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There are two possible causes for your problems and both of them relate to the source recorder. The less likely problem is her camcorder is about to die and the relationship between tape speed and head travel are no longer within tolerances. In that case, her camcorder will continue to play her tapes just fine. (And usually all other tapes will play okay.) Generally speaking, this occurs most often when the tape is recorded in LP & EP modes. And you will almost always see flashes of signal and hear garbled sounds.
Since you describe total static, as if the tape is actually blank, the most likely problem is your shooter is using a Digital8 camcorder. Most casual shooters have no clue about the technical details of video. Your gal is very likely to say she is shooting Hi8 because that is the kind of tape you have to use in a Digital8 recorder. You’ll need to ask her a couple of questions. The best question is to ask the make & model of her camcorder. Only Sony used Digital8, so any other brand will necessarily be recording in Hi8. If the camcorder is a Sony, then the first 3 letters of the model will either be DCR or TVR dash something. TVR models have analogue decks and DCR models are digital recorders and use the same Hi8 tape to record the DV25 signal also found on miniDV tapes. If she isn’t able to easily locate the model on her Sony, the next best question is asking how long her tapes can record. Digital8 (and miniDV) tapes must move at twice the speed of analogue tapes. So if she can only record an hour on a P6-120 (120 min. Hi8 tape) then it would have to be a digital recording.
So give your shooter a call and ask these questions. My experience with casual shooters is that they will know the make but not the model of their camcorder. So I generally ask about the recording time for a Hi8 tape. Everyone know how long their tapes last. There is another simple way to check out the analogue/digital question. Take the tape to a store that sells Sony Digital8 camcorders and tell the sales clerk you must test your tape so you know the camcorder will work with the tapes you have at home. And if it is Digital8, you will have to have a Sony Digital8 deck to transfer the video. But the good news is the captured video will be the same quality as stuff shot on miniDV instead of the far lower quality analogue signal.
Good luck and let us know how it works out for you.