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Video Head Evaluation 


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 meter.

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 recording.

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 one.

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.

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