I have a couple old camcorders from the early 90's that I am trying to get functioning:
Camera #1 is a Ricoh R-87H Hi8 camcorder.
Camera #2 is a Sony Handycam CCD-TR51 8mm camcorder.
Camera 1 seems to be functioning fine, besides having vertical lines visible on the display. Pretty sure I just need to clean the head on this one. A cleaning tape doesn't seem to be helping, so I may need to look into another way to clean.
The main issue is with Camera 2 - everything seems to be working except for the playback. When I am recording, the picture looks all good with no artifacts. When I go to play it back, there is some bad distortion. Very shaky with multiple images. This is using an 8mm tape in an 8mm camera and I have tried it with two different unused tapes. Video of the distortion (iPhone video looking into the camera - I need to get some kind of RCA cable to transfer to my Mac): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TymZrgGKhpI
I later tried playing back this same 8mm tape with Camera 1 (Hi8 camcorder) and there is no shaking or added artifacts, besides the usual vertical lines. Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUT7AvGUxDI It seems that the issue is with Camera 2's playback, as the tape itself and the footage from Camera 2 seems to be all good.
Any ideas why Camera 2 is playing back with a distorted picture? Any fixes?
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Camera 1 looks like a problem with the display device. It does not look like anything related to the video heads.
Camera 2 has bad playback sync. It could be a mechanical or electronic problem.
Thanks for the info! Very helpful.
Any recommendations for connecting the RCA to Mac (USB or FireWire/Thunderbolt?) for digitizing the tape video/audio?
Any of the inexpensive USB dongle converters will work about the same. Thunderbolt data rates are not required for legacy video. Usually, you will get a better picture from an s-video output than a composite (RCA) output.