Question about Hitachi VME545 Camcorder

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Tracking seems off

My Hitachi 8mm seems to have a tracking problem, when I play back old tapes, there is no sound and there is a horizontal bar across the screen. When I playback newly recorded tapes it looks great. How can I adjust the tracking so I can play back all my library. I was hoping to convert all the tapes into DVDs with my Mac, but it seems useless now, unless I can set the tracking.

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I have had the same problem. There is no way to manually adjust the tracking on this Hitachi, or on most 8mm cameras, for that matter. I copied all of my more recent tapes to DVD first (2 copies of each) and then I went to the oldest tapes, which for some reason were OK. When I got to one tape that gave me trouble, I just let it play in the camcorder for about an hour. It adjusted its own tracking so that the picture was OK. Then, I rewound the tape and copied that one. I still have 2 tapes that will not adjust. I am going to send those out to a copying service. I hope they can adjust the tracking and make the copies I need.
By the way, I used this camera and a Panasonic DMR-E55 to make the DVD copies.

Posted on Sep 09, 2009

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1 Answer

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It's a 4-head reversable deck where the Forward tracks are arranged across the physical tape surface, front-to-back as follows:

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...so it sounds like the Reverse playback heads are engaged at the same time you play Forward, so you would hear those adjacent tracks backward. If you play the tape in the Reverse direction, is the Forward program audible (but backward)?

If so and in otherwise high fidelity, something in the Forward/Reverse head selection may be hosed.

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If it is more than 5 years old, it may be suffering from component failure.
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