A segment of magnetic tape on which expected information is absent.
The failure to read a bit of stored information.
It happens when the tape loses contact with the spinning head momentarily. Usually due to a crease or 'molded bend" in the tape. Some blame all dropouts on lubrication problems, but those who are careful with the tape don't have any problems reguardless of what tape they use (or use several). Specifically, don't let the tape sit "mid-way" but rewind it to the end when you store the tape or leave it in the camcorder more than a day. The feeding rollers and guides bend the tape somewhat when loaded even if it isn't wrapped around the head. See my last post or do some searches on good tape care and storage.
When you have a dropout, sometimes you can "play that part over" and it may work (and you can try to redo your copying or splice in the good material). Some minor runs of data dropouts are corrected by the error correction codes built in to the recording and playback spec, but generally you do want to avoid having dropouts.
If you do manage to get creases in the tape, you wil have dropouts. Try not to jar or drop the miniDV tapes or subject them to rapid heat or humidity changes. All in all, the metal evaporated tape and high tensile substrate is pretty robust (try erasing one with a regular non-biased hand-held eraser), but there is a LOT of data there at a very high density so a small area that is bad or loses contact with the head will result in a loss of more data than the same area of a VHS-C or 8mm cartridge.
Last update: 02:07 PM Sunday, May 7, 2006