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The Long Black Line
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Old January 19th, 2004, 10:59 AM   #1
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Location: Loveland, Colorado, USA
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Horror Story And Questions

Brace yourself for a long, rambling, ignorance laden tale...
Ready?
Okay, here we go:

I was exporting something this weekend from my mac to my little dv53. I then dubbed a VHS tape with my vcr (from the dv53). While watching the vhs tape I noticed some drop out. the source file is clean, I know, I've seen it 1000 times, and I just had the camera cleaned- I doubt if its seen four hours of use since I got it back from the shop. Still though, the cam was my chief suspect.
I did some test shots. More drop out. I ran a dry head cleaner through the cam. Still dropping out. I popped open the tape drawer and looked inside.
I almost died.
At the bottom of the tape drawer there is a circular, silver part that has what looks to be a pcca running out from underneath it.
(Q1: is this the video head? Q2: What exactly is a video head? Q3: Is video head even the right term?)
Resting on this silver drum was a (apx) 1mm long piece of copper colored debris.
I wanted cry. I know I should have let it alone and taken it to the shop, but I couldn't- you understand.
My dry head cleaner's directions are woefully inadequate. "Insert into camera press play and run for 10 secconds." It doesn't even specify weather or not you should be in camera or VTR mode. Camera mode has no 'play' function so I've always run it it in VTR mode, and it has never doen me any good- which is why I took it to the shop and had it profesionally cleaned.
Anyway...
I put the cleaner back into the cam; this time, though, I ran it through in camera mode, pressed play for ten seconds, and then took the cassette out.
The debris was gone- so was the drop out.
Q4: Any ideas about what the debris might have been? my guess is that something (carpet fiber, cat hair, alien artifact ect...) got on one of my tapes and made its way into the camera. Could it have been something from the inside of the camera itself?

Anyway, I will never put anything in the tape drawer ever agin without giving it a good examination, and looking into the drawer itself.
I think I'm the poster child for "buy a cheap cam and screw with it for a year before buying an expensive one."

Any ideas, suggestions, ridicule?
thanks

Michael
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Old January 19th, 2004, 12:25 PM   #2
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Michael, have you tried running an unimportant tape through it since? Regarding head cleaners, five or six seconds is about as long as I'd want to go.
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Old January 19th, 2004, 01:02 PM   #3
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Chris,
I did run a tape through, and everything seems fine now, but I'll be watching very very closely from now on.
I will also heed your advice on the head cleaner- I hate putting it in the cam at all, anyway, but the local shop charges $80.00 a pop to clean the heads. Two more of those and I'll excede the cost of the cam!
Thanks for the reply and the advice!
Michael

PS: I am continually suprised at how delicate and precarious virtually every stage of DV production is. I am leaning to take my already nit picky, detail mindedness to a whole new level.
__________________
" When some wild-eyed, eight foot tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head against a bar room wall, and looks you crooked in the eye, and he asks you if you've payed your dues, well, you just stare that big suker right back in the eye, and you remember what old Jack Burton always says at a time like that, 'Have you paid your dues, Jack? Yes sir, the check is in the mail."
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