Need help please! Plugged in and charged up my old Sony Camcorder VideoHi8 XR model#TRV815. Want to convert some old tapes recorded 2004-2006 to DVD's; tried playing the old tapes back in the same camcorder mentioned, which was the same camcorder used to record the old tapes and won't play. Have approx. 20+ tapes (Maxell XR-Metal Hi8) and when I put them in and push play, there is a black & white fuzzy screen and no sound on the camcorder display. I tried this with several of the old tapes and all have the same distortion and no sound. Please tell me these old tapes are not permanently damaged??? Lots of tapes of my family, children, etc. that I do not want to lose. :(
So, I opened a brand new tape (same exact type of Maxell tape as all the old tapes are recorded on) and recorded for a bit and then played it back and it worked fine.
Tried to use Sony cleaning cassette for approx. 10-15 seconds, still won't play the tapes.
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try connecting the camcorder to your tv and then try playing one of the old tapes
see if you still get the black & white fuzzy screen.
The good news is that the tapes are probably fine. That bad news is that your camcorder my have failed.
One way to test the camcorder is to find a blank tape and try to record 10-15 seconds of video on it, just using the camcorder itself. Then play back that tape. That eliminates all variables except for the camcorder.
I did record on the camcorder today with the exact same type of tape (Maxell XR-Metal Hi8)and played it back, definitely grainy BUT is working. When I put in the old tapes, again the same Maxell Hi8 type of tapes (approx. 20), that I want to convert to DVD, they do not work.
I have older tapes from 90's recorded on the same camcorder that I just played in the camcorder and they work fine and have already been converted to DVD.
I also hooked up camcorder direct to the TV and the older tapes for the 90's that had been converted to DVD already, played fine. But, again the 20 tapes that I need to convert did not play through the TV as is same distortion (white/black - like old time TV) and no sound.
Appreciate any advice as I don't want to lose the info on the 20 tapes.
Oh dear, it sounds like the tapes are in fact bad.
You can try fast forwarding all the way to the end, then rewinding. After doing that, try to play again. This sometimes helps, although I doubt it will work in this case. It is worth trying on one tape, and is not going to hurt anything.
I'd sure as heck try to get another camera. Even though this is the camera on which they were shot, and that usually means they will play better on that device than any other, it is also possible that the camera has degraded to the point where it won't play marginal tapes.
That's all I can think of.
Could be heavy shedding, which winding a couple of times may improve. Or they may need to be cleaned. Or they may be poorly recorded. Do you know for a fact that they ever played properly?
Thank you all for your help and suggestions and praying they are ok! I did watch them a long time ago and I just can't figure out how 20 tapes in 1 box went bad that were stored in a cabinet. I will try the fast-forward/rewind thing and then go through all 20 tapes to see if same outcome for all of them; I stopped after 5 tapes had same issue....ugh so crazy.
However, this problem did not affect many consumer tapes, so unless you are seeing brown stuff all over the inside of your camcorder, I doubt this is the problem.
Short Wikipedia article here:
Metal tapes do not suffer sticky shed syndrome and should not be baked. They shed minute dry particles that can clog the video heads, although it may not be as dramatic as "spraying" the inside of the player — or even noticeable at all on visual inspection. If too many particles are lost, then so is the recording. Different batches of the same model tape from the same manufacturer can age differently depending on their composition and production quality.
You need another deck
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I came across your post today while searching for a rewinding device for my old Hi8 camcorder cassettes.
If still of interest, may I ask, did you store those 20 tapes differently than the one you used later on to do a test recording & playback, i.e. not in the same box in that cupboard?
Could it be that at some point during storage, your faulty tapes in question had been exposed to strong magnetic fields? As far as I know, exposure to strong magnets can mess up / destroy the recordings.