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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our department has been using various models of Sony, JVC, and Panasonic brand DVC camcorders; they have worked very well up until recently. Some have expired due to age, which is expected; however, when played back for capture or to review material on some, there have been black bars across the screen. Part of it, I think, has to do with our reusing our cassettes. Can these tapes be reused successfully? Is there an "expiration date"? Is there a best practice when using these cassettes that we haven't considered?

My last question (I promise): is there any way that a bad tape could ruin a camcorder?
 

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In a nutshell:

- Tapes shouldn't be reused if it's to be used as a long term storage solution. Reusing tapes will likely make the MTBF (mean time before failure) much shorter.

- After being used once, depending on quality, handling and storage, tapes have a MTBF between 5-20 years. Note that DV isn't much affected by one failure, but HDV may lose up to 0.5 seconds of audio and video every time a bit is switched.

- If the tape was misused and has residue/gunk, it surely could gunk the heads of another camcorder. Cleaning the heads should fix the issue though.

- I remember reading about different lubricant used between makers, like some using an oil-based lubricant, while others using a power form. I also remember reading stories about mix and matching different tape makers possibly having a gunking effect when the two lubricants were mixing. The advice I read was to not mix and match different makes of tapes. I don't know how true that is, but I wanted to throw it in.


IMO, it's not worth ever reusing tapes at their price point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've heard about using the same brand tapes and camcorders too.


You said depending on the quality, handling, and storage of the tapes that their MTBF could be between 5-20 years. What would be the ideal environment? We keep our tapes on a shelf, in a room temperature area; however, some tapes are reused several times.


We have tried cleaning the heads of these camcorders several times over (JVC GR-D870U and Panasonic PV-GS120) and we still get the black bars. We'd really like to avoid spending money to get these fixed, but that might be our only option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sometimes. The picture that I took was of a random tape on my desk trying to play in the JVC GR-D870U; it does that with every tape.

The black vertical bars and/or pixelated bars appear mostly after an event has been videotaped and we're trying to capture it.
 
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