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2 Q's: Digital dropouts & low con prints

The lurking audio maven crawls out of the mixing suite for his once a year
favor from the assembled brain trust.

To what degree are you experiencing dropouts with digital tape formats like
DigiBeta, etc? I looked at the transfer of a film project to DigiBeta and
there were both video and irreparable audio dropouts (couldn't layback the
audio after multiple attempts). This was on the first playback after
recording the transfer. Can these dropouts be detected during the transfer
process at the lab facility via some confidence mode (automated even?)
before shipping?

On a possibly related note: I've been watching a lot of the re-broadcasts of
"Homocide" on Court TV and nearly every episode suffers from quick giant
horizontal pixel crawl dropouts at several spots in the broadcast. Anybody
noticed this? Is this the result of an old tired broadcast master, a
compressed satellite feed to my cable provider breaking up from a glitch or
a quick steadicam move, or bad luck with new syndication masters? Seems like
I'm seeing more dropouts in general on TV since the digital kind appear more
noticeable than those old analog hits.

Could someone kindly give a semi-technical rundown of the "low con print"
concept? I basically understand, but there must be some art to this process
because some of the low con prints I've seen come back from a lab/transfer
facility look surprisingly bad. These are films originally shot for
theatrical projection. Does making a low con film print and then
transferring it to video create particularly different challenges in the
transfer to tape than transferring directly to video for a MOW broadcast
that will never see theatrical projection? I understand that the color
correction is handled by different processes. I'm just surprised at what
seems the be the disparity in results.

Thanks for shedding some colored light on the subject.

regards, jrm

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