So, I've got a bunch of old miniDV tapes that have been languishing for about 7 years or so. We had a nice, reliable Canon GL-1 that was a workhorse for the family. Lots of family stuff and some of it did indeed make it to a hard drive.
The problem is that our GL-1 was stolen on a trip. Replaced it on the trip with a Vixia and didn't get back to the old MiniDVs for a year or so. I borrowed a sony miniDV camcorder from a friend and it couldn't read the tapes. I tried another video player with no luck.
Now, six years later, I purchased a used GL-1 from Ebay and it's reading most of the tapes just fine. To be specific, the SP tapes are mostly intact. The ones recorded in LP? Nothing.
So after more research, I found out it most likely had to do with head alignment. That even though I had an identical model, my old camera's heads were aligned differently and I was still out of luck.
My question is this: Could I realign the heads myself? Say, start at one end of the alignment spectrum, shift the heads a wee bit, test, then realign again? Repeating until I either get a tape that works or get to the other end of the spectrum and give up? Is there any Canon documentation that would help me to accomplish this?
I'm willing to play with this GL-1 because it can only playback -- something is wrong with the prism sensor so I got it cheap.
Any help would be appreciated!
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If you try to change head alignment without the proper equipment you're likely to mess up the alignment for everything else. I would look at doing a good cleaning, look for dust and grease buildup at the travel limits of any moving parts and re-lube everything.
Thanks for the response!
The unit I have has been serviced and cleaned up recently and still no video on LP. This is a Known Problem and all anecdotal experience from the web points to head alignment.
Other folks say they have four or five different camcorders that they try things on and often find one that works. Me? I don't have that kind of cash to devote to this project.
So what would the "proper equipment" be, exactly?
Any other help?
At the very least you will need a service manual, an alignment tape, some allen keys and an oscilloscope.
That's all I know. Personally, I wouldn't dream of doing it myself.