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  1. I'm transferring a collection of about 100 mini-DV tapes from my HDR-HC9 camcorder to FCP on a Mac. I've noticed a problem that I imagine may not be surprising to some of you with a few of the older tapes. In particular, I'm looking at a tape from 1999 right now that when I transferred it, it came out has having a whopping 1234 scenes! This is because it is breaking up long scenes into scenes that are roughly 2 to 5 frames long in many cases and then there are several frames missing between scenes.

    I know the tapes with these problems are old, so I don't expect miracles. The tape is a Sony DV Premium 60 mini-DV. Is there anything else you can think that might give me better results? (A different camcorder, different software, etc.?)

    Thanks for your help,

    Jon
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  2. Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    Germany
    Search Comp PM
    Actually, if the tapes were stored properly (cool, dry, no dust) they are probably fine (tapes can be a very reliable long-term storage media!) and it's your camcorder causing trouble.

    Are these recordings LP or SP?
    LP can be problematic with MiniDV when played back in a different camcorder than the one that recorded it.

    So, the first thing I would do is try another camcorder and use a cleaning tape. Usually I would stay away from cleaning tapes but the mechanics of MiniDV are so small, fragile and most often hard to reach that it justifies the use of a cleaning tape rather than manual cleaning.
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  3. Member
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    Aug 2010
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    San Francisco, California
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    The metal evaporate formula used in MiniDV cassettes is not nearly so robust as particulate tape. The magnetic layer is thinner and more susceptible to damage such as dropouts. You can't rule out tape problems until you try them on another player.

    I would encourage you to avoid cleaning tapes if possible. Some camcorders have easily removed panels that provide clear access to the video drum. It's much kinder to the machine to clean by hand if you are careful and know what you're doing.
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  4. Thank you for your responses.

    The recordings so far are all SP. I have a few other mini-DV camcorders but some are broken, some I need new cables for, new batteries. I'll figure it out and try the problem tapes out on a different camcorder. Thanks.
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  5. So, I did find an older camcorder that works. It may (or may not) have been the one these tapes were recorded on. I still have problems with drop-outs but less than with my Sony HDC-HC9. The few tapes I have with problems are about 16-17 years old.

    Should I assume at this point I've done the best I can do? Or are there other options? Would playing from a pro-deck make a difference? Are there shops I could outsource this to that work with mini-DV and can do a better job? Any thoughts?

    Thanks for your help.
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  6. Member
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    Dropouts due to recording defect, magnetic coating damage or tape deformation will appear to an extent on every player. (Some hide it better than others.) Dropouts that are caused by debris are temporary and changeable. A shedding tape typically has both types. It can be helpful to wind the tape end-to-end a couple of times to encourage the junk to fall out. And you must keep the player — including rotary heads — very clean.
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