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AG - DVX100 Prone To Drop Outs

Published : 31st January 2004


Steven Gladstone writes :

class="Paragraph" >"I find that I am getting more than an acceptable number of >dropouts/glitches with this camera"....

Can you elaborate on dropouts/glitches. That can mean just about anything.

Marten Benatar



I'm really enjoying this little camera. But I'm running into a dropout/glitch problem. I find that I am getting a more than acceptable number of dropouts/glitches with the camera (to answer your question - 1 glitch per tape is the most I would consider acceptable, and even that isn't really acceptable).. I'm using Panasonic Tape.

Is anyone else finding this issue?

I've 21 hours on my heads so far, and have used a cleaning tape (once), I've encountered more than 21 dropouts/glitches so far. Basically I have to check it good take, which adds to shoot time, and head wear - I mostly shoot in the 24P mode.

Steven Gladstone
Cinematographer - Gladstone Films
Cinematography Mailing List - East Coast List Administrator
Better off Broadcast (B.O.B.)
New York, U.S.A.



Steven Gladstone writes:

>"I'm really enjoying this little camera. But I'm running into a >dropout/glitch .problem."

I've only had my camera a little over a month and my head meter is at 41hs and I haven't had any drop outs yet!

Now I only use Sony tape because I've always had good luck with their stock so maybe that could be the answer.

And I use DVCam 32 min tapes and pull them at 28-29 minutes so I can get a seamless transfer to Beta.

I always wonder if the longer running tapes have a thinner base and less metal in them which could contribute to not having your pictures stick to the tape.

Why not run one and see?

Allen S. Face mire
DP/Director
SaltRun Productions inc.
Atlanta
www.saltrunproductions.com



First never clean your heads unless you have to. Cleaning these heads wears them out incredibly fast. Second, throw away the Panasonic tape and use Sony. Third, don't reuse tape if you are. The flying erase system on such a small drum mustn't be good in my book for randomising particles only to have them restructured in the time it takes to rotate these drums.

Walter Graff
Producer, Director, Creative Director, Cinematographer
HellGate Pictures, Inc.
BlueSky, LLC
www.film-and-video.com



Hi Steven,

I don't know if this is a factor in your case, but here's some advice that a lot of people have given me regarding dropouts on DV tape: use only one brand of
tape in your camera.

Apparently using different brands results in several different forms of residue to be left behind on your heads, which for some reason increases the likelihood of serious gunk building up (perhaps they react to each other?) which increases the drop-out rate tremendously. I've experienced this first-hand, and it's the reason I avoid Panasonic tape in my Sony PD150 (I only use Sony tapes now). (Although it SHOULD make sense to use Panasonics with a Panasonic camera right? Hmm...)

Other than that, perhaps a visit to the Panasonic service centre to make sure your heads are aligned and all?

Cheers,


Paolo Dy



I should also add that if you can check the playback on another deck, preferably a professional DVCAM desktop. These cameras like HD cameras and Betas, have limited electronics and these glitches you see might be a result of that, but they would not show up as easily in a deck with heavy duty electronics. They could be any number of conditions that cause images to have blocky effects to lines from head clogs which all DV tapes experience during each roll to head wear. But remember, you have a $3000.00 machine and for the money you do not get broadcast camera reliability. You get a maximum 1500 hours out of heads on these decks if all you do is record on it without using it as a playback device and every time you run a cleaning tape in one you serious shorten that life.

Walter Graff
Producer, Director, Creative Director, Cinematographer
HellGate Pictures, Inc.
BlueSky, LLC



>use only one brand of tape in your camera.


Best suggestion of the day. Different manufactures use different coatings some dryer than others, and lubricants, and when all is said and done, residue is left from any manufacturer but different residue from different manufacturers leaves a buffet of residues. Chalk up clogs to the format and the tiny little strips of metal called 'heads' on these units that give you about 40-60 days of continuous use before they need to be serviced.

In the Betacam world this was a problem (much less than these metal evaporated DV versions) Sony fixed by creating heads that had a bit of a bridge (less metal and more air) which caused less of a clog situation. Doubt they could do the same on these tiny little heads. But if you do find you are using different brands, clean the heads in between the different tapes. I know, I said don't ever clean heads, but in these tiny machines, it's the lesser of the two evils in this situation. Also know that in some clog situations head cleaning might make things worse.

The general rule is that if you have used Sony you should never use anything but Sony. When you've got across the picture banding you know you got a serious head clog, a bunch of hits all over the picture, a lesser momentary clog, and a block and you simply got a smutz of dirt on your tape or a dropout which is not the same as a head clog.

Panasonic has a version of tape that uses a dry formulation called S-AME that is supposed to have less head wear and less clogging problems compared to wetter formulations. I have heard some folks say they never get hits and others who get lots. If you are in that category, I haven't found anyone that ever found a fix other than to try a different camera. I luckily am in the never category but then again I learned real fast from having a Betacam for 10 years that had at least a multitude of thousands of hours on it and only needed a head change this week finally. The answer is never use any videotape but Sony. And if you used a Sony and ever switched know that the likely hood of a clog is now greatly increased.

Kind of like putting flour in a measuring cup. You always want to do the mixing of the dry stuff first and never mix the wet ingredients in between or you end up with flour sticking to the sides of the glass.

Walter Graff
Producer, Director, Creative Director, Cinematographer
HellGate Pictures, Inc.
BlueSky, LLC



Because I do actually know what I'm doing, although I do occasionally make a mistake.

1. Clean your heads every 40 hours, to remove the baked on lubricants, I think I got this info from the Robert Macie Site (which WalterNY recommends), but I can't remember.

2. Clean your heads whenever changing brands of tape stock (or even different stocks within the same brand depending on the lubricants used.

Myth or not I follow this, and use ONLY ONE type of tape.

3. Don't clean your heads otherwise.

4. I cleaned the heads, because upon playing back the tape, No image had been recorded (although timecode had been). Same tape brand, different tape "stock".

5. New rule, don't leave a tape in the camera. When done shooting for the day, take the tape out - seems so obvious.

6. Dropouts appear at the same place on a deck, as they do on the camera.

7. Dropouts are dropouts, on DV they tend to look blotchy. Some glitches look like areas of the image have shifted, and don't line up properly...I've noticed this on shots where I am moving the camera, but it is not the only place. Might be able to post a still.

8. The tape stock of choice for me currently is Panasonic AY-DVM63PQ

Thanks for the feedback.

Steven Gladstone
Cinematographer - Gladstone Films
Cinematography Mailing List - East Coast List Administrator
Better off Broadcast (B.O.B.)
New York, U.S.A.



> First never clean your heads unless you have to.

First never clean your heads unless you have to.

> Second, throw away the Panasonic tape and use Sony.

Second, throw away all your tapes and exclusively use Panasonic AY-DVM63MQ (not to be confused with PQ).

I've used Sony tapes for the past 5 years and never had a problem until I put them in my DVX-100. 95% of them went through fine, but 5% gave me dropouts that I never experienced before (and never want to experience again). I cleaned the heads, I replaced the tape...same problem. I still didn't believe it was the Sony stock until I talked to two other people that had the exact same problem. Until they switched to the Panasonic recommended tape.

I got railed a few months ago for being full of beans because so-and-so at XYZ rental house used Sony tapes exclusively on numerous cameras over hundreds of hours and never had a problem (so they claimed).

Which is to suggest there is no definitive answer. Everybody's experience seems to be different. Based on my experience, I switched to Panasonic and I'm sticking with it.

Frankly, I wish I could keep using the Sony's (cheaper, more compatible all around, more common...), but I can't.

Dan Coplan
Cinematographer/Editor/DVD Authoring
www.dancoplan.com



Dan Coplan wrote:

>Second, throw away all your tapes and exclusively use Panasonic AY->DVM63MQ (not to be confused with PQ).

Dan, what is the difference between Q and PQ tapes? Why is the Q better?

Thanks

Steven Gladstone
Cinematographer - Gladstone Films
Cinematography Mailing List - East Coast List Administrator
Better off Broadcast (B.O.B.)
New York, U.S.A.



>Second, throw away all your tapes and exclusively use Panasonic AY->DVM63MQ (not to be confused with PQ).

Panasonic is calling them "Professional Quality" and "Master Quality" hence PQ, and MQ. I have both, but can't really tell any difference, except in the price.

Marten Benatar


class="Paragraph"
The difference between MQ and PQ, not Q and PQ. Technically, I don't have the explanation - it may be a dryer lubricant or a more robust stock...I dunno, but it's the tape that is recommended by Panasonic for this camera.

And it costs more than the PQ so I'm guessing it's higher grade, not that I'm not sensitive to BS marketing (or maybe I am).

I've gotten these tapes as cheap as $5 and change from places like this :

class="Paragraph" www.taperesources.com

"As Long As The Lube Works..."

Dan Coplan
Cinematographer/Editor/DVD Authoring