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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
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Old October 13th, 2007, 12:05 PM   #16
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I usually buy about US$150-200 worth of tape stock, so I always have tapes handy. Plus there's a slight discount at B&H at those quantities.
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Old October 13th, 2007, 12:52 PM   #17
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I don't reuse tapes because I keep all my original forever, or give it to the client. Generally I spend more money on pizza and coffee and donuts on any production than on tape--less than 8 bucks an hour (Panasonic AMQ)...there aren't too many things that cheap and reliable these days. But if you're a hobbyist and not getting paid, ie., just shooting for fun, then I can see reusing tapes.
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Old October 15th, 2007, 04:40 AM   #18
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I never record over original camera tapes if I can help it, but more because that's my archive rather than fears of causing drop-outs. I also use my camera to record the master copy of my edited programmes, and in this case I often re-record the edit 2 or 3 times as I discover spelling mistakes in captions or fix other last-minute problems. I always play them back, just to check and have only once noticed a glitch introduced during recording over an existing signal - that that could well have been due to any of the things that normally cause drop-outs when recording to tape.
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Old October 15th, 2007, 11:02 AM   #19
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Not reusing tapes primarily came from analog tape recording days. On an analog tape, the signal to noise ratio needed to be optimium and there could even be bleed through if the tape wasn't erased correctly or the erase head was not working properly.

Remember using electromagnets to erase old tapes?

Digital is a much easier format to record. How tough is it to record a 1 or a 0? If you wanted to be sure of a best quality recording to a used tape, mechanically erase it using an electromagnet so you don't have to depend on the camera erase head maintaining contact with the tape.

Also, most "dropouts" or "tape problems" are actually recorded data errors. The ts format is error correcting (ec). Satellite uplinks and downlinks use a similar ts format for transmission because the ec is so robust. You don't see many dropouts on satellite.

But, wouldn't it be easier and safer just to buy new tape?
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Old October 15th, 2007, 11:29 AM   #20
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A dropout or other record problem a new tape may appear as a stutter in the image, perhaps visually a brief pause/freeze witha break-up or gap up in the sound

A record problem on a reused tape may appear as a glimpse of the previous recorded material (video and sound) during playback.

Is a new tape better than a once-recorded tape? depends on the quality of the tapes involved and the strength of the erase/record signal in the camcorder.

If recycling a previously recorded tape, be sure it is one you will not miss. And there is probably a higher risk of a subsequent playback issue when recycling tapes that were recorded on a different machine.

You gotta do what you gotta do to get the job done, deal with any problems in post, and learn from the experience.

If using a different tape formulation it is usually a good idea to do a head cleaning first.
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Old October 15th, 2007, 11:42 AM   #21
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That was me LLoyd, and forgive me, I'll say it again.

Thereís still an impression out there that used tapes are somehow inferior to new ones. Iím still wary of the fact that one hour MiniDV tapes can be bought for little over a pound a piece, and as 17.5% of that is tax (in the UK), they canít cost much to begin with. A lot less than a M & S sandwich, for instance. Being so cheap suggests that thereís some pretty expensive highly automated machinery at work, and that thereís precious little in the way of human inspection being carried out.

Which is why I say that if youíve used a tape and know it to be good, thatís the same as using your microphone and knowing it to be good. So Iím not afraid to reuse my tapes over and over again, and these days theyíre being put to quite a test Ė recording HDV.

But as I say, thereís still a hard core of people who equate used tape to mean inferior tape, and they tend to work under the impression that as itís so cheap, then you should always use new. In fact tape is probably at it smoothest and best after itís been burnished by the spinning heads a couple of times, that will have knocked off all the high spots and imperfections.

It's odd that most people instinctively think of re-recording a tape as "re-using" it but see no likely problem with playing it back repeatedly -- or even running it back and forth over the heads for log-and-capture. Itís all tape re-use.

For really important projects I would push the boat out and step up a notch from the everyday Premium grade to the Sony Excellence, the professional grade DVCAM or tape labelled for HDV. Many claim there is no difference between grades, but Iím a firm believer in that you get what you pay for, and more expensive tape will have been slit from the centre of the wide ribbon and may well have had further polishing operations to ensure the lowest possible dropout levels. For HDV this is really important, as the same dropout will affect far more frames than if you had been shooting in standard definition.

Two more thoughts. Don't 'black' tapes and don't mix brands in your camcorder.

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Old October 17th, 2007, 12:14 PM   #22
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Heard that sony uses a wet lubricant and pani uses a dry lubricant and that if you use pani tapes in ANY MiniDV cam and then go to Sony it can seriously screw the heads up. Try circuit city or best buy for pani tapes. I had to grab some of the cheapys there to keep from shooting over some old tape.
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Old October 17th, 2007, 01:14 PM   #23
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Wet/Dry is old news, and the related problems, and solution, date back to the early days of MinIDV (i.e., 1990s) and tape stock from that era. Panasonic and Sony (the major tape makers of that day) got together and resolved the underlying lubricant incompatibility issues.

There still are potential issues when changing tape stock, but they are not due to the the lubricant type question.

The potential issue I see with recording over previously recorded tape is one caused by minor variation in tracking and tape path over the heads. If it is not a good tracking match to the originally recorded material, there may be some residual of the original material left on tape, and this may cause an issue on a subsequent playback. This is not common, but may explain some infrequently reported problems not directly traced to a head clog.
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Old October 17th, 2007, 10:09 PM   #24
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I have recorded over panasonic tapes a few times without any dropouts on my A1's. I only do this on non-crucial projects however. I wouldn't suggest recording over tapes more than 3-5 times due to tape stretch. Can someone elaborate on the dry/wet compatibility issue? Is it ok for me to play back (not record) Sony tapes in my A1 when I primarily use Panasonic? Is recording on different tape stock more of an issue than just playback?
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Old October 17th, 2007, 11:02 PM   #25
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Just did on my last shoot (not my budget), just about couldn't finish the project due to the broken/garbled time code all over the place...even ignoring TC breaks, FCP had problems capturing.
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Old October 18th, 2007, 02:47 AM   #26
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Larry, the record or replay of a tape doesn't in any way affect what a tape may or may not deposit into the tape path inside your camera. The tape passes the same heads at the same speed in record or replay, and that applies to the capstan, pinch roller and many guides, pins and rollers from feed to take-up spool.

Same with using a head cleaning tape. Works every bit as well in the record as in the replay mode.

Like I say - I wouldn't mix tapes in your camcorder as you're doing. But I say this and happily play anything and everything in my DSR-11. But I won't in my cameras, oh no.

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Old October 18th, 2007, 04:53 AM   #27
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When I do projects for fun I often re-use tapes, and I have never experienced any problems doing that.
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Old October 18th, 2007, 04:59 AM   #28
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Can someone elaborate on the dry/wet compatibility issue?
When any tape plays it leaves a some deposits behind on the tape guides, rollers, heads and other contact points in the tape path as a result of normal tape wear.

In the dim distant past (the early days of MiniDV in the 1990s) , there were essentially two types of MiniDV tape, Panasonic and Sony (some other brands were relabeled Panasonic or used Panasonic-type components). They used different type lubricants. But the lubs were incompatible in that if the deposits mixed, they would form a gunk/gum that would cause especially bad head clogs.

When this was discovered, the large number of problems and complaints was costing both companies money and reputation, resulted in Panasonic and Sony working out the differences and standardizing on compatible lubs that eliminated this problem. About this time, there was a MiniDV tape shortage - Sony announced one of their tape production facilities had a fire and was off-line. There were some rumors that the fire was cover for making the change at Sony, and that Sony was shipping tape with some Panasonic-manufactured components during this period. It is worth noting that Panasonic is part of Matsuhita Corporation (who also owns a 37% interest in JVC, down from a controlling interest up until last August).

So this tape lube issue is old news, and only applies to very old tape stock. However, tape will still leave deposits behind, and deposits can break free and cause head clogs, especially if tape with different mechanical characteristics is used after a long diet of one tape type. Thus you can still get head clogs, and they are somewhat more likely after a change in tape brand, but not anywhere near the problem of the early days. Running a cleaning tape will reduce the likelihood of a clog.
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Old October 18th, 2007, 05:45 AM   #29
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Buy in bulk and never re-use. I've just taken delivery of 500 tapes ready to be used!
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Old October 18th, 2007, 09:20 AM   #30
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I only use tape for back up these days. I record using OnLocation in a laptop.

However, I normally reuse tapes 5 times for critical and toss them at about 10 reuses. At 10 recordings occasional dropouts start to happen though really not often. I've actually used some tapes 30 times and they were still OK. Figured I was pressing my luck though.

I like the redundancy of disk + tape. There tend to be some little problems with each but rarely on the same frames. Having both has saved me in post several times.
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