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Old June 11th, 2005, 11:14 PM   #1
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Dropouts in GS series

Hi. I'm not sure if I should be posting this in this forum or the Long Black Line (with DV Tapes) -- but I thought I'd start here.

I've had my Panasonic GS400 for over a year, but have used it rarely. Now I'm working on several short films and a documentary. Some of the first footage I've shot has had some nasty one-frame drop-outs -- where the sound is a sudden sharp burst of static and the picture is covered with what looks like rectangle, multi-colored blocks that covers a lot of the frame.

Is this just a hazard of video shooting? (I don't remember this many drop-outs on my 1-chip Canon ZR20.) Or could it be a tape problem? Or do I need to clean the heads? (I'm reluctant to just start cleaning the heads, because I hear it can wear down your heads the more you use a head cleaner. And since I haven't shot more than 5 hours on the thing, I feel a little worried about having to use a cleaner so early.)

Thanks for any help.
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Old June 11th, 2005, 11:41 PM   #2
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It is not normal. Change the tape. If that doesn't fix it, then clean the heads with a dry tape cleaner. Also, check the Firewire cable. It could be defective.
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Old June 15th, 2005, 11:56 AM   #3
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I have had similar dropouts too. Seems camera problem to me but haven't bothered to sent it for repair.

It is good idea to ff and rw the tape before use and never rely on the first and especially last 10-30 seconds.

But I also have bad feeling as this never happend on old Sony cam.
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Old June 15th, 2005, 01:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogdan Vaglarov
It is good idea to ff and rw the tape before use and never rely on the first and especially last 10-30 seconds.
That's interesting -- since I only have those problems in the first part of the tape. Or so I've noticed. I'm gonna try Guy's methods first -- hopefully that will fix it.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 04:27 AM   #5
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I would have the occasional 1-5 frame dropout with the rainbow checkers an old little JVC and my Sony VX2000. I think my problem was that I used these cameras for action footage, and the battery (freshly charged) would shake around. I'll be using my GS250 in a week under the same situation. The only thing these cameras will have in common is the tape (TDK miniDV from CostCo), as even the operator will vary.
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Old August 31st, 2005, 02:32 AM   #6
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I have the same problem since I switched from Panasonic tapes to TDK tapes.
I guess that Panasonic camcorders don't like TDK tapes.
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Old August 31st, 2005, 09:22 AM   #7
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Ah, good old TDK, back to rear it's ugly head. I used to do a lot of DAT audio taping (tapes very similar to miniDV), and most tapers/traders would not allow a TDK blank to be inserted into their equipment. Haven't had much success with TDK blank CD-Rs, either. All around, horrible media.
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Old August 31st, 2005, 04:06 PM   #8
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TDK media ok for me.

>most tapers/traders would not allow a TDK blank to be inserted into their >equipment.

Is that due to the wet/dry tape lubricant mismatches between say Sony and TDK ?

Overall, I have had no significant problems with TDK miniDV tapes, though I only stick that single type of tape in my camcorders. We all know about mixing tapes, and I've had trouble just playing back a single Sony tape.
I'll report on TDK miniDV tapes with my new GS250 when I test it over the weekend.

As for TDK disks, I have had the least trouble with TDK DVD-Rs (8x, printable from CostCo). They're a good deal and print, with zero coasters. I used to swear by Ritek media until I've had playback trouble with quite a few. The Riteks burn & verify, but they don't read consistently on my home NEC DVD-RW drive or Sony DVD-ROM drive. TDK CD-Rs (52x, non-printable) also work well for me.
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Old August 31st, 2005, 04:09 PM   #9
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>I have the same problem since I switched from Panasonic tapes to TDK >tapes.
>I guess that Panasonic camcorders don't like TDK tapes.

This is an old article, and unfortunately, I didn't save the source .
I am NOT the author
-------------------

There are only 2 Tape OEMs: Sony & Panasonic
TDK are TDK.

MiniDV tapes are made by either by Sony, Panasonic and TDK.
Sony uses liquid lubricant
Panasonic uses dry lubricant

Panasonic makes tapes for: Fuji, Maxell, JVC, Canon

Sony makes for the rest.

TDK are on their own since they have their own ME (Metal Evaporate)
Facilities.

In other words, mixing these 3 brands will clog the heads. Why the
manufacturers hide this, I really don't know.
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Old August 31st, 2005, 04:31 PM   #10
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Here is another link with greater detail :

http://www.philpang.com/tips/minidv_lubricants.html
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Old August 31st, 2005, 04:35 PM   #11
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illustrations of miniDV tape problems

http://www.adamwilt.com/pix-defects.html

My dropouts are usually a rainbow-colored blip pattern, which isn't illustrated on this page. I seriously think my problem has something to do with moving the camera around.

Last edited by Gints Klimanis; August 31st, 2005 at 09:20 PM.
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Old August 31st, 2005, 10:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gints Klimanis

Panasonic makes tapes for: Fuji, Maxell, JVC, Canon

Sony makes for the rest.
Wish I had known this earlier !

I switched from Panasonic to TDK because Panasonic tapes are very difficult to find where I live. But Fuji tapes are well spread.

Anyway, thanks for the info.

And for those who have a GS400, don't buy TDK tapes. They will clog your heads if you don't clean them well first AND you will have dropouts even if you cleaned the heads.
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Old September 1st, 2005, 04:05 PM   #13
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>And for those who have a GS400, don't buy TDK tapes. They will clog your >heads if you don't clean them well first AND you will have dropouts even if >you cleaned the heads.

Can you offer more information about this ? I'm not sure I understand why
a new Panasonic camcorder will have this problem as long as the various types of tapes are not mixed.
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Old September 1st, 2005, 08:42 PM   #14
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FWIW, I use TDK tapes in my GS400 because they're cheap from Costco. The only dropout problems I had (and I got a "clean heads" warning at the same time) was when I used a Fuji tape after several TDK tapes, then went back to TDK. The first TDK tape following the Fuji tape led to the dropouts. I cleaned the heads and no dropouts since.
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Old September 1st, 2005, 09:40 PM   #15
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Gints: That's really interesting. I notice JVC and Fuji tapes look exactly the same except for the silk screening.
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