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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old April 29th, 2011, 03:22 PM   #1
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Different makes of tape?

Hi all, I think that I have read somewhere that one should not use different tapes.
Now,not that I want to swap from from tape to tape but why is it reported to be a problem,surely if it is a top branded tape there should not be a problem changing, or is it?
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Old April 29th, 2011, 04:36 PM   #2
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Re: Different makes of tape?

Seek and ye shall find (same issue with any make/model really):
Switching tape brands will ruin your heads?
Which brand of tape do you use with your MX 500?
Problem Mixing Tape Brands in Z1U?
My New (used) GL2
Question about changing different brands of tapes!
....and a zillion others.

Bottom line - clean your heads if you have any problems.
There are rather fewer brands of tape available now so the problem is less of an issue than it used to be :-)

Use the Google search box at the bottom of the page.
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Old May 2nd, 2011, 04:48 AM   #3
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Re: Different makes of tape?

Different tapes tend to have slightly different characteristics and will leave slightly different deposits patterns on the tape guides, etc. When you change tape brands, there may be a slightly different tape wrap around the tape path and the deposits from the old tape may break-off and clog the heads. This is not guaranteed to happen, but it might.

In the 1990s there was an issue with incompatible tape lubricants, but that was resolved in the 1990s. Should not be an issue today, unless you find some V E R Y old Sony tape stock.

Many users do find a tape they like, buy it in bulk, and stick to it, using a head cleaning tape if they change tape brand.
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Old June 6th, 2013, 12:57 AM   #4
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Re: Different makes of tape?

As a technician that works on these camcorders I would say to try to stick with one brand of tape and try not to reuse tape. I will see much more build up in the tape path and heads on units that their owners don't follow these guidelines.
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Old June 6th, 2013, 04:36 AM   #5
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Re: Different makes of tape?

What do you mean by "reuse tape"?
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Old June 6th, 2013, 09:25 PM   #6
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Re: Different makes of tape?

Reuse = Re Record
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Old June 7th, 2013, 03:29 AM   #7
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Re: Different makes of tape?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherman Bahr View Post
As a technician that works on these camcorders I would say to try to stick with one brand of tape and try not to reuse tape. I will see much more build up in the tape path and heads on units that their owners don't follow these guidelines.
+1. I worked in development of magnetic tape types for many many yrs.

Buy only new 'name brand' DV tapes in packs of 5. Keep their cardboard container and store the tapes so the tape itself, sits vertically in the container.
The tape pack weight sits on the spindle.

Then store them in a resealable plastic fridge container with some fresh packs of Silicagel. Pressure close the lid expelling most of the air,
so there's a near vacuum inside. High humidity in long term storage, is bad news for all magnetic tape.

Keep these plastic containers in a dark temperature stable cupboard, the tapes should last for 30+yrs.

Also keep at least one DV tape camera in good working condition to be able to play your tape library, many years from now.

Cheers.
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Old June 7th, 2013, 06:24 PM   #8
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Re: Different makes of tape?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherman Bahr View Post
Reuse = Re Record
I assume that Re Record means to erase an original recording and write another video clip on the same piece of tape. So what problems arise when a tape is 'Re Recorded' on and what do you believe is the mechanism that causes the problems?
I fully agree with the practice of sticking to one brand (and type) of tape despite the claims that the lubricant incompatibility issue has been fully resolved. Since 1998, I have only ever used Sony Excellence tapes, (on DV at first, then HDV since 2005), and have only ever had 2 dropouts. One was a read dropout which disappeared when re-read and the other was a write dropout and so was permanent giving a 1/2 second freeze.
Opinions about potential problems when reusing DV tapes have been expressed in various fora from time to time, but I don't recall anybody ever offering any technical reason for such problems nor any evidence of controlled experiments that prove the phenomenon. I have a couple of tapes that have been used multiple times for various test recordings, but those have never given any problems.
Perhaps as a Professional Camcorder Repair person, you could enlighten me as to why you believe that it is not good practice.
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Old June 8th, 2013, 12:06 AM   #9
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Re: Different makes of tape?

You never said what kind of tape.?

If it's mini dv I would stick with the same brand and don't re-use.

If it's Sony DVCAM, I contracted with a company that has re-used Sony full size DVCAM tapes at least 50 times each.

The Sony rep tells me they are designed to be used hundreds of times.

I believe him as we never had a problem.
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Old June 8th, 2013, 05:27 PM   #10
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Re: Different makes of tape?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Gardner View Post
You never said what kind of tape.?

If it's mini dv I would stick with the same brand and don't re-use.

If it's Sony DVCAM, I contracted with a company that has re-used Sony full size DVCAM tapes at least 50 times each.

The Sony rep tells me they are designed to be used hundreds of times.

I believe him as we never had a problem.

If that question relates to my question of Sherman Bahr, then like most of this thread, the presumption is DV tape, (or its derivatives such as DVCAM, HDV, DVC Pro etc.), i.e. tape designed for 25Mb/s write/read use. That's why I mentioned my experience with Sony Excellence tapes.
As you say, In professional circles, the true durability of tape is understood. For a start, there's the issue of the as-delivered reliability of a mass produced item. Mostly there aren't any problems. However as Tom Hardwick explained here:
How many times can I re-use a minidv tape?
tape is designed to be used many times. By 'used' I mean passed through the head channel. It makes no difference whether the tape is re-written or just read. Each pass is just a mechanical operation and all the stresses on the magnetic coating are the same. The domains won't wear out, (at least not before the whole plastic case falls apart) so the only significant deterioration would be shedding of the magnetic coat. This would be the same for read or write cycles.
As both you and Tom say, tape that has been used has a known history, (and presumably, any that didn't come up to spec. will have been removed from use anyway), so used tapes are a much better proposition for critical tasks in a professional environment.
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Old June 10th, 2013, 03:56 AM   #11
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Re: Different makes of tape?

Hi guys there's other factors at work regarding magnetic tape wear, new and reused.

In production, mag tape goes through a process called calendering, that's polishing the new mag surface to remove a programmed amount of the excess oxide. But there's always still some left on the tape surface which sheds when the tape is *first run* in the camera/recorder.

There's also tape wear differences when tape transport mechanisms are run horizontally or vertically and when you run the tape in another transport.
None have transport tape paths in exactly the same alignment, and the degree of component wear and run hours contribute to this.

2. What Can Go Wrong with Magnetic Media? ? Council on Library and Information Resources

Also heat and humidity come into it. Ampex used to recommend you leave pro magnetic tape in the operating environment for 24hrs before use,
not feasible for the consumer.

During a trip on the Amazon River last November, stepping from our airconditioned cabin out onto the verandah in 90 degress of heat and humidity,
after pressing the record button, the Canon HV40 DV transport literally wouldn't run at all, it just jammed, and the warning message read,
'Humidity detected remove the tape' All DV tape cams have this warning in their menu.

I knew this might happen but I chanced the shot. After that I'd leave the camera out on the verandah for an hour before use.
btw there was a dropout at that point on the DV tape.

O/T Mag tape manufacture has now reached its zenith. The company I was associated with now makes mag strips for credit cards. Welcome

But we had some fun, eg: we developed an audio cassette with 6" of cleaner tape in place of the leader at the start and end of each tape.
It worked and Sony loved it, but it was about 4 cents more to manufacture over a run of 500,000xc40s. However we got a big Eastern contract.

If it wasn't for the gigantic third world market, magnetic recording tape would have disappeared long ago.

Cheers.
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Old June 14th, 2013, 12:41 AM   #12
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Re: Different makes of tape?

Someone once told me that the higher the grade of tape the less that it wants to rearrange itself after it's been written to. This was told to me back in the VHS days. My assumptions are that the mini DV tape has extremely fine metal particles. Again the finer the particles and the higher the concentration the less that they want to rearrange because they're adhering the magnetic information so tightly. In practice I'm not so sure how true this is.

The one thing that I do know and have experienced is that rewriting over recorded information will cause more tape dropouts. Today's camcorders do a very good job at tape dropout compensation. But obviously there are times where the dropout is too severe to be covered up and that's when you see it.

There are other variables here that were not mentioned. One major variable is the condition of the tape mechanism. New factory fresh or refurbished tape mechanisms will do a much better job at carrying and moving the tape along at a very precise speed as well as phase. You also have a have a very specific alignment of the tape wrapping around the video heads. And one more very important thing is that the tape tension must be precise and consistent. If one or more of these items are off you will have premature tape aging which will in return cause video or audio problems.

If you start experiencing more than normal tape dropouts even when using a brand-new tapes, that is your clue that your tape mechanism may need to be serviced.
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Old June 14th, 2013, 05:16 AM   #13
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Re: Different makes of tape?

Hi, agreed and the condition of the tape mechanism is extremely crucial, I mentioned that above as the degree of component wear and run hours :)

Years ago, I first saw in the magnetic tape production process, that quality control was also very important. Basically when the plant runs 6 days a week
12hrs a day, if each QC stage isn't kept in tip top shape, the final product could suffer, and every so often it did.

Sounds simple, but if the last QC stage found even a slight problem, then knowing where it started could be a real hassle. And sometimes you have to stop the whole plant, to the consternation of management who want the product on time. In some lesser quality tape plants in the East, they let the probable suspect product ship out.

Sony explains it .. Sony Storage & Professional Media

If anyone wants to really get into it, there are other apects of mag tape production in that link.

For example: in the slitting process the 'edge channels' of the Jumbo Roll are scrapped. Over a months production that's a giant lot of tape, but some companies actually do sell it, as their cheaper grade of tape.

Panasonic offer a DV tape made for heavy shuttle use in pro situations, imo it's not necessary for consumer use, but they are the only company that do that
and that appeals to me, so I use their mini DV tapes and I'm satisfied with them.

Panasonic AY-HDVM63AMQ Mini HDV/DV/DVCAM Compatible AY-HDVM63AMQ

At a BnH close out sale, I managed to buy Panas last stocks of 250 AY-DVM83MQ DV tapes .. and I'm still using up the stock. I rarely reuse them, we shoot docos for aircraft companies and charities so they go into our tape archives, hence the advice on mini DV tape storage, which now goes back over 10years.

My next mini DV tapes will be these ..
Panasonic AY-DV83PQUS Mini DV Pro Cassette AY-DVM83PQUS B&H


Now to get onto one of my hobby horses, keeping grit and dust out of your DV tapes and camera transports. It's about the greatest contribution
to tape drop outs. Eg: ppl who leave tapes lying around out of their cases are just asking for trouble. Not running a DV cleaner tape every 10hrs or so is another. Clean the top of the camera so when you pop open the transport, dust and microgrit doesn't fly up and land in the open transport.

In comparison with other magnetic tape transports, DV tapes run very slow at 18.812mm/sec, any microgrit that gets on the tape surface will cause dropouts. Recording at LP speed at 8.406mm/sec is just plain dangerous to your project. And they probably won't play properly on another camera.

And store the tapes as listed above HTH :)

Cheers.
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Last edited by Allan Black; June 14th, 2013 at 08:47 PM. Reason: useage.
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Old June 14th, 2013, 09:37 PM   #14
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Re: Different makes of tape?

Hey Allen I'm surprised that you are going to use the 83 min tapes. If the tape mechanism is working perfectly then you shouldn't really have any issues, however if not these tapes can cause issues. The longer run time tapes tend to be thinner and are a heavier overall tape.
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Old June 15th, 2013, 01:11 AM   #15
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Re: Different makes of tape?

Hi Sherman, your points about a well maintained tape transport takes that into account. 83min DV tape is 2 microns thinner than 63 minute
and the extra 20mins is handy on location.

They are slightly heavier, there's more tape in the shell. And that's one of the reasons why I recommend ppl store them vertically,
so the weight sits on the centre spindle. Storing tapes sitting flat for some time, means the outside tape edges of the pack can drop down a tad,
especially if they get any vibration.

The bottom line is, 83min mini DV tapes have been around for many years, if they weren't reliable, the word would have gotten around by now
and the manufacturers would have stopped producing them. I've had no trouble with them.

Btw I make sure DV tapes complete loading properly before I close the lid. I've watched ppl in a hurry, jamming the lid shut to soon
and screwing the tape, before it even gets its first run. Anyone who has repeated problems should send their cameras along to you mate,
and quick before trouble screws more tapes. With average consumer use, imo DV video tape cameras should be serviced at least once every 2 years.

I also think it's important to ffwd and rwd at least the first 2 minutes of a new tape before you record on it. This settles the tape in the guides in the transport tape path, based on the fact that all transports have a very slightly different path alignment, especially older models with use.
And the factory made new tape wind may not match.

And don't record on the first 30sec. Put colour bars and 1k tone on that, if your camera has them. This helps line up the tape in your NLE,
especially when you're using older archived footage, or passing the tape to someone else.

At some point you'll be upgrading your vid tape camera and although mag tape is coming to the end of its era, there are still good tape cameras available,
for example, from owners who are migrating to solid state.

Cheers.
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