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  1. Member
    Join Date: Jan 2006
    Location: Canada
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    My camcorder needs to go back in to get properly cleaned (the little miniDV tapes don't help) again because my sister in law used a shitty tape in it once and it's back to producing blips and crap in the video. I shot 2 tapes since it happened and I still have a tape left to be uploaded to my computer. Should I capture the tape while the video head is still dirty or should I get it cleaned first? I ask because I don't want to get it cleaned and then play the tape and have particles or anything get on the freshly-cleaned head from the tape being run on the dirty videohead when it was recorded.
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  2. Member edDV's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2004
    Location: Northern California, USA
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    Originally Posted by MTD
    My camcorder needs to go back in to get properly cleaned (the little miniDV tapes don't help) again because my sister in law used a shitty tape in it once and it's back to producing blips and crap in the video. I shot 2 tapes since it happened and I still have a tape left to be uploaded to my computer. Should I capture the tape while the video head is still dirty or should I get it cleaned first? I ask because I don't want to get it cleaned and then play the tape and have particles or anything get on the freshly-cleaned head from the tape being run on the dirty videohead when it was recorded.
    Try to capture and see if the video is clear. Recording with dirty heads may cause the video to record to tape with dropouts. If that happens the video can't be fully recovered. Playing a good video with dirty heads may result pixelated playback.

    If the tape doesn't play properly before cleaning, try it again after cleaning. If it doesn't play properly then, the problem happened during recording.
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  3. Member
    Join Date: Jan 2006
    Location: Canada
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    I think it happened during recording. It doesn't have any bad dropouts, just slight blips, which means the problem is starting up. I guess my final question is:

    Will playing a tape that was recorded with dirty heads, on a clean head, make the clean head dirty? (i.e. tape particles on the tape which shed onto the clean head).

    I probably shouldn't be as afraid to play it because they are Sony tapes, not the crap I was using before.
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  4. Member edDV's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2004
    Location: Northern California, USA
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    Originally Posted by MTD
    I think it happened during recording. It doesn't have any bad dropouts, just slight blips, which means the problem is starting up. I guess my final question is:

    Will playing a tape that was recorded with dirty heads, on a clean head, make the clean head dirty? (i.e. tape particles on the tape which shed onto the clean head).

    I probably shouldn't be as afraid to play it because they are Sony tapes, not the crap I was using before.
    If the tape is that bad then yes it will clog the heads during playback or record.
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  5. Member Marvingj's Avatar
    Join Date: Apr 2004
    Location: Death Valley, Bomb-Bay
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    In order to ensure the longevity and precision from your DV device it is imperative that proper maintenance and cleaning is undertaken. Damaging airborne dust and mould particles can be to such equipment. DV product has extensive error correction circuits that can replace many bits of damaged or missing information in the data stream recovered from the tape. The unit keeps track of how many errors it has had to fix in a given time period. When that error rate exceeds a pre-programmed number, the "head cleaning" message is triggered. In some cases, something has contaminated the video head(s) and or tape path. Use of a cleaning tape may help. Use only cleaning tapes produced by the manufacturer of your equipment and never rewind them. Other brands & "generics" may do severe damage! Use the tape once or twice only, per the instructions.

    If this does not cure the symptom, then it is most likely caused by bad/incompatible tape, bent/ worn parts, or electrical/mechanical adjustments that have drifted or been knocked off by impact. Using the cleaning tape repeatedly will not cure this, and will only make your problems worse.
    http://www.absolutevisionvideo.com

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  6. Member
    Join Date: Dec 2003
    Location: United States
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    Hello,
    Listen to this old man. After tons of video from working privately and for TV I can offer some advice. I own Great sony camcorders, but there is no such thing as great sony tape. They are all junk. There are no great 80 minit tapes. Avoid them especially panasonic. Regular old Maxell from Sams have served me well. Believe me. I am shooting a wedding every weekend almost. I can't afford a dropout in a wedding. Don't use head cleaning tapes unless you want to replace your heads. Find a shop that can manually clean them. A sign of head damage is when whites start flaring. Sometimes a bit of dust can be removed by manually holding rewind while tapes is playing. Good Luck
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  7. Member edDV's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2004
    Location: Northern California, USA
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    Hopefully the shop cleaning his heads will test for tape path compliance. They should tell you if the heads are worn. Most consumers don't add enough "miles" to wear out the heads.
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  8. Member
    Join Date: Jan 2006
    Location: Canada
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    Well, the Sony tapes have been absolutely perfect for me so far -- no problems. The cheap ass tapes (in my case, Fijifilm) caused this problem in the first place. I got a tape cleaner last year and have used it, but it didn't really fix anything, which is why I later went to them to clean. I have faith in them, I used to "intern" there a few years ago and they are good knowledgeable guys, and they were the ones who alerted me of the tape particles.

    Hopefully this will be the last time ever I have to take it in to get it manually cleaned. It's my fiance's camcorder, but I take good care of it myself and as soon as those cheap tapes hit the head again, it started causes problems. They told me everything was fine, except for those tape particles on the head which had shed on there.

    I'll ask about the head being worn, but I doubt it. So from the one post, I assume I should probably just record the tape before I get it cleaned...I don't want to risk dirtying up the head after I've had it cleaned. The blips aren't that bad, I see them, most people don't, but I know it'll only get worse until I get it cleaned.

    Thanks for the help guys.
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  9. Member
    Join Date: Jan 2006
    Location: Canada
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    I had the camcorder cleaned, shot the event I needed to and still have the same problem. I took it back in and their tech cleaned it again, looked it over completely and it was totally fine. Suggested it might be a bad firewire cable. When I took it before he looked at it I sat with one of their guys and the tape captured normally too. I tested uploading on another computer and I get the same problem (testing different firewire port, I suspected I might have damaged the card by not powering down when I hook up firewire normally) so I'm thinking it is in fact the cable.

    Before I run out and buy a new one, is this really typical of a faulty firewire cable? The artifacts I get on my video are similar to zooming in really close to an image in Photoshop and slowly moving left to the right. The image slightly breaks up exactly like the video does. I just figured a bad cable would not upload at all or something, but audio cables are my better area of knowledge. What's your opinion?
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