped the rehearsal the night before and watched it that night. That was 10 minutes of smooth-as-glass footage. But the next day everything from the first shot to the last on the HD100 is nearly lost.

Thankfully I had two other cameras during the ceremony and one other recording throughout the day. However, I need to resolve this issue with the HD100 since it is my primary camera for professional work. This is beyond disappointing.

I was using Panasonic AY-DVM63PQ tapes in all the cameras, but I know the tapes are not to blame. The other cameras handled terrifically, and in subsequent tests the JVC will not function with any tape stock including the $10 ProHD tapes. My feeling is that the heads are damaged somehow and it is obvious the camera will need repair (which is unfortunate because this causes me to rent something for next weekend).

The only thing I can think of that I did before the wedding was to record a header on each tape and use a cleaning tape once through for 10 seconds. The cleaning tape was a Sony DVM12CLD and has served well in cleaning other cameras. It also says it can be used in any MiniDV camera up to 3 times consecutively (I used it once). The format I used for the day was SD 60i Widescreen, but the problem occurs in any format and is much worse in HDV.

I would very much appreciate any help anyone could provide. I have an example clip uploaded and will email the link to anyone who inquires. For some sections there is smooth video with only a few glitches that Iím wondering if there are any filters or software that could help these parts. Other than that is there anything else that could salvage this footage?

I just never knew a camera could malfunction so badly.
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 12:11 PM   #2
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Chad,

Man that is bad, sorry to hear it. I am not clear on what is going on now though. If you clean the heads again and try another tape, does it still come out bad? If so, the camera needs to go for repair I guess. It is really good that you had back-up cams, and everyone should take note of that.

Also, even if the tape cleaner says you can use it three times, I would not. Just think of it this way, whatever it cleaned off the first time is still on that cleaning tape. It does not just disappear into the unknown!

Let us know how this turns out.

Mike
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 12:19 PM   #3
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The only thing that comes to mind quickly is that the Panasonic tapes are the dry lube variety and since Sony uses the wet lube perhaps the cleaning tape does too. That seems the most likely incompatibility. I feel for you. That's a major disaster for a wedding videographer.
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 01:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren Shultz
The only thing that comes to mind quickly is that the Panasonic tapes are the dry lube variety and since Sony uses the wet lube perhaps the cleaning tape does too. That seems the most likely incompatibility. I feel for you. That's a major disaster for a wedding videographer.
Warren may be on to something.
Have you used the Sony head cleaner on other cameras that ran Sony tapes?

You may want to run out and buy a Panasonic head cleaner and see if it fixes it.

If not, it appears that the head may be damaged, or it needs a more detailed head cleaning. Nonetheless, this problem would have to be fixed by JVC.

Sorry to hear this!
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 01:04 PM   #5
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There's no incompatibility in the head cleaning tapes; which brand you chose won't make any difference there. I would have to say though that ten seconds is a bit too long to run one in my opinion.
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 01:06 PM   #6
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Sorry to hear about that Chad. Really.

However, it's been said over and over that Panasonic Master tapes are notorious for dropouts (bad ones). I can attest to that. As alway I recommend JVC M-DV60DU tapes (AKA DVM60ME) which rarely if ever drop out. Earlier this year I went to Europe and shot 18 hours of tape with not a single hiccup on those mentioned tapes. This thing where people mention, "stay with the same brand and you'll be OK" and "Panasonic are the same as JVC" is a bunch of... Well you know what I mean.

Get the JVC tapes.
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 01:52 PM   #7
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I got the shakes !!!

Sorry to hear about your problems.

Just came back from a 3 day shoot. Danish equestrian championships.8 hours of footage.Also something which cannot be done again. Opened my pc, saw this thread and really got the shakes. Using the same tapes as you and have been doing so since day one. Walked around for an hour too afraid to open my player.. Ok no problems this time, but come tomorrow I will be ordering the external HD.! Better safe than sorry !!! Hope you have your problem fixed.
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 02:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen L. Noe
As alway I recommend JVC M-DV60DU tapes (AKA DVM60ME) which rarely if ever drop out.
Is this tape recommended over the JVC-MDV63PROHD, the JVC ProHd tape.

This tape is recommended by the rental company I use (also an authorized JVC dealer) and I believe it is the one recommended by the JVC reps at Cinegear.

However, other than the fact that the one you recommend is a DV tape (ala Sony Premium?), and the second one is called an HD tape, is there any difference in performance if using the JVC DV tape or the JVC HD tape for recording? Would there be a difference if going back to the tapes repeatedly for re-capturing. (Also, the DV tape seesm to run about $6 and the HD tape about $9.50.

On a related note, is it all right to mix sony tapes and JVC tapes in the BR-HD50U? The reason I ask is that the unit plays back DVCAM which most likely would be shot (as it is in my case) on Sony tapes, while the HD100 video would be shot on JVC tapes.
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 03:10 PM   #9
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I posted this recently in another thread about erasing tapes, but may be appropriate here too. Far too much emphasis put on tape brands, but I guess that can be understood. Just remember that your Chrysler dealer is not going to recomend CarQuest for your next part purchase!

Use this as a general guideline: (some may dispute it, and they are entitled to their opinions too!)

Do not buy the real expensive tapes just because you think they will be better! What is recorded is 1's and 0's, nothing more! The only problems you can have are drop-outs, or just plain bad tapes. I have used Sony Premium tapes, $3.00 each from ebay for nearly two years and have never had a single drop-out or other problem. Part of the problem some people have is paying $15.00 for a single tape, and feeling they have to reuse it because it is so expensive! Especially, if your reason is because you can't afford more tapes! Just buy the lesser expensive tapes and try them. If you have a problem, 99.9999% of the time, it will be because the heads are dirty, not because the tape is bad, or cheap.

Don't bother black-striping, (putting time code on) the new tapes. It isn't worth the time or wear and tear on your camera or deck. As the striped tape is used, the time code will vary slightly or be slightly different, maybe not in seconds but in frames anyway. (I did an experiment and found this to be true!) Just start where you left off, and or back up if you reviewed what you shot and stopped at a different place. Keep your camera clean and learn to trust that what you think you have captured is actually on the tape, as 99.9999% of the time it will be, barring a bad camera etc.

If you must reuse a tape, just do it! Don't black it over, as that just adds more wear and tear to the tape and the camera or deck. I reuse tapes all the time, especially when just experimenting around on things. Just rewind and shoot away! After all, if you believe in the black-striping the tape stuff, the time code will match anyway, right! Just think how many times those VCR tapes from Blockbuster have been used!

Prior to recording to a tape, I do believe it is a good idea to fast-forward the tape and rewind. Just kinda unpacks the tape and put a normal tension on the new tape. Maybe it is not necessary, but it is easy and it may find a bad tape even. Use a cheap deck or rewinder to save wear and tear on the camera.

Most every problem encountered by users of DV tapes, are because of dirty camera heads. Get a simple cleaning tape, they are all dry to my knowledge, as a wet tape would require that you add the liquid. I have an old one for VCR's but I have never even seen a wet DV cleaning tape. Just buy a JVC or other brand and use it at the first sign of a problem, or about 20 hours or so of use, or as recommended by your cameras manufacturer, see the manual. If you are about to record something you just can't miss, run that cleaning tape through for 5 to 10 seconds, can't hurt! Just don't over use it, like Boyd said, they are abrasive, but they are not sandpaper.

The consensus is that tape brands should not be mixed. I have no basis to contest that, and with different companies possibly using different lubricants, it could actually be a problem. If you run out of your particular brand of tape, just run that cleaning tape through for 5 to 10 seconds or so, and pop that different tape in----and go shoot!

Lastly, cleaning tapes are to be run through only once. Do not rewind and reuse. If it cleaned something off the first time, it may put it back on the second time. They are cheap enough and last a long time anyway.

I hope that this helps you and others out. Others may chime in with more info.

Good shooting---Mike
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 03:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Teutsch
Do not buy the real expensive tapes just because you think they will be better! What is recorded is 1's and 0's, nothing more! The only problems you can have are drop-outs, or just plain bad tapes. I have used Sony Premium tapes, $3.00 each from ebay for nearly two years and have never had a single drop-out or other problem.
Good shooting---Mike
The JVC rep told me specifically that the JVC tapes for the HD100 hold a different tension than the Sony tapes and therefore the Sony tapes are not good for the camera and will get bad results.

Is there any truth to the tension issue?
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 03:52 PM   #11
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So I've got some good news.... Actually some great news. The night I first tried to play the footage I tried the cleaning tape twice in the JVC and it didn't improve. In fact it got worse in that for a while it would just play blackness for large periods.

But today I ran the cleaning tape once more just because I have nothing better to do with the camera but keep trying and now the tapes playback most of the picture and sound! They will capture over firewire and there's a small glitch about 2 frames long once every minute or so, but I should be able to cut around them.

My question of course is: Why? Why would this happen? And why would my other cameras still not be able to play the tapes or capture them for more than 4 seconds at a time? Could this be a timecode issue? When I was recording the headers the other night I changed some timecode settings in the JVC menu. Mainly under Header Rec I set the TC Data to 00:00:12:00 so that the tapes could start at 0 TC and the recording would begin at 12 seconds into the tape. Shouldn't be a problem, but that is just one thing that I did before the malfunction. Also for some reason the TC Preset under TC/UB/Clock menu is now set to 02:24:58:25 though I didn't select that. I don’t think these are to blame, but something strange is happening.

I'm going to test it some more after I finish capturing this footage and I'll be sure to let everyone know what the engineers say about it once they get it. It would be a great benefit to this community if we could know what causes something this drastic. I unfortunately don't have the money for a hard drive recording solution.

For now, does anyone know of filters or software that can mask small glitches and dropouts like this?
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 04:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Walker
Is this tape recommended over the JVC-MDV63PROHD, the JVC ProHd tape.

This tape is recommended by the rental company I use (also an authorized JVC dealer) and I believe it is the one recommended by the JVC reps at Cinegear.

However, other than the fact that the one you recommend is a DV tape (ala Sony Premium?), and the second one is called an HD tape, is there any difference in performance if using the JVC DV tape or the JVC HD tape for recording? Would there be a difference if going back to the tapes repeatedly for re-capturing. (Also, the DV tape seesm to run about $6 and the HD tape about $9.50.

On a related note, is it all right to mix sony tapes and JVC tapes in the BR-HD50U? The reason I ask is that the unit plays back DVCAM which most likely would be shot (as it is in my case) on Sony tapes, while the HD100 video would be shot on JVC tapes.
Hi,

JVC's cheap tapes work wonders. The tapes I get cost $3.00 a piece from Adorama. They come in packages of 10. I've not had any problems from the very beginning with these tapes. I did get several of the ProHD tapes you sited however I see no difference.

AFA the deck is concerned, I feed it everything but I keep a fresh head cleaner available at all times.

Good shooting!
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 05:32 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Mike Teutsch
If you must reuse a tape, just do it! ......... I reuse tapes all the time, especially when just experimenting around on things.
There is a school of thought that reckons a previously used tape may be PREFERABLE on an important job - any serious manufacturing fault would have shown up on the first usage! The downside is that the previous use may have introduced damage itself, being parked in an edit machine for an extended period, for example.

Perhaps best practice is that shown by many large broadcast organisations, who regularly and routinely reuse tape. In their case though, reuse is normally preceded by running the tape through a specialised cleaner to remove loose oxide particles etc, followed by a a laser scanner to check for damage and final bulk erasure. Tapes treated in this way are often preferred by users to brand new tapes as their condition has been positively confirmed, any damaged tapes discarded.

It's obviously not practical for smaller scale users to have all this equipment themselves, but firms exist to recycle batches for third parties. Try a search for "video tape recycling". It may give you a more reliable product, save money, and be good for the environment into the bargain!
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 06:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Walker
The JVC rep told me specifically that the JVC tapes for the HD100 hold a different tension than the Sony tapes and therefore the Sony tapes are not good for the camera and will get bad results.

Is there any truth to the tension issue?
Jack,

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Old July 2nd, 2006, 07:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen L. Noe
However, it's been said over and over that Panasonic Master tapes are notorious for dropouts (bad ones).
Been using the Panasonic tape stock since 2001 and only had drop out on one tape. Now if you are talking about shooting HDV I can not say as that is fairly new but I had not heard what you commented about until I saw your post.
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