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Help! HDV tapes will play back in 'fast forward' but not 'play' mode


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#1 Kirsty Stark

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 09:31 AM

Hi,

I'm not sure if the editor's corner is the correct place to put this, but I came across the problem while capturing, so it seems the most appropriate.

I did a 2 camera shoot today with two Sony HVR-V1Ps (which I understand are the PAL version of the HVR-V1U, for those of you on NTSC). I matched all of the settings on the two cameras, my own (camera A) and a hire camera (camera B) and shot 3 tapes on each.

All of the tapes shot on camera A captured fine. However, when trying to capture the tapes from camera B (using my A camera, as I had already returned camera B), they played back on the camera as a blue screen (as would normally appear with unshot tape), despite the timecode counting up and the 'play' symbol showing. However, I noticed that when fast forwarding or rewinding, the image would appear.

So far the only links I've come across that describe similar symptoms seem to indicate a problem with the head alignment, but don't actually outline what the issue was, or whether it can be solved (see below).

Has anyone come across anything like this before? Is there any possibility of getting my footage off of these tapes somehow? Basically, if I don't have the B camera footage then the A camera footage is useless and it will mean a complete reshoot. Eek!

It's midnight here at the moment and I'm planning to call the place I hired the camera from first thing in the morning to see whether it will play back on the camera it was shot on, but any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

http://www.eventdv.n...d-Way-50952.htm

http://www.dvinfo.ne...rd-problem.html

http://www.dvinfo.ne...e-skipping.html

Edited by Kirsty Stark, 19 April 2009 - 09:31 AM.

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#2 Kirsty Stark

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 09:33 AM

Apologies for the smiley faces... obviously they are meant to be a 'B' and then an end bracket.
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#3 Hal Smith

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 12:08 PM

Apologies for the smiley faces... obviously they are meant to be a 'B' and then an end bracket.

The fact that you see something in ff and rwd confirms that the tape has a recording on it. If it's a head alignment incompatibility then you're exactly right: You need to get the rental "B" camera and capture from it.

It could be either your camera or their camera that's not in standard alignment. I'd check some of your tapes in a couple of different cameras to get a feel for whether or not it's your camera that's bad. If your tapes don't play in several other cameras then you need to get your camera to a shop for alignment...after capturing everything you ever want to save because after your camera is realigned it may not play any of your older tapes!
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#4 Kirsty Stark

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 09:26 PM

Thanks Hal,

I now have B camera with me, and the tape will play in that camera. It appears that it is a problem with B camera, as the owner mentioned that he had had problems capturing tapes from a previous job shot on it on his external deck, but had been able to capture from the camera, so hadn't thought anything of it at the time.

Now comes part B of my problem... despite the tape playing on camera B, my computer won't recognise camera in Final Cut Pro, despite using the exact same settings, cables, etc. as on camera A. Do you know if a problem with head alignment could cause the camera not to be recognised as a deck, or am I doing something else wrong?
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#5 Kirsty Stark

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 11:48 PM

On closer inspection, it appears that the communication problem between Camera B and the computer is occurring because the tape isn't playing back smoothly within the camera. There are glitches every few seconds when it will either freeze on a still frame momentarily and then catch up, or go back to the blue screen. So it looks like I'm back to square one.

Assuming that it is indeed a problem with the head alignment, and knowing that the camera it was recorded on won't play it back smoothly, is there any way at all that anyone knows of to get the information off of these tapes?
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#6 Hal Smith

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 12:23 PM

On closer inspection, it appears that the communication problem between Camera B and the computer is occurring because the tape isn't playing back smoothly within the camera. There are glitches every few seconds when it will either freeze on a still frame momentarily and then catch up, or go back to the blue screen. So it looks like I'm back to square one.

Assuming that it is indeed a problem with the head alignment, and knowing that the camera it was recorded on won't play it back smoothly, is there any way at all that anyone knows of to get the information off of these tapes?


Geez!

A good head cleaning might teach the "B" camera some manners. Does it have a lot of hours on its heads?

Back in the day I rescued a 1" tape recorded on a flaky field VTR by forensic re-aligning a playback machine to track the bad tape. That probably could be done on an HDV machine but they're difficult to work on, the only person I'd trust is someone who repairs them all the time for a living. To start with it would have to be someone who knows how to look at the direct RF playback from the tape (the actual magnetic signal coming off the tape as it's playing) on an oscilloscope and know how different adjustments affect different imperfections in the playback waveform.

The absolute last ditch rescue would be to record the video playback (obviously in real time) from the "B" camera into a computer with a real time record input. If you're on a Mac using Final Cut then something Blackmagic probably makes what you need.
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#7 Kirsty Stark

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 07:07 AM

Thanks Hal,

Still no luck at this stage. I ran a head cleaner through camera B yesterday under the suspicion that it might do some good, but it just appeared to make things worse (more blue screen, less picture).

Head hours are as follows:

Operation 72x10H
Drum Run 47x10H
Tape Run 32x10H
Threading 104x10

I've given the tapes to the editor now, so hopefully he can come up with a solution, but I'll pass on all of your suggestions and be sure to let you know how it pans out.

Thanks very much for your advice - it's been a frustrating couple of days so it's great to have someone out there trying to help!

Fingers crossed that it all works out.
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#8 John Brawley

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 07:14 PM

Has anyone come across anything like this before? Is there any possibility of getting my footage off of these tapes somehow? Basically, if I don't have the B camera footage then the A camera footage is useless and it will mean a complete reshoot. Eek!



Hi Kirsty.

You should be able to get it to play if you get the B camera back. I've seen this happen several times with mini DV. It's almost always fixed by using the same recorder to playback. THEN, tell them to send it off to get fixed !

jb
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#9 Kirsty Stark

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 09:20 PM

Thanks John, but I've already tried B camera with no luck.
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#10 Kirsty Stark

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 08:51 AM

Hooray - problem solved! (No audio, but we didn't need it for the B camera, so I'm happy!)

I gave the tapes to the editor for the project, who (as expected) couldn't play them back on his deck either. However, in the meantime, I found the following link:

http://forums.creati...2/869473#869473

It includes a workaround through which you can play back (and capture) your footage in slow motion, then speed it up once it's in your timeline.

Sent it to my editor, who tried it, and it worked!

His comments:

"The down side to this is that every tape is going to take 6hrs to capture, be one big 6hr long file and therefore take up 6 times the hard drive space (60GB - 70GB per tape). It also had to be downconverted from HDV to DV because you can't capture HDV with a non-controllable device. And you can't just leave them running because it will just keep capturing blank material if the tape comes to an end...

So what i'm going to do is capture one tape at a time then put it in a blank sequence, speed it up by 500% and then output it as a Quicktime again to make it an hour long file at the correct speed... That means we'll then have it all at the right speed and be able to fit it all back onto the drive. It's just going to take a while to get ready to start editing... BUT at least its all going to be there!"

Thanks Hal and John for your suggestions - I'm really glad to have found a solution, and hopefully all of this mess will help someone else in future!

Kirsty
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#11 Hal Smith

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 09:31 AM

Congratulations! What an ordeal for you, I'm so glad you found a workaround.
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