How often do you clean the video heads? at DVinfo.net

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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old November 6th, 2007, 03:26 PM   #1
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How often do you clean the video heads?

The XH-A1 manual says to clean the heads frequently. I had always thought that over-cleaning was damaging to the heads...?
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Old November 6th, 2007, 05:32 PM   #2
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And 'under cleaning' is damaging to the video you are shooting, except you won't notice it until playback.

My rule of thumb, is to clean the heads on my XL2 for about ten seconds, before an important commercial shoot. What that might come to between shoots... could be ... ten or fifteen hours or so? Basically, I do a test record first. If it all looks good, and I feel like I don't need it. I don't do it. But it seems like the more 'imporant' the shoot, the more likely I am to clean first. So basically, its a 'peace of mind' issue. What do YOU feel comfortable with?

At the same time, I figure to ship the camera to Canon once a year for routine testing, cleaning, alignment maintenance as well. Figure that's just the cost of doing business.

I really don't worry too much about OVER cleaning. At least, not as much as running the chance of dirty heads in an important situation.

So it's really a personal peace of mind thing.

ADD: I always shoot with the same Panny tapes, but IF for some reason I have to shoot with another brand, I clean before and after that switch.
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Old November 6th, 2007, 05:42 PM   #3
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Roughly every 10 hours of taping.
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Old November 6th, 2007, 07:58 PM   #4
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Do you guys just use a cleaning tape? Maybe this is crazy, but I owned my XL1 for 8 years and my XL2 for 2.5 years and never cleaned them once with a tape cleaner. I sent my XL1 in for a Canon cleaning one time, but again, never used those tape cleaners as I always heard negative things about them.

And my camera never had any picture deterioration or any problems whatsoever. Now I am a total neat freak and keep my camera in absolutely pristine condition, but I always thought it was better to let them go until you actually saw an issue. And like the post above, I always use one brand, for me the Sony Excellence tapes.
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Old November 6th, 2007, 08:10 PM   #5
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I use the Sony pd 170 and I clean my heads every day I go out shooting for about 10sec . IF I'm doing an all day shoot outside with bad weather I might do it again.
I have been caught out where I was filming some great stuff only to find that my heads were dirty and lost all footage.
Have learnt my lesson.

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Simon
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Old November 6th, 2007, 08:31 PM   #6
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I only use Sony tapes and use the Sony DVM12CLD cleaner. I carry it with me. With the rigors of travel and rapid temp changes, the heads require cleaning often.

I've never sent in my Canon cameras to be cleaned. How much does that cost and what is the turn around? I'm shooting a minimum of 100 hours per month, so if I ever noticed anything suspect with my cams I would quickly replace them.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 06:47 AM   #7
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Back in my Betacam days, Sony recommended using the head cleaning tape for 5 seconds after every 50 hours of tape. I still do that with other cameras and it seems to be a good practice. The only time I go more than that is after I've been shooting in dusty conditions; and then I'll use it after the shoot is over.
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Old November 13th, 2007, 11:12 AM   #8
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I had a few problems with "head blocking" on an XM1 a couple of years ago. It went back to Canon and had some bits replaced and came back fine. The problem wasn't that the heads hadn't been cleaned, but I asked how often I should be cleaning them. The Engineer at Canon UK recommended running a head cleaner tape for about 5 - 10 seconds after every 5 - 10 tapes, depending whether I was just recording (less) or using the cam for playback as well (more). He gave me a Panasonic head cleaning tape, too.
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