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Old October 27th, 2001, 02:56 PM   #1
Pino Esposito
 
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Digital Break-up on the VX2000

At this moment I am feeling very distraught, as I just discovered that my 5-month old VX-2000 just botched up another set of tapes. I've had this problem looked at twice already in the short time since I purchased the camera brand new, and I am desperate to know whether other users of the camera have experienced anything similar.

What happens is that my tapes are recorded with very bad digital breakup. Blocking appears on the image, along with loud static and the cutting in and out of audio. This occurred the second time I used the camera, and the serviceman at SonyCare wrote in his report that the heads were highly contaminated. The probable cause was bad tape stock. Ironically, I was using Sony tapes. He installed a brand new drum with a new recording head. I hoped the problem would not recur.

I spoke to other users of the camera who told me that it has a neat, self-cleaning mechanism, which causes horizontal banding for about 30 seconds tops, and then it disappears. I still have not been able to locate any mention of this in the users' manual. In any case, the problem did not recur in a serious way for a while, although there was some occasional horizontal banding and audio cut-outs, but I graciously assumed this was the head cleaner at work.

Last weekend I shot a wedding (one of the things I do with the camera) and discovered upon dubbing the footage today that the first 5-10 minutes of every tape contain digital drop-out. It escaped my detection on the day because every section of tape I happened to review looked fine.

I am very concerned, not only about the consequences to my business and my reputation as a result of this, but also about whether I should even ask Sony for a new replacement camera. I'm thinking all VX2000s may produce this problem sooner or later. Perhaps Mini DV is just not a reliable format for professional shooting. However, I own a VX1000 which I purchased used and it gave me years or reliable service.

I'd love to get your feedback on this.

Regards,
Pino Esposito
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Old August 7th, 2003, 11:04 PM   #2
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Blocking too!

Hi Pino,

I've had my camera for about a year now, and the same problem is starting to crop up, and once again, it doesn't really show until when you have to edit, and the event is long over. I tried a tape cleaner but haven't had the chance to see if it worked successfully. I understand your frustration, definitely. No advice really, just a common complain. Good luck with that.
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Old August 8th, 2003, 12:19 AM   #3
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If you have been using Sony tapes and not switching brands, then I'd call Sony customer service and ask them to get this resolved.

If you run into resistance, start working your way up the chain of command. Dont' take no for an answer. Keep asking to talk with the current person's supervisor or manager and keep going until you get satisfaction.

In the past, I've had to go all the way to the top with some major companies. I got satisfaction too.

Document the problems very carefully so you have a well-defined and consistent story to tell. Best of you kept a log of equipment issues all along.

Don't be afraid to call in help from your consumer protection agency or whatever they call the function in Canada. But don't do that first until you think you've gone as far as you can take it yourself.

Were you in San Francisco, there are a number of television stations that take on companies on a consumer's behalf. Probably something like that in your neck of the woods too.

A court of last resort (literally) here in California is small claims court. Costs a little bit of money but its tolerable. Lawyers are not allowed so you present your own case. The opposition has to state theirs and then a decision is made. If you win, they pay up or you can literally lock the doors on their business. Rarely gets to that point but the decision has all the force of a regular court decision.

Sony did replace my PD150 after 10 months of use. It had a major fault in the first 2 weeks of ownership which required 2 trips to Georgia to put it right. Then the drum and several other parts in the transport failed and it also was susceptible to EMI. The transport was easy to fix but they had no experience with EMI problems and didn't know what to do. So they gave me a new unit. It has the same EMI problems but that is a design problem, not a specific unit problem.
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Old August 8th, 2003, 04:03 AM   #4
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Pino, over the years I've used different cams and different tape brands, and I have found that some brands of tape are just garbage. I recall using JVC tape in my brand new cam and the tape cleaner did not solve the exact same problem you mention. Then I used another (new) JVC tape---and again. It was G_d awful. Then, lo and behold, I clean my heads again, with a tape cleaner, and pop in a Fuji. Now about 100 or so Fuji tapes under my belt, the problem has yet to return. I don't know if it was because of the JVC brand, or I just happened to buy two bad JVC tapes---I've read users using JVC tape with no problems. Before I bought my first cam, I recall using Sony tapes; and the heads had to be cleaned often. Once the guy who hired me decided to switch to Pana tape, I never had problems shooting, editing/playing back. Here's a bit of info with some links:

http://www.dvfreak.com/tape.htm
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Old August 8th, 2003, 06:44 AM   #5
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Pino,
I know it's no consolation to you, but I've had my VX2000 for over two years and have never seen this problem. I have also never switched tape brands. Have always used the Panasonic 'professional' tapes I buy at Henrys.

Good luck,
Tom
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Old August 8th, 2003, 07:26 PM   #6
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"I spoke to other users of the camera who told me that it has a neat, self-cleaning mechanism, which causes horizontal banding for about 30 seconds tops, and then it disappears"



Not the VX2000. The JVC GY DV500 and 5000 have this feature.
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Old August 9th, 2003, 11:49 AM   #7
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I've encountered this digital breakup problem and it was fixed by replacement of the heads as I recall. This occurred even though I used only Sony tapes. I have two VX2000's, about a year apart in age. The problem unit has been to Sony twice for major repairs; the newer unit has been trouble free. I bought an extended warranty (Mack) for the second camera after my experience with the first.
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Old August 10th, 2003, 02:29 AM   #8
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I'm dead.

I just discovered that this problem has affected me in a very huge way, and I kick myself for not discovering it sooner. I have shot three weddings with my VX2000 without realizing that the break-ups were in all of them, and I have a question general question for anyone who knows -- Is this a permenant damage on the footage itself, or is it just the playback on the tape head? If I fixed the heads, would the footage be allright?

Please advise, I'm really in deep trouble.
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Old August 10th, 2003, 10:02 AM   #9
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Try playing back on a different camera, and if possible find someone with access to a professional DVCAM deck. Most DVCAM decks can read miniDV, and some are better than others in reading marginal tapes.

If the playbacks are bad, the only thing you can do is try to intermix some stills or other filler in the edited footage. If the sound is still good it will make it easier.

If all else fails, try to find out if any guests were taking videos. Their footage may have something you can use. Of course, this involves coming clean to the bride and groom about your problem and most likely adjusting your fee.

Using video intermixed with photo montages, you can make something they will value, just not exactly what they were expecting.
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