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Old May 19th, 2007, 09:07 AM   #1
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OMG! Extremely important footage failed to playback and capture.

I am shooting a Film project as I'm a film school student.
Yesterday I took a Sony HVR-V1P with a DIY 35mm adapter and go out shoot a few scenes.
After a few shots. It starts raining like crazy followed by a thunderstorm. We found somewhere to hide. And I protected the camera so well it didn't get wet. After the thunderstorm we shots something then leave. We get on a train with A/C. And we playback the footage. It was ok we have fun watching the playback. Then I rewind it and wanna play it again. It failed to playback. With tremendous amount of dropouts. I can see some blurred image with many grey portion when Fast-forward it or rewind it. But when pressing the play button the screen goes blue. The timecode still counting but no graphic. And the time-code sometimes disappear too.
I really scare that the tape has been damaged. I go back home. Clean the head with a cleaning tape. It still fail to playback.

I use the expensive Sony HDV tape stock just to ensure it doesn't screw up the important footage.
Is it a problem of the camera? Is it is ok I can always get another camera at school to capture it. I'm really worried now.

ps. Look at the place after the thunderstorm
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Old May 19th, 2007, 03:17 PM   #2
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try it with another camera and stop worring....Maybe your heads went bad or something...
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Old May 19th, 2007, 03:42 PM   #3
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The worse case=the camera head itself damaged the tape. Then it sucks. I'm not sure...the first time it plays ok. The more I play it, the worse it become. Now the whole scene can't be played.

I can't get any other camera until Monday. Damn...
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Old May 19th, 2007, 05:15 PM   #4
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Run a cleaning tape through for a few seconds, fast forward and rewind your tape and then see if it plays. You had condensation when you came into the cool train from the damp hot outside. This will have potentially messed up the tape or put particles on the heads. You need to wait for the camera to stabilize in temperate before playing or recording otherwise you will get this again. its a good idea to take the tape out when in these conditions too.
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Old May 19th, 2007, 05:16 PM   #5
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"The more I play it, the worse it become"

If you have a situation where what you are doing causes degeneration - stop doing what you are doing.

This is completely based on anecdotal evidence, but every HDV tape problem I have read about always involves the expensive Sony HDV tapes.

Stop loading the tape in a camera that has problems with it and try it in another device later.
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Old May 19th, 2007, 06:39 PM   #6
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It is interesting that the only time I have had problems with tapes is with expensive Sony tapes!!!! Out of all the Hi8 tapes that I have been transfering to DVD( including VHS from early 1980's) only the two Pro Sony ME Hi8 tapes I own have problems. The consumer ME tapes of exactly the same time period are just great and I have a lot more of them. It was a similar situation used the expensive pro tapes for an important event. I now use Sony Premium DV with no problems exclusively for DV and HDV. Won't buy any more expensive Sony's!!!

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Old May 20th, 2007, 01:52 AM   #7
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I can't afford to lose that footage...
I paid for those expensive tape only for better quality and like an insurance to my footage. Is that I have better chance by getting a HDV deck somewhere to try to capture it?
If it doesn't work. Then I can throw my HDV tape away. Right?

Last edited by Pete Bauer; May 20th, 2007 at 06:36 PM. Reason: Edited out expletive.
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Old May 20th, 2007, 05:55 AM   #8
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Don't throw the tape away. You never know when a solution might happen.
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Old May 20th, 2007, 12:11 PM   #9
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I agree with Marcus.

Don't give up yet.

HUMIDITY is a HUGE factor with camcorders. Most professional cameras have a "dew warning" system that literally shuts the camera down when condensation reaches the problem stage.

I suspect your problems stem from dampness in the tape path.

If you played back the footage properly once, there's a better chance that it's actually recorded on the tape correctly, and the problems you're noticing are playback problems.

Get the tape and camcorder to a dry (air conditioned) area and let them sit long enough to truly dry out (overnight). Then try the playback again.

If that doesn't do it, try to find the most professional deck you can find that uses the tape format you're working with. Pro decks have MUCH higher tolerances for tape path and sometimes even head tracking than do consumere level camcorders. Try playing your original tape back on THAT.

Sooner or later you'll discover whether it's a playback tracking problem, or an actual recording problem. Hope for the former.


Good luck.
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Old May 20th, 2007, 10:53 PM   #10
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I'm pretty sure the footage were recorded there and not a recording problem. Since I've played it perfectly once.
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Old May 21st, 2007, 08:27 PM   #11
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Holy shxx.
I got myself another HDV at school. The tape is still not working...
I'm done.
My last resort is a HDV deck at school...
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Old May 21st, 2007, 09:21 PM   #12
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Have someone, who knows what they are doing, inspect it. Perhaps the tape is folded over at the head. Do not distroy or play with it.
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 07:18 AM   #13
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I'm afraid you're right, that tape is irreversibly destroyed. You made the single biggest mistake with wet video equipment! The first time you tried, playback worked fine because both the tape and the rotating video head were still wet, there was no friction. Then you tried again, portions of the tape were already dry, other parts still wet - the head pulled off parts of the magnetic surface that is glued to the plastic tape. If this were DV, you would have experienced dropouts, but with long GOP HDV where frames are based on other frames, once a frame is gone, the whole GOP is history.

Make sure you tell your school what happened, the head of the camera also needs cleaning. More than likely a serious one, far beyond what a cleaning tape can accomplish. I've seen video heads completely destroyed by a wet tape - that was back in glorious VHS times, and it might be different with more advanced technology... nevertheless, needs to be checked out!
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 12:10 PM   #14
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Years ago I had a problem with a batch of Sony half-inch reel-to-reel tapes. They dumped this stuff like coffee sludge on the entire transport path, would bind on the deposits and then stretch, which put the helical track angles out beyond the ability of the machine to track them.

I think your tape might be damp. One droplet or condensation from a sweaty environment when being carried against a human body under a rain jacket would do it

If your tapes have stretched then that is probably it. If one droplet of water got into the winding of the tape, then it is likely to have been worked furthur through the tape with each attempted play.

Damp tapes stick to the drum like clingwrap. If you gave not tried to play them right through, then there may be undamaged sections of tape.

As mentioned above, when tapes are stretched, coatings come off.

With the reel-to-reel tapes, I had some success with washing them with methylated spirit, then winding them back and forth several times to dry them off.

Tape in a cassette is a different story. I would not try it because the tape will be much harder to get dry afterward even though the methylated spirit draws off the water.

Today's coatings and binder may be sensitive to methylated spirit whereas the older materials tolerate it.

Your tape might simply be damp which means any machine you put it in will go faulty.

There are likely to be experts who can recover recordings from drowned tapes however I don't know of them myself.

If you cannot find or afford a specialist to rescue the recording and there is nothing more to be lost, my inclination would be to wind the tape forward and back many times without trying to play it, in an older machine you can afford to have problems with.

Take it out of the machine, direct some air into the machine with the cassette door open to dry off any gathered moisture, put the cassette in and repeat this several times.

It will need many passes to get the tape to dry off. If the machine will wind forward and rewind with the outer door open, so much the better because you can send some air in with a small fan or hairdryer. Don't send hot air in because there will be damage done.

You could also try putting the tape cassette inside a small sealed container with some silica gel sachets to try and dry the moisture off.

Last edited by Bob Hart; May 22nd, 2007 at 12:19 PM. Reason: error
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 01:41 PM   #15
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Perhaps this is too obvious, but can't you just reshoot? It doesn't sound like you've lost a day in a multi million dollar film. It's a student film. Go out and shoot again.
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