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08-31-2020, 12:24 PM
nevs nevs is offline
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I am starting a project of capturing hi8/8mm tapes (about 20 in total, mostly sony branded from the early 90's).

My camcorder to playback these tapes will be the Sony DCR-TRV510E.

The camera works but hasnt been used for a long time and has never had its head cleaned but has been looked after very well.

Most of the tapes have not be rewound to the start.

1. I read on here, that rewinding in the camera makes the tapes go through the tape head, which can cause damage, is this true? should I buy a dedicated tape rewinder or is this overkill? are there any models that are advised?

2. I have a sony unopened never been used in plastic wrapping head cleaner tape from the 90's, should I use this before starting my project or will it do more damage than good?

Thank you.
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Someday, 12:01 PM
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08-31-2020, 03:47 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is online now
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The tapes are approaching 30 years old, perhaps uncertain past use and storage conditions.
The history of the camcorder is unknown.
That means most bets are off. What worked with new/near new gear (i.e., still within the warranty and mfgr support period) and tapes may not be true with individual tapes and gear 20+ years later.

With that caveat, rewinding "healthy" tapes should not cause undue wear or damage to a "healthy" camcorder. Rewinding 20 tapes is arguably about the same as playing one tape.

Using the manufacturer's specified cleaning tape, new in good condition, should not cause any damage, but should only be done if there are indications that a head cleaning is needed. 8mm/Hi8 is not as physically robust a format as VHS, diy cleaning with wet swabs, etc. is more problematic, especially for consumers. (I.e., if it ain't broken, don't try fix it.)

Test everything, every mode, with an unimportant tape before you risk an important one.
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08-31-2020, 04:21 PM
nevs nevs is offline
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Thank you for your reply.

The tapes have been stored in their boxes and kept in a shoe box so no light etc and always at room temperature.

With video8/hi8, is there anything I can do to get better playback? Does fast forwarding the whole tape and rewinding help at all? Any tips/tricks? Things I should avoid?

I read that head cleaning should occur between manufactures, I.e. Sony to Panasonic tapes.

I assume the more I play the tapes, they degrade? So I should get my capture settings correct for a test tape, then try to capture each take on one pass?

Thank you. I must say this forum is of great help.
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08-31-2020, 06:57 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is online now
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What helps improve the capture?
Use a good, well maintained player with an internal TBC.
Use s-video connection, even for 8mm tapes.
An external TBC may help.

For old tapes frequent playing may put them at greater risk for physical damage, so be sure everything is in good working order before you try play important tapes. Except for physical damage, such as the result of failing binders, etc. or poorly maintained players, the degradation of the recorded image from one playing to the next is insignificant. I have VHS tapes from 40 years ago and Hi8 from 28 years ago that play OK.

FFW/REW-ing a tape end-to-end before capture should not be necessary Only do it if it seems necessary when you try without first.

Only try cleaning if it appears to be needed based on playback issues, as shown it the camcorder manuals. The suggestion to clean when changing tape brands was for people who were having issues recording because a dirty/clogged head would not record well. For playback what is recorded is already on tape and cleaning will not prevent anything. (But it does wear heads so it should not be overdone.)

When all is said and done, what matters is that you are satisfied with the result.
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09-01-2020, 05:04 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Head cleaning is not a fix-all for whatever ails a deck/camera, and can cause damage if done wrong. head clearn tapes are too abrasive, and just push dirt around. Never use Q-tips (cotton swabs), no open-cell foam. After seeing the sorry state of "head cleaning" products we now have (chamois and foam are often crappy now, dSLR swabs expensive), I've recently adopted TGrant's method of using white printer paper and 91% alcohol. It's the least worst method now.

Unneeded FF/REW can ruin a tape. The tape rewinder can have the same effect. A big problem I've noticed is old VHS tapes (mostly BASF, early 80s) will shed oxide when the VCR heads are too cold or too hot. It's the Three Bears of video! You need "just right" to not harm the tapes.

TBC always helps, both line and frame. And is often essential.

Does that model camera have a line TBC? If not, better camera likely needed.

I never say "what matters is that you are satisfied with the result" because most people do not realize that they can have better. After you let a man taste steak, he'll never want dog food again. And that is a very fair analogy, untimed low quality video is the Alpo of video. Not fit for human consumption, not enjoyable video whatsoever, more like a chore to watch if quality is bad.

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