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The Long Black Line
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Old March 24th, 2009, 09:24 PM   #1
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Broken Sony Mini DV Tape.

I have a broken Sony HD mini dv tape. Is there anywhere to send the broken tape and have what's left of the contents captured and downloaded? The tape snapped and part of the flip out cover broke from me extracting tape out of a broken HV20. If it's possible I'm hoping the price won't be too much over a hundred dollars. Probably not likely but didn't think it'd hurt to ask.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 09:12 AM   #2
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Well Matt, this isn't the most high-tech approach but it has worked for me. Take the broken flip-up door off completely, pull both ends of your tape out of the case until you get past any torn/wrinkled parts, cut a clean diagonal edge with a razor.

Then carefully splice the new ends together using the thinnest splicing tape you can find. I don't have any specifically made for miniDV but rather have taken some old VHS splicing tape and cut it own to size. Absolutely make sure the splicing tape does not exceed the width of the miniDV tape.

You'll also have to sacrifice another miniDV tape to get an intact flip-up door to replace the broken one. I recommend rewinding the tape by hand until you are sufficiently past the splice before popping it in a deck for capture.

Plan to take only one shot at capturing - since you don't want to run the spliced tape through your deck any more times than necessary. Please note that there is always the possibility of damage to your deck - or that the tape will break again when it hits the splice... I have only done this when the footage is valuable enough to warrant the risk. Also, recommend wearing clean gloves (like archives people use) to avoid direct contact between your fingers and the tape. Good luck.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 01:00 PM   #3
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I've done this before. It's no picnic with miniDV. I'd like to add to what Dave has already mentioned... make sure you place the splicing tape on the under side of the mini tape, that way it's not passed along the heads. Also, before any capturing, make a dub of it, all in one pass. Use the dub for capturing.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 03:31 PM   #4
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Hi Mat -

How much of the tape is recorded, and where is the break in the tape - were you perhaps lucky enough to have FF or rewound the tape before the cam croaked, so it's near an end? If not, you'll lose a little bit where the break is, depending on how mangled/stretched/crinkled the tape itself is.

I've got some "dead" Sony MiniDV tapes laying around if you need a sacrificial shell. IIRC they aren't hard to open up if you're reasonably handy with fiddly small mechanisms. I recall tape splicing ages ago in another life... seem to recall just using scotch tape in a pinch - the bugger is aligning the tape to make the splice clean.

If you can't find anyone, I'd be willing to take a crack at it, I've still got an HC5 laying about for tape dump, not sure what mode you had the HV in when taping, but if it was generic HDV, should be fairly easy to dump.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 10:31 PM   #5
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Muchas Gracias Todos. Splice and surgery into another shell went well. Downloaded footage about twenty minutes ago. Lost about twenty seconds and ALOT of sweat as it turned out I needed the footage by tomorrow. So I'm walking around on clouds right now.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 11:22 PM   #6
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AND THE CROWD GOES WILD!!!!

Congrats Mat! Glad to hear the surgery went well and the patient lived!
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Old March 27th, 2009, 07:58 AM   #7
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Unhygeinic and possibly toxic trick for keeping the two ends of the tape aligned when joined.

Lick the tape. Lay the two broken ends together on a piece of thin cardboard on the shiny printed surface so that they are perfectly lined up, one overlapping across the other. Press down with a straight edge which can be a ruile or cassette cover or whatever you can get your hands on.

Use this edge to cut against and to trap the tape from moving. Position it across the tape at an angle, not dead right-angle. Use a scalpel blade or opened up shaver blade. Try to punch through rather than slice the tape.

This will give you two matched ends which when they butt up should leave the sides of the tape running straight, not with a slight bend at the joint.

Lick the tabletop. Lay the two ends of the tape face-down on the wet surface, making sure you don't have them twisted all wrong. They should stay put and enable you to tape them together without moving off alignment. Lay the splicing tape across the join. Lift off. It will not have stuck down onto the tabletop. The DV tape should come with it.

Lay the tape and splicing tape overhang back onto the piece of thin cardboard. The splicing tape will stick down onto the cardboard. Use a thin scalpel blade or opened up shaver blade to carefully trim the splicing tape along the DV tape edges.

Clean off any moisture from the face of the tape. Check the edges of the join for overhang or gaps.

It will work I promise, honest, only no warranty of satisfactory performance is made either express or implied. Warning. This practice could be injurious to your health.
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