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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old June 7th, 2005, 08:13 AM   #1
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Drop-outs with Sony Premium mini DV tape

I've had my VX2100 for 11 months and it's worked flawlessly.. until I needed it to shoot a friend's wedding last Saturday..
I use Sony Premium 60 minute Mini DV tapes - and have never had any problems.. - again, until yesterday.
I prepared 2 tapes: fast forwarded/rewound, and 'blacked' each with about 10mins of timecode.
Each tape had about 50mins recorded. When I played them back I was appalled to see/hear a 'glitch' every 2-3 seconds. Trying to capture in FCP 4.5 caused errors, and sure enough only 2 second clips were being transferred to my Mac.
I use a tape head cleaner from time to time (3 times in 20 tapes), but as I have never experience a drop-out, and I use the same brand of tape, I assume that the heads are clean.

Any ideas what could have suddenly caused this?

btw: I have recently - on a few occasions - been given Panasonic tapes shot on a Panasonic GS 953 camera to upload and edit. Recordings have transferred without a hitch via my VX2100.
I recall discussions around mixing tape types as being a bad thing. Could this be my problem? If so, what has happened, and any ideas why..?
Thx
Ross
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Old June 9th, 2005, 03:53 PM   #2
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i had same problem with two sony premium tapes, and still dont know what was the problem. Now i just make sure that i dont drop them before record on them, and also storage/recording temperature...
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Old June 9th, 2005, 07:23 PM   #3
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Similar problems here with Sony Premiums. I just posted this http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=45993
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Old June 9th, 2005, 10:43 PM   #4
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In my experience I have yet to have a problem with sony premiums . Ross your problem may lie when you fed the Panny tapes into your VX as I believe they use a wet lube instead of dry or vice versa. Have you tried to import your tapes to FCP with another cam or deck?

Last edited by Matt Stahley; June 10th, 2005 at 02:42 AM.
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Old June 15th, 2005, 08:37 AM   #5
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This is probably a silly run of questions however here goes ---


Do you import to FCP from another playback deck?

If so, did you pre-record your timecode onto the tapes with this deck?

Did you record the timecode in MiniDV or DVCAM and subsequently change the selection between MiniDV or DVCAM on the actual shoot?
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Old June 15th, 2005, 10:41 AM   #6
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camera / deck recording..

Bob,
No, the time code on the tapes was from the camera used in the shoot.
I shot the tapes on my VX2100, and tried uploading them to FCP from there. I've never had (significant) problems before.
My eventual 'work-around' was to connect the VX with another camera via Firewire, and digitally copy the tape's contents onto a new tape in the second camera. This created new time code and could then be captured OK by FCP.
The original material still has the audio drop-outs, but at least the video is pretty much completely usable. Interestingly, the audio drop-outs lessen as the tape plays, until around 40 minutes where there are no audio (or time code) drop-outs at all. This makes me think that there's a tape tension issue in the VX; hence it's gone in for repair under Warranty...
I hope that they can work out what the problem is, and fix it..
Thanks for the comments.
Rgds, Ross.
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Old June 16th, 2005, 11:22 AM   #7
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From your description it would seem that the issue is the tapes. Many years ago when dinosaurs ruled the earth and EIAJ 1/2" video was all the go, Sony brought out a 42 minute reel of tape to work where a 30 minute roll had worked before. This new product initially worked fine but quickly began to grab on the drum like clingwrap and would eventually stretch such that the helical tracks no longer registered correctly with the head paths. It would scream over the guides like fingernails on a blackboard. The oxide also came off and built up on the guides like stale coffee. The tapes could be rehabilitated by cleaning with methylated spirit but where there was stretch damage, nothing could be done. I wonder if Sony has been caught out again.

The only other thing I can think of for the sound is sample rate ie., 32k versus 48k and getting these mixed up on capture but I would guess you have already checked this.
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Old June 16th, 2005, 12:53 PM   #8
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The tapes...

Bob,
Yes, I checked the sample rate: I never use 12bit / 32k; I only use 16bit 48k...
Re tapes being the issue... that was my original thought, as I have had 'bad' audio tapes in the past..and similar problems could logically appear with video tapes.
However, from all the posts I've seen it seems unlikely. If it were the tapes, then I'd expect to have heard about it somewhere in the User Groups. Some folks have had drop-out / tape problems, but attribute it to the dry vs. wet lubrication 'thing'. I still struggle to see how lubrication could ever cause the problem; if it were so, wouldn't one expect Sony to mandate the use of their own brand tapes..? As it is, I have asked Sony directly, and they state that any mini DV tape should work fine.
Call me a sceptic, but I need some firm scientific evidence to support the lubricant argument, however I can follow why the tape itself, or the tape tension around the tape head could be the problem..
I'm more than somewhat interested to hear what the Sony repair shop comes up with - as being the 'actual' problem..
I'll report back when I hear.
Rgds, Ross.
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Old June 16th, 2005, 01:36 PM   #9
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Having been in the supplies business for printers, I can tell you that Sony cannot tell you to only use their tape. If they do, they will be sued by the 3rd party suppliers. It's happened before to Xerox and other big companies.

The supplies business adds more money to the bottom line than the hardware and it is fiercely competitive. Unbelievably so.

I once ran the printer ribbon engineering department for a large printer manufacturer. We were in the position of having to approve new supplier's ribbons. It took a long time to test them and we were noticably slow about it. I was regularly offered bribes to put a manufacturer's ribbon materials at the head of the testing line.

It's like TP. Not glamorous but a lot of it is sold.
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Old June 17th, 2005, 11:23 AM   #10
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So, the problem was....

Thought you might like to know the outcome...
Well, just had a call from the repair place. They stated that after cleaning the head and transport system, and putting in a new tape they can find nothing wrong with the camera. No drop-outs at all...!
Hmmm.
I asked which tape brand they used for their testingh...
"We always use Panasonic premium..."
I asked why they use Panasonic - apparently it's because it is of consistently better quality; they had a spate of bad Sony premium tape at some stage, so now they never use it or recommend it....
So guess what....?
I'm now switching allegiance to Panasonic premium tape...
An interesting saga... Let's hope my VX is still 'fixed' when it comes back..
Rgds, Ross.
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Old June 18th, 2005, 03:37 AM   #11
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I've used Panasonic 63MQ without problems in all cameras. At around $5/tape, I stick with the MQ rather than trying to save a few pennies with the lower cost/quality Panasonic brands.
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Old January 11th, 2006, 01:04 PM   #12
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SONY tapes ruined my shoot

Okay just came to the forum to post my problem when I read this post. I too have got a brand new pd170, months old, probably shot 30-40 tapes on it so far. Only ever used Sony Premium tapes. recently bought two packs of six tapes from a normal electrical store. Shot with these twelve tapes over two days.

Anyway when I got back and ran all the tapes into the editor 2 of the twelve tapes were ruined! on each tape they had a 'patch' (10-30 min long) where the audio as other posts have reported glitchs every 2-3 seconds and dropouts firing off everywhere around the screen like fireworks. This playback was the same on the pd170 and another sony camera.

I gently pulled back the head cover to inspect the tape. If held at the right angle i could see faint tiny horse shoe like impressions spaced along the tape at regular intervals. I now have two very important tapes with unusable footage. I would send the tapes immediatly to Sony but the tape contains sensitive school children footage which by parental release is restricted

I could understand one tape messing up but two ? and then what confuses me more is if its a problem with the camera why is it not doing it on more tapes. Its so frustrating !!! I could have lost my reputation over this. At the moment Im thinking its just two badly manufactured /or 'stored (horizontally) in the shops tapes - Does anyone agree or is it the camera.

**Please let me know your opinions before I call silver support**
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Old January 11th, 2006, 01:14 PM   #13
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Why wouldn't you call the Sony Pro support line first, Joel? They have the inside information and are truly interested in getting your problem solved.

Good as the folks on this forum are, we all suffer from no access to the real information that circulates inside Sony.
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Old January 11th, 2006, 02:08 PM   #14
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Had the same problem this week with two Sony's DVM-60EXL tapes from the same shipment. The footage was unusable with audio blips and drop outs about every 3 seconds. I've shot about 50 of these tapes in my DVC30 without any problems until now. Thinking I might have to send it in for servicing I shot another tape from another shipment and all was fine. Sounds like a bad batch got out past quality control.

Regards,

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Old January 12th, 2006, 03:54 AM   #15
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the tapes or the cam?

Hi Mike, information/real world knowledge is crucial in these circumstances.

When I call sony I'm sure they might say its the camera rather than the tapes, and as another poster commented - not only can I not afford to send off the camera if everything is alright with it - but if theres nothing wrong with it I don't want it opened.

Mark - thanks for your comments, just to clarify you say you think your cam needs servicing but then say it could be bad batch - could you clarify what your going to do. Cheers
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