DVX100 is KILLIN' me!
I posted here a year or so ago about a DVX100a incident where the camera indicated it was recording...but it wasn't. The viewfinder indicated REC. It was spitting out time code for the producer. And the tape was rolling. But it wasn't recording.
Every time I used the camera since then, I have randomly checked the tape and held my breath on important shoots (and which ones aren't?). I sent it to Specialized for tune-up. It worked great until yesterday.
We’re shooting with the dvx100 and get a head clog warning (like I got on the problem-shoot awhile back). I put in a head cleaner tape...run it a few seconds...then pop in the original tape and review previous shots. Tape was fine until the error message...and then it is banding... Parallel lines of video from previous frames showing up. We try recording again...and the error message returns...and we record more banding. We reclean heads...no use. Camera does not want to record any more.
So...I get on the phone & round up another DVX100. The owner said he has never had a moments problem with it. We’re back to taping...all is well...though I am ready to slam Panasonic on every forum I can find, and figuring this new client thinks I am am amateur with cheap, crappy gear. (and perhaps they would be right). Then we get a brief tape head clog error message on the second camera! We stop taping, pop in the head cleaner, and watch tape we just shot. Looks good. We finish shooting...maybe ten min more of footage...no error messages. We pack up, return the 2nd camera, and head home. This morning...I am capturing the footage, and voila’. NOTHING on the tape after we cleaned the heads on Mike’s camera...even though we had Record light and camera indicated all was well. No time code...no video...no audio...no nothing.
I haven’t told the client yet...but they are considering us for a much larger job....and Panasonic has probably totally blown it for me.
I called Specialized Communications to schedule a repair on my camera...and they told me they don’t work on DVX100’s anymore. Didn’t say why. Hmmmm....
I am trying to decide if I want to toss this camera into the dumpster or get it fixed, and hold my breath every time I use it for a job....though I have been doing that for the past year and a half.
The last incident cost me over $1000 for reshooting and rehiring make up, studio, etc. This time it has probably cost me a $10,000 gig...plus the fee I should have made yesterday shooting...plus the salary of the P.A. I had with me.
The common denominator seems to be the tape. I use only Panasonic tapes..yesterday it was two AY-DVM63PQ tapes, purchase from The Tape Company. I also use 33's and 83's...but always Panasonic.
Any thoughts? Last time I had a couple DVX100 users tell me they had similar phantom problems. First time...I can figure it was a freak thing. Second time...I can't use a DVX100 ever again if I want to stay in business. Thanks Panasonic. It's hard enough out here without this crap.
Maybe it's time to move up to tapeless? I'm loving the new HMC150 and it's a lot less to chance than working with DV tapes. Either you hit record or you don't- pretty simple.
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If you go to our website, look undert the support tab, find servicer, put in the model number and your zip code you will find a servicer near you. Frankly I would have sent it in after the first experience.
When ever you have a borrowed camera you should clean the heads before use as you don't know the tape formulation that the other users used. You should start with a clean slate. Even with using the same tape all the time you do need to clean the tape path like every 50 hours. Of course tape is tape, and storage really affects the emulsion on the tape which can clog heads.
Sorry for your issues, but it does sound like service is in order.
Jan Crittenden Livingston
Product Manager, HPX500, HVX200, DVX100
Panasonic Broadcast & TV Systems
I called Panasonic yesterday and they told me to ship it to Kansas City, so it's going out for a once-over. I clean the heads regularly, and we store our tape in a cool, dry environment.
I understand heads getting clogged...I don't understand why the camera would indicate it is recording properly for a long period of time when it isn't.
Not sure if this will help, but I had a problem recapturing a tape shot on a DVX 100 and when it went into the capture deck it seemed totally blank. But we had captured from that same tape earlier. I tried it in a different DVX and was able to get a partial signal. A ton of digital noise but the image was somewhere on the tape. It was suggested to me to try playing it back on the camera it was shot on. I'm not sure why, or if you did this, but its worth a look as that tape may actually have a recording on it.