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.