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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.


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Old June 27th, 2009, 03:52 AM   #1
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Changing tape brand

Having owned an XL1s for 5 years and always stuck to Panasonic MQ tapes, when I upgraded to my XL-H1a some six months ago I carried on purchasing the MQs for this new camera.

However, from literally day one I have had farly regular dropouts, even on brand new tapes I get maybe one or two per tape (about 1 second of lost footage).

I am now also seeing less dramatic dropouts, which are like a one or two frame 'glitch' which only seems to affect the video not the audio.

And the most recent annoying incident is a 3 minute clip i've shot and when played back on the camera...the lip sync noticable out. OK, this is easy to correct in post but it is frustrating. The audio was actually five frames ahead of the video !

So..my question is, should I switch from the MQs to say Sony Premiums ? Is it safe to do so having used Panasonics exclusively, and should I also then use a Sony head cleaner instead of the Panasonic ?
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Old June 27th, 2009, 04:08 AM   #2
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There is no difference between brands, a tape is a tape, and both cameras should not be affected differently by the same brand of tape.

Are you using new Panasonic MQ Cleaning Tapes? Run the cleaning tape through for about 10-seconds and test the camera with normal Panasonic DV recording tapes. If you are still viewing problems, then do another 5-second run with the cleaning tape.

If you do decide to change to another brand, make sure to do a short run with the new brand of cleaning tapes first (not the Panasonic cleaning tape).

I have stuck with normal JVC tapes for years in many different camcorders and not experienced excessive problems even after prolonged use in varied conditions and climates worldwide. However, I do not think it is beacause the JVC tapes are better than Sony or Panasonic etc, and would probably have had the same results with most of the well-known brands.
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Old June 29th, 2009, 05:40 PM   #3
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Well, I for one seem to have nothing but problems with Panasonic tapes in my H1. I've only been using Sony tapes since and the problems have stopped.

But I'm not an expert like Tony Davies-Patrick is, apprently.
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Old June 29th, 2009, 11:15 PM   #4
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tapes

we have been using sony dvm60 since we first got our camera h1 about 3 years ago and never had a problem, we only use the tape once for recording and then file the tape away, i have done this since the old bvu days - better to be carefull over not having the shot you need....
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Old June 30th, 2009, 01:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Sanders View Post

But I'm not an expert like Tony Davies-Patrick is, apprently.
I'm no expert Robert (if there is such a description for tapes), but simply passing on my own knowledge, and that of others I know who have had similar problem-free Dv tape useage in camcorders.

I have not used Panasonic tapes much, so there could of course be a difference. Others have used them long-term without hiccups, so there could be other reasons.

For two separate people to suffer similar headaches using the same tapes in a H1, it might indicate something different about those particular tapes and the H1 tape-drive mechanism or possibly a slight difference in the latest Panasonic tapes.

I have mainly used Sony DVM60 and JVC DVM60 with no problems other than a single short section of 60ME tape that was chewed on FR/FF when I was working on a project in Upstate NY (I'd been working the camera hard day & night in all temperatures for 3 months, both on land and underwater so expected the odd problem, but in the end it was probably my own heavy-handed use of playback mode that caused it, and not a dodgy tape).

The main thing is to have confidence in the tools that we use, so if I had experienced the same problems as Robert did with Panasonic tapes and suddenly problem-free using Sony in the same camcorder, then I too would stick to the Sony tapes.

I suppose what it boils down to is if the tapes are working OK in your particular cam, then stick to that brand.

I did once believe that premium price tapes from the same brand would be worth the extra price, but after a lot of discussion with others and trying out my own long-term tests with both types I eventually came to the conclusion shared by others that it doesn't really make much difference. The cheaper DV60ME tapes were just as reliable.
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Old July 3rd, 2009, 10:13 AM   #6
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The first year I only used the sony super expensive digital master tapes, and for things like movies or super important events that would be difficult to be replicated I still do but for the most part I just use the sony red tab tapes and have never had any issues.

For what it's worth a couple of years ago I had breakfast with a canon rep who said that he sat near the engineering station at canon in CA. He said you could tell the cameras that used wet lube (sony) vs dry lube (everyone else-panasonic) because the dry lube would flake off...

I'm not saying it's the most reliable but could be indicitive of the problem.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 04:45 PM   #7
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I've heard the same thing from the tech's over at Birns & Sawyer in Hollywood.
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Old July 8th, 2009, 05:08 PM   #8
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I am also going to switch to Sony tapestock. Too much dropped frames with Panasonic tapes lately. Using the AMQ master quality tapes which should be good but they aren't. I think I have one or two dropped frames per tape on like 30% of the tapes I use. Not good.

Finishing my Panasonic stock and then I clean with Sony cleaning tape and switch to Sony DVM-60 tapes which I understand work fine.
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Old July 9th, 2009, 09:07 AM   #9
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I also tried the AMQ Panasonic tapes when I first got my XH A1. Before that I had shot DVCAM with Sony PDVM tapes for years with no trouble. My first few AMQs were OK, but then dropouts started. I switched to Sony PHDVM (the Digital Mastering tapes in the white box) and have not seen a dropout since. Tape stock is important, and it's also the cheapest thing on a shoot, so it's folly, in my opinion, to skimp on that. If you shoot 10 hours of tape, that's only about $160 at the current price. You'll spend more than that on pizza and coffee and donuts on 10 hours of shooting.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 03:18 PM   #10
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I whole heartedly agree Bill.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 12:26 AM   #11
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my .02

Only ever used Sony hi-end. Really, if you ever shot on film, you wouldn't gripe about tape cost. That's the (only) reason we all switched to video 20 years ago.
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