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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon GL2, GL1 and PAL versions XM2, XM1.


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Old May 31st, 2004, 05:56 PM   #1
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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?
TIA,
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Old May 31st, 2004, 07:32 PM   #2
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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.
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Old June 1st, 2004, 06:18 AM   #3
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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.
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Old June 1st, 2004, 06:31 AM   #4
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Depending on the quality of the tape, it may be losing magnetic particles or stretching. This happens when you use tapes repeatedly.
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Old June 1st, 2004, 08:54 PM   #5
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tapes..

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.
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Old June 1st, 2004, 09:19 PM   #6
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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...
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Old June 2nd, 2004, 10:31 AM   #7
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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.
Bob
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Old June 2nd, 2004, 10:58 AM   #8
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It may have been a flaw on the tape itself then... That happens. Occasionaly, there will be a dud.
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Old June 2nd, 2004, 11:19 AM   #9
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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?

Thanks
Gary
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Old June 2nd, 2004, 12:18 PM   #10
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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.
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Old June 2nd, 2004, 12:25 PM   #11
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<<<-- 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.
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Old June 2nd, 2004, 12:54 PM   #12
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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?
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Old June 2nd, 2004, 01:11 PM   #13
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Yes. Use cleaning tapes -exactly- as prescribed on their instructions.
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Old June 3rd, 2004, 10:56 AM   #14
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Overuse of cleaning tapes can actually cause more harm than good so be careful of that.
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Old June 5th, 2004, 07:44 AM   #15
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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.
Bob
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