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Sorry for the delay with this newsletter, but the past few months have been the busiest for both Macie Video Service and myself personally. For those of you who have experienced delays in getting your free listing on our broadcastvideo.com/freelance page, please bear with us. Dan “Danno” Gallagher, our technician / web miester has been tied to the bench also. Our broadcastvideo.com homepage is self-maintained in between the repairs.

In addition to the deck maintenance on camcorders, we have had an increase in demand for camera setups. We have had a run on both the Macie Uniform Standard setups, as well as our “Film Look” and our “Hi Contrast” camera settings for use in extreme lighting conditions. Digital cameras such as the Sony D600, and Ikegami HL-V59 make it real easy to provide for different looks with the use of scene files and/or set up cards. While we specialize in Betacamcorders, we have also been setting up quite a few Digital BetaCams and BetaSX camcorders as well. To top that off we have had several inquiries for Sony’s HDCAM as well. The word is out!

Now for the maintenance tips

With age, wear and tear, other problems begin to creep into all video gear. This is especially true with input audio switches, and controls which can develop intermittent connections and even dead spots. This condition results in noise or loss of level that is usually intermittent. If you suspect these are problems, remind your maintenance tech when in for service. While we do look for such problems, because of their intermittent nature, some problems are not always detected in the shop.

Headphone jacks are a high wear item on some camcorders. While they do not effect what goes down on tape, they can make it difficult to judge audio quality. Camcorders and BVV-5s have a mono head phone output connector. Many problems trace back to using a stereo headset, which are designed for 2 channel connectors. Using the stereo headphones can not only result in having only one ear monitor, but also can result in intermittent connections as well.

Microphone pick up of deck mechanical noise is a normal wear and tear problem. As decks wear, mechanical parts by there nature begin to rattle, vibrate and make all sorts of noise which will eventually be picked up in a quiet room with external mics, or by its own camera mounted shotgun mic. It's a simple process of replacing these parts in a preventive maintenance program prior to actually experiencing problems in front of a client. Each mechanical part in all decks has a life span that varies from part to part. Idler gears usually last several hundred hours, while the video head’s lower drum bearings usually last about 2000 hours.

On camcorders there are several other sources of typical problems which are wear and tear related. The ribbon cables which attach the side mount TC board to the rest of the camcorder have been a problem for years. It seems the tin plating of these cables oxidizes and develops poor connections over time. Part of our preventive maintenance procedure is to remove and clean these, usually on an annual basis. This extends their life many years before they actually need replacement. These, like any other cables used in places that flex, can develop internal failures eventually.

The plug-in boards are also subject to intermittent poor connections, which can cause intermittent audio and other problems. While these boards are in slotted tracks, camera body flexing eventually causes problems with connections. Reseating of these boards is usually all that is required to fix these problems. Many times I have talked clients through the seating process which has gotten them through their shoots. While new camcorders seldom ever have this problem, it will eventually affect almost all of them in time.

Take care,
Roger 
 

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