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Old July 16th, 2006, 02:00 PM   #1
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Pixelation

I am playing back some of my mini-dv tapes and find a lot of what I would call pixelation: colored pixels flashing on the screen in a random pattern.

Is this due to dirty heads, dirty tape (I reuse tapes maybe 5 times), a mechanical problem in the camera, low battery, or what ??

Most people suggest cleaning the heads. However I have heard that it is bad for the heads to clean them, as it sands off some of the surface. Plus, it is my understanding that dirty heads show up as dark horizontal lines on the LCD screen, not pixelation. Heads get dirty from using different brands of tape, but I have always used only one brand: Panasonic AY-DVM63
Suggestions?
Thanks.
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Old July 16th, 2006, 02:19 PM   #2
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Welcome to DVinfo Rich! Your description sounds a lot like the classic symptom of digital "dropouts." Yes, this could be the result of either bad tapes or dirty heads. Why are you re-using the same tapes 5 times? Tape is cheap, and you're asking for trouble by doing that. I never re-use a tape, and I think you'll find that's the case with many (if not most) of us.

There could also be a problem with the alignment of your tape heads - are you capturing with the same camera you used to shoot? If not then try doing that - the difference in alignment between different decks/cameras can cause dropouts. Even using the same camera can lead to the same problem if the tapes were shot a long time ago and the head alignment has drifted since then. Also, are you shooting in SP or LP mode? LP mode uses less tape but is more prone to dropouts also.

I would try a cleaning tape for starters, you aren't likely to damage anything if you follow the directions on the tape to the letter.
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Old July 16th, 2006, 02:57 PM   #3
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Rich,

Hope that it is just dirty heads. I had the same problem and it turned out to be a head alignment issue. After I got my cam back from the shop all newly shot tapes looked great. But guess what...none of my previously shot tapes would play back properly making them useless. So the moral is if you have some tapes you really cherish make sure you copy them to a hard drive or to a dvd as insurance.

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Old July 18th, 2006, 12:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Williams
Rich,
So the moral is if you have some tapes you really cherish make sure you copy them to a hard drive or to a dvd as insurance.
Oh, to have Blu-Ray recorder to which to save hours of DV files!!!

Have you tried one of the MiniDV VTRs? I have a Sony and use it to capture tapes shot on a GL2 and an FX1 (when SD) without problems...I have not experienced an issues with pre-head replacement and post-head replacement shoots from my GL2.

Thanks,
Matt
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