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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 July 27th, 2007, 12:28 PM   #1
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to clean or not to clean ?

I have two A-1's (love them) except for...one of them has a, from what I've be reading from past posts, tape drop out problems, three out of the last six times shooting an hour with Pana 63MQ tapes I getting one and a half seconds of missing footage, Question I was going to switch to a Sony HD tape to see if this clears things up, I'm not shure if I should clean the heads first (don't like sandpaper except on wood) or just try the Sony first and if that doesn't work them clean the heads and then try the sony tapes again..Gary
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Old July 27th, 2007, 01:11 PM   #2
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Sigh.

It's not sandpaper. It's okay to clean the heads. Clean them and change tapes. Clean them again.

You won't KILL your tape heads.
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Old July 27th, 2007, 02:03 PM   #3
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Thanks Rich, I'll give it a go. Gary
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Old July 27th, 2007, 02:05 PM   #4
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I am not sure how to link threads since I am new here but this post might help:

1. There can be no difference in picture quality between ANY two tapes because all that is recorded is digital 1's and 0's. This is not linear, it is digital. There is no color or brightness differences, it is all digital, one’s and zero’s.

2. The only difference between standard MiniDV tapes and those sold as HDV MiniDV tapes is a degree of quality control during the manufacturing process. That does not mean that you won't have problems with the better tapes, you will if you don't follow the basic use principles. I have used nothing but Sony Premium tapes in all of my cameras, including two HDV cameras and now my HXL1 and have had not one drop out! These tapes cost about $3.00 each.

3. The very first thing to do when you receive your new camera is to run a cleaning tape through it. During manufacture, packaging and shipping there is a great possibility of various deposits getting onto the heads and tape drive mechanism. Go get a cleaning tape, brand does not matter. Use it about ten seconds at a time and use the tape only once, do not rewind. Clean your camera at a regular time interval, your decision, but many people use about 20 hours as a guideline. If you wait until a drop-out or another error happens, you have just defeated the purpose of using the cleaning tape to prevent errors. Don't be afraid to use a cleaning tape, that’s what they are for.

4. Few people recommend "Blacking" or "Striping" tapes any longer. This involved running the new tape through the camera with the lens cover on to lay down time code on the entire length of the tape. I do recommend fast forwarding and rewinding, if you have time, to insure the tape is tensioned properly before use. This may also eliminate getting that “Remove Cassette” error as the tape will be properly positioned and ready to use.

5. It is best to use the same tape all of the time. Tapes have two different types of lubricant, wet and dry. Think of them as graphite and light oil and of course very controlled and not like you and I would apply them. Anyway, if you mix the two kinds of lube you will get a sticky mess on the heads and other parts. So pick one brand of tapes and stick to them. If you buy tapes in bulk, say 20 to 50 at a time as I do, it will save you a LOT of money and go a long way toward insuring that you don't run out of your tape brand and have to use another brand. If you absolutely have to use another tape brand in an emergency, clean the heads on your camera before doing so.

6. Each brand of tape is slightly different. There are only about three manufactures, but many many brand names. You just don't generally know who made each brand. For example, Canon sells their own brand of HDV tapes, but they don't make them! The point being that you should stick to one brand again. This time the reason is that over a period of time, each tape will wear its own personalized grove onto the heads of your camera. This "mating" process helps to insure a good and proper contact between the tape and the heads. This will result in fewer errors, drop-outs etc... This is a good thing! Again, if you switch brands it may take quite a while for the mating process to be completed again, and generally you will get more wear. New grooves will have to be worn in and old ones removed. We are not talking thousandths here, it is in millionths of and inch or less, but it all adds up to wear and tear on your cameras heads and an increased chance of errors.

I hope that this information is helpful in making your decisions.

Thanks-Mike
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Old July 28th, 2007, 09:54 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Damon Roger View Post
6. Each brand of tape is slightly different. There are only about three manufactures, but many many brand names. You just don't generally know who made each brand. For example, Canon sells their own brand of HDV tapes, but they don't make them! The point being that you should stick to one brand again. This time the reason is that over a period of time, each tape will wear its own personalized grove onto the heads of your camera. This "mating" process helps to insure a good and proper contact between the tape and the heads. This will result in fewer errors, drop-outs etc... This is a good thing! Again, if you switch brands it may take quite a while for the mating process to be completed again, and generally you will get more wear. New grooves will have to be worn in and old ones removed. We are not talking thousandths here, it is in millionths of and inch or less, but it all adds up to wear and tear on your cameras heads and an increased chance of errors

Thanks-Mike
Hi Damon/Roger/Mike. This sounds very unlikely to me, because most people don't use the same tape over and over, even if they do stick with one brand.

Do you have any reference for this?

Richard
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Old July 28th, 2007, 12:08 PM   #6
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Any recommendations of Head Cleaning tapes?
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Old July 28th, 2007, 07:03 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Richard Hunter View Post
Hi Damon/Roger/Mike. This sounds very unlikely to me, because most people don't use the same tape over and over, even if they do stick with one brand.

Do you have any reference for this?

Richard
Richard,

To be clear, we are not talking about using the same exact tape over and over, only the same manufacturer and model such as the Sony Premium that I use. I use only Sony Premium and buy them 50 at a time. They have been around for quite a while and probably will be around a lot longer. I have never had a drop-out.

Damon is quoting a post that I made months ago. It is a compilation of many other threads, other internet posts and my personal thoughts and experiences. Some of the info even came from our host Chris Hurd's suggestions.

Chris, and therefore this forum, will not take a stand on what tape to use or what cleaner to use nor how often or when. He and the forum do not want to face any litigation from a user who decides that because he did or did not follows Chris and the forums suggestions that they will sue. Users are allowed to post their thoughts a experiences and others are allowed to read them and make their decisions based on that.

In order to understand the "use the same tape" suggestion, think of it this way. If you have ever replaced your vehicles brake pads, think about what the rotors and brake pads looked like. From the time they start to be used, they wear and mate to each other. After a short period of time, you will notice ridges and valleys in the pads and rotors. They of course match up to each other and are caused by minor differences in each of the materials. Some areas of the rotors are slightly harder or softer than others and the pads usually have metal fibers in them and also vary in hardness. This causes no problems in braking and to some extent it actually adds to their performance because the actual surface area is increased. When you change out pads, the rotors are generally turned or made flat again. However, if the surface is not too bad, many times you can just put new pads on and they will quickly wear to mate properly again.

How does this relate to tapes? Well tapes vary slightly in exact width and in other ways that affect wear patterns, such as the size and distribution of the recording media on the substrate or what ever they call it. For example, Sony says that there are smaller and more dense particles on their HDV tapes.

Either way, most will agree that sticking to one brand is a good idea. Especially when it comes to wet and dry lubricants, as it it is best not to mix them.

As for what cleaner to use and how often, well these is my thoughts. Use that same type cleaner as the tape you record to. i. e., if you use a wet tape to record to, then use a wet tape to clean with and so dry to dry! As for how often, check your manual. Most will tell you to use one at regular intervals, such as 20 to 30 hours. Believe it or not, most ignore this advice or never read their manual. They are so scared that the cleaning tape will wear out the heads that they never use one until they are clogged and MUST be cleaned. To me that is crazy. As an example, think of the glass on your shower doors. If you clean them regularly they never will wear out. If you do not clean them regularly, they will build up a coating of calcium and soap scum that becomes nearly impossible to clean off completely. CLR may appear to work great on TV, but try it on older doors that have not been cleaned in years!!!!

Too many people wait until the camera is so clogged that it is not working to clean the heads and then wonder why the 10 second run of the cleaning tape does not work! They send the camera to a repair facility for service and some less than scrupulous dealers tell them that the heads are ruined and need to be replaced. How many of you here have used and cleaned your cameras for years and years and never had a head failure????? How many of you sent your camera in for repair or cleaning, after not cleaning them regularly and were told that the heads needed to be replaced???? I rest my case. It's kinda like going to Midas or another shop and asking them to check and see if your brakes need replacing!!!!!! DUH!

I would love for us all to pitch in about $.50 each and buy a new camera. We tape a few things and THEN we run cleaning tapes until the camera no longer works. I would bet that you that hours of cleaning tape use would not cause it to quit working. We probably would spend more on cleaning tapes than for the camera itself!

Well, these are my thoughts. Use them at your own risk not mine and remember that neither this forum nor Mr. Hurd make any claims to knowing the best procedure for cleaning your camera or what tape to use in it. There are probably a hundred threads here dealing with this topic, read them. They are in the "Long Black Line" section of this forum. Want to know what tape to use in your new baby, check there also, as it has been cover a hundred times.

Best of luck to all, shoot video and keep your equipment clean.

Mike
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Old July 28th, 2007, 07:37 PM   #8
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Hi Mike. I would agree about sticking to one brand of tape, but the analogy with brake pads doesn't work for me because as far as I know it's only valid for any one set of pads and discs at a time. As soon as you change the pads (or the discs) there is another round of bedding in to be gone through, even though you stick to the original brand.

Regarding wet and dry cleaners, I was not aware that you could get wet cleaners, apart from cotton buds and fluid type systems. For cleaning tapes, how can you tell which is which?

Richard
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Old July 28th, 2007, 07:44 PM   #9
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If for some reason you must change brands, would a cleaning of the heads help eliminate the problem?
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Old July 28th, 2007, 07:58 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Richard Hunter View Post
Hi Mike. I would agree about sticking to one brand of tape, but the analogy with brake pads doesn't work for me because as far as I know it's only valid for any one set of pads and discs at a time. As soon as you change the pads (or the discs) there is another round of bedding in to be gone through, even though you stick to the original brand.

Regarding wet and dry cleaners, I was not aware that you could get wet cleaners, apart from cotton buds and fluid type systems. For cleaning tapes, how can you tell which is which?

Richard
Generally, those who make dry lube tapes also make dry lube cleaners and visa-versa. It only makes sense. I believe Sony makes only wet lube tapes and wet cleaners. This is not to say that you add any liquid to the cleaning tape, it is just on there already. Like lubing the tape with graphite or with oil.

You may not like the brake pad analogy, but it is the best I could do on short notice and is really not that bad. The tape has a much finer pattern and therefore will not make such a drastic wear changes. The entire tape path is subject to wear and the different tapes will wear in differently. See the two threads below, and pay attention to posts by Alister Chapman.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...highlight=wear

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...highlight=wear

Best of luck---Mike
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Old July 28th, 2007, 08:01 PM   #11
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If for some reason you must change brands, would a cleaning of the heads help eliminate the problem?
Yes, that is what most recommend. Best is to buy tapes in bilk and avoid having to change often.
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Old July 28th, 2007, 08:31 PM   #12
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Hi again, I was going to swithch to Sony after the problems I've had with the Pana MQ's (about 50% of my one hr tapes, (20tapes) have one dropout wihch is a big thing when doing a two camera shoot, and one of them drops...I've shot with Gl-1's and Sony DSR-300's for eight years without one Dropout!....using Sony Excellence tapes and Sony DV-cam 184's...I have a case of Sony HD tapes ordered, Since I was using the pana tapes I ordered a new pana tape head cleaner which I was going to use before switching to the Sony tapes. Do you think this is the way to go at this time. Gary...
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Old July 28th, 2007, 11:13 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Mike Teutsch View Post
Generally, those who make dry lube tapes also make dry lube cleaners and visa-versa. It only makes sense.
Hi Mike. Do you say this from your own knowledge, or is it an assumption? The reason I ask is that I have read lots of opinions and conflicting info about this subject, but so far I have not managed to find any hard facts from the manufacturers. For example, the post below, also from these forums, does not support what you say. I'm not saying that it is correct and you are wrong, just trying to find out the facts.

Richard


http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=16923
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Old July 31st, 2007, 10:18 AM   #14
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Hi Mike. Do you say this from your own knowledge, or is it an assumption? The reason I ask is that I have read lots of opinions and conflicting info about this subject, but so far I have not managed to find any hard facts from the manufacturers. For example, the post below, also from these forums, does not support what you say. I'm not saying that it is correct and you are wrong, just trying to find out the facts.

Richard


http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=16923
Hi Richard,

I'm not sure what I said that you are disputing, maybe you can clarify. I am certainly not always correct, but a quick read of that thread did not show me anything new. What was the part you are reffering to.

Also, that thread is also 4 years old!

Mike
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Old July 31st, 2007, 11:26 AM   #15
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where applicable, i only use sony. From 3/4, beta, dvcam, hvd/minidv, and even dvd..they just make the most consistently reliable products. for dvcpro i use panasonic.

for cleaning i use the sony dvm-12cld. i'll run it between every 5-7 hours of rec time. the most i have ever experienced is one gop dropout per tape. i average about 30 tapes per month.
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