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Old February 24th, 2009, 09:39 AM   #16
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Back in the Betacam days a Sony technician who worked on the broadcast line recommended using the head cleaning tape every 50 hours, for about 5 seconds. I did that and always got maximum head life from the Betacam camera, and same for DVCAM, and I do it now for HDV with Canon cameras. I used to do manual cleaning too because I shot in lots of dusty enviroments, but so far haven't had to do that in the DVCAM/HDV world. Things are a lot smaller inside these cameras now so I don't think I want to go there.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 12:49 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
Things are a lot smaller inside these cameras now so I don't think I want to go there.
And I think most of us are clumsier than we were back in those days too...
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Old February 24th, 2009, 12:51 PM   #18
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Whos the expert? Us or the people which designed and made the camera?
Meaning no disrespect, but I vote that I'm the expert when it comes to evaluating EXACTLY how my camera has been used, how important my footage is to me and how long my camera needs to last me before it's paid for itself.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 01:51 PM   #19
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Chris, we had the same sort of question on the VX2k yahoo forum - 'when should |I use the cleaning tape?' I replied that it depended on shooting conditions, whether you changed tape brands, how many hours of tape had passed the heads. I told the poster that from my experience (TRV900, VX2k, Z1) there was little harm he could do.

The next day the same poster wrote again. He said the cleaning tape worked very well, was quite expensive but he'd go out and buy another one for the next time his heads needed a clean. Little cogs ticked in my brain. 'You ran the cleaning tape till it came to a stop, right?' I said.

'Sure' he answered. 'Was that wrong?'

Of course it made me shiver to contemplate the heat build-up in his delicate heads, but a few more postings calmed me - his camera performed as good as new but he's remember next time to do a 10 sec burst max. He probably shaved off 500 hours but so what?

The moral is that yes, it's abraisive but not in the sandpaper way. And heads are tougher than we think. And you should think on this when you buy secondhand; there are some do-lallys out there.

tom.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 05:27 PM   #20
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I don't think you can really predict a cleaning schedule. If you have a squeeky clean tape path in your camcorder, there is no guarantee that the very next new tape you stick in your camcorder won't cause a head clog.

Obviously, the best (most inconvenient and expensive) method is to do as Scot says and have it cleaned professionally every 6 months. But beyond that, I would only use a head cleaning tape if you have some indication that your camcorder needs attention. If I am confident that the tapes I am using are virtually free of drop outs and I see a couple of drop outs from one particular tape, I am going to run the cleaner tape for 10 seconds. If I see more issues and the head cleaning tape doesn't resolve them, I will take it to the professional, rather than running the cleaner tape repeatedly.
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Old March 20th, 2009, 08:42 PM   #21
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I use a JVC HD100 and the camera tells me when to use the head cleaning tape. It flashes across the screen, "Cleaning Needed" it is about the only time I do what I am told.... I did notice the one time I tried to ignore it I had a section of footage seperate into about a hundred small sections. I assumed the two events were related.
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