Hi - I have 17 mini dvs, recorded on a Sony camcorder over a period of about 7 years (last one 5 years ago). They have been stored in different places, but not (as far as I know) subjected to extremes. The tapes played back ok on the original camcorder.
I lost the original camcorder and bought a second-hand one (Sony, different model) on ebay. When I tried to replay the tapes, there is a pixellated stripe down the same area of all of them, and the audio is patchy.
I tried recording a new tape on the new camcorder, and didn't get the same stripe, but did get some pixellation in different areas of the screen, and different times, on each playback. The playback was being viewed on the camcorder screen.
I have read some of the threads here, but am puzzled.
If it was dirty heads on the new camcorder, presumably it should affect the new recording?
If the problem was due to the original camcorder heads becoming misaligned, the earlier tapes should be better? but they are all the same.
It is possible that the 'new' camcorder heads are misaligned (so it will playback its own recording better), but there are still some pixellated patches - what would be causing those?
Is it possible that another camcorder would play my tapes without problem (but I don't want to keep buying camcorders on the offchance - is there any way of trying them out?)
Are there are any tests I can run to identify the problem?
Hope someone can help!
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Take one of your problem tapes to a transfer service and see how it looks on their machines (I'm sure this will cost something, regardless). If it looks OK, the problem is very likely your "replacement" camcorder and you should get your money back and then buy a decent one. Or, take the remainder to the same transfer service (assuming their terms & output format/quality are acceptable).
If it still looks like a problem on their machines, it is most likely the tapes are at fault (due to original cam, or damage/mishandling, or poor quality tape or ?), in which case your only remaining option that would restore the quality would be to have an engineer "intentionally misalign" the playback heads to MATCH the misalignment on those tapes. But this is a very long shot. Otherwise, you'd have to live with the degradation.
If the new camcorder can't record and replay it's own tapes correctly, then it's broken. You could clean the heads, but if it was sold as working, even this shouldn't be necessary. The fact it can't play your old tapes either is just an unwanted "bonus" problem! Send it back and try again.
You could do what Cornucopia says - it may come to that - but used DV camcorders are so cheap on eBay UK (and fairly easily re-sold at little loss) that trying another one is a really cheap option. If time is more important than money, then paying a professional is worthwhile - but remember most "professionals" won't be able to play misaligned tapes either, if that turns out to be the problem.