Quantcast The joys of capturing Hi-8 tapes! (Not! Sony tapes suck!) - digitalFAQ Forum
  #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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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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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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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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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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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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