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Old July 31st, 2008, 10:05 AM   #1
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video tape distortion

I have a sony digital 8 camera that started showing this intermittent digital distortion after the first time I took it underwater in a camera bag. It had also been banged around after being strapped between the knees of a wheelchair rugby player.

an example is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Emwb1bA9e4w (normal speed followed by slow-mo)

Some days it works fine underwater, but not on land - and visa versa (?)

The distortion looks like there are occasional blocks of video from previous frames that come and go.

any idea what the problem might be? The repair shop wants $70 just to look at it - I can buy a new one for $400...

thank you for your help!
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Old July 31st, 2008, 10:14 AM   #2
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Put a cleaning tape in your machine and clean your heads. If that doesn't work you may have to have it professionally cleaned.
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Old July 31st, 2008, 11:47 AM   #3
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but sometimes the camera records and plays back fine. and sometimes it doesn't play back video that was shot long ago and used to play fine.

wouldn't dirty heads be an "all the time" problem?
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Old July 31st, 2008, 10:42 PM   #4
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It is likely the tape path itself and may be a back tension issue.

Scunge builds up on the guides and dried out lube, if any is used on the tape load/unload system. Or it might be a bit of oxide or debris build-up (salt+humidity = rust), if it uses dry nylon-to-metal sliding contact faces. Both can cause the load cycle to drag and be sometimes incomplete.

Cleaning tapes used to be regarded as a temporary in-field fixit and professional servicing and cleaning periodically, a necessary thing.

My personal preference would be to get it serviced, preferably by Sony genuine or by somebody with a good reputation who is not going to just put a cleaning tape through it, polish the lens, clean the hamburger juice off the outside of the case and give it back to you "fully serviced".

Before you get it serviced, capture your footage at least twice in the hope that any playback dropouts due to bad back-tension will be in different places. Dropouts which occurred during the actual recording of course will remain, Once the camera is serviced and returned to specification, the existing tapes may no longer play back on it as well. The same may also go for your existing tapes if you play them back on a new camera.

Last edited by Bob Hart; July 31st, 2008 at 10:52 PM. Reason: error
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