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-   -   Time for tape cleaning? (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-gl-series-dv-camcorders/26828-time-tape-cleaning.html)

Bob Harotunian May 31st, 2004 05:56 PM

Time for tape cleaning?
I have about 10 hours of use on my GL2 since it was factory cleaned. However, I've recently noticed maybe 3 or 4 frames that had mozaic noise (pixelated?). I only use Sony Excellence tapes so could this just mean a tape cleaning would be in order or is there something more sinister happening?

Ken Tanaka May 31st, 2004 07:32 PM

I may be time for a cleaning, even though 10 hours is not very much running time. If it were my camera I'd wait a bit unless I expected to have something very important to shoot.

Cosmin Rotaru June 1st, 2004 06:18 AM

I have 8 tapes each used about 10 times. Never cleaned the heads. One of the tapes gaved me the mozaic noise after the first 2 or 3 uses, but just once. I have reused the tapes since then and is ok. So it was probably just something temporary, like condensation on heads or something.
I'd say try and reproduce the problem. If you know you've been in dusty places or done anything that could contaminate the heads, I'd say clean them.

K. Forman June 1st, 2004 06:31 AM

Depending on the quality of the tape, it may be losing magnetic particles or stretching. This happens when you use tapes repeatedly.

Hank Freeman June 1st, 2004 08:54 PM

I've shot over a 1000 hours of video/tape on GL2s and have learned from experience to toss tapes used 4-5 times. The pixelization or 'banding' effect seems to be related to re-use and I've never had it occur on a new tape. actually, i shot now to both tape and hard-drive religiously.

K. Forman June 1st, 2004 09:19 PM

If I'm on a "real" shoot, I'll only use brand new tapes. If it is just fun and family stuff, I'll use an old tape occasionally, but not often. I also try to only capture from it once or twice, but this isn't only for the preservation of the tape, but my cam which doubles as a deck.

I know... I know... I should copy to a master, and I should have a dedicated deck...

Bob Harotunian June 2nd, 2004 10:31 AM

To be more specific, I always, always use new tapes for every pro shoot and it's always Sony Excellence tapes. And this camera is only used for business. That's what is bothering me about these mosaic frames popping up.

K. Forman June 2nd, 2004 10:58 AM

It may have been a flaw on the tape itself then... That happens. Occasionaly, there will be a dud.

Gary Walter June 2nd, 2004 11:19 AM

I have been having problems with Sony Premium tapes lately such as dropped frames and vertical lines for about two seconds at a time. I have shot with nothing but Sony Premium the past three years on my GL1 and have not had problems like this until the last four months or so. Even after cleaning the heads the problem remains. I recently had to resort to buying a few Sony Premiums from Wal-Mart and I noticed the tapes have numbers and letters stamped on the spine where the lable goes whereas the tapes bought in bulk do not have these stampings. The Wal-Mart tapes have seemed to have the most problems with glitches, lines and dropped frames. Could this be a Sony problem? Are the tapes sold at Wal-Mart different than those bought in bulk? Bob, were have you been buying your tapes lately?


Jason Casey June 2nd, 2004 12:18 PM

Yeah, you might want to do a good head cleaning and then switch your brand of tapes. Sony tapes are known for problems like this. We used to use them and got tons of droputs and pixelation, we then swiched to Panasonic tapes and haven't had any problems since. I never trust Sony's consumer electronics or tapes for that matter.

BTW. Sony uses a wet lubricant on their tapes, and panasonic uses a dry lubricant, which is why you should do a good head cleaning before switching brands or you will just introduce more problems.

Ken Tanaka June 2nd, 2004 12:25 PM

<<<-- Originally posted by Jason Casey : ...BTW. Sony uses a wet lubricant on their tapes, and panasonic uses a dry lubricant, which is why you should do a good head cleaning before switching brands or you will just introduce more problems. -->>>

Actually, Jason, that may no longer be true. We've seen credible reports that Sony is now using dry lubes as of 1997. Still, it's not a bad policy to stick with a single brand and clean when you (rarely) switch.

Bob Harotunian June 2nd, 2004 12:54 PM

I just did another 5 minute test and got 1 pixelated frame and 1 dropout on a different Sony tape. Not happy with that so I've got a job tomorrow and I'll check the results before using the cleaner.

BTW, I buy several 5 packs at a time most recently from tapeandmedia.com.

The Sony cleaning tape says to run the cleaner for 10 seconds. Is that what you folks do?

Ken Tanaka June 2nd, 2004 01:11 PM

Yes. Use cleaning tapes -exactly- as prescribed on their instructions.

Jason Casey June 3rd, 2004 10:56 AM

Overuse of cleaning tapes can actually cause more harm than good so be careful of that.

Bob Harotunian June 5th, 2004 07:44 AM

Well, a final comment on my post. I covered a luncheon speech Thursday and captured the footage afterwards. I used a tape cleaner just to be safe before shooting. Reviewing the scenes, I still found several frames with noise. So, I tried recapturing the offending scenes on another drive and the mosaics disappeared. I defragged the HD and recaptured other bad frames. Again, they were gone. So the good news is that most of the noise was because of the fragmented HD I think. A bit of a relief.

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