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DSR-450WS-footage not recorded on tape!


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#1 Gabriel Gordillo

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 03:55 PM

I am an owner of the sony dsr-450ws, barely over 3 months old. I shot an event which was very long and I had to load a new cassette at one point. I had been using the regular 184min dvcams (blue cases) but I had a few PHDV_276DMs which are sonys digital master tape series. I load this tape in, record bars at the head, then flip the switch from bars to the video signal, and I see I have my rec tally light on, timecode is progressing on both viewfinders, I had no time to stop and rec review since I was following a speech.

Upon me changing my battery later on in the night, I rec review and it is BLANK. Upon rewinding to see if there was any footage recorded, all I keep seeing is BLANK blinking, I try to eject the cassette, it gives me an ERROR message "cassette", at last the tape comes out and I see the tape has been halfway through by the spool window. But there is no timecode read, no picture, no audio, no nothing. However the timecode on my camera shows an hour has passed since I loaded in the new cassette, its mind boggling to me in how exactly this could have happened. I even checked if I had the timecode at f-run but it was set at exactly where it was with the 1st tape (blue) (set, regen to the preset tc) which was perfect!

I checked the tape on various dvcam decks, none of them read any timecode or picture on this tape, it is like it was never used, my last resort is to check it on the new HDV deck HVRM-25U which is what those sony tapes were designed for however you are still able to shoot on it on DVCAM mode. The next morning I went back to the suspect tape, tested it at home with my same camera and recorded fine. Im just out of answers on this one, anyone had similar issues or can recommend anything? It is unfortunate since my second camera was shooting B-roll and I have lost the main shot. Thanks.
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#2 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 09:13 PM

I would suspect head clog, or bad tape. Don't use different brands of tape or else the different lubricants together will gunk up and clog the heads. Last but not least it could be that the head is out of alignment but that would affect all tapes not just one. I had this happen to me once while I had taken a whole day to film at Burt Reynolds old house here in Georgia and came back with one out of two tapes with footage. I would see if Sony could capture the tapes or refund you some money for your time a suffering.

It is always good to record 30secs-1 minute of color bars then rec review to make sure your tape is ok.
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#3 Jeff Regan

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 09:25 PM

I had a similar situation with my 450. The camerman recorded bars but didn't check playback and continued
shooting an interview. When he checked the tail there was no footage, even though the tape advanced, as
did time code and record light was on for the duration. When he ejected the tape, it snapped the tape.

I got it back, spliced it, but the cassette mechanism(Sony PDV-64N) hub seemed like the brake was on. It
was transferred to another cassette shell and mechanism, but no videosignal or timecode or audio. Other tapes put into the camera immediately after the bad cassette recorded fine. No problems since.

The problem with digital tape formats is that there are only two heads. Very different from Betacam SP which had separate video record and playback heads and fixed audio heads and RF sensors that would warn of head clogs.

The only way the 450 or just about any DV transport would signal a record error is when stopping and starting, the transport tries to do a backspace edit. If it doesn't sense control track, then it should show an error.

None of the above explains why it didn't like the cassette you used the first time, but recorded properly the
second time.

Due to the experience I had, I now recommend all my clients use my nNovia on-board hard drive to double
record. The nNovia is faster and easier to capture with than tape, so tape becomes the backup and archival
storage medium. I've had a Sony DSR-500WS since 2001 and never had any record issues except tension
errors when the camera frame was damaged, thereby misaligning the transport while in the hands of some
NYU student filmmakers.

If I'm shooting something important that does not allow me to check playback for long amounts of time, I
double record on the nNovia--it's cheap insurance from a rental perspective and very easy to bring into
Final Cut Pro.

Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video
www.ssv.com
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