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Old January 29th, 2008, 03:02 PM   #1
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Switching tape brands will ruin your heads?

I apologize if this has been discussed before, but i have a couple questions...

when I bought my DVX 3 years or so ago, several people told me that I should choose one brand (ie - sony or panasonic) mini-dv tape and stick to it, because each brand uses different types of lubricant, and if you use both in your camera, it could mess up your heads.

so, my first question is, is this true?

i am currently shooting a long term project using the DVX. I started out using a camera that has only used Panasonic tapes, but now (for reasons I wont get into), I need to switch over and use a DVX that has only used Sony tapes.

Of course, I already bought a huge supply of Panasonic tape stock that I dont want to go to waste.

So, my options seem to be to:

(a) use the Panasonic tapes in this second camera (which I own) and hope there isn't a problem

(b) try to return the Panasonic tapes and exchange them for Sony tapes. But, my concern about this is that I am not doing the editing, and I dont know how the editor or post-house will feel if I deliver them two different brands of tape (assuming they will have the same mixed brand concern with their deck)

(c) use the new brand of tape, but try cleaning the heads first as to not mix the lubricants. And, if this makes sense, what is the best way to clean the heads on a dvx? I bought one of those head cleaning tapes, but it did not work in my camera (it gave me some sort of 'bad tape' warning).

Thoughts?

and thanks in advance.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 03:10 PM   #2
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YUP!

Do a quick search in this forum, "The Long Black Line," and you will find all of the info you need and much much more.

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Old January 29th, 2008, 05:37 PM   #3
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Yessir.

Different tape brands use different lubricants in the tapes. Mixing these lubricants can be a certain death to your camera or footage. Generally you want to use the same tapes as the kind of camera you have, but at least, use only the same brand of tapes.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 05:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Todd Sheridan View Post
so, my first question is, is this true?
While there is no hard scientific data to support it, there is an overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence which suggests that yes it is true. Bottom line? The *safe* practice is to not switch tape brands.
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Old January 30th, 2008, 02:58 PM   #5
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I have been in the camera equipment rental business for a very long time. We have had almost every type of mini dv and Hdv camera. I cannot control which brand of tape my clients put into the camera or how long they might have had the tape in the trunk of their car, or setting on the dash board of that car - nor can any rental house- we have never had a client come back with a recording problem due to tape, and we have never had a camera VTR head go bad due to this either.

What we do find is that by the time a person runs into a problem with build up on their head stack and pinch rollers, it is too late to correct the issue with a dry tape head cleaning tape.

We do a very detailed tape pathway cleaning with head tape based on a certain number of hours, and at least once a year the cameras go in for a factory wethead cleaning and alignment. This is a cheap insurance policy to follow.

Also we rent the decks cheaper than the cameras which in turns keeps all of the rewind and fast forwarding off of the camera heads.

Hope this helps.
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Old January 30th, 2008, 09:52 PM   #6
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at least once a year the cameras go in for a factory wethead cleaning and alignment. This is a cheap insurance policy to follow.

Can you elaborate a little on how one goes about doing this? I don't read anywhere where SONY, for example, offers this. Sounds like good preventative maintenance to me... and also, at how many head run hours do you suggest this be done?
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Old January 31st, 2008, 10:40 AM   #7
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depends on the manufacturer, Canon of course has their XL-Club, and you just send it directly to that division of Canon.

Panasonic out-sources most all of their repairs, and like Sony has a completely differant division for sending "non-broadcast" line of cameras and decks in for service.

There are also companies like MACIE, that have been certified by the manufacturers to do repairs and service. We have been sending most of our stuff to them lately.

ECI also has been doing certified service for us as well.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 09:48 PM   #8
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Thanks for that info. Any suggestion as to head hours?
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Old March 31st, 2008, 12:47 PM   #9
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On my 6mm heads (DV, DVCam, HDV) I run an abrasive head cleaner over them for 10 seconds about every 50 or so hours of regular shooting (ie. no sandstorms, salt water, hayfields at harvest etc.) if I'm able to use virgin tape every time. If I'm forced to use recycled tape, I'll move that up a bit. For the record though, abrasive head cleaners are TERRIBLY hard on heads but my position is dropouts are even harder on my career.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 03:59 AM   #10
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I have always been using different tapes on my three different cameras without any problems.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 02:37 PM   #11
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Head Clog

Not saying it happens to everybody but the truth is enough of us have issues with head clogs after different tape that I recommend to everyone who doesn't have to change tape brands/formulations not to.

This isn't a myth, it just isn't experienced by everybody.
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 11:38 AM   #12
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Brands and General Info

http://www.pro-tape.com/Site/PRO-TAPE.html

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