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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old July 10th, 2005, 02:12 AM   #1
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Head Cleaner Question

I have a Sony MiniDV Head Cleaner that I've used on another camcorder a few times. I am using Panasonic MiniDV's for recording on the Canon XL2. Can I use the Sony Head Cleaner on my Canon XL2, or should I purchase a new one and does it have to be made by Panasonic since the recording DV's are made by the same?
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Old July 10th, 2005, 02:57 AM   #2
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Lucinda,

It doesn't make any difference what head cleaner tape you choose to use. They are not camera specific as far as I know.....

It is very important to clean the heads on a regular basis. I witnessed the lack of this maintenence very recently. I was hired to shoot with the producer's cam and it wouldn't play back anything but a blue screen.
I was very new to PROCONSUMER cams and had no clue as to what the problem might be. Thankfully, I had brought a manual for his camera, and finally determined that his camera had a head clog. Anyhow, I did a lot of fast-forwarding and fast-rewinds to try and clean the heads and it finally worked. We were able to finish the shoot and the producer bought a Mini-DV head cleaner tape the next day.

Good wishes,

Stephanie
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Old July 10th, 2005, 02:44 PM   #3
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Hi Stephanie
Thanks for the answer.

There are filmmakers on this Forum who say that you shouldn't clean the heads unless you absolutely have to because that too wears them down, so I'm not sure which is correct. And, there are people who recommend that you use the same brand tape from the very start of cam usage, which I'm doing, and so I thought that the head cleaner should be the same brand as well.

Lucinda

Last edited by Lucinda Luvaas; July 10th, 2005 at 02:46 PM. Reason: misspelled name
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Old July 10th, 2005, 02:50 PM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephanie Wilson
It is very important to clean the heads on a regular basis.
I would have to respectfully disagree with that statment. The heads should be cleaned only when they need it, especially with cleaning tapes. Those tapes are like fine sandpaper. The heads are worn with each cleaning. It is very easy to do damage with too much cleaning.

Only clean the heads when there is an apparent--visual--reason to do so. They will last far longer this way!

Jay
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Old July 10th, 2005, 02:56 PM   #5
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Thanks Jay.

I didn't mention your name, but read your post last night about this.

This is what I've heard from a number of people.

If I ever do need to clean the heads, shouldn't I use the same brand, in this case, Panasonic, the same brand that I'm using for shooting? or does that matter? does it matter if I've used the head cleaning tape on another cam?

Thanks for your imput!

Lucinda
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Old July 10th, 2005, 07:00 PM   #6
 
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Lucinda, I use the same brand. It may or may not make a diffrence, but why risk it?

As far using the head cleaner on another camera is concerned, that shouldn't be an issue, as the "used" cleaner tape is wound onto the spool just like tape. So the tape doing the actual cleaning is always "fresh." Once the entire tape is used, toss it.

Jay
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Old July 10th, 2005, 09:32 PM   #7
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Just be sure to use the correct 'type'. I am not sure if the Sony cleaning tapes are 'dry'. If they are 'wet', Canon does not recommend using it in the XL2. Use only 'dry' type cleaning tapes.

I use Panasonic tapes as well, but I have not found a Panasonic cleaner. I read that it is recommended to do a very light cleaning before your first shoot to eliminate factory dust on the heads (I guess) so before my first professional shoot with the XL2 I went hunting for a cleaner and could only find ONE within an hour's drive. It stupidly didn't indicate wet or dry, so I stupidly tried it anyway. It immediately got eaten by the tape mechanism, got caught in the camera, and I blew a gasket in my cerebral cortex. I managed very gingerly to extract the 'cleaner', and did the shoot anyway with no problems. It was a few hours away, so on the way home I stopped at a larger distributor where I was able to pick up a 'dry' Maxell cleaner with which I have had no problems.

The problem with only using the cleaner only when you need it is that sometimes you might not know when that is until after you have already recorded all those 'once in a lifetime moments'. The camera does indicate when you need to clean the heads if they get really dirty, but I am not sure how it does with light buildup that may cause intermittent dropouts that could cause havoc on the job.

What I have read (and I'm not sure if it is accurate) is to perhaps run the cleaner after every 10 to 15 hours of tape wear. Maybe more often if you are using recycled tapes. Run it for perhaps 5 seconds- no more, as indicated in earlier posts, the cleaner runs across the heads like fine sandpaper and performs a necessary evil, just don't indulge too much or your heads will perform like a burned out toothless wino after a 2 day 'dry spell'.

Good luck.
-Jon
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Old July 10th, 2005, 11:56 PM   #8
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10 to 15 hours is a reasonable amount of time. I also clean before any shoot where I know that reshooting won't be possible (such as events). Sticking with one brand of tape is highly recommended although I have interspersed a few Maxell tapes in with all my TDK's and never experienced any issues.

-gb-
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Old July 11th, 2005, 12:28 AM   #9
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Well, I think I'll contact Canon because I'm getting mucho mixed messages on this one. You can get Panasonic head cleaning tapes from zotzdigital.com and ask for Brian, he's the best I've found in terms of a company worth working with.

Thanks all for your imput. I'll let you know what support at Canon says about to clean or not to clean frequently.

Cheers!

Lucinda
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Old July 11th, 2005, 06:34 AM   #10
 
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Quote:
If they are 'wet', Canon does not recommend using it in the XL2.
This is not the first time I've seen this here. But I've never seen it from Canon--not the manual, not on their site. So where is this information coming from?

If the tape cleaners are lubed like the video tape then it stands to reason to use the same brand of cleaner tape as your video tape. The cleaner tapes being lubed doesn't make sense to me, because the cleaner should be "cleaning" out the lubricant as well as tape particles, but I could be wrong.

Jay
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Old July 11th, 2005, 08:11 AM   #11
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Agree with Jay.

I've never heard of any difference between Sony and Panasonic *cleaning* tapes. In fact even though I shoot only Panasonic DV cassettes, the cleaning tape that I've had all along is a Sony. Never had a problem. I wouldn't since shooting brands (clean the heads if you do), but there's only one formulation for a cleaning cassette that I'm aware of.
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Old July 11th, 2005, 02:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Gladwell
This is not the first time I've seen this here. But I've never seen it from Canon--not the manual, not on their site. So where is this information coming from?

XL2 manual - page 110:

"To maintain the best picture quality, we recommend cleaning the video heads frequently with the Canon DVM-CL Digital Video Head Cleaning Cassette or a commercially available dry cleaning cassette"

"Do not use wet type cleaning cassettes as this may damage the camcorder."


I'm pretty sure that is the appropriate information for the issue in question.

-Jon
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Old July 11th, 2005, 02:28 PM   #13
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I use the sony head clening tape in my DSR11 and the Panny head cleaning tape in my XL2.
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Old July 11th, 2005, 05:14 PM   #14
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Thanks!

I only use the dry tapes not the wet. I was just interested in seeing whether to use the same brand or any brand and it seems that the consensus is that it makes no difference. Thanks again!

Lucinda
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Old July 11th, 2005, 05:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Jones
"To maintain the best picture quality, we recommend cleaning the video heads frequently with the Canon DVM-CL Digital Video Head Cleaning Cassette or a commercially available dry cleaning cassette"

"Do not use wet type cleaning cassettes as this may damage the camcorder."
OK, dry type cleaning is best. So I'm back to the same point I was in selecting "dry lubricant" tapes: Which are dry and which are wet?

I've got a JVC miniDV "Digital Video Cleaning Cassette" that I picked up some time ago for my JVC palm-cam. I was going to use it on my XL2 'til this came up. Do I order a Canon dry cleaning tape or does someone know whether JVC cleaning tapes are dry or wet?

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