Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › General › Video and Film Discussion › 8mm video playback problems › robgrauert is right about
robgrauert is right about the need to clean the camcorder. And while tape can “break down” the symptom is loose oxide on the tape. Which clogs the video heads and causes faulty playback. So whether it is the tape or the camcorder, you’ll still need to clean the heads. The heads don’t sound too bad like they are totally covered, so using a head cleaner tape could do the job.
But if they are older tapes, you’re going to need to retension them by fast forwarding to the end & rewinding. This will do two things for you. First it will equalize the tension so the tape is unlikely to be stretched during playback (or recording.) And for older tapes that may have loose oxide on them, the process lets it be swept off without clogging the heads.
Hope this helps, good luck with your playback problems.