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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.

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Old January 20th, 2010, 03:54 PM   #1
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Z-1 dropout issue

I am having a problem with my Z-1 and I had it in for service locally but can't seem to find the cause.

I'll start by saying I have done the unthinkable (2 ways) due to budget. First, I capture tapes from my Z-1 cause I can't afford a deck. I realize I have put twice the wear and tear on the cassette mechanisms and heads. Secondly, I have been shooting an enourmous amount of quick shoots that don't require me to save the tapes. I have been using the Sony Master for ever - even though they are like $18 each. I just couldn't see spending this much for my shoots since again, I don't need to save the tapes. I reused (2nd abominination) about 12 of my masters at least 5-6 times, 90% capacity. I then switched to a Panasonic Tape (actually 3rd abomination) since I found 25 or so unused from my GL2 days. So now I have ben reusing 40 or so tapes by rotating them.

Here's my problem. I started having 5-6 drop outs per tape where I lose audio and have T/C breaks. I took the camera in for some local work on it. He said my tape mechanisms had extreme wear and was causing the dropouts due to tape tension issues. I spent $400 in repairs but the problem still exits.

About the dropouts. I can zoom in and see the last three frames of audio flat. About 50% of the time I can go back to that point on the tape and recapture and all is well and 50 % of the time the tape has a glitch there and has lost the t/c.

Now next week I am going to go back and buy 10 masters and see what happens but my question here is, has anyone else exp[erienced this? Seems that it is my camera and not the tape issue but the last test I have to do is try a brand new tape.

Any thoughts? Aside from the lectures? I really do know better but it is a money thing.

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Old January 20th, 2010, 04:57 PM   #2
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Okay, no lectures. But if you stopped wasting your money on Digital masters at $18 each and just went with the Sony Premiums at $2, you could buy 10 times more tape and not have to reuse them.

And despite recent evidence that this may not be necessary, you should be cleaning your heads every time you switch brands, or at least every 50 hours (according to the White Paper just put out by Sony -- it's over in the Tape Forum).

Take care of your gear and your gear will take care of you. You're not saving any money if you kill your cam or otherwise end up with footage you can't use -- that's being penny-wise and pound-foolish. [More hackneyed cliches to come as I think of them.]
"It can only be attributable to human error... This sort of thing has cropped up before, and it has always been due to human error."
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Old January 20th, 2010, 08:13 PM   #3
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How many hours on your heads? Could it just be time to have them replaced?

Also, check that you don't have "quick record" enabled in the menu (can't remember if that's the exact name, but you can find it). When I tried enabling that, I got TC breaks all over the place.

You're not one of those guys who rewinds to see if the clip is okay, then tries to find the end and continue shooting? That's a recipe for TC breaks for sure.

How about the pinch roller? That wore out on mine at about 1000 hours.

Use a tape head cleaner, don't waste your money on the $18 tapes.

And by the way, capturing from your camera is not such a no no. They have a VCR function for a reason, and it's meant to be used. It's even less of an issue if you are capturing entire tapes instead of shuttling back and forth for tons of logged clips. Less wear on the tape drive.

I think it was Boyd Ostroff (forgive me if I'm wrong, Boyd) who said you'll want a new camera way before you manage to wear out your old one capturing tapes. I'm of the same opinion.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 08:36 PM   #4
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Location: USA
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I'll echo what others said:

1. spending money on master tapes isn't the answer. You need to do one of the following:
a. buy a new camera.
b. send the camera into the manufacturer for a new tape mechanism if they still offer it for your model.
c. film by capturing to a consumer camera via firewire or s-video.

2. In the first place you should have used an inexpensive consumer grade camera as a deck to rewind and capture video to your computer not the expensive Z1. I said this to others doing the same as you and they don't care, well at least not until till it wears out.

Note if you use your camera enough it will wear out too but thats the cost of doing business.
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Old January 21st, 2010, 06:52 AM   #5
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And I wouldn't criticise you for reusing $18 tapes, after all - I do it and they're designed to be reused. Simply rewinding your first recording and playing it is reusing the tape. It has no idea if it's being recorded or played.
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Old April 17th, 2010, 01:10 PM   #6
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Holy S**t!!!!

I haven't checked this forum in a while and today I was googling on how to solve this problem posted above. It has been several months and HUGE headaches not being able to rely on my captures. I saw something about the quick record button. I remember 6 months or so ago going into my menus and checking settings. I came accross the quick record and it was off. I figured, what the heck, sounds like a good idea. I never realized that setting again.

So while googling this morning, I actually came accros this thread again and there was the quick record. I was physically capturing a tape and had 8 breaks in the first 30 minutes - devastating. I ran to the studio, dumped the capture files, rewound the tape, turned OFF the quick record and started recapture.

I had 1 break in the first minute and none since! I am doing a shoot tomorrow so I will report on a fresh shoot to tape. This one drop may have actually been on the tape due to the quick record being on while recording.


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Old April 22nd, 2010, 09:32 PM   #7
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First, I capture tapes from my Z-1 cause I can't afford a deck. I realize I have put twice the wear and tear on the cassette mechanisms and heads.
We should WISH for the "problem" of having so much work that we wear out our camera heads through normal use. I have run hundreds of tapes through my PD-150's and Z1's, and never experienced a dropout and I haven't worn out my heads yet.

All I use (until last year) was the $2 Sony Premium tapes. I bought a pair of HVR-DR60's last year when Sony was offering a $500 rebate on each.

Likewise, I WISH that I could complain about having to pay $1-million in income tax.
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