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Old August 19th, 2008, 11:26 PM   #1
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Location: Cary, NC
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Weird MiniDV problem, help!

I shot a wedding for the first time in a long time a few weeks ago. Being afraid of weddings i was hesitant to even try because it seems like things always go wrong.

Anyway, the main camera i was using, has some weird tape error. I recorded the footage, and everything seemed fine. But when i got to play the footage, it won't actually play. What it does is, i press play, and it will play about 15 frames, and then freeze on that frame. If i fast-forward the tape (In an HV20 btw), the video previews and shows just like normal during fast-forwarding. Then when you press play it won't play normally. So the footage is there, it just won't play! It's crazy.

It was shot in HDV 60i.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. The fact that the footage is on the tape makes it seem like it might be recoverable. The bride was devastated when i told her.. its a really crappy situation, any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Dale Backus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2008, 02:59 AM   #2
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It sounds like a tracking problem with your camcorder. I had symptoms just like this with a camcorder and at another time with a VCR, that would stall on regular playback, but would show the recordings on an onscreen fast-forward. Try playing the tape in another camcorder or having yours adjusted or repaired. A tape-duplicating service might be able to help. They have experience in rescuing recordings that have tracking problems with either the recorder or the recording. Something as important as a wedding and relieving a devastated bride would be worth paying their fee. Good luck.
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Old August 20th, 2008, 11:36 AM   #3
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I have actually tried playing the tape on other cameras. Didn't work on either of my HV20s or an HV30. I think whatever damage was done was done to the tape, not the camera...

I'm unfamiliar with tape-duplicating services, and living in NC i'm sure they're not on every street corner. Do you know of any that you could recommend?


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Old September 14th, 2008, 05:47 PM   #4
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I'd recommend two things, neither of which might work, but could help. First, and I don't mean to imply you're a ninny by suggesting it, (just covering the basics) have you cleaned the heads on both decks? If there was some contamination on the tape, it could have knackered both decks.

Second, wind the tape all the way to one end and then the beginning. It might not be laying right. I had this problem with a tape I recorded a few months ago and this brought back all the frames save about one second. This was in DV and it took me a few tries before I got it all back.

If you shot in HDV, you may have more difficulty by virtue of its format.
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Old September 14th, 2008, 10:52 PM   #5
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Hi Dale............

This could be directions to absolutely nowhere but............

Try downconverting the tape content in the camera to DV.

The more I think about it the more I can't see what it's going to achieve, but it's an exercise I haven't heard tried as yet when this happens, which is too often for this to be a "one off".

I suspect (but can't prove) that the reason you see video in FF is that the camera is only picking up the HDV key frames in that mode.

For reasons I still haven't fathomed, it somehow doesn't have enough information to rebuild the intermediate frames from those key frames, which is why you see nothing in "Play" mode.

I suspect (also, but can't prove) that this is caused by a tracking/ timing problem that comes and goes with no rhyme or reason and is possibly due to tape stock variables.

Another test I have not seen done is to take a tape that has exhibited this behaviour and re - recording it again on the same camera, then again on a different camera.

It would be interesting to hear what happens.

With previous instances of this I have suggested taking/ sending the camera and tape to a Canon repair depot and see if they can re - align the heads/ tracking enough to get the data off the tape.

It's a viable option if there is a facility near you.

Of course, no guarantee it's going to work as I still don't have a definitive answer as to why it happens inthe first place.

I'll be interested to hear the outcome, if there is, indeed, an outcome other than total failure.

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Old September 19th, 2008, 12:03 PM   #6
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If the camera that recorded the event had its head out of alignment, you do NOT want to get it realigned until it has played the tape and you've recorded it to another device. If there is a head alignment problem, the tape will almost always play back on the device that recorded it but not on any other device. But in this case, if the tape won't play back on the camera that recorded it, there's a good chance it is not a head alignment problem.

The original post didn't say if the HV20 being used for capture was the camera that recorded the tape or if it was originally recorded on a different camera. Typically, I've seen tapes recorded with out of alignment heads act as he is describing, but if that's the case it should play on the camera that recorded it. My experience in head alignment problems was always with DV cameras, not HDV; I don't know if that makes a difference.

And I just noticed that the original post is a month old. Did the problem get solved or not?
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