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  #1  
01-07-2018, 06:16 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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Just got a "new" tape transfer project. Its a nice mix of 8mm tapes from 1993-94, with some later ones from 2000 or so. Most of them are Hi-8 format. The tapes look great, are in stereo, and have none of the usual fuss of VHS or VHS-C......well almost.

It seems that some of these tapes either stick or shed. When I was scanning all the tapes to get content length (for project planning), I had random problems with what appeared to be head clogging. I'd have video, but randomly the picture would start to break up towards the top of the frame and eventually vanish into a blue screen. Audio would continue playing and eventually that would die off too. The tape itself was fine and played back undamaged once the heads were cleaned off (a quick FF and REW was enough to clear it). In addition, the problem cropped up in both my playback camcorders.

All of the tapes that did this were Sony branded Hi-8 Metal Particle from 1993 or so. I was also having playback problems with Sony branded Hi-8 Evaporated Metal tapes as well.... much to my surprise. The newest tape of the bunch (post 1999 since it was also marked Digital-8) had no playback problems.

I know others here have had problems with Video 8/Hi-8 transfer projects. It appears that Sony's tape quality is suspect...... again. I didn't have these problems when I did tape transfers of early 90s TDK 8mm tapes in past projects. I'll keep everyone updated when I actually start the capture progress. Sadly I'm going to have to babysit these tape captures since I have to deal with potential playback problems.
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  #2  
01-07-2018, 06:24 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Haha ... your age is showing. "This is awesome! (Not!)"
I never liked that some 25+ years ago. Pee-wee started that, right?

Sony tapes were always subpar, even for VHS (though still not worst).

I hate DVCAM for similar reasons to yours.

Shedding tapes ... that sucks. It'll probably take a full days to clean that. I hope it didn't damage anything. I have an SR-V10U VCR that was ruined by an oxide shedder.

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  #3  
01-07-2018, 06:35 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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I physically examined the tapes after the "head clog". I didn't see anything obvious wrong with the tape itself (no clear spots on the tape, etc.) Also no obvious debris inside of the camcorder. The only other thing I'm suspecting is problems with lubrication. I know Sony MiniDV tapes and my camcorders definitely don't get along, they always like to drag. Perhaps its an issue with their 8mm tapes too.

Video 8 is supposed to be more robust thanks to the mandatory use of metal particle tape stock, I guess Sony didn't get the memo I was surprised to see evaporated metal tapes from 1993 in the batch though. I thought those were released much later in the format's life.
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  #4  
01-08-2018, 06:18 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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8mm/Hi8 being smaller tape and smaller heads required tighter tolerances and was less forgiving of mechanical issues in the system.

Back in the dim distant past era of Hi8, early in the era, there was a problem with tape lubricants. The lub used by Sony did not get along with the lub used by everyone else.. The result of mixing tape brands was head clogs. Standard practice said stick to one brand of tape, and clean the heads (and tape path) if you have to change to a different tape brand.

If I recall correctly Sony's factory "had a fire" and their tape was scarce for a while. When the plant was back in production Sony tape became available with no lub compatibility problem. Because the problem was a stain on all of the Hi8 industry including camcorder makers, the makers of the Hi8 tape agreed to use the Panasonic formula lub, and there were far fewer issues. (I don't recall what year that was, but around the mid 1990s.)

Fewer, but not totally gone. While the lub issue was cleared for new production tape, old Sony tapes still existed and could cause an issue playing old recordings. Also, because the mechanical characteristics of different makes/models of tape differed the characteristic deposit patterns left on guides, etc. differed. Changing brands after a steady diet of one tape could cause deposits on guides, etc. to break free and clog heads.

Bottom line for working with Hi8 tape is to clean heads when changing brands, especially after a steady diet on one brand/type of tape. May even apply to mixing old and new formulation Sony tape.

ME tape had better magnetic characteristics and sold for a premium, but was not as robust mechanically as MP tape and thus more prone to drop outs with repeated playback. ME was better for tape that would be recorded once, and played once to edit/capture. MP was lower cost and better for tapes that would be played often.

A bit of trivia, Kodak invented 8mm video in 1984. But Kodak management was so wedded to wet process photography they did not capitalize on video (or digital photography for that matter). Sony ran with it in 1985 and the rest is history.

Last edited by dpalomaki; 01-08-2018 at 06:29 PM.
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  #5  
01-09-2018, 11:32 AM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
8mm/Hi8 being smaller tape and smaller heads required tighter tolerances and was less forgiving of mechanical issues in the system.

Back in the dim distant past era of Hi8, early in the era, there was a problem with tape lubricants. The lub used by Sony did not get along with the lub used by everyone else.. The result of mixing tape brands was head clogs. Standard practice said stick to one brand of tape, and clean the heads (and tape path) if you have to change to a different tape brand.
I am beginning to suspect its a problem with lubricants or something along that line. These tapes are not experiencing drop outs, so the tapes aren't shedding. After trying to capture 20 or so minutes of a tape and landing up with about 8 capture files between the clogs, I decided to start over from the beginning. To my surprise, the damn tape played backed flawlessly........ until I reached the point that I stopped the previous capture.

I strongly suspect its a problem with aged lubricant or something along those lines as simple playback appears to "clean" the tape for lack of a better word. These tapes have no indication of mold or moisture damage and were stored in a climate controlled room from what I was told. That being said, I have suspended this project due to concerns of possibly damaging my playback equipment.

Quote:
A bit of trivia, Kodak invented 8mm video in 1984. But Kodak management was so wedded to wet process photography they did not capitalize on video (or digital photography for that matter). Sony ran with it in 1985 and the rest is history.
Kodak engineers also invented the digital camera. We all know how that went.....

Sony's original CCD-M8U was a pretty dreadful camera compared to the contemporary VHS units of the time. It shared alot of the same limitations their first BetaMovie camcorder had.... manual white balance, no true viewfinder, and manual focus!

Here is a nice review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXLUO-nB_FM
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  #6  
01-09-2018, 12:21 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Quote:
Kodak engineers also invented the digital camera. We all know how that went.....

Read more: http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/video-capture/8397-joys-capturing-tapes.html#ixzz53iEotwUc
And the CCD imaging device was invented at Bell Labs. Whether or not Judge Green did favors for American R&D and basic technology leadership when he broke up AT&T at the behest of the late and lamented MCI is an interesting question.
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  #7  
01-12-2018, 07:17 AM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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This guy appears to have had the same problem I did capturing older 8mm tapes. Too bad the post is from 2014.

Digital 8mm dirty heads; Use a cleaning tape?

It really would have been helpful what brand/age those tapes were.
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06-03-2020, 06:07 PM
SS2024 SS2024 is offline
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Hello all, my first post here. This thread is relevant - when capturing old footage i have zero problems with Maxell and TDK Hi8/Digital8 but major problems with Sony. Most of them were purchased in Costco but that probably doesn't matter. I see that head-cleaning between brands is a solution proposed here. How do you suggest cleaning heads - alcohol and cotton swab? Or using a head-cleaning tape? How many heads are there to clean in a Sony DCR camcorder?

Thank you!
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  #9  
06-03-2020, 06:34 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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The heads are on a spinning drum, probably three on the drum, possibly more, depending on the equipment you are using. Also clean the tape guides capstan and pinch roller.

Cotton swab NO!
Mfgrs. say use their tape, but it wears heads too, and may not be fully effective.
Soft leather chamois tip and alcohol is better, but do it with care. It would be easy to mess up the heads if not done correctly. (That is why mfgrs recommend cleaning tapes.) Video8/Hi8 heads are smaller than VHS.

The tape lub incompatibility between a Sony and everyone else's tape (in the 1990s) lasted for a few years production before Sony adopted a lub that matched the rest of the industry. One approach is to is capture all of one brand/formulation tape before you clean (if necessary) and switch to the next.
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  #10  
06-04-2020, 02:59 AM
latreche34 latreche34 is online now
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Time to get a 8mm tape rewinder, It helps a lot on tapes stored for a long time to the point where the layers are some how stuck together even when there is no apparent mold problem, Do not rewind using a camcorder or a VCR otherwise the video head will be scrubbing the tape. Use Sony tape rewinders they are very gentle on tape and they don't have enough torque to break it.

From personal experience if I rewind the tape back and forth it plays perfectly. Though I haven't come across really bad tapes so far.
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  #11  
06-04-2020, 05:50 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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On changing brands of tape and looking beyond the lub issue that lasted for a brief period of production.

Different tapes will have slightly different mechanical characteristics as they pass over the guides and heads. Properties like stiffness or flexibility. As a result a given tape type will leave characteristic wear deposits on heads and guides. These can build up over time, especially during a long steady diet of one type of tape. When a tape with different properties is used the deposits may shift or break free and lead to a head clog.
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  #12  
06-10-2020, 03:12 PM
SS2024 SS2024 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
Time to get a 8mm tape rewinder, It helps a lot on tapes stored for a long time to the point where the layers are some how stuck together even when there is no apparent mold problem, Do not rewind using a camcorder or a VCR otherwise the video head will be scrubbing the tape. Use Sony tape rewinders they are very gentle on tape and they don't have enough torque to break it.

From personal experience if I rewind the tape back and forth it plays perfectly. Though I haven't come across really bad tapes so far.
Thanks for the suggestion. Didn't know the video head touches the tape during a rewind - i thought that was only when doing a play-review. Not easy to find a Sony rewinder, and other brands are $25 - $40 on eBay.
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  #13  
06-10-2020, 03:14 PM
SS2024 SS2024 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
The heads are on a spinning drum, probably three on the drum, possibly more, depending on the equipment you are using. Also clean the tape guides capstan and pinch roller.

Cotton swab NO!
Mfgrs. say use their tape, but it wears heads too, and may not be fully effective.
Soft leather chamois tip and alcohol is better, but do it with care. It would be easy to mess up the heads if not done correctly. (That is why mfgrs recommend cleaning tapes.) Video8/Hi8 heads are smaller than VHS.

The tape lub incompatibility between a Sony and everyone else's tape (in the 1990s) lasted for a few years production before Sony adopted a lub that matched the rest of the industry. One approach is to is capture all of one brand/formulation tape before you clean (if necessary) and switch to the next.
Thanks for the prompt response. Cleaning tapes (brand new) are $25 on eBay. Which brand do you recommend? On a Sony camcorder, I have problems with 1999-vintage Sony tapes but no issues whatsoever with TDK and Maxell. The latter sat in storage for 20 years and worked like a charm, allowing me to capture without babysitting.
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  #14  
06-10-2020, 07:16 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Quote:
Which brand do you recommend?
If you are going to use a cleaning tape, I would go with the camcorder brand, and not over use it. Only for short periods when needed (per the instructions). I've used a mix of FUJI, TDK, Maxell, and Sony Video8/Hi8 tape and not encountered any significant problems beyond the increased drop outs typical of evaporated metal tape.
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  #15  
03-26-2022, 08:52 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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Bumping this because its relevant. 12voltvids did a video about these defective Sony 8mm tapes that clog tape heads and a solution.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t25z72RFqyM
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  #16  
03-27-2022, 12:30 AM
latreche34 latreche34 is online now
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MP (Metal Particles) tapes should be okay unless the storage conditions are bad, ME (metal Evaporated) are the ones to watch for, if you see them treat them like an insect sticky strip, If they are still blank dispose of them. ME is like SMD capacitors they were deemed to fail.
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  #17  
03-27-2022, 08:43 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Interesting fix, but I'm not convinced that using one's finger nail to clean the head is a good idea. I see the potential for issues, and it does not address the tape path/guides that may have deposits as well. However, it might make it easier to do a drum clean by a more conventional wet.

Interesting that this appears to be specific to Sony MP tape from the early 1990s. (Gads, that is 30 years ago ) That was the era of the incompatible lub problems.

I recall posts on various boards back then from people who sent their camcorders in for cleaning due to this sort of clogging. They said they were scolded for using other brands of tape when the issue was likely Sony all along.
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  #18  
03-27-2022, 09:11 AM
RobustReviews RobustReviews is offline
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ME tape is great tape.

Firstly, my conjecture, although not baseless is that the ME tape was manufactured by Matsushita not Sony. Matsushita was developing ME in the early mid-80s and it's an expensive and complicated process compared to conventional manufacture, I doubt Sony would have tooled for it and paid for licences for a comparatively small market. Its real forté is data tapes as it has (as rightly pointed out) almost boundless coercivity and retentivity and needs a very strong recording current. Sony did not sell any audio cassettes with the ME tape which again makes me sceptical they were rolling their own videotape when it came to ME.

That's not to say Sony were not using their own lubricants when shelling cassettes, but without analysis, I would be hardly unsurprised if all of the old videotape ME stock wasn't originating at a Matsushita plant. I've no proof of that though but just thinking about how audio cassette tapes are manufactured. ME audio cassettes failed pretty miserably due to drop-out and poor tape longevity.

ME is still an extant process due to data tape demand, MP is not to my knowledge as various chemistries and no longer viable due to ecological and health concerns - exactly the same with chrome tape.

ME was always known for issues with sustained shuttling and potential for dropout; a solution looking for a problem if you will. It does excel as data tape though where error correction and rare (if ever) tape shuttling takes place, and I guess if it does it's at very slow speed.

Using a fingernail for head cleaning is an old 'pro tip', I've never been brave enough personally (and I'm quite fussy about my fingernails ) but you'll find plenty of grey beards who swear by it and did it for decades on eye-wateringly expensive video heads with no ill effect. I am not recommending it.

Just to reiterate, the above is conjecture, don't repeat the opinons of somebody on the internet as facts
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  #19  
03-27-2022, 09:36 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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An interesting set of fact sheets on video preservation.

https://amianet.org/wp-content/uploads/Resources-Video-Preservation-Fact-Sheets-2002-1.pdf
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  #20  
03-27-2022, 09:41 AM
timtape timtape is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJRoadfan View Post
Bumping this because its relevant. 12voltvids did a video about these defective Sony 8mm tapes that clog tape heads and a solution.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t25z72RFqyM
How long was it between him cleaning the heads (with a fingernail!) and the heads clogging again? Minutes? Seconds? With this method we might eventually get to capture the entire tape in very short sections but... what a mess, and with all that shunting of the tape back and forth at each short section I'd be concerned about the risk of permanently damaged tape. For me to try this sort of repeated tape shuttling back and forward, the camcorder would need to be in as new condition. My ideal tape transfer is one pass only with no stops but this method seems at the other extreme of risk.

Obviously the problem is in the tape but he says nothing about treatment of the tape ( such as varying degrees of heat treatment of the same tape types). This looks like a brutal and risky method of cleaning the delicate video heads, and the heads are not the problem. The tape is the problem. This is treating the symptom (head fouling), not the cause (tape shedding).

It would be good to hear Peter Brothers speak to this particular problem.

I like his modding the head cover for easy removal and replacement. 8mm and DV tape paths are difficult to manually clean and anything to give better access is a step in the right direction. The same type of mod might be possible on camcorders with the cassette inserted from the top of the camcorder although it may involve more extensive mods. Of course this mod only gives access to one side of the stationary drum, missing access to elements in the tape path on the other side of the drum next to the cassette.

Last edited by timtape; 03-27-2022 at 10:11 AM.
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