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The Long Black Line
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Old July 2nd, 2007, 12:27 PM   #1
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Tape Shredded and Wiped Clean!

I have a very odd problem on my hands. I had a client bring me a tape that was shot on an XL-2 in 30p. I had a DSR-45 and my own XL-2 as playback options.

When popped the first tape into the DSR-45 I noticed the image was breaking up. And so I started to slowly fast forward past that spot and suddenly it gave me an error message C3142, which I believe is for a damaged tape. I popped it out and sure enough, the tape was shredded, hanging on by a thread. I then manual winded past the problem area and tried it on my XL-2 and was able to capture the rest of the tape with no issues. But I still needed to go back and capture it. So manually rewound the tape being careful not to snap it. I put it in the camera and voila, I was able to rewind the tape to the beginning in the camera and playback. It was late in the day so I popped the tape out and left it on my desk.

I came back in today and popped the tape in to capture it, and to my surprise my XL-2 couldn't pick up any timecode on the tape. It shows the tape completely blank! I then tried another tape from the same shoot that was sitting next to it and that tape showed blank as well! I then threw them into my DSR-45 and I got the same tape error as I did before and checked the tape when I ejected it and sure enough there was some damage on the tape that wasn't there when I inserted it into the deck.

So I have multiple issues here, although my main 2 concerns are

1. Are these tapes lost forever? Did somehow a magnetic force come over the weekend and erase the tapes sitting on my desk?

2. Is my DSR-45 eating tapes?

Thanks for any help!

-David Frank
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Old July 2nd, 2007, 11:11 PM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: DFW area, TX
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I'd say #2 is a given. Try it with a blank tape so you won't lose anything of value. Often times, when a tape transport begins to eat tapes, it's because the take-up spool isn't being driven. The capstan motor that pulls the tape across the heads will just keep feeding tape into the mechanism while the take up reel sits idle. There are other causes of course, but this was almost always the problem I found when VCRs and audio cassette decks started eating tape.

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Old July 3rd, 2007, 10:38 AM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 4,299
There's a grab bag of possibilities.

Checks you can make.

1. Assume the DSR deck is faulty and have it fixed. It may be as simple as a tension arm that's got dried grease in it and no longer works properly or a baulky take-up drive.

2. Debris from your damaged tape may have come off onto the heads of your camcorder so maybe try a cleaning tape through it if other known good tapes transport through it correctly but do not play back.

3. Manually check the non-working tapes to see if the tape has become turned over and your camera is trying to read the back surface of the tape. You may find there will be two twists in the tape, the first, right back at the leader end and the second at the damaged spot.

It was a common problem in the earlier days of the Staar systems patent compact cassette audio tapes, though they became fairly reliable towards the end. Getting a twisted MiniDV tape turned back over will be difficult as the cassettes look like they are sealed.

4. Get your client to check his XL2. There may be a rewind or unload fault with that camera which may be leaving a slack loop of tape inside the casette which then misloads when put back inside another machine.

Last edited by Bob Hart; July 3rd, 2007 at 10:42 AM. Reason: error
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