At Macie Video Service, we are fortunate to have some of the best clients in the
Television Industry. Our clients shoot, literally, all over the world, and send their valued
video gear to us in Dedham, MA to maintain optimum performance. When any videotape machine is
sent in, its our policy to check head tip penetration among other items of wear. When
penetration is measured, it is measured in microns. One micron is equal to a millionth of a
In terms of camcorders, new heads typically measure around 18 microns. Those
same heads are considered worn at 9 microns. When your camcorder or other tape machine is
brought in and reconditioned, repaired or simply "gone over," we issue a statement of wear,
and tell you what our measurements are. Typically, this data is in the explanation box on
your invoice/service record. Camcorder heads judged to be at 12 microns, or other format VCR
heads at 20 microns, are considered by us to be in fair condition. Keep in mind that you must
look at the LOWEST figure to evaluate heads on an upper drum. The saying: "A chain is as
strong as its weakest link" applies. Camcorder heads at 11 microns or less, for instance, are
judged to be in poor condition.
What "poor condition" means is that actual head-to-tape contact may be less than what is needed for
optimum recording. There may be more dropouts, or colors may flash in some areas when viewing a
playback from a recording with a worn head. While a recording may look good on one playback deck,
it may have severe problems on another. This, too, may be a possible sign of questionable
We understand the cost of new heads, share the frustration of the wear issue, and understand the
expense of losing valuable video, worse, a client. Sometimes increasing tape tension may help
alleviate poor head-to-tape contact characteristics, and we may increase tension on machines with
worn heads in the hope of increasing the usability of the head. However, it's important to note
that a 2/3 worn head may only give you and your client 1/3 the recording integrity of a new
We offer the best service and knowledge our experience can give you, but you are the best judge of
the level of performance you want from your gear.
It is up to you to evaluate our report in consideration of your judgment and the somewhat
predictable capabilities of your equipment. Please read and make sure you understand the report you
have been given by Macie Video Service.
We are always glad to explain the information, give you our recommendations, and will endeavor to
keep your equipment operating at its best.