I have attached a video file as an example. I'm playing a Video8 tape on a SONY DCR-TRV740, it has TBC and DNR. My capture device is ADVC 110. This problem occurs via analog and digital outputs.
The solution is simple, eject and reinsert tape. The video will come up fine again. This only happens on some tapes, so I assume the problem lies with the tape and not the camcorder.
I tried using a cleaning tape several times but to no avail. Would getting a SONY EV-S5000 VCR with TBC solve this problem. Logic says no since DCR-TRV740 has TBC too. I thought TBC was supposed to prevent this kind of things from happening.
Does anyone has a solution?
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The tape is shedding and clogging the video heads. Try fast winding it end-to-end a couple of times before you play it. This encourages the junk to drop out.
It didn't work. The cassettes looks clean though, don't see any dirt on the black tapes either. I guess the dirt are microscopic.
It's not dirt. It's the magnetic emulsion coming off — an irreversible deterioration of the tape. It may require treatment in a special tape-cleaning machine. Make sure your player is as clean as possible. You may need to blow it out with duster spray. The video heads should be manually cleaned as well.
I manually cleaned the tape heads but still same problem. I guess the tape is done for. The weird thing is after ejecting and reinserting the tape, the video works fine again. This behavior feels like a digital media, it's all or nothing, no in-betweens. I never encountered a VHS tape where the picture will disappear entirely and be fixed by reinserting the tape.
Last edited by digicube; 12th Sep 2016 at 14:30.
That almost starts to sound like a tracking problem, but if your camera were going out of alignment, all tapes would be affected. Moreover, your video shows classic head clog symptoms. I have had the same problem with a few 8 mm (not VHS) tapes and it was mostly fixed by repacking the tape. I do recall a couple being a struggle that required concatenation of a few passes.
Am thinking of getting a SONY EV-S7000. VCR is so much bigger than a camcorder, I wonder if it has better electronic parts, like a walkman vs a cassette deck.
BTW, do 8mm cleaning cassettes actually clean? They look like blank cassette tapes as I can even record on it. Unlike the wet-type VHS cleaning cassette which make me think it's actually doing some cleaning.
Last edited by digicube; 13th Sep 2016 at 09:05.
I use an EV-S3000. The main advantages of a deck are more room to access the mechanism and easier replacement of parts. Otherwise, you're getting a lot of electronics (RF receiver, editing and transport controls) that you will never use. The reason I got the S3000 was its ability to play the optional PCM audio tracks.
Dry cleaning tapes are a bad idea. The last thing we need is to run abrasives through old equipment with irreplaceable parts. Far better to clean by hand with 99% isopropanol and swabs. I use chamois swabs (available online) to gently clean the video heads. Works every time.
I don't understand how does "repacking" help. Does it apply to audio cassette tapes too?
BTW, when the video disappears and I pause or ff/rw the tape, the video reappears. The video appears to be free of defects, I don't understand why the camcorder can't display it, like it can't lock onto the signal. If the tape has deteriorated, shouldn't the video quality suffers like a VHS tape? The camcorder doesn't seem to be able to adjust tracking.
Last edited by digicube; 13th Sep 2016 at 10:39.
Yes, it applies to audio Compact Cassettes as well. Tapes that have sat around for decades have uneven winding tension that can cause mistracking and dropouts. Fast-winding the tape back and forth also reduces print-through in audio recordings. In the case of shedding tapes, it encourages debris to fall out before playback.
Your picture reappears on pause or scan because the tape motion scrubs the heads clean. Only a minute amount of shedding is required to clog the heads while the magnetic imprint remains intact. But yes, eventually, the tape will become unreadable. The 8 mm video formats do not have manual tracking adjustment.
So I guess those fast tape ff/rw machines are a big no no? Repacking needs to be done at a normal pace?
Is there a wet-type cleaning cassette for 8mm? I wonder why it's not widely used, it's similar to manually cleaning it with a piece of paper and isopropyl alcohol.
Last edited by digicube; 13th Sep 2016 at 14:22.
If your machine is in good order, fast forward or rewind is sufficient to smooth out the tension before playing. For storage, however, the tape should be wound in play mode and left tails out. (Most important for open-reel tapes but applies to cassettes, too.)
Here is a wet 8 mm cleaning cassette. I certainly wouldn't bother with it.
I got one of these a few years back, don't remember it being $20. It looks just like a normal tape, not some white abrasive cloth but just dark video tape. Says to play it for 10 minutes when you want to clean. Worked really well the first time I used it, as the Video8 machine was heavily clogged at the time.
Last edited by KarMa; 13th Sep 2016 at 19:05. Reason: Did not proof read myself lol.
Cleaning tapes are a convenience for consumers. You wouldn't want to open the machine and void your warranty, right? But these decks are all senior citizens now, long out of warranty. Cleaning tapes work, but they put more wear on a machine and are less effective than a careful hand cleaning. Some parts, like the pinch roller, will never be properly cleaned by a cassette. And a really dirty pinch roller can eat your tapes.
Found this interesting article about magnetic tape media,
Could my problem be an alignment issue? The camcorder used to record the tape is not align with my camcorder?
Last edited by digicube; 5th Oct 2016 at 09:37.