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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 June 12th, 2009, 06:35 AM   #1
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? About Head Cleaning Tape

Ok. so i've got about 50 hours of use on my XHA1. I only use the Canon Master tapes. Even thought I have not had any problems, should a run a head cleaning tape throught it? For some reason I am VERY hesitant about using one. Also, i never mix tapes, but the head cleaner is a Panasonic as oposed the the Canon tapes I have been using for recording. Is this a concern. Is it possible for a head cleaner to cause a problem with the camera? YOu know the saying "If it aint broke, dont fix it", should that be the case with a head cleaner? All the shoots that I do are typically one time events that would be difficult to reshoot because of droped frames. Thoughts?
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Old June 12th, 2009, 06:56 AM   #2
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If you follow the instructions, the head cleaning tape will do no harm - run it for a max of 10 seconds. Better to do it than risk the drop-out, IMO
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Old June 12th, 2009, 07:30 AM   #3
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Is the a specific kind one should buy? Or aare they pretty much the same? Also where can you get one for a decent price (retail store) as I need one ASAP. Thanks
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Old June 12th, 2009, 08:29 AM   #4
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Unless you're experiencing dropouts, you don't NEED to go acquire one ASAP. That being said, it's my understanding that a head cleaner is a head cleaner. I shoot on the Canon with Panasonic media and have a Sony head cleaning tape, with no issues.
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Old June 12th, 2009, 09:06 AM   #5
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As you say, 'Not broke? Then don't fix'.

You can safely use any head cleaning tape that will fit into the deck, but remember that that's all it does - it cleans the spinning head drum and the two tiny heads spaced 180 degrees apart. It does nothing for the rest of the tape path, mainly because the capstan, roller and revolving guides all move at zero relative speed to the travel of the cleaning tape.

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Old June 12th, 2009, 12:23 PM   #6
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How frequently should you clean the heads? I really don't see anything in the directions from several head cleaner tapes. I have been doing it about every 10 - 12 tapes.

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Old June 12th, 2009, 12:48 PM   #7
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If your camcorder's strapped to a speedway motorcycle then the head cleaner may well be required more often than if the camera's used 5 times a year to film gentle family picnics.

When you've run nearly 15 tapes through your camcorder a kilometre of tape will have travelled from feed to take-up spool, and this will leave deposits that build up and will ultimately cause havoc. New tapes tend to shed very slightly more oxide than used tape, simply because of the burnishing action of the tape drive.

I'd say that for general use (ie not filming in sandstorms or dusty building works) then your 'every 10 to 12 tapes' is unnecessarily frequent, especially if you're careful when you load and unload and stick to one maker's tape.

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Old June 13th, 2009, 05:04 PM   #8
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Don't use cleaning tape if not necessary. First you should clean only erasing head, when you see drop-outs.
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Old June 14th, 2009, 02:15 AM   #9
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There are no erase heads on DV or HDV cameras Atrur.
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Old June 14th, 2009, 12:57 PM   #10
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Hmm, what is it?
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? About Head Cleaning Tape-p6140021.jpg  
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Old June 14th, 2009, 01:24 PM   #11
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You can tell there's no erase head ahead of the record / play head by doing this: record 15 seconds of footage, rewind 7 seconds back and record something else.

Inch the tape forward or backward frame by frame to find the scene change. You'll notice that partway through a frame it changes, proving that the record head is doing the erasing.

In VHS days there was always a half second of noise if you did this test, because the stationary erase head was inches away from the spinning head drum.

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Old June 14th, 2009, 01:42 PM   #12
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OK, there's no reason to not believe you but tell me what this part is?
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Old June 16th, 2009, 07:25 AM   #13
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I always use new tape. I am paranoid about dropouts. When the Firestores or equivalent get down to a more reasonable (by my standards) price, I will switch to that.

I have been using the panasonic HDV tapes, but get about 1 dropped frame for every two tapes.

Bill in Ohio
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Old June 19th, 2009, 07:13 PM   #14
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I shoot motorcycle videos so I'm in and out of a lot of dusty and dirty environments. I use panasonic cleaning tape for 10 seconds about every 3-4 tapes depending on the situation I'm in. No problems for the past 3 years.
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