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  1. Hi. First time poster. I spent some time searching and found a number of threads that had a similar issue, but not many concrete solutions.

    I'm trying to digitize some 8mm tapes for my parents. So far nearly all of them have gone fine, but I have a handful of problematic TDK-brand tapes that do not playback properly in certain spots. Specifically there's a 2 minute passage where the video repeatedly struggles to maintain a signal. However the picture shows up when I fast forward or rewind while in Play mode. In other spots on the same tape, playback is fine but there is a horizontal band across.

    I've attached examples of both. My playback device is a Sony DCR-TRV330 Digital8 camcorder. The tapes are TDK MP120 8mm (the rest have all been a mix of either Sony or Maxell and have had no problems).

    I've seen multiple suggestions about cleaning heads of the playback device, but not sure how helpful that would be as it can otherwise read every other tape perfectly fine and only has trouble with TDK tapes. This isn't my area of expertise though, so I'd appreciate any guidance I can get.
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    Last edited by boxcars20; 21st Aug 2018 at 18:35. Reason: More information on the tape brand
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  2. Member
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    That's a classic video head clog. Your tapes are damaged and shedding in these places. When you run in fast scan, the clogs are rubbed out. You can try winding the tapes from end-to-end a few times to shake out the loose junk. Then use duster spray on the camcorder to blow out the debris.
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  3. Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    That's a classic video head clog. Your tapes are damaged and shedding in these places. When you run in fast scan, the clogs are rubbed out. You can try winding the tapes from end-to-end a few times to shake out the loose junk. Then use duster spray on the camcorder to blow out the debris.
    Thanks for the quick reply. I'll try that next time I can.

    Do you think a video head cleaning cassette like this one would achieve a similar result? https://www.amazon.com/Sony-V8-25CLD-Digital8-Camcorder-Cleaning/dp/B00005TQKQ

    Also, do you have any ideas as to why it seems to only occur with TDK-brand tapes?
    Last edited by boxcars20; 21st Aug 2018 at 18:35.
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    Head cleaning won't stop your tapes from shedding. Are your Maxell and Sonys MP tapes as well, or are they ME? Manufacturers use different formulas in their tapes and some age more successfully than others.
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  5. Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    Are your Maxell and Sonys MP tapes as well, or are they ME? Manufacturers use different formulas in their tapes and some age more successfully than others.
    Almost all are MP, a couple say GR and XR here and there.
    Last edited by boxcars20; 21st Aug 2018 at 20:15.
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    GR and XR are trademarks. 8 mm videotape is either MP (metal particulate) or ME (metal evaporate). Both can shed, but ME is more prone to degrading over time.
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  7. Oops, my bad. I'm not used to handling these tapes. It's probably safe to say they're all MP, I don't see ME on any of them.
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    Misalignment is also likely.
    Either current camera, or past camera that made tapes.
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  9. Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Misalignment is also likely.
    Either current camera, or past camera that made tapes.
    My parents did say that they saw this happening with their tapes when they recorded them. They threw the camera out because it was "going bad".

    I'm going to see if cleaning the heads works, but not sure how I could fix something like a misalignment. Wouldn't know any shops around here to help me either.
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    The sample you posted illustrates a damaged tape that causes a head clog. There may be alignment issues as well, but you still have a problem with the condition of the tape. Cleaning the heads may only work for a few seconds.
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  11. If cleaning doesn't work, I found a media transfer shop that I will probably end up taking them to. In any case I have an older DVD transfer of them that managed to read the damaged portions.

    Appreciate all the help with this. I'll update this when I make some progress.
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